Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Should a Death Row Inmate’s Corpse Become Art?
Because two thirds of all countries in the world have abolished the death penalty, the majority of executions happen in just five countries—China, Iran, North Korea, Yemen, and the United States of America. The idea that the state holds the power to exact the ultimate price in the name of law and order remains one of the biggest debates both internationally and within the U.S. No place in America is that debate hotter than in the state of Texas, which has executed more than a third of all prisoners killed in the U.S. since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. One member of Texas’ death row, Travis Runnels, recently added a whole new dimension to the debate by donating his body to Danish artist Martin Martensen-Larsen's proposed artwork, The Unifier. Martensen-Larsen plans to paint Runnels’ corpse gold (artist’s conception shown above) and pose it in a parody of Daniel Chester French's statue of Abraham Lincoln in The Lincoln Memorial. The Unifier could become as controversial as the death penalty it takes as its subject. Should a death row inmate’s corpse become art? Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Should a Death Row Inmate’s Corpse Become Art?"