Untitled (Anita Hill Trial)
Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
Sue Coe moved to the United States in 1972, and became well-known for work featuring scathing caricatures of political events and critiques of racism, sexism, and capitalism. Evoking witch hunts of the fourteenth to nineteenth centuries, Coe depicts Anita Hill being burned at the stake while the all-male, all-white Senate Judiciary Committee and press corps look on. During Clarence Thomas’s 1991 confirmation hearings for a judgeship on the Supreme Court, Hill accused Thomas of sexual harassment. Broadcast live to the nation, the hearings became a national scandal revolving around race, gender, and sexual assault, with Thomas denying all allegations and eventually being confirmed for a position on the court, which he has held since 1991. The accusatory and disbelieving tone of both the committee and the media effectively put Hill, not Thomas, on trial.
Etching on paper
Signed lower right: "Sue Coe 92"
Inscribed lower left: "24"
Gift of Marco Nocella
This item is not on view
Sue Coe (British, born 1951). Untitled (Anita Hill Trial), 1992. Etching on paper, 20 x 13 1/4 in. (50.8 x 33.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Marco Nocella, 2012.90. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: , 2012.90_PS9.jpg)
overall, 2012.90_PS9.jpg., 2018
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© Sue Coe,courtesy Galerie St.Etienne, New York
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Addressing another highly controversial event in American history, Sue Coe uses the iconography of a witch hunt to portray the outcome of the trial following Anita Hill's accusations of Clarence Thomas's workplace sexual harassment.
Hill is shown burning at the stake, but a "real" witch, complete with pointed hat, broom, and black cat, flies free in the background.