Spanish artist Gala Knörr was excited to announce the news. she Young cowboy Paintings would be on display at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao from July 8 to September 13.
“Guys, played it cool, but that’s a big deal, especially for me [sic] with this project,” Knörr wrote in an Instagram post.
The images were striking, with their rough surfaces and bold contrast of a young black cowboy staring intrepidly at the viewer while silhouetted against a barren landscape. Another showed the cowboy’s back staring out over a green plain, his white shirt matching the laces wrapped around the hat’s band.
Knörr said she was inspired by the image of the Black Rider Brianna Edel who protested the police killing of George Floyd from the seat of her saddle in May 2020.
But just days after the exhibition opened, Knörr admitted Rolling Stone that she made “a mistake” in failing to acknowledge a more direct inspiration — black Brooklyn artist Dayday, whose work is featured in Hulu’s your attention please is almost identical to her paintings that now hang on the walls of the Guggenheim Bilbao.
In a statement to Rolling Stoneconfirmed the museum that Knörr did not adequately appreciate the original work and had come to the “reparative solution” of exhibiting daily works alongside Knörr’s paintings. (Through a representative, Dayday declined to comment further.)
“The film Blue by dayday is exhibited together with an artist statement, which is the visible source of inspiration for Knörr,” the museum said in a statement. “By tangibly tying the works together, we can begin to reflect on the dual erasure of the Basque Country cowboys and the African American cowboys of the United States from history.”
Tag, who uses she/they pronouns, was the director behind a segment that aired on a February episode of the docuseries starring Ezekiel “Blue” Mitchell, a professional bull rider from Texas – one of the lone black riders in the sport. The opening shots of Blue feature a young Mitchell, played by Isaac Redfearn, gazing across green pastures and solemnly looking back at the camera. Mitchell confirmed this Rolling Stone that he had never been contacted by Knörr and had not been made aware of the pictures.
Nachela Knox, who acted as assistant director Blue told Rolling Stone that while Knörr may have had good intentions, she continued to perpetuate the idea of black erasing—something that critically highlighted her work.
“She could have used this opportunity to highlight the team or Isaac, but unfortunately she didn’t,” Knox said. “That makes the intention of the art and its message very questionable.”
“I think people should be held accountable [their] Actions,” Knox added. “While I think that’s a big step that the museum has taken, I’d like to see what [Knörr’s] what she’s going to say as an artist or what she’s going to do – whether it’s an apology, changing the description or whatever, but I’d love to hear what she has to say because how do you justify what she did Has?”
Knörr was part of a joint residency program between New York and Spain’s Guggenheim Museums that brought 10 artists from the Basque Country to New York City. your previous work focused on how the influence of Basque cowboys has been overlooked in the history of the American West and its new Young cowboy Oil paintings should extend this obliteration to black cowboys.
Posted as criticism and side by side comparisons of Knörr’s paintings and stills Blue began to circulate, Knörr blocked her Instagram and archived all her posts except for the post about her Young cowboy Painting.
When contacted by Rolling StoneKnörr said her work has always been inspired by social media and pop culture, referencing her previous work that focused on black and Basque cowboys.
“I have read books and watched documentaries on the subject and one of them was Blue Directed by Dayday – inspiration for my paintings,” she wrote in a message. “We have worked in a space of understanding, listening and collaborating.”
And when asked if she wanted to discount today’s credit and cite just one image of Noble as the inspiration for her paintings, Knörr reiterated that her work “is based on many images and media.”
“That was a very big mistake I made and I explained today that it was not meant to be malicious at all, I didn’t make sure they were credited and I’m very sorry for that,” she replied. “[It] It was important for me to let them know as we chatted privately and found a space for our work to coexist and communicate with each other.”
“I want to thank Dayday and the Guggenheim for working together and kindly to correct this,” she added.