Josh Sands


Mad About You
mixed media installation  
2021

“When you’re used to privilege, equality feels like oppression” —Franklin Leonard

This project, Mad About You, tells the story of the artist’s personal journey to better understand his own  white privilege. The project consists of a visual installation and accompanying essay. The artwork itself is composed of a collection of items, including cabinet and wall mounted materials. The installation resembles a small library or science-classroom display, and reflects this journey and its discoveries.

Using elements of The White Privilege Checklist by Peggy McIntosh as the framework for the project the artist tested components of the list and applied them to ethnographic research in order to test its validity and strengthen his understanding of the issue. The two main issues that emerged from the checklist that the artist chose to focus on are issues of passport, or the freedom to do, travel, or act however one  wants; and issues of representation.  

McIntosh states: “I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege... it is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools, and blank  checks.” Here the artist has chosen to make those “invisible” items visible in order to demonstrate the ways in  which white privilege functions.  

As an anti-racist, cultural ally, and socially-engaged artist working with history, race, and identity issues, Sands has created a monument to that history and the current status of white privilege in our world.  

Mad About You: An artist’s journey into white privilege
by Josh Sands