Monday, February 28, 2011

Blog Prompt 4

Lippard discusses how “Irony, humor, and subversion are the most common guises and disguises of those artist’s leaping out of the melting pot into the fire” (pg. 199.) Further into the chapter she explains that “by reversing stereotypes of submission, the artists are invalidating the external naming processes that make them outsider and rediscovering the wicked power of humor as an equalizer. Their task is not just demystification, but reclamation” (pg.202). I believe she is referring to the fact that it is easier to cope with difficult situations and make them into something easier when using these mechanisms.
She also explains that “Irony and subversion are used strategically to connect past, present, and future without limiting art or audiences to one time or place” (pg. 200.) I think with these words she is addressing the grave issue of when people become so consumed at looking at something they become accustomed to it whether the issue is good or bad. If you look at the Ester Hernandez, Sun Mad piece you will understand what I am referring to. You will see that upon initial glace it looks like the Sun Maid raisins, which is what I also saw. However when you really examine the piece you see that the artist is referring to and making a statement about the raisins that had been manufactured in her hometown had been contaminated for years from water with too many chemicals.
Of all the art in this chapter I enjoyed, Robert Colescott, Knowledge of the past is the key to the future piece. It shows a black man and a white woman shackled together “in passion.” The fading lips are to represent the surrealistic notion of the piece. The figures to the left and the open and closed books are representing the rewriting of history. All of the books that are closed in a pile to represent history that has pasted and the one open books not in the pile to show that they are free to express themselves how they please.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Blog Prompt # 3

In this chapter the author defines the term “mixing” not only to “racial” blending, but to cultural and even esthetic mixtures and collaboration, introducing a full spectrum of contradictory decisions about identity and change (page 151). A good example of this kind of collaboration is with Tim Rollins and the “Kids of Survival (KOS)”. Tim Rollins is a working class white man from Maine and the KOS is under performing students from the Bronx. Tim Rollins began teaching in “Learning to Read Through the Arts”, in this program the students gained more knowledge about art and later showed their own talent. They became very well known and started showing up in downtown galleries. The KOS were kids that were shut down by the educational system and later by society, however because of Tim Rollins they got to express themselves to society and show how they were being affected by racism and discrimination since they were not educated.

If Tim Rollins had not collaborated with these kids they would not have been able to stand up for themselves and get motivated to do more things in life. A quote in the text that the kids said which I thought was very powerful is “We paint about what is, but we also paint about what should be. Some day we’ll be a part of history ourselves, and maybe we’ll be an inspiration for that person to keep on.”(page 169). I thought this was very interesting because they did become a part of history and now they want to inspire other people as well. In my opinion, a collaboration like this can work in today’s world and should!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Response to Blog Prompt 2

Lucy Lippard draws the correlation between land and spirituality as“ the relationship between religion and land is often forgotten in modern belief systems. Yet even the religions that have been carried across the oceans and around the world bear imprint of their original places-“ (page 108) The land tells a story, and many other stories, it holds the spirits and truths of its people, and although the land may belong to someone else later in time, it still holds meaning to it’s people. The Native Americans recognize land as a symbol of belonging and home. Native American artists portray the land in their work as something other than nature. They portray the land in the way they see it both figuratively and literally. “Even deracinated Native Americans, do not, in general treat the land in their work the same way the average white artist does.” (page 112) Lippard explains “landing” in this chapter as not only a piece of nature but a piece of the people it belongs to. The land brings the indigenous people spirit, health, food, life, and a sense of home. She also mentions how the culture of the people also ties into the land. The culture of the lands people helps to identify its people, religion, and home.

The conversations we had about Islam and Christianity in Tuesday’s class was very educational. The most interesting part about the two presentations we witnessed from two individuals that identified with their religion was eye opening. Both presented their religion in two different views, the view of the general public of their religion, and their religion to who they are and for what they see it as. The discussion post presentations made me question my knowledge of all the discrimination in today’s society. Most people recognize stereotypes and discrimination as it refers to themselves, and their lives. But when you see someone present the horrid words used to describe their people it makes you wonder how you can change how others view and speak about people. Like Professor Scott says, we all need to give each other a “freaking” break. But overall the discussion was enlightening, esp. as someone that doesn’t practice religion, and knows little about the Islamic religion it was educational. I would have never assumed that some girls and women that practice Islam made a choice to cover themselves. But again, that is what we don’t know as outsiders, and the assumptions we make of others.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Blog Prompt for Feb 8 - "Telling"

Based on the readings, and my own experience, I believe that "telling" is transformative. Naming an experience and sharing it with others changes the speaker as well as the listener, both personally and culturally. I keep coming back to the feeling that this is all about power and space. Adding unheard voices to the mix disrupts master narratives, and demands space to present personal, lived truths. The viewer is informed, and thus, changed by viewing the art, as is dominant culture. In this chapter, artists were drawing on the collective power of their histories. They are telling their own stories, but are backed up by their culture, communities, and shared values. For John Outterbridge, the connection to his ancestors is a source of courage and intent in his art (pp. 59). This chapter truly highlighted the way that transforming experience into art can re-write dominant histories.

As I was reading "Telling", I was looking for connections to my self-portrait project, but there didn’t end up being any pieces that spoke to my process directly. The identity that I am highlighting in my portrait is not something that is communal, or that has any ancestral history. Though there wasn’t a specific work, there was a theme throughout the chapter that has definitely influenced my project:  Stories can heal, and empower. Darlene Clark Hine accounts, “They believed that somehow you could change your present circumstances if only your history was told. Then they would finally be accorded recognition and legitimacy” (pp 92.)  I strongly connected with this, and it brought up my struggle to reconcile the experiences of my life thus far and the wholeness that I want to invoke in my life moving forward. “Telling” is the key.