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.