Darja sent me a beautiful email on YouTube earlier this week. Needless to say, I was quite taken by her.
Check out her website and YouTube
Jewish Girls from the series Acciones Plásticas
My friend Jamie Aguirre who you can visit here and here posted this wonderful Sarah Jones video for TED on my facebook page.
Jones asks to what extent do we self construct?
I feel like a little kid in a candy store, really, I do.
Here is another Sarah Jones video.
Have I mentioned how amazing I think she is?
Ruth at the writing center (who somehow amazingly manages my artistic craziness and dyslexia) helped me come up with this metaphor for my work, based on the story of the elephant and the blind men.
I think it might become my artist statement.
Some people think that I am the true representation of the elephant.
It is true I am an elephant, but not the only elephant.
I try to break up the conception of being the only elephant.
Some people see a small portion of my work and think it is the whole- the representative elephant.
Others understand that each piece connects to another piece and that individually they are only fragments.
When breaking the elephant up into pieces, information slips in through the cracks.
People also respond to this new information- creating a bigger more amorphous elephant.
The amorphous elephant is broken up again and again, so that it is relevant to new individuals new experiences…
There is one specific image that I have never been able to remove from my mind: an image of a Guatemalan solider pointing a gun at the belly of a young pregnant woman. Ironically, I have no recollection as to the source of that specific image. Part of me wonders if that image even existed, or if it was a confabulation of my youth, created in response to the countless stories of political massacre in Guatemala that my father described to me on a regular basis.
The Power of Image
Recently I attended a symposium on Architecture, Art and the Experience of Blackness, where I was greatly moved by the words of Hamza Walker, who serves as the Director of Education and Associate Curator for the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago.
In an effort to outline “blackness” or the “black experience”, Walker alluded to the profound impact of the publication of the casket-side Emmett Till photos in JET magazine.
The Till incident began with the brutal beating and murder of an 11yr old boy, whose only crime was whistling at a white woman. In a surprisingly high profile trial the two men accused were almost immediately acquitted by an all white jury. The boy’s grieving mother insisted on an open casket funeral so that the world could see what had happened to her beloved son.
Walker said, that the media transmission of these transgressions confirmed the collective understanding shared by African Americans that this treatment was the reality of the judicial system. If they were to ever “compromise the integrity of a white woman” what happened to Till would happen to them.
Is exposure to explicit images of human brutality the proper way to insure that these incidents do not repeat themselves?
How many times have we seen the same iconographic holocaust pictures?
But do we know who is in these images and what is taking place?
Has seeing the same images a million times done anything the stop the Iraq war or prevent genocide in Darfur?
Perhaps the issue comes down to the dissemination of information to young people. Without providing a proper context for the interpretation and dialogue surrounding these explicit images, the depicted incidents become far removed from our lives, and we become numb to their reality.
Why a Coloring Book?
Coloring Books, emerged in the United States a part of the movement towards the “democratization of education”. They are commonly utilized in popular education models as, accessible teaching tools for often illiterate audiences.
This coloring book provides the platform for the introduction and the critical re-evaluation of social movements the context in which they occurred, and the individuals who have preserved and made a major impacts upon the world.
Rald Institute’s mission is to assist at risk children and individuals with learning, social-emotional, and other disabilities. We strive to enhance self-worth while strengthening cognitive and affective domains. We work to increase public awareness of various disabilities and function as advocates. The institute supports schools by providing technical assistance to staff. Rald provides experiences in the arts because we believe such experiences help children expand critical thinking, increase imagination and develop an appreciation for cultural diversity. Inclusive art workshops are offered at no cost to children. The institute is run by volunteers and there are no charges for services to individuals.
here is a link to an abc special on Beverly’s work.
Beverly Normand, Ph.D., Founder and President, is a consultant for public and private schools in Illinois, and is lecturer and adjunct professor for several universities. She recently retired from the Office of Specialized Services, Chicago Public Schools, after thirty-four years of service as Special Education Teacher, Citywide Instructional Specialist, and Facilitator for School Based Problem Solving/Response to Intervention programs in Psychology and Special Education. She earned degrees from Roosevelt University, DePaul University and Chicago State University. She was a contributing writer for several publications of Chicago Public Schools, is the recipient of numerous educational awards, special recognitions, and various grants. She has written and hosted several educational television programs, has been published in numerous journals and magazines and has participated in various research projects.
A poet, designer, lyricist and patron of the arts, she has collaborated with artists and musicians on special projects and has planned and coordinated cultural programs and art exhibitions for school children, churches and other institutions throughout her adult life.
Serving as Commissioner of Religion and Race for the United Methodist Church in the South Shore Community of Chicago for twenty years, Normand developed activities and programs to support African American history and culture, while also planning activities and programs to strengthen multi-cultural exchange and diversity training. She served as editor for the Nimbus publication for many years.
Normand has helped thousands of pupils, parents, teachers, ancillary teams and school administrators, and is highly respected for her integrity, creativity and skills. “I believe in interdisciplinary instruction and all curricula that stimulate the imagination and lead us away from mediocrity and complacency. The mission of Rald Institute is to reduce the at-risk population, support children and individuals with special needs in a manner which leads to self-actualization, support as many parents and teachers as we can, and help twenty-first century educational leaders maintain integrity and democratic forms of leadership, while problem solving.”
Last weekend Carianne and I went to NY for the 2008 Whitney Biennial. As we expected from a survey of Contemporary American Art, not everything in the exhibition appealed to us. However neither of us was disappointed because we were not expecting to be unilaterally wowed. Upon leaving the Whitney, we got into an in-depth discussion about individuals’ preconceived expectations, and the role they play in the determining interaction/interpretation/enjoyment, with actual works of art. Soon after this conversation, I was put to the test.
As any young MFA student (traveling to New York) who has any hopes of some day having a career, Carianne and I were preparing to leave our hotel, to visit the elusive Chelsea Galleries, when I came upon an announcement for a show at El Museo Del Barrio, ARTE ≠ VIDA: ACTIONS BY ARTISTS OF THE AMERICAS
“Arte no es vida” surveys, for the first time ever, the vast array of performative actions created over the last half century by Latino artists in the United States and by artists working in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico, Central and South America.
Many of the works included in Arte ≠ Vida have subtle or overt political contexts and content: military dictatorships, civil wars, disappearances, invasions, brutality, censorship, civil rights struggles, immigration issues, discrimination, and economic woes have troubled the artists’ homelands continuously over the past four decades and therefore have infiltrated their consciousness. According to curator Deborah Cullen, “the exhibition title challenges the commonplace idea that art is equivalent to life, and life is art. What is proposed through these many works is that while art affirms and celebrates life with a regenerative force, and sharpens and provokes our critical senses, artistic actions which address inequalities and conflict are not equivalent to real life endured under actual repression.”
Over 75 artists and collectives are represented in Arte ≠ Vida, including ASCO, Tania Bruguera, CADA, Lygia Clark, Papo Colo, Juan Downey, Rafael Ferrer, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Alberto Greco, Alfredo Jaar, Tony Labat, Ana Mendieta, Marta Minujin, Raphael Montañez-Ortiz, Hélio Oiticica, Tunga and contemporary practitioners including Francis Alÿs, Coco Fusco, Regina José Galindo, Teresa Margolles and Santiago Sierra. The exhibition is arranged in four major sections, in which each decade is represented by several specific themes that often cross national boundaries. 1960-1970 looks at select precursors, signaling, destructivism and neoconcretismo; 1970-1980 considers political protest, class struggle, happenings, land/body relationships and border crossing; 1980-1990 focuses upon anti-dictatorship protest and dreamscapes; and 1990-2000 references the Quincentenary, multiculturalism, postmodernism and endurance. An additional section highlights interventions that artists have carried out on television over the past 20 years. In these chronological, thematic groupings, viewers will be able to explore the interconnections among various artists’ actions as well as the surges of activities triggered by specific events in certain countries.
I didn’t know what to do. This sounded to good to be true, but we also knew we were supposed to visit the Chelsea Galleries. I considered just buying the catalogue to the exhibition and skipping the show. I don’t know if it was faith or instinct that got us there, but I can say with out any doubt in my mind that this was single handedly the best exhibition I have ever attended.
“¿Quién puede olvidar las huellas?,” Regina Galindo. 2003.
Galindo walking through the streets of downtown Guatemala City, wetting her feet in a blood-filled bucket, and leaving a path of footprints from the Constitutional Court building to the Presidential Palace, where she was welcomed by a police battalion. The Court had just validated former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt, the country’s foremost author of genocide, as a presidential candidate.
Oscar Bony (1941-2002) hired a working-class family at twice their going wage to pose in a Buenos Aires gallery as a living work of art
“Arte Reembolso/Art Rebate” by Elizabeth Sisco, Louis Hock and David Avalos. 1993.
[…] “The current economic recession has been debilitating for many artists regardless of the content of their work. Since this climate is characterized by a particular hostility toward controversial art, it is especially significant that Elizabeth Sisco. Louis Hock. and David Avalos have maintained a reputation for causing trouble in San Diego. Their collaborative public art projects receive scandalous reports in local and national news media and are often used as examples of the National Endowment for the Art’ inadequate standards of quality. Their most current collaborative project Art Rebate (1993) refunded $10 bills to 450 undocumented workers along the San Diego, California/Mexico border. It was commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego and Centro Cultural de la Raza as part of the “La Frontera/The Border” exhibition. In response to recent attention to border relations due to NAFTA and other government policies, the artists wished to refute the popular misconception that undocumented Mexican workers do not pay taxes as well as demonstrate. albeit with a small symbolic gesture, their appreciation of the undocumented as valued members of Western states, communities. Furthermore, I believe their work has significant implications for undocumented workers from other nations, residing in other regions of the United States – Caribbean workers in Florida and New York City, for example. If the communities in which the undocumented workers from these areas work and reside could also acknowledge their common contributions, in the form of taxes among other things, then perhaps we as a society could also begin to address the crimes inflicted upon these groups and apply our democratic notions of human rights to those within our national borders. […]
“The projects are clearly controversial. That’s not an accident. It’s not as if someone latches onto the projects and holds them up as problematic. We intend to create something that is provocative and engenders a public discussion. It is public art, not art in the public. The work is defined by its performance in the community. The public discussion is crucial to the project. In order to begin a discussion we initiate an action – for example, a bus poster or a $10 rebate – that starts the ball rolling. We definitely aim to draw in the broadest spectrum of people, including those in power for the discussion. Obviously the media is not a neutral mechanism for communicating the events that unfold during the projects: it has an agenda that shapes its participation in the discussion. For example, much of the language used to describe Art Rebate in the press was the same inflammatory rhetoric promoted and laid out by the politicians who had given a profile of blame to the undocumented. Similarly, the press had a hard time imagining, and therefore was unable to fairly convey, the undocumented as taxpayers. The press was invited to experience the act of rebating these signed $10 bills. They were encouraged to ask the opinion of undocumented workers concerning their status as taxpayers, but the responses failed to appear prominently in the news media. The media coverage was not a means of evaluating the project but rather a component of the project. Their viewpoints describe a conceptual social space in which they situate the taxpayer and the undocumented in different realms.”
“The Parthenon of Books/Homage to Democracy, Buenos Aires,” Marta Minujín. 1983.
In December 1983 the Argentine Conceptual artist Marta Minujin and a group of helpers spent 17 days building a full-scale model of the Parthenon in a public park in Buenos Aires, Roberta Smith writes. Except for a metal scaffolding, it was made almost entirely of books wrapped in plastic. All the books had been banned by one of the most oppressive juntas in the country’s history, which was just being dismantled after Argentina’s first democratic election in a decade. “The Parthenon of Books/Homage to Democracy,” as Ms. Minujin’s work was titled, stood for about three weeks. Then the public was allowed to disassemble the piece and keep the books.
partenon de libros marta minujin
Avenida 9 deJulio y Avenida Santa Fe. Buenos Aires. Argentina. Concebida como un monumento a la democracia y a la educación por el arte, Partenón constaba una estructura metálica, réplica del partenón, recubierta con prohibidos durante la dictadura militar.
[…]In a similar fashion to the live human spectacles of the past, Fusco and Gomez-Peña performed the role of cultural “other” for their museum audiences. While on display the artists’ “traditional” daily rituals ranged from sewing voodoo dolls, to lifting weights to watching television to working on laptop computers. During feeding time museum guards passed bananas to the artists and when the couple needed to use the bathroom they were escorted from their cage on leashes. For a small donation, Fusco could be persuaded to dance (to rap music) or both performers would pose for Polaroids. Signs assured the visitors that the Guatinauis “were a jovial and playful race, with a genuine affection for the debris of Western industrialized popular culture . . . Both of the Guatinauis are quite affectionate in the cage, seemingly uninhibited in their physical and sexual habits despite the presence of an audience.” Two museum guards from local institutions stood by the cage and supplied the inquisitive visitor with additional (equally fictitious) information about the couple. An encyclopedic-looking map of the Gulf of Mexico, for instance, showed the supposed geographic location of their island. Using maps, guides, and the ambiguous museum jargon, Fusco and Gomez-Peña employed the common vocabulary of the museum world to stage their own display[…]
“Construction of a Traditional Rural Oven,” Víctor Grippo y Jorge Gamarra. 1972.
CONSTRUCCION DE UN HORNO POPULAR PARA HACER PAN
Intención: Trasladar un objeto conocido en un determinado entorno y por determinada gente, a otro entorno transitado por otro tipo de personas.
Objeto: Revalorizar un elemento de uso cotidiano, lo que implica, además del aspecto constructivo escultórico, una actitud.
a) Construcción del Horno
b) Fabricación del Pan
c) Partición del Pan.
Resultante pedagógica: Describir el proceso de construcción del Horno y de la fabricación del Pan. Distribuir una hoja. Será posible la participación del público mediante un intercambio de información.
“Untitled (Body Tracks),” Ana Mendieta. 1974.
I just submitted the work of Michele Feder-Nadoff, to the magazine I work for Zeek. Michele is a dear friend and a phenomenal artist, activist and educator. I thought it would be a good idea to share some information about Michele and to promote her organization the cuentos foundation.
Artistic Director, Michele Feder-Nadoff, who is Jewish, founded Cuentos in 1998 with the humanist vision and commitment to tikkun haolam, a Jewish principal expressing each person’s responsibility to play a part in “healing the world.” Cuentos members believe art is a transformative catalyst for effecting positive social change. Our work combats prejudice and discrimination through artistic and educational intergenerational projects and programs promoting mutual understanding.
The abundance of cultural wealth living doorstep to doorstep in our neighborhoods provide all of us an opportunity to engage with and learn about each others’ backgrounds. What connects us and how can live in peace together, connected by mutual understanding and appreciation of different cultures from around the globe?
check out their new book: Ritmo de Fuego
Ritmo del Fuego / Rhythm of Fire is a unique achievement, telling the story of the deep-seated copperworking tradition of Santa Clara del Cobre, an ancient community in the forested mountains of Michoacán, Mexico. What is often seen as “folk art” is shown to stem from early workshops established in Michoacán during the 8th-9th centuries AD, by coastal traders and artisans from the Andean Region of South America. Since then, the manufactures have included utilitarian and ornamental objects. Many have been recovered at archaeological sites, most notably from the 15th century Tarascan Kingdom. Others embrace forms of Spanish origin after the 16th century conquest. Today in the expanding international market, Santa Clara copperwares include a wide range of sophisticated decorative vases, pitchers, trays, dinner wares and related forms. A vital community has evolved with this ongoing tradition, portrayed with affection and care by the project organizer Michele Feder-Nadoff, and the many other authors in this remarkable, well written contribution to the cultural history of the Americas.
click here to purchase