Category Archives: Artist

Heidi

Heidi: Midlife Crisis Trauma Center and Negative Media-Engram Abreaction Release Zone, (1992) by Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy

May 21, 2012 – Rewrite

I consider Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy’s Heidi: Midlife Crisis Trauma Center and Negative Media-Engram Abreaction Release Zone (1992). The work is a 62:40 minute video1 that retells the two-part children’s story Heidi’s Years of Learning and Travel and Heidi Makes Use of What She Has Learned written in 1880 by Johanna Spyri. The story’s English translation is most often published as one volume known simply as Heidi. About the project itself Mike Kelley said, “We chose to work with the novel Heidi because it offered many opportunities to work with doublings (sic) and polarities which seems appropriate for collaborative work. The novel is a parable of the curative qualities of the ‘natural’ life and sets up an overt schism between city and country, with urban life depicted as pathological….” (130). From the novel Heidi:

“My dear, dear uncle! What have we to thank you for! This is your work, your care and nursing—
“But our Lord’s sunshine and mountain air,” interrupted the uncle, smiling.
Then Clara called, “Yes, and also Schwänli’s good, delicious milk. Grandmama, you ought to see how much goat-milk I can drink now; oh, it is so good!” (Spyri n.p.)

Heidi’s cousin Clara, a sickly urban girl, has recovered and become healthy thanks to ingesting the clean mountain air and pure white milk during a visit from the city.
The setting for the film Heidi: Midlife Crisis, is a building based on two forms of architecture. One half of the structure is based on the American Bar in Vienna, which was designed by Austrian architect Adolf Loos (1870-1933) who famously wrote, “the evolution of culture is synonymous with the removal of ornamentation from objects of everyday use” (Loos 168). Kelley and McCarthy introduce discord by basing the other half of the building on the classic highly decorative Alps chalet.

A blogger who goes by the alias of “C Way” has this to say about the film:

If I remember correctly there was a man and a woman, both were manipulating some kind of mannequin torso, struggling to push what appeared to be sausages down its cavity & (sic) which exited the doll’s anus in some kind of basin of liquid. The adult figures went about their activity with haste & (sic) focus and urgency, splashing and slipping and wrangling with the doll in this weird pointless (and simultaneously deadly important) ritual of forcefeeding (sic) that sort of resembled midwifery or operating room surgery in its energy and concentrated involvement with the body. It was a weird tangle of fluid and skin and wet that suggested birth, death, defecation, abuse, parental care, discipline, emergency room, horror movie […]. (C Way)

Kelley and McCarthy’s film takes the idea of wholesomeness and destroys any notion that this Heidi is innocent and pure. The film points to the falseness of the purity ideal of the snowy Alps mountains, and the Whites who live there. The way in which these ideals are represented generally in Spyri’s novel Heidi is countered with abjection. Kelley and McCarthy have effectively exposed the “blank spots” in the ideology of Whiteness (Žižek 26). The construct of Whiteness works to maintain a false mask that it is normal and pure, but in reality it is not (Dyer 21).

Jan 25, 2011

Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy’s Heidi is a 62:40 min video that retells the two part children’s story Heidi’s years of learning and travel and Heidi makes use of what she has learned written in 1880 by Johanna Spyri. Both novels are commonly referred to as Heidi.

Kelley and McCarthy use a film set and the constructed nature of film (films are experienced as a whole that is created from fragments) to re-tell the classic children’s story. Kelley who has been working with stuffed toys during the late 80s introduced puppets to this work as well. There is a connection between his use of puppets to the use of puppets in Heidi. Kelley initially used stuffed animals a comment on commodity culture, but those seeing his works thought of them as a comment on child abuse (ART:21). Kelley sees this mis-read as a comment on the shared experience within the culture of child abuse which he consciously allows and now encourages (ART:21).

Mike Kelley sees art making as a materialist ritual which harkens back to his interest in Catholic rituals (ART:21). Kelley feels that his work is reactive (to culture/other works etc.). It is reaction, as a directive, that I think his collaboration with Paul McCarthy in their project Heidi (1992), stems from. Richard Dyer in White (1997) points out that Whiteness is associated with purity. It is not simply the colour white, but the construct of Whiteness that is associated with pristine snow, the snow capped mountains, the clean mountain air, the vitality required to live in the mountains, and the nearness to God who lives above the mountains capped with pure snow (21). The film points to the falseness of the purity ideal of the snowy alps mountains and the whites who live there. The way in which these ideals are represented generally in Spyri’s novel Heidi is countered with abjection. The pair of artists work to offer another view of what it means to be part of a white middle-class family (Berger). The White myth of wholesomeness is compromised in Heidi.

If my interest in the ideology of Whiteness involves looking for ways to talk about it or make work about it, then Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy provide an excellent example of how to do so. A blogger who goes by the alias of “C Way” has this to say about the film:

If I remember correctly there was a man and a woman, both were manipulating some kind of mannequin torso, struggling to push what appeared to be sausages down its cavity & which exited the doll’s anus in some kind of basin of liquid. The adult figures went about their activity with haste & focus and urgency, splashing and slipping and wrangling with the doll in this weird pointless (and simultaneously deadly important) ritual of forcefeeding that sort of resembled midwifery or operating room surgery in its energy and concentrated involvement with the body. It was a weird tangle of fluid and skin and wet that suggested birth, death, defecation, abuse, parental care, discipline, emergency room, horror movie […]. (C Way)

The project points to the falseness of the purity ideal of the snowy alps mountains and the whites who live there (see Richard Dyer’s White). The way in which these ideals are represented generally in the novel Heidi and modern media is countered with abjection.

…and Laura Parnes

Ironically, Laura Parnes reacts to Kelley and McCarthy’s Heidi with Heidi 2 (2000). In the first film Heidi, the artists are both male and tell the story of Heidi in relationships with her grandfather and the village boy Peter. Re-interpreted, Laura Parnes in collaboration with Sue de Beer tell a female story. Heidi and her mothers relationship is based on bulimic contests, sexual play, and surgery “reclaiming patriarchal abjection” (Cohen).

In relation to my practice I also see myself as working reactionally. I appreciate both efforts. Kelley and McCarthy for tackling the story of Heidi with racial consciousness, and Parnes and de Beer for pushing the idea further by questioning Kelley and McCarthy’s male take on abjection.

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Works Cited & Consulted

“ART:21 Memory.” PBS, 2005. PBS Video. Web. 15 Jan. 2011.

Avgikos, Jan. “Paul McCarthy, Mike Kelley: Heidi.” ArtForum (1993). Find Articles at BNET. Web. 15 Jan. 2011.

Berger, Maurice, Wendy Ewald, David R. Roediger, and Patricia J. Williams. White: Whiteness and Race in Contemporary Art. Baltimore, MD: Center for Art and Visual Culture, University of Maryland Baltimore County, 2004. Print.

C Way. “Art of the Day: Stills from Paul McCarthy & Mike Kelley’s “Heidi: Midlife Crisis Trauma Center and Negative Media-Engram Abreaction Release Zone” (1992).” Web log post. Snailcrow. 11 Dec. 2011. Web. 12 Jan. 2012.

Cohen, Michael. “Heidi 2.” Laura Parnes. Web. 15 Jan. 2011.

Dyer, Richard. White. London: Routledge, 1997. Print.

Kelley, Mike. “Heidi (excerpted from Playing With Dead Things) 1992.” Mike Kelley. Ed. John C. Welchman, Isabelle Graw, and Anthony Vidler. London: Phaidon, 1999. 130-31. Print.

Loos, Adolf. Ornament and Crime: Selected Essays. Ed. Adolf Opel. Riverside, CA: Ariadne, 1998. Print.

“Paul McCarthy & Mike Kelley – Heidi (1992).” Web log post. Art Torrents. 7 Mar. 2008. Web. 15 Jan. 2011.

Spyri, Johanna. Heidi. Trans. Elisabeth P. Stork. Gift ed. Philadelphia: Washington Square, 1919. Heidi by Johanna Spyri. Project Gutenberg, 09 Mar. 2007. Web. 27 Feb. 2012.

Žižek, Slavoj. The Sublime Object of Ideology. 2008 ed. London: Verso, 1989. Print.

William Pope.L

William Pope.L has trademarked the phrase, “The Friendliest Black Artist in AmericaTM.” As an artist he is mainly concerned with making works that question ideas about race. He has been influenced by Robert Ryman’s work1. When Pope.L first engaged with Ryman’s work in a New York Gallery, he accepted what he had been taught; the work was “extreme abstract minimalist expression” (Bessire 25). Although Pope.L is Black he did not see the works as an expression of the ideology of Whiteness. However, over time Pope.L became more critical, thinking initially that Ryman “must think he’s some kind of super-hero who only eats white food and helps white people by only making white culture” (25). Ryman’s work became a catalyst for Pope.L’s creative practice.  He states, “Ryman’s got a lot of balls, throwing this much white around. Who the fuck does he think he is” (25). Pope.L noted that even if Ryman had not intended his work to be largely about Whiteness, that the works do work to expose the problems with Whiteness (25). Curator Mark Bessire calls Pope.L’s work an “astute interpretation of the patriarchal and racial (White) authority that underpins the audacity of Ryman’s2 white monochrome paintings” (39). In Pope.L’s responsive practice the exploration of race and Whiteness takes form in flour, spoiled milk, and disintegrating mayonnaise.

In White Baby (1992), Pope.L, as part of the Cleveland Performance Arts Festival, entered a performance space with a pink coloured doll dragging behind him and said, “I am being chased down the street by a little white baby with no clothes on. It is  nice baby. A little white baby. I do not like it; yet I am tied to it. Now I want to hide from the little baby. Instead I pull it along the neighborhood like a little doggie” (23). I suggest, that in a way this work illustrates Ahmed’s concept of Whiteness trailing behind a particular body, except that in this case Pope.L is Black. However, where Whites are generally not aware of this Whiteness trailing behind them, Pope.L makes it clear that he is very aware of it. More importantly, the doll in White Baby acts as the subject whose Whiteness extends out into the spaces that it inhabits. Hence, Pope.L’s observation that he cannot hide from the doll, but that he has to “pull it along like a little doggie” (23). The doll creates a point of pressure and restricts what Pope.L’s body can do (Ahmed 161).

In a sudden turn during the performance Pope.L disrupts the whole scene by throwing the doll, which was still tied around the neck, so that it was hanging and swinging from a pipe that was attached to the ceiling, clearly referencing lynchings of Blacks in the United States.

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Footnotes

1. Robert Ryman (b. 1930) is a White painter who lives and works in New York. He is known mainly for his white monochromatic paintings.

2. As a point of personal observation Robert Ryman in a segment titled Paradox in Art 21 Season 4 reified Whiteness by not having much to say about his work.
See Paradox. Dir. Charles Atlas. Prod. Susan Sollins. Perf. Robert Ryman. Art 21 Series: Season 4 (2007). PBS, 18 Nov. 2007. Web. 4 Feb. 2012.

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Works Cited

Ahmed, Sara. “A Phenomenology of Whiteness.” Feminist Theory 8.2 (2007): 149-68. Print.

Besire, Mark H.C. William Pope.L, The Friendliest Black Artist in America. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2002.

Paradox. Dir. Charles Atlas. Prod. Susan Sollins. Perf. Robert Ryman. Art 21 Series: Season 4 (2007). PBS, 18 Nov. 2007. Web. 4 Feb. 2012.

Mutu & Saville

Wangechi Mutu’s work Sleeping Heads (2006) was installed in the Art Gallery of Ontario in 2010 as part of an exhibition called This You Call Civilization? Sleeping Heads consists of several individually framed collaged portraits of heads on their sides. In the 2010 exhibition at the AGO Mutu chose to install them onto a wall which she also altered. The wall was painted a shade of blue and was pockmarked with holes that were then painted with reds to mimic a kind of wounding. Mutu uses collage materials from fashion, motorcycle, and pornography magazines, as well as dirt, glitter, and beads.

Mutu is critical of the way that black women are portrayed in contemporary photographic works (“Wangechi Mutu”). She mentions an example where a photograph, part of another artists project, is rejected not because the woman is wearing traditional African earrings, but because she is also wearing a t-shirt; she does not look traditional enough (“Wangechi Mutu”). Mutu contends that censoring works in order to develop a picture of Africa fictionalizes the black woman and continues to perpetrate the idea of the hyper-sexualized black female (“Wangechi Mutu”). In response to popular imagery of African women Mutu looks for ways to place the traditional and the hyper-sexualized into one image (“Wangechi Mutu”). In this way she creates synergy between the two ideas of the black woman (“Wangechi Mutu”). She removes the most titillating parts because she is not interested in replicating the objectification of either the sexualized woman or the exoticized woman (“Wangechi Mutu”).

Artist Allyson Mitchell in a panel discussion about the exhibition for the AGO explains that by putting these bodies in a gallery that Mutu is changing the meaning of pornography in several ways (Mitchell and Brand). Where porn is meant to be consumed in private, Mutu she says, is making it a collective public experience. Mutu, by making it public, takes revenge on the viewer by asking them to look at stumps, missing parts, and bubbling scabs. Allyson Mitchell, as part of the same panel, states bluntly that Mutu is challenging male sexuality by stating “I look like this and you still want to fuck me?” (Mitchell and Brand). Mitchell recognizes the difficulty in representing women’s bodies by referencing violence and porn through her invocation of the essay title from Audre Lorde’s “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House,” but suggests that Mutu’s works recognize the power of female sexuality and uses it to complicate porn (Mitchell and Brand).

Additionally, Mitchell continues on another vein referring to Mutu’s use of pornographic imagery. She states that “Mutu’s don’t look like pinups, but ruptures” (Mitchell). Mitchell suggests that the work animates the atrocities of colonialism. Yet, “something that is whole comes out of these pieces” (Mitchell and Brand). The exhibition called This You Call Civilization? also questions the culture as well as particular titles that Mutu uses such as Try Dismantling the Empire Inside You. To understand the work Mitchell says, “you have to dismantle your own empires” (Mitchell and Brand).

I am interested in Mutu’s work because of the way she addresses Whiteness. In This You Call Civilization? The subjects of Sleeping Heads, which was part of This You Call Civilization? are all non-Whites. The images in Sleeping Heads and the wall itself are wounded. The heads are bodiless, as if severed, and many of them reference strangling or some other kind of violence. The wall contains divots or gouges that could reference festering boils, bed sores, or some other type of bloody wound in the body. With both of these devices Mutu talks about the effects of colonialism, which therefore invokes Whiteness. So, rather than make work that is about Whiteness, Mutu makes work here that is about what Whiteness does.

I would like to make a brief comparison of Mutu’s work to the work of painter Jenny Saville. I can also be fairly certain that if I were to have a discussion about her work with others, that we could also completely avoid the topic. Whiteness can remain unnamed and invisible. I can talk about body image, surgery, painting, everything but the fact that all her subjects are White. What Whiteness does is render the bodies in the paintings as normal bodies, except where the skin is broken or bruised. A simple search in Google Images for “jenny saville” and you are presented with a window full of pink flesh. She may be aware of her white privilege, but she does not acknowledge it in her practice. Although both artists work with the ideas about the representation of women, Whiteness is where I see the work of Mutu being in opposition to the work of Saville. Where Mutu makes work about what Whiteness does, Saville makes work about Whiteness. The ideology of Whiteness is reproduced.

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Works Cited

Besire, Mark H.C. William Pope.L, The Friendliest Black Artist in America. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2002.

Mitchell, Allyson, and Dione Brand. “Wangechi Mutu: This You Call Civilization? Panel Discussion (Audio).” Interview by Robert Enright. Audio blog post. Art Matters Blog. Art Gallery of Ontario, 5 May 2010. Web. 28 Feb. 2012.

“Wangechi Mutu: This You Call Civilization.” YouTube. Art Gallery of Ontario, 04 Mar. 2010. Web. 28 Feb. 2012.

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Edited: May 1, 2012

Synecdoche

Synecdoche (1991-present) by Byron Kim

See: http://www.thecityreview.com/colorcht6.jpg

My initial impulse for Skin Tags was to survey the skin tones represented in Vogue, an iconic fashion magazine. I use a hole punch (5mm and 7mm) to take samples. The parameters for taking samples are to take one sample from each person represented in the magazine. The samples come from only colour images and must have an area of skin large enough to fit the diameter of the hole punch. Subsequent surveys involve the use of a template to draw half inch circles from the skin, which are then cut out with scissors. The small circles are then glued onto a sheet of machine made rag paper in a grid format.

There is a connection to Byron Kim’s Synecdoche, which is an ongoing project begun in 1991. He steps out of his studio and asks passerby (as well as family and friends) to allow him to paint an 8×10 inch portrait of the their skin tone. “Synecdoche” refers to a figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole. Here Kim takes a fragment, a person’s skin colour, and allows it to stand in as a signifier for the whole person. He also says the “whole piece represents all of us in a way” (Kim). Synecdoche however, does not represent all of global humanity. It represents a sample of people from a particular location (the environment around his studio and those within his circle of contacts) as does Skin Tags (women, and men, selected to represent a particular standard of beauty in the US). Both works reduce a person to a colour that stands in for race.

In the case of Skin Tags, the gridded clinical assessment aims to render Whiteness “strange,” to give it a peculiarity that might otherwise go unnoticed (Dyer 4). In fact the removal of the samples from their original context, and the separation of Kim’s coloured panels from people offers new questions (although he does provide an alphabetical listing names). Are all the lighter skin tones from Whites? Where does White end and non-White begin?

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Works Cited & Consulted

Berger, Maurice, Wendy Ewald, David R. Roediger, and Patricia J. Williams. White: Whiteness and Race in Contemporary Art. Baltimore, MD: Center for Art and Visual Culture, University of Maryland Baltimore County, 2004. Print.

C Way. “Art of the Day: Stills from Paul McCarthy & Mike Kelley’s “Heidi: Midlife Crisis Trauma Center and Negative Media-Engram Abreaction Release Zone” (1992).” Web log post. Snailcrow. 11 Dec. 2011. Web. 12 Jan. 2012.

Dyer, Richard. White. London: Routledge, 1997. Print.

Ewald, Wendy. American Alphabets. Zurich: Scalo, 2005. OpenDemocracy. Open Democracy, 13 Mar. 2006. Web. 11 Jan. 2012.

Gustafson, Diana L. “White on Whiteness: Becoming Radicalized about Race.” Nursing Inquiry 14.2 (2007): 153-61. EBSCO. Web. 14 Nov. 2011.

Heidi: Midlife Crisis Trauma Center and Negative Media-Engram Abreaction Release Zone (1992) by Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy

http://www.snailcrow.com/2011/12/11/art-of-the-day-stills-from-paul-mccarthy-mike-kelleys-heidi-midlife-crisis-trauma-center-and-negative-media-engram-abreaction-release-zone-1992/
Links to stills from film: http://arttorrents.blogspot.com/2008/03/paul-mccarthy-mike-kelley-heidi-1992.html

Hyde, Katherine. “Portraits and Collaborations: A Reflection on the Work of Wendy Ewald.” Visual Studies 20.2 (2005): 172-90. Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Harvard University. Web. 13 Jan. 2012.

Kim, Byron. “Audio, Byron Kim, Synecdoche, 1991-present.” Edited Interview. Audio post. MoMA Multimedia. MoMA, New York. Web. 11 Jan. 2012.

Lund, Darren E., and Paul R. Carr. “Exposing Privilege and Racism in ‘The Great White North: Tackling Whiteness and Identity Issues in Canadian Education’.” Multicultural Perspectives 12.4 (2010): 229-34. EBSCO. Web. 14 Nov. 2011.

Marien, Mary Warner. Photography: a Cultural History. Upper Saddle River ( N.J): Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006. Print.

McIntosh, Peggy. White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences through Work in Women’s Studies. Wellesley, MA: Wellesley College, Center for Research on Women, 1988. Print.

Minh-Ha, Trinh T. “Questions of Images and Politics” (1986). Art and Feminism. Eds., Helena

“Paul McCarthy & Mike Kelley – Heidi (1992).” Web log post. Art Torrents. 7 Mar. 2008. Web. 15 Jan. 2011.

Reckitt, and Peggy Phelan. New York, NY: Phaidon Press, 2001.

Rogoff, Irit. Terra Infirma: Geography’s Visual Culture. London: Routledge, 2000. Print.

N is for Normal

White Girl’s Alphabet (N is for Normal) (2002) by Wendy Ewald
See Google Books: <http://books.google.ca/books?id=NsolmLbz8igC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false&gt;.

In 2002, Wendy Ewald produced the White Girl’s Alphabet in collaboration with private school teenage girls. White Girl’s Alphabet is one of several Alphabets she has produced. Her collaborative projects consist of helping subjects produce self-portraits that include having them write on the negatives before printing. White Girl’s is a part of four other alphabets which also include an African-American, a Spanish, and an Arabic alphabet. About White Girls’ Alphabet, Ewald explains that she is interested in “how young women, particularly white women such as myself, used language” (Ewald).

What Ewald’s work brings to my research is manifested for example in N for Normal. In “N for Normal” the girl demonstrates that Whiteness stands in for the idea of what normal is and by implication what it is not (Marien 500). In the rest of Ewald’s studies participants use words that reference race, while in White Girl’s Alphabet there are no explicit references to race. The young women, because they are White, are able to disregard terms related to race. The choice they have to ignore their privilege is a part of their privilege, which is a part of belonging to a group that defines itself as normal (Hyde 183, McIntosh 18, Gustafson 156, Lund and Carr 231).

Additionally, Ewald’s project also points to the idea that Whiteness never stands alone, but in this case is also coupled with feminine gender (Hyde 183). There are many variables that inform identity such as nation, religious community or lack of it, race, ethnicity, gender, class, and vocation. Irit Rogoff in Terra Infirma: Geography’s Visual Culture (2000) explains that a pure national identity bounded by a specific border is only to be had through violence (113). Additionally, Trinh T. Minh-Ha in Questions of Images and Politics (2001) asserts that within difference there are similarities, which is why difference should not preclude separatism or violence (245). Taking this idea one step further, I suggest that within similarities (white people as a group for example) there are differences. Within each group, whatever that group is, there are no two identities that are the same.

In conclusion, I think it is important to note that many who have been involved in the critical discourse surrounding the topic of whiteness (see my Bibliography) have already covered this ground. However, for many of those who are seen as White and live with White Privilege as a matter of course, this is still new. White people still live most of their lives seeing themselves as the “norm,” the standard against which others are judged. Whites may also be aware of the notion of intersectionality, but fail to include their Whiteness since generally they ignore it.

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Works Cited & Consulted

Berger, Maurice, Wendy Ewald, David R. Roediger, and Patricia J. Williams. White: Whiteness and Race in Contemporary Art. Baltimore, MD: Center for Art and Visual Culture, University of Maryland Baltimore County, 2004. Print.

C Way. “Art of the Day: Stills from Paul McCarthy & Mike Kelley’s “Heidi: Midlife Crisis Trauma Center and Negative Media-Engram Abreaction Release Zone” (1992).” Web log post. Snailcrow. 11 Dec. 2011. Web. 12 Jan. 2012.

Dyer, Richard. White. London: Routledge, 1997. Print.

Ewald, Wendy. American Alphabets. Zurich: Scalo, 2005. OpenDemocracy. Open Democracy, 13 Mar. 2006. Web. 11 Jan. 2012.

Gustafson, Diana L. “White on Whiteness: Becoming Radicalized about Race.” Nursing Inquiry 14.2 (2007): 153-61. EBSCO. Web. 14 Nov. 2011.

Heidi: Midlife Crisis Trauma Center and Negative Media-Engram Abreaction Release Zone (1992) by Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy

http://www.snailcrow.com/2011/12/11/art-of-the-day-stills-from-paul-mccarthy-mike-kelleys-heidi-midlife-crisis-trauma-center-and-negative-media-engram-abreaction-release-zone-1992/
Links to stills from film: http://arttorrents.blogspot.com/2008/03/paul-mccarthy-mike-kelley-heidi-1992.html

Hyde, Katherine. “Portraits and Collaborations: A Reflection on the Work of Wendy Ewald.” Visual Studies 20.2 (2005): 172-90. Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Harvard University. Web. 13 Jan. 2012.

Kim, Byron. “Audio, Byron Kim, Synecdoche, 1991-present.” Edited Interview. Audio post. MoMA Multimedia. MoMA, New York. Web. 11 Jan. 2012.

Lund, Darren E., and Paul R. Carr. “Exposing Privilege and Racism in ‘The Great White North: Tackling Whiteness and Identity Issues in Canadian Education’.” Multicultural Perspectives 12.4 (2010): 229-34. EBSCO. Web. 14 Nov. 2011.

Marien, Mary Warner. Photography: a Cultural History. Upper Saddle River ( N.J): Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006. Print.

McIntosh, Peggy. White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences through Work in Women’s Studies. Wellesley, MA: Wellesley College, Center for Research on Women, 1988. Print.

Minh-Ha, Trinh T. “Questions of Images and Politics” (1986). Art and Feminism. Eds., Helena

“Paul McCarthy & Mike Kelley – Heidi (1992).” Web log post. Art Torrents. 7 Mar. 2008. Web. 15 Jan. 2011.

Reckitt, and Peggy Phelan. New York, NY: Phaidon Press, 2001.

Rogoff, Irit. Terra Infirma: Geography’s Visual Culture. London: Routledge, 2000. Print.

Notes on Artists and Art

Brief posts noting questions or comments related to artists and their work.

  • Eduardo Sarabia
    whitney.org
    “As the creator of fake evidence for his staged, semifictional events, Eduardo Sarabia places himself within a tradition of contemporary artists who mine culture for their performance-based satire…These theatrical situations revolve around Sarabia’s Latino heritage, which he both honors and mocks through his investigation of Mexican cultural clichés about drug smuggling, banditry, and the import/export of tawdry contraband.” Sarabia is an artist who works with narrative, while incorporating fiction.
  • Mark Wallinger
    guardian.ca.uk
    About Ecce Homo: British artist Mark Wallinger produced Ecce Homo (1999) for the Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square as part of a program to fill a large plinth that stood empty for over one hundred and fifty years. Ecce Homo is a cast sculpture of an ethnic European male meant to represent the figure of Christ. Of his sculpture Wallinger states, “ I wanted to show him as an ordinary human being” (emphasis mine) (Gibbons). In his statement, Wallinger makes no note of the figure’s race. He assumes European, or White, as representing ordinary humanity.
    Gibbons, Fiachra. “Behold Jesus, Just Another Ordinary Bloke.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 22 July 1999. Web. 30 Apr. 2012.
  • Jennifer Linton
    jenniferlinton.com
    “The idealized view of domesticity that informed my childhood dollhouse is reconfigured by my adult self as a place much more complex, even contradictory, in nature. In stark contrast to the innocuous role-playing of childhood — when one could ‘play Mommy’ — as an actual parent, the actions I take have real life consequences. This simple fact can, at times, be the cause of anxiety.” (Linton’s website)
  • Jesse Hemminger
    jessehemminger.com
    “Yes, Viewing Device #3 obscures vision, much in the same way blinders on a horse obscure vision and at the same time also focus vision. In this case your attention is being focused on a work of art.” (email from the artist)
  • Tom Sachs
    tomsachs.org
    “Sachs cultivates a trashy aesthetic. Each of his sculptures is hand made by piecing together plywood, foamcore, synthetic polymer paint, hardware, and found or scavenged objects such as phone books or police barricades. There’s no Prada Death Camp nor Chanel guillotine in the gallery this time but the titles and content of some of the works are nevertheless sure to get the public’s attention. First there’s Negro Music which you could regard as interactive. It’s a big white-painted box with a retro gangsta-style boombox inside, you insert your hands inside orange rubber gloves, rummage inside the box, select a k-7 of your favourite “negro” music, fiddle with the control buttons and play the music as loudly as you wish inside the gallery.” (Sperone Westwater)
  • mwangihutter
    fence, 2009
    What can I say except that I think this work is absolutely fantastic.
  • Becher and Robbins
    German Indians
    “Also, postwar Germans, discouraged from nationalism and group ritual, sense a permission to find themselves in other ethnic groups. And, perhaps, criticism of atrocities against Native Americans also gives Germans some sense of relief from their own shame of the holocaust.”
    This seems highly ironic to me and almost funny. As Žižek says in The Christian-Hegelian Comedy (2005) Slavoj Žižek writes: “Comedy is thus the very opposite of shame: shame endeavours to maintain the veil, while comedy relies on the gesture of unveiling. More closely, the comic effect proper occurs when, after the act of unveiling, one confronts the ridicule and the nullity of the unveiled content – in contrast to encountering behind the veil the terrifying Thing too traumatic for our gaze. Which is why the ultimate comical effect occurs when, after removing the mask, we confront exactly the same face as that of the mask” (Žižek 56).
    Žižek, Slavoj. “The Christian-Hegelian Comedy.” When Humour Becomes Painful. Ed. Felicity Lunn and Heike Munder. Zurich: JRP, Ringier, 2005. 52-58. Print.
  • William Pope.L
    Broken Column, 1992–95, mayonnaise in jars, packing tape, foil.
    “I wanted to talk to each particular group and have their differences communicate, collide, disagree, augment each other. I wanted to talk about everyone, everything at once as being mutual commodities on the shelf of the marketplace.” and “For me, mayonnaise is a bogus whiteness. It reveals its lack in a very material way. And the more you apply, the more bogus the act becomes. […] What is brownness as opposed to whiteness? Mayonnaise gave me a quirky material means to deal with issues black people claim they don’t value very much, e.g. whiteness. Black folks […] are born into whiteness. On the surface, it seems wholly to construct us, and the degree to which we may counter-construct sometimes seems very limited. […] Mayonnaise was a very useful and fresh way for me to get out of this dead-end: whiteness constructs blackness. Mayo and peanut butter allow me to think about race in a more playful, strange, and open-ended way. For example, the idea that there’s a pure good blackness or a pure bad whiteness is untenable for me.”
    Pope.L refers to whiteness as a commodity that non-whites also buy. Thinking about Breitz’s strategy I wonder if I can also adopt Pope.L’s or Glenn Ligon’s strategies for talking about whiteness.
  • Kristina Lee Podesva
    Brown Globe
    Podesva says: “Brown Globe proposes a chromatically coded world in which the global and the local and the universal and the particular merge as an alternative to binary expressions in black and white.”
    She is offering one solution to the binaries and that is mixture, or admixture. Is there room for difference? Is there a problem with difference? As an individual, everyone else is an Other.
  • Candice Breitz
    Ghost Series
    Breitz, a white artist, says in Candice Breitz and Louise Neri: Eternal Returns: “An artist like Ellen Gallagher – whose work I admire very much – is as likely as I am, as a white South African, to have her work read psycho-biographically, but to opposite effect. Which is to say that as an artist of colour she might be granted the licence to use certain strategies in her work that might be denied to me. Conversely, I am aware of the invisible power and privilege that come with being white. The Ghost Series was precisely about the violence that can be performed by whiteness.” You were criticised for the way you used images of black women? “How dare you cut up and white out black women?” was the question I was asked more than once (Nobody seemed to mind that I was cutting up white women too!). To be interesting, a question like that would have to include the workings of representation: “How dare you cut up images of black women?” To assume that an image can stand in transparently for that which it represents is problematic, especially given the fact that the source images that I was using to make those early works were images that had already been heavily conventionalised and encoded (by National Geographic or Hustler or Cosmopolitan).”
    I have asked the same question. Can I use strategies that are used by non-white artists?
  • Mary Kelly
    Post-Partum Document is a six-year exploration of the mother-child relationship. When it was first shown at the ICA in London in 1976, the work provoked tabloid outrage because Documentation I incorporated stained nappy liners. Each of the six-part series concentrates on a formative moment in her son’s mastery of language and her own sense of loss, moving between the voices of the mother, child and analytic observer. Informed by feminism and psychoanalysis, the work has had a profound influence on the development and critique of conceptual art.”
    Does Kelly, who is white, understand the significance of her work in light of the construction of whiteness? Is there an analysis of how her work either orients herself, or the viewers, away from or towards whiteness?
  • Georg Baselitz
    New show at the Gagosian
    “In his new paintings, larger than anything he has done previously, Baselitz has revisited provocative aspects of his own history, such as the fractured paintings of 1966, reinterpreting them with the experience of hindsight […] In Beginging (2011), and Ist Franz Pforr in Rom? (2011), genderless, abject bodies surge with color and life …”
    Does Baselitz, who is white, also think about the colour of the bodies he represents in his works? Does anyone else (critics and reviewers) think about that?
  • Nate Hill
    The White Ambassador
    Not sure what I think of this project, although he does get a lot of response when he is in ‘black” neighbourhoods.
    White Power Milk
    White women gargle milk to purify it.
    I won’t pretend that my thoughts on this are original. Others have critiqued that it is highly sexual, pornographic, and doesn’t address male power in the project. I am thinking however, of how it might relate to Richard Dyer’s description of white women in White (1997)  as the “bearers of whiteness” (57).
  • Terence Koh
    In Terence Koh’s words: ‘I’m like the captain in Moby Dick. I’m trying to find the White Whale in the white objects, but in the end I find nothing.'” and “In Koh’s work, cultural identity also emerges from a seemingly infinite palette of possibilities: as neither-here-nor-there, as ceaseless change, as transition between Asia, America and Europe, but also as a diversion. This play on the artist’s own existence is reflected in his work in such objects as dynamic, modularly stacked display-case architectures furnished with a varied selection of white objects. On closer examination, these objects appear to be the global jetsam of all places and times, stranded high and dry in a pale, strange and often grotesque beauty. Coated in white by the artist as if by a wise taxidermist, they are presented to coming generations as scrupulously preserved treasures.”
  • Nora Howell
    Cracker Dress

    “The dresses were created to initiate a conversation about race and racism.” and “Whatever the origin of the term, I use the cracker as a metaphor for a person with white skin, hence the name of the Cracker Dress: ‘White Girl’s Birthday Suit.’
    Looking at the photos I’m not sure the dresses do what she hopes they do.
  • Hans Ulrich Obrist
    Hans Ulrich Obrist
    on “The White Website by Hans Bernhard”
    “From the empty image to the empty gallery, from the white painting to the “white cube” (O’Doherty), we see the iconoclastic gesture of modern art.” and “To be able to maintain its significance up against the sciences and their picture-producing procedures, art must look for a position beyond the crisis of representation and beyond the image wars straight into the blind spaces of the black black and the white.”
    Look for a position into the blind spaces of “black black” and “the white”?
  • David Adey
    Swarm
    Does David Adey, who is white, notice that the majority of the skin samples he took are from light-skinned people (also probably women)? While we collectively know that whites are overrepresented in fashion magazines, it is also apparent that racial distinctions are based on more than skin colour. Does he draw a line between where white skin starts and ends? There is a connection between this work and my Skin Tags project.
  • Do Ho Suh
    Do Ho Suh’s ‘Cause & Effect’ Artwork to be Installed at WWU
    This is what is said about it: “The mindset of the individual, coming together as a group,” and “The work is an attempt to decipher the boundaries between a single identity and a larger group, and how the two conditions coexist,” and “‘It comes from a belief that every individual is spawned from the lives he/she may have lived previously. The vertical context of the figures becomes a collection of past influences, and again, begins to define the inherent powers and energies that characterize an individual,’ he [Doh Ho Suh] said.”
    Why are all the figures male? And how much were the workers paid who produced all these tiny resin figures? What does that have to do with whiteness?

– – – – –

Visual Context

These works are related to my project visually, where I have gone as well as where I am looking to go.

Text/Dictionary

  • Barbara Kruger, Power Pleasure Desire Disgust, 1997
  • Joseph Kosuth, Titled [Art as Idea (as Idea)] [meaning], 1967-68
    One and Three Chairs, 1965 (http://www.moma.org/collection/object.php?object_id=81435)
  • Pierre Huyghe, Disclaimer, 2006
  • Nedko Solakov, El Bulgaro, 2000
  • Mary Kelly, Post-Partum Document: Documentation IV, Transitional Objects, Diary and Diagram, 1976
  • Sharon Hayes, In the Near Future, 2005

Installation/Museological

  • Thomas Hirschhorn, Jumbo Spoons, 2000
  • Mike Kelley, John Glenn Memorial Detroit River Project (Including the Local Culture Pictoral Guide, 1869-1972, Wayne Westland Eagle), 2001
  • Pipilotti Rist, Receiver, 2003
  • Marcel Duchamp, De ou par Marcel Duchamp ou Rose Selavy (Boite, Series B), Begun in Paris 1941, completed in New York 1942-54
  • Susan Hiller, Dedicated to the Unknown Artists, 1972-76
  • Charles Ledray, Oasis, 1996-2003
  • Joseph Kosuth, The Play of the Unmentionable, 1990
  • Susan Hiller, From the Freud Museum, 1991-1997
  • Carol Bove, Das Energi, 2005-06
  • Nari Ward, Reading Room, 2004
  • Mark Dion, Tate Thames Dig, 1999 (http://narratingwaste.wordpress.com/2010/05/04/mark-dion-and-tate-thames-dig-1999-an-extract/)
  • Aby Warburg, The Mnemosyne Atlas, 1879?-1929 (http://www.frieze.com/issue/article/collected_works/)
  • Julia Scher, Fibroid Reliquary Table #2, 1996

Survey/Grid/…

  • Felix Gonzales Torres, Untitled (Death by Gun), 1990
  • John Baldessari, Prima Facie (Fifth State): Warm Brownie/American Cheese/Carrot Stick/Black Bean Soup/Perky Peach/Leek, 2006
  • Byron Kim, Synecdoche, 1991-present (http://www.nga.gov/press/2009/byron_kim.shtm)

Hair/Body Parts

  • Lorna Simpson, Wigs (portfolio), 1994
  • Kira O’Rielly, Wet Cup, 2000

Substances

  • Vik Muniz, Mass from the series Pictures of Chocolate, 1997
  • Glenn Ligon, Untitled (I’m Turning Into a Specter Before Your Very Eyes and I’m Going to Haunt You), 1992 (oil stick)
  • Titus Kaphar, “I still don’t know how it ended like this, but it began when one of the older women called her blackness into question,” (2007) (tar)
  • Stephen Shearer, Poems XX, 2005 (charcoal on paper) (http://www.modernart.net/artists/steven-shearer/images/209)
  • Also looking for work related to makeup

Other Visual Ideas

  • Cosima von Bonin, Tudor House, 1997 (use of fabric panels)
  • Nathalie Djurberg, New Movements in Fashion, 2006 (clay doll animations)
  • Tony Oursler, Flood or Fear with Bugs, 2009 (constructed house)
  • Mickalene Thomas, Din Avec La Main Dans Le Miroir, 2008 (use of materials as well as idea of challenging perceptions of black women)
  • Rosemarie Trockel, Freude, 1998 (cross-stitch)
  • Kara Walker, Untitled, 2001-05, set of collages on paper (insertion of black bodies into civil war images)
  • Dash Snow, Untitled (At Least They Died Together), 2007 (collaged image onto newspaper page)

Orlan

Diving into Orlan: Carnal Art (2004) by Caroline Cros is enlightening. I have a new respect for Orlan’s work. Work that previously I found difficult and disturbing. Following are some highlights from the book.

Orlan’s work titled Origine de la guerre (1989), which translated reads “Origin of War,” directly critiques Courbet’s Origin of the World (1886). It is a cibachrome of a portion of a man’s torso with an erect penis. What a delight (yes, a delight) to see how she handled this reactionary gesture. Not to belabour the point, but it is the humour and wit that is wonderful.

Surprising also, is her work surrounding concepts of the Baroque. “…her interest in the Baroque aesthetic was not motivated by provocation. Rather, the Baroque offered a context for exploring how art uses imitation and artifice to solicit the senses, and provided a means for testing art’s capacity to suggest what lies beneath the surface of things” (85-86). This is tied to the claim that Orlan’s work is “organized according to a dialectical principle…[t]he division between these terms is not conceived of as an opposition, but as a “fold,” as theorized by Gilles Deleuze…the fold that unfolds infinitely (in matter and in the soul) is proper to the Baroque. Knowledge resides in the fold, which is multiplicity in unity, difference within itself, in its unfolding and refolding, the fold engenders form, space, and time” (90-91).

The notion of knowledge lying within the folds is also tied to her surgery works. Régis Durand in Texts for Orlan draws a comparison between Lyotards Économie libidinales (1974) and Orlans surgery. “Here we have a patient unfolding of the ‘vast membrane of the libidinal body’ like an endless moebius strip,”  an “opening out” (208). The unfolding of Orlan’s body during her surgery performances reveals a knowledge in the space of the fold, which is then refolded so to speak. Her action becomes Baroque in style.

She says, “If I am verbally described as a woman with two big lumps on her forehead I’ll probably be taken for an unscrewable freak; but if people actually see me, it’s possible they’ll look at me differently, or at any rate they’ll realize that the lumps are [a]esthetic possibilities – assuming of course, that people manage to free themselves from the models conditioning their judgement” (199). Orlan questions notions of beauty, which in turn challenges identity.

Of interest to my current project is her “Self-hybridation” works. In this series of cibachromes she digitally collages imagery of herself and imagery from Pre-Columbian and African civilizations. Orlan, a French woman, has spoken from a position of “white” privilege. It would be interesting to hear (or read) what those of a non-European background/heritage have to say about this work in particular. Does it constitute an inappropriate form of appropriation? Is there such a thing as inappropriate appropriation?

– – – – –

Works Cited

Cros, Caroline. Orlan: Carnal Art. Trans. Deke Dusinberre. Paris: Flammarion, 2004. Print.

Durand, Régis. “Texts for Orlan.” Orlan. Paris: Flammarion, 2004. 205-213. Print.

Normman

Introduction:

In thinking about the previous post More Trash Talk I am reminded about a particular work by Izhar Patkin titled Norman; the Average American Male (1981). The work was part of an exhibition by Maurice Berger in 1987 called Race and Representation (excerpt), which showed at Hunter College Art Gallery, New York.

What I am thinking of are the quotes by Rothenberg, Terry, Wray and Newitz (Castle 4):

  • “It is always whiteness that is centered and assumed. Difference is understood in relation to it.”
  • “To be white in America is not to have to think about it.”
  • [Whites] “stand as unmarked, normative bodies and selves.”

Patkin

Patkin’s piece is based on the published work of gynecologist Robert Latou Dickinson and sculptor Abram Belskie who modeled statues to represent the average American male and female (emphasis mine).

Firstly, “Normman” (the Dickinson/Belskie models) emphasizes the naturalness, the normalcy of the European body/face. Because the models were initially shown in Manhattan’s American Museum of Natural History (1945), the models behave as an institutionally sanctioned statement about what normal is. The statement essentially says that if your physique does not look like these models then you are not normal. In addition, they assert that as normal bodies they are centered (not marginal) and unmarked.

Also, I think it is important to note the language initially used by the news magazine Time in describing the introduction of the models to the public at the AMNH as sexualized and objectifying. Time described “Norma” (the female version) as a “taller, lustier type.” The article also compares Norma to the Greek ideal.

Patkin created idealized re-presentations from the statues of the American physique in a series called Norman, the Average American Male (1981). Berger in writing for the catalogue (excerpt) describes Patkin’s treatment as shattering the myth of what normal is. Norman has been displaced from his pedestal.

And still….as I wrote this post I thought of Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth and an image I had seen with a statue on it. After a quick google I find Mark Wallinger’s Ecce Homo (1999). Fifty-four years after the original Normman and Norma. What does Wallinger say of his work? While there is discussion of the way Christ may have looked, Wallinger apparently says, “I wanted to show him as an ordinary human being” (emphasis mine).

– – – – –

Work Cited

Castle, Charles S. “’White Trash’ Identities, Media, and Popular Culture: Redefining White Hegemony in Contemporary American Culture.” Cultural Landscapes 1.1 2007 3-33. Columbia College Chicago. Web. 2009.

Maria Hupfield

Thursday, I had the opportunity to go to an art talk given by Maria Hupfield. Hupfield has a diverse practice that includes performance and photography. I especially appreciated the work she did called My Evil Twin (as discussed on her profile at ECUAD). The set up, though seemingly simple at first, brings the viewer to a place where they are asked to consider two things. One being the way in which we view images and ideas – through what lenses do we choose to look, and the other being the degree to which we are removed from the “real”. First, the photographer has stepped in between us and the “event” followed by the process of the image making, resulting in a two dimensional representation, covered with glass and set in a gallery. This representation is then filtered further through the sweet little lenses of the bird-house spy-glasses. I enjoyed the whole idea and it’s presentation – well … viewing it as a projected representation, sometimes through a bird house lens, of a representation.

After the talk several students were treated to an on campus studio visit. It was encouraging to hear her fresh take on our work. As students we benefit from the discernment of instructors who know our work and our persons, but fresh eyes and insights can make for better work. Provided the student can hear, of course. All in all, I had a great and valuable time.

See More: www.ecuad.ca, mariahupfield.com
Images: images.google.ca

Bell and Ah Kee

The third year is over, the spring has taken hold and I am gearing up for another class to begin next Monday. Getting a jump on some fourth year credits. I have completed some scholarship applications and have my second born home from university (a visual arts and design university no less) for the summer.

Basically I have been re-organizing my studio space (a spare bedroom) and purging much of the past three years worth of exercises. Some of it has even been selected to become under-paintings for new works. I have also been reading a few books, playing games on Facebook, and watching TV.

It just so happened that last night I tuned into an art program featuring Vernon Ah Kee and Richard Bell.  Again non-white males. (I am beginning to have issues with the label white, black etc., but that is for another conversation.) Ah Kee and Bell are Australian Aboriginals and have found their voices by exploring issues through text based works. What is so interesting to me is how pointed some of the work is. I am wondering if I am up for creating work with the same type of strong messaging.

More on Ah Kee:
http://www.daao.org.au/main/read/6995

More on Bell:
http://www.kooriweb.org/bell/man.html

Sandra Doore

My friend and fellow artist, Cam Reid, is curating a show titled, Human Body: Dependence on the Physical, which opened tonight. While there were some very interesting pieces, the work that had the greatest impact on me was by Sandra Doore. After looking at Quotidien Daydream and taking note of my thoughts and feelings, I read her statement. I felt and thought the things she had intended, or at least she pointed me in the direction where they were lying. Rather than touch the piece, I thought about doing something else to it, which wouldn’t be suitable in a public gallery. Need I say more?

More on Sandra Doore:
www.sandradoore.com

Three Non-white Males

Two weeks ago I attended a talk given by David Khang. He discussed his ideas and some of his projects. While he stated that his work deals with language, gender, and identity, I was struck by some of the concepts floating around in those ideas. I find his work to be subtly humorous and powerful at the same time. Though not all of it engenders an internal smile, it is intelligent.

During his talk he introduced Richard Dyer and his White: Essays on Race and Culture, which I thought was particularly interesting since I had just completed a presentation on Glenn Ligon. Ligon used Dyer’s essay as a jumping off point for some of his work. Khang also discussed his feeling surrounding his own ethnicity. Here in North America he is an “Asian man,” but in Japan et. al., he is a “man.”

Today the talk was given by Jackson 2bears. 2bears uses music and cinema and combines them with the notion of scratch video, producing sound and video performances that point at stereotypes surrounding native North Americans. I found some of his work to be thought provoking.

So here I am looking at the work of three non-white males and feeling angry and inspired at the same time. I feel as though this is a topic that is definitely going to need more time, study and research. Have I mentioned yet that my skin has hardly any melanin in it (my legs are virtually transparent), I’m a natural light blond, and female?

More on David Khang: http://www.davidkhang.com/

More on Glenn Ligon: http://www.diacenter.org/ligon/

More on Jackson 2bears: http://jackson2bears.net/

About Kathë Kollwitz

Kathë Kollwitz is an inspiration. Through her own suffering, and empathy for those around her, she was able to find expression and a voice through her art-making. Leafing through a book from the library I was very impressed by not only her strength, but the human emotion that she was able to bring to paper.

Particularly outstanding for me are Woman with Dead Child (1903), The Parents (1923), and Call of Death (1934), while her self-portraits record, unashamedly, the progress of age on her face. A striking contrast to the vanity surgeries of our culture. In Woman with Dead Child, which she repeated in several versions, she captures agony and despair. Again in The Parents she does the same, but this time the figures are shrouded and all we really have to gather emotion from is the hands of the grieving parents. She was an amazing artist.

See the Kathë Kollwitz museum:
http://www.dhm.de/museen/kollwitz/english/home.htm

And more at the Galerie St Etienne:
http://www.gseart.com/artists.asp?ArtistID=67

Otto Dix

I first became interested in the work of Otto Dix, when required to write a paper, which was titled, “Iconography & Iconology, Otto Dix: Der Krieg.”

I was most interested in Dix’s unflinching portrayals of war. Although Dix was not a pacifist, if I remember correctly, his paintings and prints told it like it was and certainly did nothing to glorify the horrors of it.

Also fascinating is the fact that Dix was part of the Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) show at Munich in 1937. Although when looking at the list of artists included in that show it is really no surprise that Dix should also be included. He created work that criticized the Weimar Republic, was stylistically unique, and raw.

Read more about Otto Dix at:
http://www.otto-dix.de/

See Der Krieg at:
http://www.skd-dresden.de/de/presse/pressearchiv.html?id=276

William Pope.L

A couple of weeks ago I encountered the book, William Pope.L: The Friendliest Black Artist in America. William Pope.L inspires me.

He’s not afraid of tackling social issues and he does so in a way that is humorous at the same time. His process also fascinates me as it takes place in his mind first. He is quoted in Crawl for your life by Isa Tousignant (Hour, Nov 4, 2004) saying, “Initially the crawls came from me noticing that there was an increase of homeless on the street. At the time, some of my family were on the street […] I wondered what I could do. […] So I asked, well, is there a way to show the energy that’s really there? What if all these people lying on the sidewalk began to move as one mass? That would be a way of doing it, to show that in this inertia, there is a real energy, a real struggle.”

I need to work on moving my questions and observations into workable ideas.

For more on Pope.L’s work see:
http://theblackfactory.com/