Cultural Kaleidoscope: February 22, 2013
Check out this interview by BOMB with Belgian architect and artist Adrien Tirtiaux regarding his recent installation/performance piece The Great Cut, which explores the challenges that result from cutting fundings for the arts. This work explores on the politics of opposition and discusses a potentially more practical way to move forward with making changes in politics and art that seeks to make radical changes by working within the system:
“You can occupy and resist, but looking back, it doesn’t move things further. I feel that demonstrations and sit-ins need to be re-invented—to be different than those that took place in the ’60s and ’70s. Immersion, or to submit and adapt, can be more radical than resistance.”
Djenné and the surrounding villages still contain a wealth of ancient Arabic manuscripts (apart from those housed in the library), many of them in danger from termites and other menaces, and some of which may hold clues about the past of West Africa, a history that was believed to be unwritten and handed down only by oral tradition until these manuscripts began to be discovered and studied a few decades ago. [...] There is now once more a major focus on the Timbuktu manuscripts because of the alleged destruction of manuscripts in the Ahmed Baba Institute. Irina Bokova, the director-general of Unesco, has pledged funds for the reconstruction of the ravaged cultural heritage in Timbuktu, including the manuscripts. Could Djenné benefit from a little crumb from her twin sister’s table?
We may now know him as one of his generation’s most outspoken, conviction-driven American filmmakers, but he says he only got into the game because he couldn’t land a job. Entering the long, hot, unemployed summer of 1977, the young Lee spied a Super-8 movie camera in a friend’s house. Borrowing it, he roamed the streets of an unusually down-at-heel New York City, shooting the exuberant emergence of disco, the anxiety over the Son of Sam killings, the unrest that bubbled up during blackouts, and the countless other facets of urban life he’s continued to explore throughout his career. Encouraged by a film professor at Morehouse College, he then put in the hours to edit all this footage he’d simply grabbed for fun into a documentary called Last Hustle in Brooklyn. Nearly a decade later, he made his first feature, She’s Gotta Have It, an early entry in what would become the American indie film boom of the nineties.
In an all-too-contemporary fashion, the metaphor of the “network” allows Dickerman to finesse such disagreements. A network is not an individual, but it’s not a collective either. It is a function neither of inner will or insight nor of shared decision-making. And it lacks discrimination, tending to accept far more than it rejects. But by the same token, Dickerman’s LinkedIn approach makes the exhibition—as Willem de Kooning once said of art itself—seem “like a big bowl of soup,” because “everything is in there already, and you stick your hand in and you find something for you.” At the same time, through its density and the way so many unexpected differences and similarities are provoked, the exhibition communicates something of the giddiness that artists must have felt upon realizing that the rule book was being torn up and would possibly be pieced back together differently. The galleries hum with the feverish mood of a gold rush.
In a highly-profiled article on the Huff Post Arts & Culture page, G. Roger Denson discusses another issue with the show, one that is hiding in plain sight in its title Inventing Abstraction:
It may seem a benign choice of words to Europeans and Americans who have been educated with little orientation to our former roles as colonizing nations, but to art audiences from the myriad nations with whom we are building the new global agora, the title conveys a dishonest attempt to sell the world on a genesis of abstraction that is entirely a modern European enterprise. How much more historically accurate and relevant the show’s title would have been had the curators added two small letters–the “Re” of Reinventing Abstraction. After all, the show’s curator, Leah Dickerman, and assistant curator, Masha Chlenova, both from MoMA’s Department of Painting and Sculpture, did the right thing in entitling a listening gallery for modernist European music, Reinventing Music.
The intent is clear. MoMA is sensible enough to concede that music existed prior to 1900, but by implication then seems to dispose of all sense in asserting that visual abstraction did not. More to the point, MoMA appears unwilling to admit that visual abstraction existed outside of Europe, let alone that it can be found on all six habitable continents for at least tens of thousands of years.
The entire article is worth a full read for its historical breadth and its just criticism of the show.
THE NEWTOWNER is a one-of-a-kind arts and literary magazine that showcases the work of emerging and established literary, visual, and performing artists from our local area and across the nation.
THE NEWTOWNER derives its name from Newtown, CT where we are based and from its residents who make this town so special.
Our mission is to celebrate creative community and the life-affirming power of literature and the arts.
In light of the events of 12/14/12, this mission has never been more relevant and important.
Our upcoming issue, due for release in Spring 2013, will be a special tribute issue offered as a healing gift to the town of Newtown. By its very nature it will be a publication of historic significance.
Our aims for this issue are to:
- Celebrate the people, beauty, culture, and community spirit of Newtown, CT
- Commemorate the fallen
- Recognize and give artistic expression to the grief we have experienced
- Highlight the role of the arts in healing and the arts’ ability to nurture our humanity
- Focus on our love, faith, and hope for the future.
- Show that although this has been a defining moment in the life of our town, it does not define us
- Remind ourselves and the world of why we are so proud to call Newtown home.