Cultural Kaleidoscope: March 1, 2013
A true cultural loss–Hyperallergic reports on the death of The Living Theatre on the Lower East Side of NYC:
As an instigator in the off-Broadway theater scene, the Living Theatre was founded back in 1947 by Judith Malina and Julian Beck. With stagings of pieces from Gertrude Stein and William Carlos Williams, as well as Cocteau and Brecht, they established themselves in the 1950s and 60s as an alternative to the dominant commercial theaters that was aggressive about attacking its taboos.
Bloomberg reports on a mural by Banksy being removed from a London wall and an action in Miami, raising interesting questions about who owns street art:
“There’s a sense of outrage among local people,” Claire Kober, Leader of Haringey Council, said in an interview before the planned auction. “Banksy gives these paintings to communities. They’re cultural assets that generate a huge sense of civic pride. Morally, if not legally, we act as guardians rather than owners.”
Public. Rebellious. Anonymous. Elusive. These qualities come with the territory of Street Art. However, a growing trend to display such artwork in gallery spaces necessarily obfuscates these seemingly essential features of the art form. Our upcoming exhibit at ARTs East New York explores a complicated question: What is left of Street Art once it’s taken off the street? Off the Street will feature works that are more than just gallery-ready replications of artwork on the street, but are instead explorations extending the space of the “street” from the physical to the conceptual.
Brooklyn Magazine has an article on the erasure of Puerto Rican history in Williamsburg, Brooklyn that reflects the way changing demographics can potentially erase the cultural history of a neighborhood’s past inhabitants and its implications stretch beyond just New York City:
But it’s also a sort of classic, bittersweet New York story. Because in many New York neighborhoods that have undergone and continue to undergo massive changes, all that winds up being left of ethnic communities are commemorative street signs. So you have Via Vespucci Way (Grand Street) not far from Graham Avenue, even though there isn’t as big of an Italian community in Williamsburg anymore. But New York is not really a place for nostalgia, is it? Or, maybe it is. But only in its street signs.
This brings us to another timely project that is taking place right now. Renowned artist and filmmaker Caecilia Tripp recently began her residency at Brooklyn College to work on the second part of her three-part film series, Music for (Prepared) Bicycles which will involve collaborating with the Bushwick Puerto Rican Schwinn Club, the oldest bicycle club in NYC. We will be posting much more on the project in the weeks to come but you can learn a bit more about the first part filmed in Bombay on Quancard Contemporary’s site in the meantime. Please, stay tuned for more on this extraordinary cultural project:
Wanting to take John Cage to the streets, artist Caecilia Tripp finds ways to democratize the many individuals involved—conductor, composer, performer, spectator, onlooker, bystander, passerby—engaging them all as equals within her participatory score.
To create her music—and an accompanying film—Tripp first built a sonic bicycle, a kind of moving instrument kitted out with electric guitar strings. This captures the sounds of the street—and the sounds of strings hitting playing cards—as it is pedaled through significant parts of the city.
And finally, a great post on NPR that takes a stand against our cultural tendency to strive for constant perfection in every area of our life, leading to feeling constantly overwhelmed and unsatisfied:
The bottom line seems to be that we know too much, understand too little and we are way too scared of what we might be missing. Every where we look, we see breakdown — mass shootings, athletes who cheat, politicians who refuse to lead, pederast priests, icebergs on the melt and wild storms let loose on the world. On and on.
Seen in this context, our focus on what we put in our mouths and the way we organize our family life can seem almost like a form of madness. It is a symptom.