Contemporary Culture from the Bottom Up

Cultural Kaleidoscope: The Culture of Pornography, Consumption, and More

Pornography’s effects on culture continues to be debated. The most extensive study in the past decade looks at how porn is affecting people’s sexual lives. The NYTimes features on article with scholars Robert Jensen and Gail Dines, founding members of Stop Porn Culture, who argue that pornography (at least the most popular and mainstream form of it) deserves its bad reputation while Amanda Hess critiques the analysis in an article on Slate.

Speaking of controversial subjects, John Patrick Leary argues in an article at Guernica that despite the public’s reluctance to engage in heated debates and the the lamentation of “civil discourse” in politics, that ”we need [...] more angry “incivility”—honest disagreement, unreasonable indignation, and the willingness to defend a vision of political possibility beyond the sanctimonious noise of the election-time media circus”. 

If you haven’t heard, the United States is projected to be the World’s top oil producer in as little as five years. This could potentially affect many things but Hyperallergic points to an unexpected one, the growth of contemporary art exhibits around the world with a less Eurocentric makeup. 

One of the factors contributing to this is the desire of businessmen in the Middle East to build relationships with Asia so to be less dependent on business from the U.S. and Hyperallergic also covered an art exhibit and the issue of censorship in the art scene in Beijing that’s worth a full read:

What makes such an event valuable is that it was made in China, about China, with an authentic will to inquiry and affirmation of historical awareness through art and discussion. In my view, it is important that these voices and others active in the country don’t go unnoticed, because from their micro-resistance efforts a new sense of responsibility and engagement through cultural action begins to spread.

In the world of street art, The Miami New Times reports on the Bass Museum of Art’s new exhibit Temporary Contemporary that, “combined high art with street art. Those hoping to see beauty in creative works had to look no further than a sidewalk window display in Walgreens or the TV above the gas station cafe.”

In New York, L Magazine writes about another street art exhibit, In Plain Sight, part of the new Street Museum of Art, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn put together by an anonymous person who writes, “The Street Museum of Art is a project that is entirely reliant on the reaction and participation of the public — SMoA can be anyone, or everyone”. 

Perhaps the most widely known form of a street art to appear in recent times has been the immensely popular photography from Humans of New York which has just teamed up with tumblr and launched an already very successful online fundraiser just this past week for Sandy. Donate with the option of ordering HONY prints, tumblr stickers, tote bags and other fun goods. 100% of the proceeds will go directly to help Hurricane Sandy victims via the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.
At Culture Grinder, we are opening up discussions related to cultural sustainability, consumerism and more, a topic that is especially relevant after such a large disaster and before the major holiday season.
One of our new contributors, Larry C, discussed the new Rolling Jubilee Project started by Occupy Wall Street.


Finally, be sure to check out our first Midweek Culture Fix post that highlights a poem by Matthew Daddona, a talented New York based writer who we expect big things from.

And if you haven’t already read our Grinder of the Month post on mixed-media artist Belinda Chlouber, check it out now and if you’re in Chicago anytime between now and January 11th, check out some of her new work in Columbia College’s exhibit, Word 6, which examines “poetry and text as part of a greater structure”.

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Written by Nicole Casamento

Nicole Casamento is the founder of Culture Grinder.


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