Thursday, December 1, 2011

cool duo

AV Club.

Great NPR interview w/ Jonathan Moore, Shabazz Palaces and THEESatisfaction:

Jonathan Moore: As Ish mentioned a minute ago, we're here in Seattle, and so you're isolated geographically and essentially you pioneer or you die. You're in the wilderness. You make your way or perish.

ANN POWERS: That principle of self-invention can mask inequalities in a city like this.

JONATHAN MOORE: I lived in Atlanta for five years during college, and Seattle is probably more segregated than Atlanta, believe it or not. It is this kind of ideal that's propped up, that we live in a real liberal Patagonia-yoga-New-Age-type environment, but it can be really repressive here, if you don't have a sense of entity yourself.

You could live in Seattle and work as a white person and not have any interaction with people of color. They might not be in your office, they may not be in your school, they might not be in your neighborhood, so you just see them in passing, and that's not progress. That's not integration.

art history at its best

I Love Totally Looks Like.

Friday, November 25, 2011

aggresive non-participation in black friday..+ jams

Adbusters Barbara Kruger-inspired poster.

TRYING to not buy anything's more difficult than it should be, probably.

Barbara Kruger “Plenty” exhibition at Guild Hall in East Hampton, N.Y., 2010.

You Can Sell Anything..."Let's go around the room, what motivates you--'I wanna own a boat one day"

Barbara Kruger, I Shop Therefore I Am (I), 1987.

Buy Nothing Day 2007 ad.

But, calm down Adbusters, D. Racist brings a fresh perspective to commercial(i)s(m):

"It's irrelevant tell me where my cheddar went, money is my time and I like my time better spent"

Lastly, Choose Life.

a 90s versus 10s study of diversity..WHOOPS


I was going to write a short ditty about how Target's new ad campaign for its Levi jeans brand Denizen "did" diversity in an organic, almost natural, urban way as opposed to the staid and forced 90s way (as I saw recently on an infuriating trip to Target in Northgate (for the '10s) and as still seen at most Baskin Robbins joints on a big poster//on BK Kids Burger King happy-meal-equivalent bags(for the '90s))...but WHOOPS!

The online campaign is not diverse.

Observe 2011:

Versus 1989:

So then am I hopeful for these millenium teens, or wary that online, Target is less diverse than it is offline? Isn't online-ness the true measure of reality nowadays?
ps. I was about to complain about the lack of any female of color in BK Kids, but according to Wikipedia an Asian female was the 2000s!

pps. i have limited HTML knowledge so here is a pic/description of her

link here

Furthermore, the brand sells in places where exclusively or almost exclusively brown/yellow people reside (At first I thought that the negative connotations of the etymology of the brand had to do with the fact that the brand was supposed to be more "street" and thus diverse, but the negativity is not mentioned on its website):

"Launched in Asia in 2010, dENiZEN™ was created by the people who invented jeans.

The dENiZEN™ name means 'inhabitant' – belonging to a community of family and friends. Denim is in the name, the heart of the brand.

The dENiZEN™ brand is currently available in China, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Singapore and the United States."

Also it appears from Levi's "Culture" webpage, the staff includes a diverse peoples, and "they" are okay with advertising that here:

Where's the disconnect here? Who is making these marketing decisions, and who do I ask to get my peoples behind the scenes represented in the front of scenes? Or are we too ugly, decision makers (Are these decision makers self-hating yellow folks?)?

This reminds me of the fact that Sex in the City takes place in New York City, the most diverse place, what, ever? and includes four white ladies as the main characters and therefore is not very representative of the City it purports to portray.

Anyway my point is, marketing people, stop making me feel unwelcome/unbeautiful/invisible and maybe I'll consider buying from you since you care to pretend you care. Maybe. Thanks Burger King, but uh, no thanks. Maybe when you include some other ladies of color..twenty years ago. I have this consolation regarding The Man: "Unhappy with your riches cuz you're piss-poor morally"

Saturday, November 12, 2011

MACYS rocks the boat

YESS..the golden rare bird couple (although they could be friends I still like it) featured on Macy's MAIN webpage today, Saturday 11/12/11 9:55PM Pacific Standard Time:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Charlotte Wolff

Studying Bonhoeffer reminded me that Berlin was a gay old time pre-Hitler post-WWI according to Ms. Charlotte Wolff, a sometimes cohort of my favorite guy Walter Benjamin. I was introduced to her via
Matthew Buckingham.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

scary misogynistic violence @ the vag

We just went to the Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG) to see the surrealism show and boy it was surreal...

to see how glaringly violent Hans Bellmer's work is to the female body (no wonder Frida wanted nothing to do with the movement)! to hans bellmer i dedicate this song:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Friday, July 29, 2011

on the periodization of history (what have you done for me lately?) in three classical parts

On modernism and postmodernism as seen in art and pop, in three different classical movements a la BEETHOVEN'S PIANO SONATA
N0. 26, OP. 81A
1. Das Lebewohl (Les Adieux). Adagio - Allegro
2. Abwesenheit (L'Absence). Andante espressivo
3. Das Wiedersehn (Le Retour). Vivacissimamente

(More Here)

[Sonata in G major op. 81 a is perhaps one of Beethoven’s most popular sonatas, one of great originality. Beethoven published the programme of this work. Each part bears a distinct title: Farewell, Absence, and Return. The sonata was dedicated to the archduke Rudolf, with the following note on the manuscript: “Farewell on the occasion of the departure of His Royal Highness, the Honorable Archduke Rudolf, Vienna, May 21st 1809.” (Edwin Fischer, Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas). The sonata is also known as Les Adieux, title given by editor Breitkoph without Beethoven’s permission.

The sonata starts with a slow introduction where we notice the sounds of the bugle announcing the departure of the postalion and at the same time suggesting a feeling of sadness of leaving. Then there is rendered a picture of great joy, conjuring up the adventures of the journey presented with extraordinary humor. The second part – Andante – renders the feelings of the abandoned man, in echoes of the first musical theme. The sonata ends in an atmosphere of absolute bliss.]

FAREWELL (identity begins to erode)

Part One-->POP<--black br="" de="" jackson="" michael="" ost-racial="" to="">

Because "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough"-era Michael had a firm grasp on his identity as a black solo artist, he exhibited certain modernist tendencies.

He was an idealist struggling against a racist industry. He was certain of his blackness: no nose job, black curls, a chocolate complexion. In the video, he has an obvious place in time: disco, 70s, blaring horns. He's gleeful, singing "keep on, with the force don't stop." And why not? He's coming off of the tail end of civil rights and black power. There is a lot to look forward to at this moment in his life. He's a rising star.

Contrast that warm Off The Wall smile and amazing green screen with the high production quality of "Black or White," in particular, during the uncomfortable crotch-grab/break-stuff epilogue.
Not only has MJ become de-racialized (post-racialized?)--his nose is pointier, hair is long and flowing, and his skin is now a golden tan. But what's notable is MJ has als olost his place in time and history (OK, I know having MaCaulay Culkin at that age dates it a bit but the imagining of the races in their 'native' costume is always a bit of a time warp). He's become unmoored from his beginnings. Michael at this point is pluralist and multicultural--touting the many colors of an ethnic rainbow--Russia, India, New York, Culkin with his '90s poster-child friends on a city stoop.

During MJ's fondling dance scene, you sense the angst all the fame and talent has wreaked on MJ. He's made it. He's transcended racial boundaries to become the King of Pop. He's made a name for himself. But now what? MJ asserts (via an anonymous black disembodied voice transferred to McCaulay Culkin the wiz-kid much like in those Talk Boys commercials & even in Home Alone), "I'm not gonna spend my life being a color."

At the end of the video Michael/the panther (a black panther, I might add) breaks windows and rips his shirt open. It's as if the golden age of postracial happiness were a goddamned lie and only NOW has MJ become disenchanted with that dream (despite the wonderful optimism displayed in the previous frames and in the song itself)...

I realize that I am trying way too hard to make too many things fit into my grand narrative. But the fact of the matter is I believe there are tendencies to each conceptual period and I am trying, however fruitlessly, to assign these tendencies to tangible object lessons to test whether there really can be any sense of distinguishing between the periods.**

ABSENCE (Sanctity gives way to Godlessness)

Part Two--ART

The Modernist canon of ART often is male, a presumed Genius, and white with few exceptions (Are Kahlo, Bourgeois, or O'Keefe Modernist & do you have to be male or white to make it into the Canon (Lee Krasner and Norman Lewis?). Thus their artistic practice often must uphold this Genius-aura. By contrast, those who trickled out after these giants (or who cut down the giants?) are less stringent in practicing a Genius ruse. As Liz Brown once summarized, whereas Brancusi took photographs of his sculptures in order to document them as artworks and wanted the photos to reflect the sculptures as art, Kiki Smith views (especially taking photos of her sculptures) each and every part of the process as a (potential or actual) artwork in itself. The emphasis on process not product de-emphasizes the Genius myth, that romantic idea that an Artist is a Divine, Special being with God-ordained talent (rather than a humble human who wrought their work out of blank canvas or raw material after years of practice and toil).

return (jouissance and pre-racial bliss)

Part Three--RACE

A large part of the toppling of great White Male Genius Myths had to do with the civil rights movement for/by black(men) and (white)women. However, once you deconstruct those founding forefathers, what are you left with? Definitely a lot of confused white male nongeniuses as well as a lot of distinct ethnic/gender groups rallying for their different voices to be heard (by everyone, but especially the white males formerly known as geniuses & the institutions calling the shots on geniusdom). And one symptom that I have noticed in these specific groups is a strong identification ritual that results in a similar Myth/merrymaking to the one that they were toppling to begin with: "We are XYZ group" (Black men, white women, Taiwanese Americans, Asian-American-females alike) and we won't take any prisoners.

If these super-identificatory splinter groups are Modern, then, the Post-Modern person (an individual as opposed to a group, perhaps a pariah) may be somewhere between color-blind and color-conscious, some kind of amalgamated cyborg that may or may not acknowledge and/or exoticize celebrate difference, and is open to what the KKK/purebloods fear--admixture and other abhorrent aberrations. Sure, Michael acknowledges he's black, but does he care what color you are? No, you're his brother, his sister, his lover, black, white, etc. Were Kiki Smith to acknowledge that her art could be construed to be rooted in her identity as a white lady/art genius, would it become a (in Jen Graves' words) monument to her own genitalia a la Judy Chicago?

 Lastly, does one's choice in friends and lovers being different colors of the rainbow reflect a post-modern consciousness? I would argue yes. Thanks, the '90s and Postmodernism!

Best Hannah

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Beautiful painting.

Originally I found it paired w/ Hypnotize. But I like juicy better.

I love this Tee:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Um, whoa

Peter Saul's (colors/style/content are) intense even for me, but I admire his no-holds-barred approach and the fact that he was (loosely) associated with the Hairy Who. I just heard about him via Brooklyn Rail.

Village Voice on Saul: "The 76-year-old Saul is exactly the sort of machete-wielding painter that contemporary art needs today. Blessed with a chronic case of artistic Tourette's, he delights in japes at the most varied cultural targets—Republicans and Democrats, hedge funders and hipster artists, bandwagoners and vanguardists alike come in for his savage Sioux scalping...While churning out decades of astoundingly deft painting in his signature cartoon style, he has become that much-prized-but-rarely-encountered cultural commodity: a genuinely nonconformist, Mark Twain–­ornery, American original."

Clemunteena Gweenburg, 1971. Colored pencil and gouache on museum board. 41 × 31 in. Collection of Sally and Peter Saul. Courtesy of Haunch of Venison New York.

Angela Davis, 1972. Color lithograph on paper. 37 1/2 x 30 in. Struve Fine Art.

Amboosh, 1975. Color lithograph on paper. Struve Fine Art.

See also Struve Fine Art and Frieze Magazine's review of his January exhibition:
"Even the lowbrow pop of Disney was too sweet for Saul, whose paintings borrow from cartoons a transmutative energy as sinister as it is playful...Saul’s characteristic pyrotechnics [are] gripping and silly, mordant and demented, in equal measure."

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Shimomura vs. Hannah Montana

In very untimely news, how do you think the Asian kid feels in this picture?

Maybe like this? Crying a little on the inside?

(Yellow Terror, 2008, acrylic/canvas, 60 x 72 inches. That's Shimomura low in the center, making slant eyes.)

-Regina Hackett on Roger Shimomura

Or like this funny, dapper Canadian fellow? Thanks to Ella for sharing!

cf. Dr. Seuss--A shout out to Mary Woodward, I think, for pointing this out to me at the Bainbridge Island Historical Society in her book (?) a few years back. This book, Looking Like the Enemy also looks interesting.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

If I were a rich woman

I would also commission a giant illusionistic ceiling fresco with my family crest. Whether I would call it "The Allegory of Divine Providence and Hong Power" is another matter.

Piero da Cortona, Allegory of Divine Providence and Barberini Power, 1633-1639, Palazzo Barberini, Rome.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Matika Wilbur

Organic vs. Origin.

She's got a series at the SAM through August 14th:
Save the Indian and Kill the Man. She juxtaposes the stereotype of a native person as perpetually (Plains) Indian, romanticized and blended in with the landscape and the past(cf. this gaudy Indian head ring, and a contemporary person just doing their thang.

Check out more of her work here:
Matika Wilbur Photography

Also, at the MLK Jr. Day Parade in January, I saw some super hip young punk native teens, and they had a sign that had a stern archetypal Indian on it (better rendered than this one, but similarly phrased):

why oh why did I miss this show

Like all the best of Jim Henson, Cousin Itt, that Looney Toons hairy guy, Snuffleupagus, and anything else that is imaginative involving a plethora of fringe and hair. SAM says, "We call them a beautiful, joyous, EXUBERANT, colorful opportunity to explore an ALTERNATIVE WORLD which challenges conventions and inspires new ways of thinking."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

on the enduring appeal of exoticism

"Exoticism (from 'exotic') is a trend in art and design, influenced by some ethnic groups or civilizations since the late 19th-century... Like orientalist subjects in 19th century painting, exoticism in the decorative arts and interior decoration was associated with fantasies of opulence.

Exoticism, by definition, is "the charm of the unfamiliar." Scholar Alden Jones defines exoticism in art and literature as the representation of one culture for consumption by another.[1] An archetypical exoticist is the artist and writer Paul Gauguin, whose visual representations of Tahitian people and landscapes were targeted at a French audience."

Gauguin, so obvious (speaking of which, coming to SAM next year, ooh perhaps to get served!) But how about some less glaring, but still grating examples of exoticism?

  • Bands naming themselves something exotic just for fun/and/or to expand their notion of their identity beyond ("plain 'ole") whiteness: The Angry Samoans, Half Japanese, Beirut.
  • Suburban kids, like myself, really really liking hip-hop and gangsta rap.
  • That episode of Pete & Pete w/ a bowling ball that was given to Petes' grandpa by a "Tibetan magic man" (maybe not in so many words, but he was Tibetan).
I haven't quite got it yet, but I am trying to put my finger on what the fine line is that separates creepy/sexist/racist jerk-parading-as-enlightened exoticism (like Gauguin) vs. non-creepy/non-sexist/non-racist normal person exoticism (or perhaps it shouldn't be called exoticism at that point). Maybe it all depends on the direction of the power dynamic. Who is being exoticized by whom and to what end? Is it a sexual fetish (again Gauguin)? Is it devaluing the exotic culture by minimizing its degree of civilization ("the noble savage")? Is it overvaluing the exotic culture's oneness with nature or touted magical powers (Pete & Pete bowling ball episode)? Is it a completely random name-drop just for fun (bands listed above)? If so, I regret to inform you that you can't refer to real cultures casually from a mainstream p.o.v. (i.e. male, anglo saxon protestant american) AND not raise an eyebrow from this yellow lady.

"One-of-a-Kind Genuine Indian Head Nickel Rings Won't Last"

The email ad I received with the title of this post as the subject states, "The Indian Head Nickel coin was designed in the early 20th century to honor the proud heritage of Native Americans and the spirit of the American West. Minted only from 1913 to 1938, this favorite among coin collectors has now become the centerpiece of this bold, unique Indian Head Nickel Men's Ring... The historic Indian Head Nickel collectible coin at the ring's center features a composite portrait of three great Native American chiefs, and each ring is truly one of a kind..."

You'd better get one before they run out!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

2 Legit 2 Quit (back in the '90s)

Excerpt from Robert Schubert's review of Louise Bourgeois @ National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne(Art & Text 53 Jan. 1996, p. 71):

"The ciphers of Bourgeois's influence [on young Australian artists] can be most keenly felt in her use of synthetic materials, and the way this abject materiality gets woven into her preoccupation with the body. Exemplary here is Mamelles (1991),

whose phalange of pink rubber breasts (amorphously compeating for definition as indictments of feminine bodily experience) finds parallel with work developed by women artists in the 1990s. Yet the exhibition also demonstrates how little regard Bourgeois has for staking a claim in the essentialism which seems to dominate recent feminist art. It is not possible to link Bourgeois's engagement with the body to an unreconstructed essentialism without at the same time excluding the explicit genderfuck developed by her sculptural work in the 1980s...
Louise Bourgeois - Nature Study - IMG_0033
the power of Bourgeois's work lies in the mixed pleasure and horror displayed towards the body. While her reception in Australia has been largely determined by the autobiographical and existential significance of her work, it is the ambiguities of flesh falling through the cracks of gendered boundaries that elicits the sense of astonishment pervading the exhibition.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


This is an excerpt from the Pagliacci Pizza Secret Shopper Review I've spent the past hour or two writing regarding their music and movie poster decor:

"More nonwhite peoples on your walls please! Perhaps you can dig up some retro hong kong movie posters in Italian....or a Hollywood movie with African-Americans? I know pizza is Italian but this is a very diverse country of immigrants from different backgrounds, even if that's not the myth that pervades Hollywood. I suppose the mix of new movies (Twilight) and classics (Rear Window) and cult directors (Terry Gilliam) fits the aesthetic of Seattle/Hipster/the music played (Hipster Ironic & filmically literate). Please also incorporate liberal Seattle's "racial awareness" if not de facto diversity, theoretical diversity into your aesthetic."

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Beuys, Jay-Z, & Louise Bourgeois: a true fallen soldier of hip-hop.

You ought to check out rising art star Jayson Musson, the genius behind Hennessy Youngman a.k.a. The Pharaoh a.k.a. the Row-House Raconteaur.
Beuys-z & In Memoriam (Louise Bourgeois + Boyz II Men, an unbeatable combination!)

Cf. Barack Obama battles the Pink Robots, Ehrenstein and the magical African-American friend.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

African American Images from the 1890s to the Present

A wonderful treat to read,look through,ponder--
Posing Beauty by Deborah Willis

Related exhibition descriptions:

Posing Beauty (Exhibition) @NYU/@Newark Museum/@Williams College Museum of Art


  • Part of the book's purpose is to "challenge conventional perspectives on how identity revolves around beauty...(xx)"

  • Maria Elena Buszek on why Ebony began to feature attractive ladies on the cover (although their first few issues did not): "Beauty is skin-deep -- and that goes for brown as well as white skin. You'd never think it, though, to look at the billboards, magazines and pimp posters of America. Cheesecake (photographers' jive talk for sex-appeal pictures) is all white. But the Petty Girl notwithstanding, Negro girls are Beautiful too. And despite the fact that Miss America contests hand out "for whites only" signs, there are thousands of Negro girls lovely enough to compete with the best of white American pulchritude (xxiii)."

  • Regarding the marketing of advertising imagery et. al., "these images were targeted to a market where the consumer idealized and modeled the new look: beautiful, glamorous, stylish, and most of all desirable. Paul Gilroy argues that 'the Black consumer of these images and products, multi-variant processes of consumption, may express the need to belong, the desire, to make the beauty of Blackness intelligible, and to somehow fix that beauty and the pleasures it creates so that they [can] achieve, if not permanence, then at least a longevity that retrieves them from the world of pop ephemera and racial dispossession (xxvi).'

  • IfĂ©tayo Abdus-Salam's American Exotic series poses the quetsion,"How do these images simultaneously influence the psyche, ideas and self-perceptions of African-American women, and the outside opinions of others (xxvi)?"

Abdus-Salam, Self Portrait as Pam Grier I, 2005
Archival Inkjet Print

  • "Sociologist Maxine Leeds Craig has observed that 'the rhetoric and staging of black beauty contests...grew out of a deliberate effort to demonstrate the falsehood of white depictions of the black race.'"

conversation w/ the author

Meat is life!

It's a shame I don't have a convenient portal to NYC to check this out (Perishables
A solo presentation of new works by Ron van der Ende @ The Armory Show Pier 94 | Booth 1414 March 3-6):

Ron van der Ende, Still Life, 2010

Bas-relief in salvaged wood

70.8 x 40 x 4.75 in | 180 x 102 x 12 cm

Ah well, at least I have a tiny printout of this one:

Pieter Aertsen, Meat Still Life, 1551
Oil on wood panel
123.3 x 150 cm (48.5 x 59")
University Art Collections, Uppsala University, Sweden

Like other moralistic satire pieces, you get to play find-the-Christ. Fun!

"In the 16th and 17th centuries it was quite common for theologians to see a slaughtered animal as symbolizing the death of a believer. Allusions to the 'weak flesh' (cf. Matthew 16:41) may well have been associated with Aertsen's Butcher's Stall where - like on his fruit and vegetable stalls - a seemingly infinite abundance of meat has been spread out."

I've always read this painting however, as an aspect of the flourishing of capitalism (the proliferation of dead meat and other commodities available to all) in a largely Christian area and the ensuing ambivalence between wealth/greed and faith.

But don't forget Paul's injunctions in Romans 14, even during this Lenten season:
"Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them...Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God." Take that, Jesusveg!

P.S. I recently got to see one of my most beloved find-the-christ pictures of all time at the Cloisters in upper Manhattan. It is cited by the Met's Timeline of Art History as an early example of still-life painting (with Joseph and his tools in the right-hand panel. And like Jesus, the first artist (Ron van der Ende)grew up with a father whose medium was wood.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011