Sunday, December 23, 2012

Multi-ethnic leading ladies of the cinema

Yeah boy this is why I like the 80s and 90s
Many years passed before the entertainment industry acknowledged Dandridge's legacy. Starting in the 1980s, stars such as Cicely Tyson, Jada Pinkett Smith, Halle Berry, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett acknowledged Dandridge's contributions to the role of African-Americans in film.
In 1999, Halle Berry took the lead role of Dandridge in the HBO Movie Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, which she also produced and for which she won an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award. When Berry won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Monster's Ball, she dedicated the "moment [to] Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll." Both Dandridge and Berry were from Cleveland, Ohio.

For her contributions to the motion picture industry, she was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 671 Hollywood Boulevard.

Dorothy Dandridge has a statue at Hollywood-La Brea Boulevard in Los Angeles, designed by Catherine Hardwicke built to honor of multi-ethnic leading ladies of the cinema together with Mae West, Dolores del Rio and Anna May Wong.

Check it-- Dorothy in white and orangey-brown?
Marketed for different audiences i.e. black and white??!
Where my multi-ethnic leading ladies today?!

This will do for now.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

take that lincoln/spielberg

this man cares for the people while YOU watch on.
leave it to these folks to figure this out. BLECH!

From Wikipedia:
The American Indian Studies Center of the University of California, Los Angeles – whom No Doubt claimed to have consulted prior to filming the video – released an open letter to No Doubt which noted "perceptions that American Indians are mere historical relics, frozen in time as stereotypically savage, primitive, uniquely-spiritualized and – in the case of Native women – hyper-sexualized objects to be tamed" and said the video "is replete with such highly offensive and destructive images of Native peoples in general and Native women specifically" and that is was "rife with imagery that glorifies aggression against Indian people, and, most disturbingly, denigrates and objectifies Native women through scenes of sexualized violence" but commended the band's decision to remove the video.

Note the UCLA AISC parts that Wikipedia (conveniently?) left out (Also the fact that nobody at the Center was contacted to their knowledge by No Doubt:"We also want to make clear that, while No Doubt’s apology claimed to have consulted “Native American studies experts at the University of California,” to our knowledge, no such person from UCLA was consulted about the video prior to its release." I smell a fib!):
Most importantly, however, the video is rife with imagery that glorifies aggression against Indian people, and, most disturbingly, denigrates and objectifies Native women through scenes of sexualized violence.  Much like the 19th century paintings advancing the ethos of manifest destiny1 – the belief that the United States was destined to expand across the continent, bringing civilization and light to a primitive people – the video draws on familiar tropes of the conquest of the continent and, concomitantly, the ravage of the Native female. As lead singer Gwen Stefani writhes, partially dressed (as an Indian) and shackled in ropes while overseen by domineering white men brandishing pistols, today real Native American women in the United States are in a state of crisis.  

In Indian country today, Indian nations may not criminally prosecute non-Indians who commit crimes in Indian country, including violent crimes against Native women and girls.  In the United States today, approximately one in three American Indian and Alaskan Native women will be raped in their lifetimes. A recent Amnesty International report, “Maze of Injustice,” details the barriers Indian women face in accessing adequate justice systems when they are the victims of violent crime.  Additional research studies indicate that certain crimes – such as the rape of Indian women, for example – are primarily perpetrated by non-Indian men. And all American Indians experience victimization from violent crimes at rates more than twice the national average.

Also cf. No Doubt's love of bindhis in the '90s and cute Asian ladies: "oh if I could only climb a pretty white lady's blonde hair, how sweet of an escape from my imprisonment as a sidekick and exotic fashion accessory that would be, not to mention even a magical negro (in this case Akon), a la Rick Astley!"

p.s. Thank you, God, via Bobby Lee, for this wonderful thing.  That's all there is to say.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

garry winogrand and a couple of hominids

the eminent james baldwin at NAAM

Sedat Pakay on Baldwin: "He was strong in his convictions but poetic in his approach to life's joys and difficutlies. Years later I read that he was called the poet of the civil rights movement. The poetry was apparent in his writing as hew as inspired by the words of the New Testament when he preached at Harlem churches as a young man and also stemming from the articulate intelligence he possessed."

check it out at

beautiful babes (Esaki Reiji collage of babies 1893) ALBUMEN print

ask me why. I don't know.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Poutine it out there

Check out Kevin Ei-ichi deForest, whose work is currently at the Henry in The Record. Here.
Heavy-handed though that may be,I quite like this one:
He says: My work is involved with the representation of hybrid identity, namely with a focus on my cultural heritage as a suburban Canadian mid-westerner of Japanese and European descent. It is still relevant to address the context of race and difference in contemporary art. The challenge of working in a post-identity politics age is to reformulate and question those very categories through my artwork and practice.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

kusama and designer handbags

Is not quite as cool as this:

Ooh boy Kusama's work is going to be at SAM!
Yayoi Kusama: A Total Vision brings together drawings, paintings and sculptures from key moments of the artist’s career. This will be the first museum exhibition in Seattle of the radical and mesmerizing works by Kusama, celebrated today as an art world superstar.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Coming soon to the Henry-Pipilotti Rist

From an excellent article about one of her works at MoMA.

What Richard Serra is to hard and dry, Rist is to soft and moist. Rather than only privileging the eye, as in Courbet’s yummy yoni shot The Origin of the World, Rist’s art is a full-body experience. Like Matthew Barney, who crawls like a symbiotic organism through space, or Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely's giant reclining nude that was entered between the legs, Rist wants to turn the museum into an ecstasy machine.

In the West, however, ecstasy comes with proscriptions. Especially if it’s too female—then it’s taboo. A widely circulated rumor has it that MoMA asked Rist to edit out the red between the legs. It turns out that so-called “belly-magic” is more off-limits than mind-magic. In classical terms, the Dionysian is still more fraught than the Apollonian. Thinking about this installation without the blood is like thinking about life without blood.




Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s

Word up to my homegirl Dana Wen for bringing this back from the Windy City for me! And also the awesome Keith Haring card.
An exceprt from MCA Chicago's brochure on This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s:

1980s art has often been regarded as a blight or blemish on art history as it is, in the words of former  Artforum editor Jack Bankowsky, "an open woud."  When the National Portrait Gallery removed David Wojnarowicz's A Fire in My Belly (1986-87) from its 2010 exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture in response to pressure from religious and conservative groups, we saw just how little this wound has healed, if at all.

This Will Have Been is organized around two phenomena that frame the 1980s: feminism and the AIDS crisis.  Within these parameters, the exhibition finds not cynicism or irony but desire--not just the desire for bodies and objects but the desire for a break with the past, for a principled and just government, for the greater acceptance of difference.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012

a little yellow-on-yellow racism

I suppose this is related to the bitterness Chinese and Koreans have towards Japan...
Image of a Korean as a Kappa..Korean Monk

Image of a sickly Chinese person...Chinese Sneezer

Thanks to Pink Tentacle for always having the oddest, freakiest, coolest stuff to share!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Race CONnoisseurs and the Erotica Exotica

Shout out to my girl, BB, for discovering this most excellent advertising treasure (one person's treasure is another person's trash), I took the screenshot around 1p.m. 5/17/2012:

And to all my friends who have had most excellent and varied reactions to this...

BB: Nooooo! The front page of J.Crew right now features the 'people
(children) of color as props' advertising trope. AND, of course, they're children, so it brings up that whole colonialism/paternalism

JF: I agree this is a huge disappointment for jcrew  I really expect more from them. But at least they're better than Anthropology and free people's catalogs. I eagerly flip through them each month to marvel at how 'post racial' our country has become.

KJ: Oh hey! Sol's also on a trip through Indonesia right now (though not Bali, afaik). We'll have to ask him how post-racial the country is and see whether he found any of the colorful children of Ubud to use as photo props too.

 Definitely fishy business going on here. Screenshot @ 5/18/12 at 12:33 AM from
It's like there is no cultural memory allowed for consumers/shop viewers regarding what it means to but a bunch of smiling (and a few sad--that woman to the male protagonist's left knows what's going on) brown people around a happy tourist white (hetero) couple.  Give yourself, and your shoppers, some credit, J. Crew.

The 'fun and fancy-free' tilt, pictured below, to these photos scattered thereabout gives it a travelogue feel.  Or is it that, white-contact-colonialism feel?  You tell me.  Whatever it is, boy it sure is exotic!  But wait a minute--why are there a few more non-white (J)Crew that aren't the main characters of this adventure?  Perhaps it must be an aesthetic choice, since it would not be exotic enough to have *all* the people in the picture be brown.
Screenshot taken 5/18/12 from

In 2012, I think it should be clear to America, J. Crew, and whosoever is making these advertising images, that:
  • there are more people than white people that shop at J. Crew
  • there are people of every color who could go to Bali
  • there are brown people everywhere, and they don't have to wear exotic costumes to be valid brown people.
  • putting a bunch of brown ethnic people in their traditional context to offset the modernity of the white protagonists is PLAYED OUT.

While upon further inspection of the Bali Adventure it appears that J. Crew did a bunch of cultural research (in order to sell exotically themed clothing, or at least, clothing that looks good on tourists/modern people going on a safari adventure). Don't get me wrong. I am all about cultural exploration and appreciation, but what is the line between exploitation and education here?
I might add there are two/three(?) images of a woman of ambiguous beautifully brown skin tone sporting J. Crew clothes, however--
 --it's still the same ole, same ole annoyance (Cultural representation with limited visible ethnic participation/self-representation), with the message being approximately: "isn't cross-cultural contact swell?  We get to experience another culture in a non-threatening, palatable manner, and they're sure happy about it!" I really doubt I would have been as annoyed if I had seen other "American tourists visit Bali" in the main images who were multiracial--like the true Crew was.  Hanging out with other brown folk in a different country.  Really not a big deal but apparently that is too earth-shattering and doesn't send $268 tweed jackets flying off the shelves (?)

It is telling that with all the photo shoot objects pictured, the clothing accentuates how modern and boring/white the tourists are, while the lifestyle accessories (The Culture of Bali--flowers, Spirituality, Mangosteen a.k.a. candy) remain exotic as ever.  Oh, haha!  Look at us evoke the colonial past!  Isn't that so wonderfully modern?

Not really: "In 1597 the Dutch explorer Cornelis de Houtman arrived at Bali and, with the establishment of the Dutch East India Company in 1602, the stage was set for colonial control two and a half centuries later when Dutch control expanded across the Indonesian archipelago throughout the second half of the nineteenth century...Dutch political and economic control over Bali began in the 1840s on the island's north coast, when the Dutch pitted various distrustful Balinese realms against each other. In the late 1890s, struggles between Balinese kingdoms in the island's south were exploited by the Dutch to increase their control."
Way to reach back to historical roots, J. Crew!  What a throwback.

For now I'm sticking with Macy's.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Martina Sauter, Correspondence It looks like something out of House on Haunted Hill. The confusion of space using the strong beam with a diagonal element are great because they are photos of actual objects pictured in different depths of field. Here they are expertly collaged together to look like a real space that upon further inspection, is totally unreal.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

a gay mother's day!
while i can't claim to really know anything about psychoanalysis (despite the title of this blog) i think that Jen Graves's stance on Kusama--nudity, beings stripped bare of culture, and androgyny--fits my thoughts about Kusama's oeuvre being about pre-mirror-stage jouissance and union with the world/mother.

Happy Mother's Day!
Yayoi Kusama
(photograph from Happening)
The grainy picture—depicting two (or maybe three?) bodies in a pile on the floor, naked except for painted-on polka dots that match the wildly polka-dotted room they're in—was snapped at a Happening in New York by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. She declared it the "first Homosexual Wedding ever to be performed in the United States." This document is nothing like a wedding photograph. The participants lie rather than stand. They are so entangled that you can't even tell whether they're men or women. 'The purpose of this marriage is to bring out into the open what has hitherto been concealed,' [Jeffry] Mitchell reads out loud from the wall label, quoting Kusama.
p.s. A great big shout out to Greg Kucera gallery and all those keeping it real in Pioneer Square with some great art (including art that supports/promotes Hide/Seek in Tacoma).  If you were feeling progressive you could call him a great motherlike nurturer of the Seattle art scene.

p.p.s.  In even more motherly news, check out the anatomically correct clitoris art (you can buy an owner's manual for a cool $40 donation to the project!) on view nearby at the After Dinner Party, all this month.

take that, bruce nauman

Friday, April 27, 2012

Hairy :*(Boo) Who

One of my favorite paintings owned by the Henry Art Gallery.  I asked Gladys Nilsson for permission to reproduce it for my upcoming wedding, and got rejected.  Sad times.

Here's her and her husband artist Jim Nutt in 1961:
& 50 years later, still married!  .

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Stephen Waddell

The frontispiece to Hunt and Gather reads:

"Before trying to isolate the epic quality of modern life and to show, by giving examples, that our age is no less rich than ancient times in sublime themes, it may be asserted that since every age and every people have had their own form of beauty, we inevitably have ours..."

-Charles Baudelaire, "Salon of 1846"

I love all the pictures of people looking away and in mid-action and the way he frames his pictures.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

nice, NBA! Not nice, Ivies!

Although I don't care about sports I do care about discrimination and fair racial representation of Taiwanese brothers like Jeremy Lin:

Lin's high school coach, Peter Diepenbrock, said that people without meaning any harm assume since Lin is Asian that he is not a basketball player. The first time Lin went to a Pro-Am game in Kezar Pavilion in San Francisco, his coach said, someone there informed him: "Sorry, sir, there's no volleyball here tonight. It's basketball."During Lin's college career, fewer than 0.5% of men's Division 1 basketball players were Asian-American.
Lin has regularly heard bigoted jeers at games such as "Wonton soup", "Sweet and sour pork", "Open your eyes!", "Go back to China",<--I've heard that one before. "Orchestra is on the other side of campus", or Chinese gibberish. Lin says this occurred even at most if not all Ivy League gyms. He does not react to it. "I expect it, I'm used to it, it is what it is," says Lin. The heckling came mostly from opposing fans and not as much from players. According to Harvard teammate Oliver McNally, a fellow Ivy League player did once call Lin a "chink".
(Is that surprising?)

In January 2010, Harvard played against Santa Clara University at the Leavey Center, just 15 miles from his hometown of Palo Alto, California. Playing to a capacity crowd that included droves of Asian Americans wanting to see his homecoming, his teammates told him, "It was like Hong Kong."
Lin considers himself a basketball player more than just an Asian American. He understands that there have not been many Asians in the NBA. "Maybe I can help break the stereotype," said Lin. Asian Americans who had played in the NBA prior to the 2010–11 NBA season include Wataru Misaka, Raymond Townsend, Corey Gaines, Rex Walters, and Robert Swift. "[Lin's] carrying the hopes of an entire continent. I only had to carry the hopes of Little Rock, Arkansas. He's accomplished a lot more than I have already," said Derek Fisher, who had won five NBA championships with the Lakers, after his first game against Lin.[45] Lin is setting an example for prospective Asian athletes in America who rarely see Asian-Americans playing on their favorite teams. "I don't look Japanese," Walters said, referring to his mother's ethnicity. "When they see [Lin], it's an Asian-American.


Monday, February 6, 2012

hope, diversity, adversity, adversaries, isolation, segregation, expansionist historiography, etc.

hope for the present...

without forgetting the past. Props to Beebe for sharing the cuteness with me~and with this website, and all those in the region involved in the struggle, like my great uncles and great aunts who settled in this beautiful region in a not-so-halcyon-for-minorities-past.

From here:

"...The Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project sought to use a 'long civil rights movement' framework to tell Seattle’s civil rights movement history online. From the beginning, we imagined that it would be a history that would range from the 1930s to the 1970s, rooted in the local history of everyday people’s struggles for jobs and freedom. That we conducted our work in Seattle meant that we would also inevitably shine a light on the fact that both racial segregation and movements against it in the U.S. West tend to be issues that go beyond black-white politics, and also include Latino/a, Asian American, and even urban Indian history."

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cecil Taylor

"You really have to struggle, to fight. For example, they want you to accept that Africa has been a dark continent, that there was no civilization. This makes your body die. But then you start to read and you discover how people put history wrong. For me this meant a very important process of learning. Your art becomes your evolution. It tells you that there is something else, another reality: the immaterial. This opens up certain things, and might lead to the fact that the breath of your poetic visions becomes more beautiful.

The exploration of history is a spiritual process, in order to be able to judge one's self."
-Cecil Taylor

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Saturday, January 7, 2012

just spicy enough

One thing American-born Asians and Latinos share in terms of racial assumptions made about them is that they definitely speak a different language (and get accosted by people who want to talk about and emphasize this magical otherness). This SNL sketch captures well how I think Hollywood deals with it:

Ethnic, but not TOO ethnic, because then it'd be weird!, i.e. Working from within racial stereotypes and sticking to the stereotypes ("Aiyaiyai!").