Yo Zushi: Many of those calling out cultural appropriation of all kinds – from clothing and hair to musical genres – seem to share this proprietorial attitude, which insists that culture, by its nature a communally forged and ever-changing project, should belong to specific peoples and not to all. Banks is doubtless correct to feel this “undercurrent” of racial persecution by an industry that prefers its stars to be white and what they sell to be black, yet there is also truth in the second part of that undercurrent: “Y’all don’t really own shit.” When it comes to great movements in culture, the racial interloper is not wrong. None of us can, or should, “own” hip-hop, cornrows, or the right to wear a kimono.
A program at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts inviting visitors to don a replica kimono from a Monet work has sparked protests over appropriation. Boston Art blog Big, Red & Shiny also has a write-up. [more inside]
Tom Petty knows what many don’t—that appropriation and originality can’t be separated.
How Ambi became Paisley: "It began as a teardrop in Babylon. Where the sunlight came from Astarte, shameless goddess of the fecund feminine. The boteh. Stylized rendition of the date palm shoot, tree of life, fertility symbol. It danced through Celtic art, until the heavy feet of Roman legionaries tramped over the Alps. Then it fled the wrath of Mars and Jupiter, dove underground as Empire rose ." From Shailja Patel's Migritude. Here's a short film about the Migritude project (book on Amazon).
"Simply changing the skin color of the mutants obviously doesn’t address all of the issues around privilege in the Marvel Universe. The visual and narrative sexism that permeates superhero comics remains intact. Some characteristics of white characters also become negative stereotypes when applied to non-white characters. Wolverine is a symbol of wild, untamed, white male power, but when I recolor his skin to imagine him as a person of color, his snarling, predatory aggression reads as a stereotype of wild black men." -- Orion Martin reimagines the X-Men as mutants of colour to make clear why the idea of mutant discrimination as standin for real world issues is problematic. He does so by recolouring some famous X-men images. [more inside]
Today the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the lower court decision (Cariou v Prince) determining that 25 of the 30 Richard Prince Canal Zone paintings using appropriated images from Patrick Cariou's Yes Rasta book fall under Fair Use. The remaining 5 paintings were remanded back to the District Court to determine if they also fall under the Fair Use Doctrine with the now clarified proper standard. previously.
The Romani people would like you to please stop using the word 'gypsy' now (or even wear 'gypsy' tattoos) as it is a racial slur connected to past and present persecution. This is not 'gypsy'; this is Romani. [more inside]
The Stolen Scream. In 2006, photographer Noam Galai posted a handful of dramatic self-portraits to Flickr. Unbeknownst to him, his screaming face slowly took on a life of its own (often as a symbol of unrest or protest), appearing in countless permutations the world over. In this mini-documentary, Noam is surprisingly pragmatic about his accidental fame, and the fact that he only got paid once for the legal use of the picture.
Please enjoy one of collage artist Lewis Klahr's haptic, romantic meditations on materiality and mortality, False Aging, and a look at his process.
Keith Schofield(previously)'s new video for Charlotte Gainsbourg and Beck has ruffled a few feathers. [more inside]
In June of 2004, fifty-eight friends and acquaintances joined in a collaborative labor project that lasted for eight days. They were instrumental in organizing the Prelinger Library in San Francisco, CA. One month from today will be the little library's fifth anniversary celebration. The library project/ public art project/ art installation/ archive/ part information center is an appropriation-friendly collection of books, periodicals, zines, and print ephemera. The library isn't organized by the Dewy Decimal system, but sorted by Megan Prelinger into four constant threads: landscape and geography; media and representation; historical consciousness; and political narratives from beyond the mainstream. The library is the less-known work of Rick Prelinger, and his wife, Megan. Rick is most commonly known for his video collection, which is the primary source of ephemera films on archive.org. (All things Prelinger previously)
After Walker Evans Alternatively, After Sherrie Levine. In 1936, Walker Evans famously photographed a family of sharecroppers. In 1979, Sherrie Levine rephotographed Evans' work. Performance artist Michael Mandiberg has reproduced Levine's work online, made them available for printing, and assembled texts and wrote plays to give the site's conceptual art concept - and Levine's work - meaning, and a punchline.
Not hip to to new trends? Avril Lavigne's music sounding terrifyingly alien? APM ("Music Solutions for Business™") explains Punk (and other current trends), with helpful original music.