Monday, August 13, 2018

Trend Forecast: Fall 2018

I was talking about trends in art vaguely the other day and it seems like a quick exercise that I can do for this thing today. I am sooo on vacation mode so sorry everything has been so phoned in but moop, it’s August. Everyone needs a break!

So in no particular order and in no particular sense, here goes some things I think may be in our out in the coming months.

In – Babies:  Everyone is having babies. Or maybe I am just at that age range, or maybe artists who I know are. Anyways, it’s cute, I hope that the mother artists won’t fall off or decline. Fingers crossed.

Out – Dystopia:  Okay, okay we get it, things are super dark right now, duh, and I think it was good that artists took some time to delve into that (and they still should) but we need a bit of a breather and some levity. Not escapism per se (because that’s another form of distraction/oppression) but just ease up and make some light in all this darkness.

In – Flowers:  Well, I think still-lifes in general. Flowers, fruit, all the venitas stuff. A good way to be both symbolic, highly skilled and frankly pretty.

In – Vegetarian:  Never really out but sometimes it swings more and I think it’s due time again. It’s about the environment ya’ll.

Out – Alpha Males:  Hahahahaha.

Out – Group Shows:  I think they have truly become the cliché that they are and now they know better then to exist. Now, it’s the two-three person show max sort of vibe.

In – 2000s:  I am too old for these trends (I lived it mannnn!) but it’s sorta funny. Like how, why, did Sketchers become ‘cool.’ I die now.

Out – Institutional Racism:  Still happening, will be for maybe forever but it suckkkks and at least people are like, yup, that sucks.

In – Color:  Will Black and white ever be out? NEVER! But color is back! In art, clothes, all of it.

In – Works on paper:  Watercolors, drawings, even dare I say, printmaking, is in-in-in. Or will soon be popping again. I feel like people don’t have the urgency to prove things in scales and materials in the same way and that’s a good thing, or at least refreshing.

Out – Resin:  It’s bad for you, and there is just too much of it. I mean, there are a handful who work with it really well (continue please) but for the rest of you, please stop!

Out – Intellectual Snobbery:  Being like actually smart is so always in but being quotational is so passé and eye-roll. Like does anyone even metion e-flux anymore? Haha. But seriously people, be smart, read.

In – Privacy:  So much is exposed these days that privacy is really hot.

In – All Things Asian:  Very partial about this one (duh) but yeah, Asia is where it’s at and it is seeping (slowly) into mainstream and it will change everything.

Out – Podcasts:  I do one but yeah, I know the end is nigh.

Out – Tattoos:  Sorry kids but ya just did it too darn much.

In – Body Hair:  Gals, let those pits and legs fur out!

Out – Saddies:  We get it, your sad. Use it as source material or shut up about it.

In – Voting:  Took a long ass time but finally, voting may actually be seen as cool and hopefully everyone participates.

Out – Toxic Masculinity:  We know you are a victim of the system as well but jezz! Get your shit together and wake up!

Out – Victimization: Sort of the same as the above but flipped. Empathy is a two way street.

In – Venmo:  Or other apps to pay/request money. Hello micro-entrepenurs and the end of cheap ass friends who dip on the bill.

In – Alice Aycock:  And her ilk. Just you wait and see!

Out – Decadence:  We see you. We all see you.

Out – Judgement:  Open minds, open hearts.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Love as the Practice of Freedom - bell hooks

Oh my god, I completely forgot to blog on Monday. Forgive me. I’m off work, in vacation mode and I’ve been reveling in my lack of structure.

Below is something to fill in space till next time. Happy summer.

“Love as the Practice of Freedom”
bell hooks

Social commentator, essayist, memoirist, and poet bell hooks (née Gloria Jean Watkins) is a feminist theorist who speaks on contemporary issues of race, gender, and media representation in America. Her many books include Ain't I a Woman (1981), Talking Back (1989), Killing Rage: Ending Racism (1995), Outlaw Culture (1994), and Remembered Rapture (1999). In Black Looks (1994), she writes, "It struck me that for black people, the pain of learning that we cannot control our images, how we see ourselves (if our vision is not decolonized), or how we are seen is so intense that it rends us. It rips and tears at the seams of our efforts to construct self and identify." In Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations (1994), hooks advocates a "progressive cultural revolution" by means of repudiating all forms of domination in a "holistic manner." In order to decolonize our minds, suggests hooks, we must begin to "surrender participation in whatever sphere of coercive hierarchical domination we enjoy individual and group privilege." In the essay that follows from that book, hooks proposes an "ethic of love" as the means by which we might be guided to turn away from an ethic of domination.

In this society, there is no powerful discourse on love emerging either from politically progressive radicals or from the Left. The absence of a sustained focus on love in progressive circles arises from a collective failure to acknowledge the needs of the spirit and an overdetermined emphasis on material concerns. Without love, our efforts to liberate ourselves and our world community from oppression and exploitation are doomed. As long as we refuse to address fully the place of love in struggles for liberation we will not be able to create a culture of conversion where there is a mass turning away from an ethic of domination.

Without an ethic of love shaping the direction of our political vision and our radical aspirations, we are often seduced, in one way or the other, into continued allegiance to systems of domination—imperialism, sexism, racism, classism. It has always puzzled me that women and men who spend a lifetime working to resist and oppose one form of domination can be systematically supporting another. I have been puzzled by powerful visionary black male leaders who can speak and act passionately in resistance to racial domination and accept and embrace sexist domination of women, by feminist white women who work daily to eradicate sexism but who have major blind spots when it comes to acknowledging and resisting racism and white supremacist domination of the planet. Critically examining these blind spots, I conclude that many of us are motivated to move against domination solely when we feel our self-interest directly threatened. Often, then, the longing is not for a collective transformation of society, an end to politics of dominations, but rather simply for an end to what we feel is hurting us. This is why we desperately need an ethic of love to intervene in our selfcentered longing for change. Fundamentally, if we are only committed to an improvement in that politic of domination that we feel leads directly to our individual exploitation or oppression, we not only remain attached to the status quo but act in complicity with it, nurturing and maintaining those very systems of domination. Until we are all able to accept the interlocking, interdependent nature of systems of domination and recognize specific ways each system is maintained, we will continue to act in ways that undermine our individual quest for freedom and collective liberation struggle.

The ability to acknowledge blind spots can emerge only as we expand our concern about politics of domination and our capacity to care about the oppression and exploitation of others. A love ethic makes this expansion possible. The civil rights movement transformed society in the United States because it was fundamentally rooted in a love ethic. No leader has emphasized this ethic more than Martin Luther King, jr. He had the prophetic insight to recognize that a revolution built on any other foundation would fail. Again and again, King testified that he had "decided to love" because he believed deeply that if we are "seeking the highest good" we "find it through love" because this is "the key that unlocks the door to the meaning of ultimate reality." And the point of being in touch with a transcendent reality is that we struggle for justice, all the while realizing that we are always more than our race, class, or sex. When I look back at the civil rights movement which was in many ways limited because it was a reformist effort, I see that it had the power to move masses of people to act in the interest of racial justice—and because it was profoundly rooted in a love ethic. The sixties Black Power movement shifted away from that love ethic.

The emphasis was now more on power. And it is not surprising that the sexism that had always undermined the black liberation struggle intensified, that a misogynist approach to women became central as the equation of freedom with patriarchal manhood became a norm among black political leaders, almost all of whom were male. Indeed, the new militancy of masculinist black power equated love with weakness, announcing that the quintessential expression of freedom would be the willingness to coerce, do violence, terrorize, indeed utilize the weapons of domination. This was the crudest embodiment of Malcolm X's bold credo "by any means necessary."

On the positive side, Black Power movement shifted the focus of black liberation struggle from reform to revolution. This was an important political development, bringing with it a stronger anti-imperialist, global perspective. However, masculinist sexist biases in leadership led to the suppression of the love ethic.