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Archive for the ‘goddamn craft’ Category

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I love this. No monuments while traveling is a series of photographs by Mario Pucic of the sights you see while traveling that tourists typically don’t photograph.

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This is a very clever photography project from photographer, Haley Morris-Cafiero where she reverses the gaze by doing self-portraits in public that manage to catch the faces strangers are making behind her back in response to her fat body.

While creating an image for my Something to Weigh series, I decided to photograph myself sitting alone on the Times Square stairs to capture my solitude in a busy crowd.

After developing the film, I noticed that a man was standing behind me being photographed by an attractive blonde woman. Rather than pose for her camera, he was sneering at me behind my back. Five minutes later and at another location, another man turns his back to gawk at me while I am photographing myself sitting at a café table.

I have always been aware of people making faces, commenting and laughing at me about my size. I now reverse the gaze and record their reactions to me while I perform mundane tasks in public spaces. I seek out spaces that are visually interesting and geographically diverse. I try to place myself in compositions that contain feminine icons or advertisements.

Otherwise, I position myself and the camera in a pool of people…and wait.

As I discovered a while ago, one of the greatest things you will ever do for your own self-esteem is to stop thinking everyone’s body is your business. And god knows, you will be helping to make the world a more pleasant place while you’re at it.

Link via @jevoislafemme

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From Rachel Cooke in The Guardian with “The idea of ‘ethical art’ is nonsense. We have to separate art from life”.

Last Friday morning, I stood in front of this cartoon, a cup of tea in my hand, and I thought yet again about the fraught line between a man’s life and his work. Moments before, I’d read that the Tate had removed from its online collection 34 prints by Graham Ovenden, the artist who was last week found guilty at Truro crown court of six charges of indecency with a child and one count of indecent assault. And while I didn’t disapprove of this decision one little bit (the gallery, quite properly, is seeking information about whether any of these images of children portray Ovenden’s victims), I could feel an old anxiety creeping over me.

Where, I wonder, will this investigation end? According to what I read, the Tate is also considering the “wider ethics” of showing work by Ovenden, and until this review is complete, these 34 prints “will not be available to view by appointment”. Wider ethics. What does this mean, exactly? It sounds a touch North Korean. Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that the images in question do not portray Ovenden’s victims. What then? Will the Tate return them to the public view? Surely it must, for if it is unethical to show work by a paedophile, what are they going to do about all the other artists who had dubious sex lives? Unless, of course, this rule only applies to perverts who are living.

It’s baffling to me, the belief that art must be “ethical”, as if it were so much fair trade chocolate. It’s so much more complicated than that. The laughable idea that it can pass or fail some kind of tick-box test! What was art in March must surely be art in April. You can’t un-art art, though Hitler had a go, when he decided that what was modern was also degenerate and set about destroying it and, far worse, those who made it.

There are those who will say that Ovenden’s images of children are now revealed to be porn rather than art, but that argument crumbles to dust in this case, since the subjects of many of the Tate’s images aren’t even naked. Just to be clear, though – even if the children were naked, I wouldn’t feel any differently. The qualities that won them a place in the Tate’s collection can’t be extinguished – rubbed out, like chalk on a board – by the perversions of the man who created them. If those qualities now make you feel uncomfortable as you look on, well, that is a part of their power. Live with it.

I disagree with much of this.

You know, I haven’t ever seen child porn (thank god) but I would bet that some of it is quite beautiful. By that I mean, some of the photographs and films are probably artfully composed and professionally shot with very pretty children as their subjects. It is still child porn though, and producing it involved the same amount of pain, abuse, degradation and manipulation as any amateur child porn image.

The measure for whether something is ethical for us to consume or display is not beauty or artistic merit (and nor is it the degree of nudity), it is about something bigger than that.

Sure, you can’t un-art art, but being art doesn’t over-ride problems of exploitation, particularly when it involves children. I don’t want to be limited to only consuming art, music and literature produced by those who lived admirable lives and nor do I want to be limited to only seeing art which doesn’t disturb me, but given art affords a certain level of power to the artist and the audience at the expense of the muse, contrary to Rachel Cooke’s view, it is always worth considering the ethics of that power.

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Can I recommend Meat Joy by Carolee Schneemann? It’s perfect for a 5 minute break from pretty much anything, except eating meat, but I’m vegetarian. (May be very slightly NSFW. It is vintage feminist performance art, after all).

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These photos are sublime. This makes me feel more comfortable with aging than just about anything else I’ve seen – more being playful and absurd as you get older, please.

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Image: Holding Emmanuelle (2008)

These are a spectacular series of photos, called Born by Israeli-American photographer, Elinor Carucci about her experience of pregnancy and motherhood. Is there a mother alive who does not recognise the moment above?

And the one below? Come over here and apologize! (2010).

“Like many women, motherhood really took over me,” she explains. “It was very much about me being a mother and [the] strong, unusual bond with the kids. Even though Eran really helped me—he’s a big part of my work technically and conceptually—I felt it was more about me and the kids, the three of us as one unit.”

Her children are now school age and Carucci continues to record their lives (an image from her more recent work on the right). “I am still photographing the kids, but it is in a different stage. Some of the images I am working on now have been shot outside. I moved outside because they’re moving away from me. I am following them into America.”

Carucci has a monograph called Mother coming out in 2013-14 that will show nine years of her motherhood/childhood work with her children. It is on my wish list.

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Paul Keating (my very favourite Prime Minister) on the importance of the arts for developing intellectual thought. It’s a beautiful clip, watch it all the way through because the best stuff is in the second half of the clip. And I wrote an article about this aspect of my life recently for The Wheeler Centre.  (Thanks to Mark Bahnisch for the link).

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Lauca at GOMA.

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This is from an article about UK austerity measures. It’s a paragraph I like because it describes a process very similar to the best of my experiences working in economics.

Economics often appears to be an exercise in number-crunching, but it actually resembles storytelling more than mathematics. Before the members of the Monetary Policy Committee gather for their monthly meeting, they sit through a presentation from the Bank of England’s economic staff. The staff members take the most recent economic data — G.D.P. growth, the unemployment rate and more subtle details gathered from interviews with businesspeople throughout the country — and try to fashion it into a narrative. Does a sudden spike in new factory orders represent a fundamental shift, or is it just a preholiday blip? Do anecdotal reports of rising food prices herald a period of inflation, or is it the result of a cold snap? Which story feels truer?

A few days later, each of the nine members of the M.P.C. puts forth his or her own interpretation. Over two days, the members debate these competing narratives and discuss what the Bank of England should do. Then the committee votes, and the winning policies are implemented.

The best economists I have worked with or near have been brilliant storytellers.

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Art for freedom

Judy Chicago, herself, talking about the creation of her amaaaaaaaaazing work, “The Dinner Party (1979)” in The Guardian.

The LA art scene was extremely macho in the 60s and few women were taken seriously. For a decade I struggled to make a place for myself, but to accomplish this I had to adopt “male drag” – that is, make work that looked like that of my male peers and echoed their concerns. By the end of that time I was fed up and wanted to be myself as a woman. I decided to look into history to see if there had been any before me who had encountered similar obstacles.

This was before there were any women’s studies classes, so I had to ferret out information entirely on my own. What I discovered changed my life. It also enraged me because my professor was completely wrong. Unfortunately, ignorant convictions like his continue to hold sway, exemplified by Caitlin Moran’s recent book, How To Be a Woman. “Even the most ardent feminist historian … can’t conceal that women have basically done fuck-all for the last 100,000 years,” she writes. The truth is that for centuries women have struggled to be heard, writing books, making art and music and challenging the many restrictions on women’s lives. But their achievements have been repeatedly written out of history.

I set out to chronicle this ongoing erasure in my installation The Dinner Party, a monumental, symbolic history of women in western civilisation. It created a major stir when it premiered in 1979. Originally slated to travel to a number of museums, the tour collapsed in the face of vitriolic reviews, sometimes (sadly) written by women.

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