Art Counsel

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Archive for January, 2010

Overheard this morning…

Great snarky idea overheard this morning:  Organize a Museum of National Hubris – from Antigone to Zeppelin.  Any backers?

Race in contemporary art (companion post to “Art and Multiculturalism”)

As a follow up to the previous post on multiculturalism, perhaps we should discuss Blake Gopnik’s new article, “Race issue a two-edged sword for black contemporary artists.”   He touched upon two particular issues that are worth serious consideration.  The first is the assimilation of, and a new comfort-level with Black artists.  Besides highlighting the subtle racism involved in framing such a cultural phenomenon, this observation also shows that there is no real “comfort level” for Black artists.  An outsider trying to work on his/her own terms possesses nobility, but only a small market.  An assimilated, popular Black artist is in danger of being tagged as a betrayer.  This is a narrow and perilous tightrope to walk.

The other issue that deserves some attention is the historical tension within certain examples of Black artists’ work.  Gopnik chose to spotlight Kara Walker and Spike Lee works that are criticized by the Black community for promoting and perhaps prolonging stereotypes.  But the community critique does not seem to offer any new solutions to the problem of which historical motifs Black artists can safely use to express the human experience.  Besides, what value can “safe” images hold when expressing great and prolonged historical and present danger? Another question to ask is that, in a time when marginalized communities are increasingly appropriating and redefining discriminatory words, how is the appropriation and recalibration of images any different?

Ultimately this begs the question; what does “race” in art mean?  What happens when we ignore it?  What happens when we embrace it?  How, where, and when is this important/not important?

Please discuss here or on the forum if you wish to create sub-topics on the matter.

Brand-Spanking new forum for arty types

Art Counsel has just launched a forum site where art lovers of all stripes and practices can talk about whatever.  Professionals, students, historians – you can all create your own discussion boards… or lurk on others’ for more vicarious pleasures.  This is meant to be a community building site where we can really get into the conversation of art.  No more glazed eyes when you discuss the intricacies of your esoteric obsessions.  Ask questions and get answers from people working in the field; Compare museum visits and travel notes;  Talk about something besides art (now we’re getting wild).

Join the conversation!  (gooble, gobble, one of us!)

Art and Multiculturalism

Jackie Wullschlager raises an interesting set of questions in her article “Bringing Jewish Art into Focus“: is there such a thing as Jewish art; and does a Jewish Museum of Art have a role in a multicultural society? Of course, we could replace the word “Jewish” with any religion, ethnic group, or combination of such, but what does this kind of labeling do? When is art just art? How does such a distinction color a viewer’s interpretation? When is this valuable?

Feel free to add your own questions and opinions on the subject at our Facebook discussion page.

We are currently building a dedicated forum site, but until then, please fan us at Facebook and join the discussion or suggest new ones.