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A Bunch Of Crock: Politicians, Pundits & Minorities

15 Sep

“A Bunch of Crock is an art exhibit about the absurdities of political campaigns and the unfortunate role of minorities. Filtering through various political messages in any election year, the common thread seems to be this: 1) politicians and pundits think the general population is too stupid to tell fact from fiction and 2) promoting fear of minorities is good politics.
Using satire and good old-fashioned profanity, this exhibit attempts to bypass the bullshit and tell the audience what the politicians and pundits actually mean, and how they portray minorities to promote fear and manufacture outrage.”

This extremely smart exhibit was started by Safwat Saleem as a result of frustration with politicians and the current political landscape in the US. However, it’s something that people from all over the world can definitely relate to. It’s straight to the point and done with a lot of wit and humor. Take for example this series of 12 posters: sarcastic and quite scathing, Saleem does not mince his words. And it’s well designed! Make sure to check the whole series here.

Television

Nearly one-in-five (18%) Americans say President Barack Obama is a Muslim.
Source: Pew Research Center / What were those 18% doing when the Reverend Jeremiah Wright controversy was on TV 24/7?

Colored People

‘’I want to be able to say what’s on my mind and in my heart and what I think is helpful and useful.’’ – Laura Schlessinger, 63, radio host, announcing her decision to quit her show following complaints over her use of the word “nigger” 11 times during an on-air phone call
Source: Time magazine / And here’s a tweet by Sarah Palin in support of Laura Schlessinger and her vocabulary: “Dr.Laura:don’t retreat…reload! (Steps aside bc her 1st Amend.rights ceased 2exist thx 2activists trying 2silence”isn’t American,not fair”).

Earth

‘’It’s a flat-out lie. I read my Bible. He made this earth for us to utilize.’’ – Norman Dennison, electrician and founder of the Corydon (Indiana) Tea Party, speaking about climate change – ‘’Being a strong Christian, I cannot help but believe the Lord placed a lot of minerals in our country and it’s not there to destroy us.’’ – Lisa Deaton, small business owner and founder of WeThePeopleIndiana.org
Source: New York Times

Tea Party

‘’Carbon dioxide is portrayed as harmful. But there isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas… it is a part of earth’s life cycle. And yet we are being told that we have to reduce this natural substance and reduce the American standard of living.’’ – Rep. Michele Bachmann on the House floor on Earth Day, 2009
Source: CSPAN / Picking a batshit crazy quote by other Tea Party favorites like Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell or Sharon Angle seemed too easy, so I went with Michele Bachmann. There are many other delusional gems ranging from Tea Partyers believing in “death panels” to people who are convinced that the Obama administration raised taxes for the middle class

Muslims on a Plane

‘’When I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb… I get worried. I get nervous.” – Juan Williams, former NPR news analyst
Source: O’Reilly Factor on Fox News / Juan Williams was fired by NPR following these comments. A day later, he was offered a multiyear, $2 million contract by Fox News. Well played, Juan!

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JR’s Inside Out project documented

9 Aug

French street artist JR, the 2011 TED Prize winner has made good use of his wish of making a global art project that would turn the world inside out. Indeed, since then, the site for the project has been launched and anyone can upload their portraits and receive a print that they can paste up around the city.

“INSIDE OUT is a large-scale participatory art project that transforms messages of personal identity into pieces of artistic work. Upload a portrait. Receive a poster. Paste it for the world to see.”

Besides the obvious message of empowerment of Inside Out, the artist’s first destination was quite symbolic too given that it was Tunisia after the massive manifestations that led to Ben Ali’s fall. Portraits of Tunisian people were plastered over the same walls that used to feature the dictator’s portraits.
It’s a testament to the power of art helping people re-appropriate the city and regain control over symbolic public places. Find below the first episode documenting the project (we’re promised many upcoming episodes), and some pics of Inside Out in Tunisia. Beautiful and inspiring project!

Windows on the war: Soviet TASS posters at home and abroad, 1941-1945

18 Jul

The Art Institute of Chicago has launched this tumblr dedicated to their exhibition of posters produced by the Soviet Union’s news agency during World War II, and it will be updated daily (as reported via Creative Review).
During WWII, The Telegrafnoye agentstvo Sovetskovo Soyuza, TASS, enlisted a big number of artists to produce such work of propaganda at a very fast rate (almost daily), all in support of the nation’s endeavors. It is truly amazing work, with very crafty and vibrant illustrations as well as visible skills and mastery of the medium, and it becomes all the more interesting given the political context. I always found Soviet propaganda to be extremely beautiful, they had really good artists who remain relatively unknown, so it’s nice to be able to see those works on display and online, since going to Chicago to attend the exhibition would be hard to do.
The AIC explains on the exhibition’s website:

“They produced, assembly-line style, daily editions of between one hundred and one thousand striking and sizable posters entirely by hand with a labor-intensive technical virtuosity previously unheard of in poster production. Some of the most intricate and chromatically brilliant designs demanded 60 to 70 different stencils and color divisions. In collaboration with the Ne boltai! Collection of 20th-century propaganda, Windows on the War marks the first time the handmade posters, originally designed for window displays in empty storefronts, have been displayed in the United States since World War II, bringing to the fore many Soviet artists little known in this country.”

The impressive posters, all between 5 and 10 feet tall (that’s around 150 cm and 305 cm), have been sent abroad as international cultural ambassadors that are meant to rally allied and neutral forces to the cause of the Soviet Union.

“In Windows on the War, the posters will be presented both as unique historical objects and as works of art that demonstrate how the preeminent artists of the day used unconventional technical and aesthetic means to contribute to the fight against the Nazis, marking a major chapter in the history of design and propaganda.”

Denisovskii-windows on the war

Nikolai Fedorovich Denisovskii, Russian (1901-1981) - Our One-Thousandth Blow, June 5, 1944 Gift of the USSR Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries

Sokolov-Skalia-windows on the war

Pavel Petrovich Sokolov-Skalia, Russian (1899-1961) Defenders of Moscow, July 28, 1941 Joslyn Art Museum

Kukryniksy-windows on the war

Kukryniksy, Russian (20th century) Thunderous Blow, June 17, 1942 Gift of the USSR Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries

Sarkisian-windows on the war

Petr Ashotovich Sarkisian, Russian (1922-1970) - Fascist “Art Historians”, December 1, 1942 Ne boltai! Collection

Denisovskii-windows on the war

Nikolai Fedorovich Denisovskii, Russian (1901-1981) - Victory!, May 12, 1945 Gift of the USSR Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries

Kukryniksy-windows on the war

Kukryniksy, Russian (20th century) - The Metamorphosis of the “Fritzes”, January 15, 1943 Ne boltai! Collection

Sokolov-Skalia-windows on the war

Pavel Petrovich Sokolov-Skalia, Russian (1899-1961) - Happy New Year!, December 30, 1943 Ne boltai! Collection

moa-windows on the war

Moa (Mark Aleksandrovich Abramov), Ukrainian (1913-1994) - A Great Day, April 15, 1944 Ne boltai! Collection

Ism Ism: 1979 New York graffiti documented by Manuel de Landa

21 Jun

This fascinating super 8 film dating from 1979 was shot by Manuel de Landa, a philosopher, professor and author of many books, who focuses heavily on the theories of Gilles Deleuze. He has made several short experimental and art movies in the 70’s and 80’s, Ism Ism being one of them, that got recently restored by New York’s Anthology Film Archives.
Ism Ism is set to the music of the New York Dolls and documents the late 70’s graffiti and ads’ subversion of New York City’s subculture. I think the way it’s shot captures the exact feel of the time and space. The jerky camera work and rough saccades combined with the soundtrack work perfectly with the street art and collages shot, as well as the ideas driving them. Really worth watching!

(via Flavorwire)

What’s in your fridge?

19 Jun

Don’t Panic magazine has an interview here with artist and photographer Mark Menjivar about his photography series You Are What You Eat. While we have seen many projects documenting the insides of someone’s purse and the such, this project is different because it is inscribed in a wider research exploring food issues across America, as the project started when Menjivar was working with another artist on the theme of hunger in the USA. For 4 years, Menjivar traveled across the US taking photographs of people’s fridges “as is”. The artist decided to use only the picture of the fridge, without the owner, because he wanted the work to focus on self-reflection, so that it becomes a starting point to revise our own eating habits and lifestyles and to think more about the impact that those have.

“I think that hunger and food insecurity are very complex. It is about broken relationships, lost dreams, tragedy, illness, mental health and so many other things. Each situation is unique and I was constantly amazed at how people found strategies to make it through the day.”

The interview and the photographs are extremely interesting. It says a lot about food culture in relation to social status, and about the dynamics of desire and lack, of wanting and having, as well as the responsibilities of people towards their land and their environment.

Delicatessen Attendant, Daphne, AL, 4-Person Household. Disowned by parents for marrying a black man.

Engineer, Lower Pottsgrove, PA, 17-Person Household. Italian-Puerto Rican Family Reunion

Community Volunteer, San Angelo, TX, 1-Person Household. Completely blind and lives alone.

Defunct Amusement Park Owner, 1-Person Household , Former WWII Prisoner of War.

Disabled, Marathon,TX, 2-Person Household. Weighed 390lbs earlier this year.

Street Advertiser, 1-Person Household, Lives on £265 fixed monthly income.

Short Order Cook, Marathon, TX, 2-Person Household. She can bench press over 300 lbs.

University Students, 3-Person Household, Drummer for death metal band.

Botanist, 1-Person Household, Feels more comfortable among flora and fauna of his era than people.

Bartender, 1-Person Household, Goes to sleep at 8AM and wakes up at 4PM daily.

Midwife/Middle School Science Teacher, San Antonio, TX, 3-Person Household (including dog). First week after deciding to eat all local produce.

Amnesty International’s 50th anniversary

17 Jun

Different animation techniques and styles are creatively combined to create this brilliant spot for the 50th anniversary of Amnesty International. Directed by Carlos Lascano with music by Academy Award winner Hans Zimmer and nominee Lorne Balfe, the emotional video makes references to street art (Blu’s work, among others, comes to mind). Which is very fitting, given that graffiti has always been a way to express thoughts of resistance and refusal to conform.
Beautiful work for a good cause! You can check out the making of here.

Washed up

9 Jun

Washed up is an ongoing project by Mexican and New York based artist and photographer Alejandro Durán, that sheds light on the pollution hitting the shores of Sian Ka’an, the largest reserve in Mexico. Sian Ka’an is a victim of the global oceans currents that carries plastic trash from all around the globe, only to end up on the Mexican shores.
Two stunning series have been produced by the artist. The first one is photographs of site specific sculptures that Duràn creates using this plastic waste, put together in a way that mimics the ocean and how the waves would have washed up that waste. The photographs are extremely beautiful and almost make you feel bad for appreciating the beauty in this pollution. However, they are still striking in their message. The colors are so vibrant due to the use of a mix of natural and artificial light, because of the artist’s intention to blur “the line between existing and constructed realities”.
The second series is portraits of the products washed ashore as Duràn has identified products coming from 42 countries and 6 continents.

“The resulting photo series depicts a new form of colonization by consumerism, where even undeveloped land is not safe from the far-reaching impact of our disposable culture. Although inspired by the works of Andy Goldsworthy and Robert Smithson, Washed Up speaks to the environmental concerns of our time and its vast quantity of discarded materials. Beyond turning trash into treasure, the alchemy of Washed Up lies in the project’s potential to raise awareness and change our relationship to consumption and waste.”

Go to the site for more.
(via Notcot)