At the brief question and answer period that followed the premiere of the new documentary TURNING, Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons, spoke briefly about the difficulty of understanding what a work of art means, even to those involved in making it.Continue Reading →
At some point, nearly two hours in, Marlene McCarty, one of the members of the AIDS activist group Gran Fury, an affinity group that was part of ACT-UP, reminded those gathered: “We were not making art.” The event was a panel discussion that took place at Columbia University on November 15, organized by Columbia’s School of the Arts, and was intended to draw on some of the themes present in the exhibition that just opened at the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston, This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s. The panel was comprised of ICA Boston curator Helen Molesworth and four members of the eleven-member collective that was Gran Fury: Avram Finkelstein, Tom Kalin, Marlene McCarty, and Robert Vazquez-Pacheco.
The question that prompted McCarty’s response was one of a handful that arose during the Q&A that followed the presentations by the panel. There was a similar tone to many of the questions that came up, the majority of which were something along the lines of: “How can we do what you did?” In addition to reminding those present that Gran Fury’s intention was never to make art, per se, McCarty added, “We were very brash about the fact that we were making propaganda.”Continue Reading →
BERKELEY, California — As the grand finale for SFMoMA’s exhibition, Stage Presence, which delved into the theatrical of contemporary art, Rashaad Newsome performed “Shade Compositions” (2005) in Haas Atrium, just inside the museum’s entrance, on October 4. “Shade Compositions” has been an ongoing performance that began with documentation of particular noises and gestures associated with and performed by African-American women. The original performers were entirely African-American women, but Newsome has since expanded his subject matter to cast a different conversation about outsider culture writ large.Continue Reading →
I’m going to start this essay with the conclusion. Why should we be looking for different ways of thinking about and living in the world? Because many of the dominant political social, and intellectual structures that currently underpin our society have proven themselves to be colossally flawed, so we need to begin looking for different ways of doing and thinking about things.Continue Reading →