LOS ANGELES — I’m not a fan of the word “Third World” (third world to what?) but I am a fan of pop culture, and I’m fascinated by how American pop culture has intersected with all sorts of countries, rich and poor alike.
So when I stumbled across a new tumblelog called Pop Culture and the Third World, I had to click on it. The site features links and images related to American pop culture and, well, everyone else. (The definition of “Third World” seems to be “anything but America and Western Europe,” as rich countries like South Korea, with a purchasing power parity ranked 12th in the world, pop up on the blog.)
They tumble pop images like Alex Bogusky’s meta image of Obama wearing Che wearing Obama, and a link toa terrific discussion between Bangladeshi Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus and Lisa Simpson. Then there’s Lisa Simpson declaring that “The whole damn system is wrong!”
But everything isn’t a gag or link. There are longer explorations discuss the orientalism in music videos by Nicki Minaj and Gwen Stefani and the “exotic” career of actress Rita Moreno, who played a type of Everywoman to Hollywood’s minority stereotypes.
And then there’s my new favorite, the quirky, high-energy YouTube show What’s Up Africa, hosted by British-Nigerian Ikenna Azuike. A recent episode features an interview with Josh “African Zoolander” Kaveke, who recently showed at London Fashion Week.
Why does this blog matter? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been traveling to remote rural regions of Asia only to stumble across a reminder of just how pervasive American pop really is. It’s nice to have a quirky new blog that looks at the visual culture that’s emerged from all this.
The close, careful, and subtle observation I found this year is representative of precisely why I continue to gravitate to this fair.
How do we counter stereotypes about Black mothers, while stressing the importance of memory, determination, love, and corporeality?
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With two stellar retrospectives, one time-based installation, and several commissions by local artists, the Phillips Collection has dedicated its galleries to highlighting abstract work by Black artists.
As we begin a new year, a small moment on Queer Eye makes me think about the profound effect our stories can have on each other.
Each fellow in this 10-month intensive in New Haven, Connecticut, will receive studio or office space, subsidized housing, and a generous stipend.
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A group called the Boriken Libertarian Forces toppled the monument hours before King Felipe VI of Spain’s visit.
Graduate students in the University of Denver’s Emergent Digital Practices program work on research with faculty who are engaged directly with their communities, both online and off.
Still resonating with relevance, William Gropper’s incisive cartoons in defense of the WPA go on auction at New York’s Swann Galleries together with other works by celebrated WPA artists.
Archeologists excavating in Nijmegen, the Netherland’s oldest city, found the bowl in pristine condition.
A pioneer of street photography, Levitt worked in the most crowded and poorest neighborhoods of New York searching for the theater of everyday life.