LOS ANGELES — I hit the brakes at a stoplight and turn my head to the left. I spot a young woman waiting for the bus. In golden capital letters on her t-shirt, the words WHY NOT shine boldly.
Alicia Eler is a cultural critic and arts reporter. She is the author of the book The Selfie Generation (Skyhorse Publishing), which has been reviewed in the New York Times, WIRED Magazine and the Chicago Tribune. A native of Chicago by way of L.A., Alicia's writing has also been published in Glamour, the Guardian, CNN, Hyperallergic, Art21 Magazine, LA Weekly, and Aperture. She is currently the visual art critic/arts reporter at the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Old and New Takes on the Female Nude
PORTLAND — Way back in 1989, the Guerrilla Girls called attention to the fact that less than 5% of the artists in Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Modern Art sections were female, but 85% of the nude works on display featured women. Twenty-five years later, it should be common practice not to create shows that are noninclusive, mostly white, and mostly male. But the patriarchy is still going strong, even in the liberal mecca that is Portlandia.
CHICAGO — Lynn Saville’s photography series Vacancy captures storefronts, malls, parks, highways, and billboards across America. Existing now in states of transition, they largely appear deserted, and lifeless.
A Mormon Teen Girl’s Fantasy Land
In her installation “Return to Virtue” (2013), artist Talena Sanders creates a fictional space of a Mormon teen girl’s fantasy bedroom — the kind she didn’t have growing up, despite being raised Mormon.
The Academy Award Goes to the Corporate Selfie
PORTLAND, Oregon — The 2014 Oscars host Ellen DeGeneres knows a selfie moment when she sees it. In her second year orchestrating celebrity moments the selfie makes its move into Hollywood in a way that’s far more serious than James Franco’s self-involved ponderings or Justin Bieber’s epic adolescence.
Live Girls Looking for Fun
LOS ANGELES — Shopping is a mundane, ecstatic experience. Enter any mall that’s filled with sparkly goods and products and suddenly we feel like ourselves but amplified.
Culture By Way of Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES — It must have been kismet that I ended up sitting next to Julie Niemi at the ridiculous Dave Hickey lecture a few weeks ago. Niemi is one of four founding editors of the LA-based biannual print publication VIA, which is dedicated to the art, food, and music culture of Los Angeles.
I Dream of Selfies
LOS ANGELES — Selfie culture is everywhere.
A Bookmobile Becomes a Book
Remember the thrill of finding the library bookmobile as a kid? I do.
President Obama Pens Personal Apology to an Art Historian
Professor Ann Collins Johns at the University of Texas at Austin was just as peeved as many people were about President Barack Obama’s knock on art history majors. So she did what any self-assured art historian would do and wrote a letter to Obama on January 31, shortly after the President’s remarks, and sent it using the White House site.
What’s Your Selfie Pleasure?
LOS ANGELES — This week, a new selfie trend pissed people off. Jason Feiffer, the same guy who dug around on Instagram and discovered funeral selfies, discovered the creepy “selfies with homeless people” trend.
Man Meets Nature Once More
LOS ANGELES — Kevin Cooley and Philip Andrew Lewis’s exhibition Unexplored Territory at Kopeikin Gallery made me wish the artists had taken a hint from Joseph Kosuth and the spirit of 1960s Conceptual art rather than just creating photographs and videos of the age-old man vs. nature battle.