This week, Jana Leo’s Rape New York, subtitled An Open Archive, went on view at Invisible Exports in New York City. The exhibition consists of boxes of photographs, documents, transcripts and other material relating to the artists’ rape seven years ago.
The gallery’s press release describes the project as follows:
The documents assembled here, seven years in the making, accompany the release of (Leo’s) book RAPE NEW YORK. The archive consists of photographs from her emergency visit to the hospital, police reports, crime scene photographs, notes from her therapist, as well as records from the civil suit and other assorted items and documents related to the rape and the legal case that followed, none of which can be reproduced, or even reviewed without the victimsâ€™ consent. The documents are kept in organized boxes to be retrieved by the archivist, not displayed on the gallery walls. The archive is not presented to the visitor; instead, each guest must fully identify oneself (photo ID is required), and request materials from the archivist. This way, the visitor takes responsibility for whatâ€™s requested, making private again what was made public by Leoâ€”the latest revolution in a cycle of public and private that began with the rape itself.
The outlines of Leo’s project recalls that of a number of 1970’s era feminist works dealing with traumatic exposure–Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece (link is to a video of the performance) and 1968 film Rape come foremost to mind–but the heart of Leo’s piece seems to lie within the viewer’s decision to take responsibility, in a public way, for looking at material that is private in the deepest sense of the word. Does the artist’s complicity in the exposure negate its voyeuristic qualities? Does the decision to study Leo’s rape archives signal compassion, curiosity, or cruelty on the part of individual viewers? Perhaps, a bit of all three.
Lately I’ve been mulling over a bunch of questions that essentially revolve around blogging and personal responsibility. Yesterday I came across mention of Leo’s show in a brief blurb on one of the art news blogs. I initially decided not to reblog the item, because there was only minimal information about the show itself. It felt sensationalistic, somehow, to just shoot the item out there once again without providing any further context. As coincidence would have it, this morning I randomly came across Caitlin Roper’s lengthy and fascinating interview with Jana Leo on Bomb’s blog, which contains a few reproductions of images and documents from the archive. Roper’s piece, I think, provides enough background context to give Leo’s project meaning even to those who can’t see the show in person.
To be honest, I feel somewhat relieved that I don’t live in New York and therefore don’t have to decide whether or not I want to visit Leo’s show and read her archives. I have an easy out, this time. But I did have to make the decision about whether and how I should write about it, particularly in the zippily superficial context of a blog post. So in that sense, I am still a participant in Leo’s project, still accountable for my decision to engage it from a distance in the manner that I have.
Here’s a last, chilling postscript. Eva Rhodes (nee Eva Majlata), the unnamed woman who was the subject of Ono’s aforementioned film Rape, was bludgeoned to death in 2007 by one of her employees, set on fire,Â and buried not far from an animal sanctuary she had established in Hungary. Sukhdev Sandhu writes movingly about Rhodes’ death, and Ono’s film, here.
I can’t tell if this movie is going to be mind blowingly awesome or fall flat on it’s face but I am really excited to check it out on Friday at Facets.
“A middle-aged slacker living in a rundown, graffiti-ridden slum, Daisato’s job involves being shocked by bolts of electricity that transform him into a stocky, stick-wielding giant several stories high who is entrusted with defending Japan from a host of bizarre monsters. But while his predecessors were national heroes, he is a pariah among the citizens he protects, who bitterly complain about the noise and destruction of property he causes. And Daisato has his own problems – an agent insistent on branding him with sponsor advertisements, an Alzheimer-afflicted grandfather who transforms into a giant in dirty underwear, and a family who is embarrassed by his often cowardly exploits. A wickedly deadpan spin on the giant Japanese superhero, Big Man Japan is an outrageous portrait of a pathetic but truly unique hero. Directed by Hitoshi Matsumoto, Japan, 2007, 35mm, 113 mins. In Japanese with English subtitles.”
Fri., June 26 at 6:30 & 8:45 pm
Sat.-Sun., June 27-28 at 2, 4:15, 6:30 & 8:45 pm
Mon.-Thurs., June 29 – July 2 at 6:30 & 8:45 pm
$9 general admission
FREE for Facets Members!
For more information please visit Facets site.
This weeks video pick is a brief gallery tour of Sophie Calle’s 2007 Venice Biennale piece “Take Care of Yourself” at Paula Cooper Gallery. The show ended earlier this month.
received an email telling me it was over.
I didn’t know how to respond.
It was almost as if it hadn’t been meant for me.
It ended with the words, “Take care of yourself.”
And so I did.
I asked 107 women (including two made from wood and one with feathers),
chosen for their profession or skills, to interpret this letter.
To analyze it, comment on it, dance it, sing it.
Dissect it.Â Exhaust it.Â Understand it for me.
Answer for me.
It was a way of taking the time to break up.
A way of taking care of myself.
For more Sophie Calle videos check out youtube’s page.
For more info on the show check out Paula Cooper’s site.
If you haven’t heard who Steve Bierfeldt is, he was flying from Lambert Airport in St. Louis to Washington D.C. on March 29, 2009. He was later detained in a small room at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport and interrogated by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials for nearly half an hour after he passed a metal box containing cash through a security checkpoint X-ray machine. Mr. Bierfeldt is also the Director of Development for the PAC “Campaign For Liberty” which among other things is an advocacy group for promoting and defending the principles of individual liberty, constitutional government, sound money, free markets, and a noninterventionist foreign policy, by means of educational and political activity.
On top of that he used his iphone to record the entire interrogation, which can be heard here:
Now this is not literally in the realm of the fine arts but it easily could have. If you spend anytime with a major art institution or business you could easily have $4,000 USD on you (from fund raising, merchandise sales, ticket sales or any other activity), could easily be asked to answer questions that officers have no legal authority to have you answer or better yet questions that have little to no bearing on the function of their assigned duties under the law.
Basically the point of this do you have the right to travel within the United States with however much money cash you want. Do you have to right to not answer questions in regard to you employment, activities, plans, political affiliations among other things? Needless to say it is not the responsibility or interest of any police officer or government agent of any department to advise you of your rights at any time. Infact the day to day operations of may departments predicates that you do not know and do not care to utilize the rights you have under law.
This is brought up to ask questions more then to give any one opinion or legal reading but it is pertinent to know two things:
1. Anything you say can and will be used against you (and never in your defense).
2. Not answering questions does not imply guilt, just that you are willing to spend time fulfilling the curiosity of agents who feel it’s their legal and moral right to have any and every point of interest answered.
To clarify those points you have the great and simple faq of your constitutional rights provided by one of Tony Fitzpatrick’s favorite groups “The National Hobo Museum” on top of that here is a very good primer on “why” saying anything less then 100% truthfully and accurately can harm you and in all even the most innocuous statement can be used against you and never in your defense (Rule 801(d)(2)(A) thrown out as hearsay).
I have seen way too many artists lack of knowledge of the legal, financial & business rights and terms used against them to exercise information or money out of them over the years. It’s important to watch after yourself since no one else will.
Which artists should the Obamas add to the White House walls? Artinfo.com asked 21 artists, curators, dealers and bloggers–including Agnes Gund, Shepard Fairey, Andres Serrano (who suggests his own work, natch), Emilio Steinberger (of Haunch of Venison gallery) Edward Winkleman and Paddy Johnson to make suggestions.Â Their proposals, and the reasoning behind them, are fascinating to consider.
(Via Culture Monster).