I cannot read the news at night any more. I lay awake in the fading heat filled with outrage, sadness, my heart breaking with lives destroyed, communities torn apart, people disempowered and displaced. I have been dreaming of death, loved ones suddenly gone as I sit next to their hospital bed, the charred remains of buses and cars. As summer roars into its last gasp, I need relief, escape from heat, humidity, simmering tensions. Instead, I read the news in the morning, a bitter taste lingering, a veil on my daily activities that hazes my coffee, blurs my to do list, turns food into ashes.
I am privileged. I am privileged to be aware of and called to action by the multitude of crises happening in my neighborhood and around the world. I am removed enough and have enough leisure and access to knowledge of events that surround me and that take place across the globe to choose what I consume and how I act. I am privileged to sit and write these words.
Invoking Adorno again, we must ask what is possible in the face of daily crises? What is tenable when confronting the contemporary world? How can we continue to create when the world seems to crumble around us?
There is a reason we need art. We do not need art because it expresses the experiences of people in terrifying situations or because it brings escape or comfort, although we must remember its ability to do so. We need art because we are told there is a solution to the problems we face by people who have power, who want to maintain and restore a sense that they are in control in an increasingly uncertain world, who fear their power crumbling away from them. There is not a simple or easy solution. Real change takes longer than we can conceive and cannot happen within the frameworks that surround us. We need art to help us abandon the idea that there is even a solution to be found. We need art to push boundaries, not by imagining or creating alternatives that reinforce or are co-opted by existing conditions, but by shocking us into new ways of envisioning ourselves and our power in this tragic world, by opening doors to us that we did not realize were closed.
It is not enough to read the news and be outraged, although we must be aware. It is not enough to protest, although we must make our voices heard. It is not enough to sit down to dinner with your neighbor, although we must build meaningful connections between us as individuals before we see connections between us as communities. It is not enough to be radically local, although our work here ripples beyond our sight.
Contemporary art must be that which is inextricable from the hour it was made, the neighborhood where it was conceived, the global panorama from which it arises. With the exponential expansion of information, evidence, visual records, we must be aware of what we make, what we put out into the world, the context it enters. We must pay close attention to who we are, where we come from, the privilege we embody, the impact our actions have, and we must continue to create.
Read the news. Be outraged. Protest. Eat dinner with your neighbor. Be radically local. And continue making work that pushes the boundaries of what we know to be desirable. Art and artists are not a way to fix the broken systems that surround us, but they may be one way to begin a future we cannot foresee.
I am for an art that admits and proudly wears its context. I am for an art that is inextricable from the world which shaped it.
I awake from my dreams. I push aside the veil of of despair and apathy. I rise to meet the challenges of the day. They do not decrease.
This week: Tom, Amanda, and Duncan talk to super collector Hubert Neumann. He’s candid, he doesn’t mince words and he knows a ton of stuff, don’t miss it.
Also, Richard thinks that the Smithsonian and National Portrait Gallery are striving to redefine “spineless cowards” in their role in the museum word. Great job guys, I look forward to seeing what a Fox News curated museum looks like!
Please be sure to take a moment and e-mail the following people your thoughts on their caving in to political censorship.
Public Affairs Specialist
Public Affairs Assistant
Director of Development
and External Affairs
Deputy Director of Development
External Affairs Specialist
Back in May & June we wrote about Banksy’s trip to Detroit and his mural that was created in the old derilict Packard plant there. That mural of a boy with a paint can saying “IÂ rememberÂ when all this was trees” was quickly excavated from the cinder block wall it was painted on by the local art group 555 Nonprofit Gallery & Studios, they moved it to their gallery space and quickly came under threats and negative attention. Well now they are in court.
Bioresource Inc., the company owned by land speculator Romel Casab, filed suit this week in Wayne County Circuit Court to regain possession of the mural.Â The suit which names 555 Gallery and it’sÂ executive director Carl Goines as defendantsÂ says theÂ 1,500 poundsÂ mural, which may be worth $100,000 or more, was removed without authority and that 555 Gallery did not respond to a letter dated June 7th demanding it’s return.
The 555 artists have attested from theÂ beginningÂ in May that they took the work to prevent its destruction and have no interest in selling it. Gallery attorney Don Lewis said Â his clients were given permission to take the mural by a scrap metal removal crew foreman named Butch.
â€œThatâ€™s a key issue,â€ Lewis said. â€œWould a jury think it was reasonable to assume that he had the authority he said he did â€” that he was speaking on behalf of the owner?â€
I keep saying this isn’t over and that eventually Bansky might make a statement since it serves his interests to be the final voice but he does have a history ofÂ disavowingÂ works once they are removed or altered from their original state. This may be no different, but there will be more to come I am sure.
It has been announced today that Dr. Walter Massey has been named the new President of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. This is a really hard article to write since it’s difficult to find much about Walter Massey in any kind of Art context and his business context is pretty basic as well.
Walter Massey, who currently sits on the board of McDonald’s (which is headquartered in Chicago letsÂ remember), recently retired from the Bank of America board, presidentÂ emeritus of Morehouse College in Atlanta, has worked in the Unviersity of California system and at Brown University, former board member of BP, National Commission on Smoking and Public PolicyÂ & ran Argonne National Laboratory is more like a madlibs result for the executive level ofÂ Chicago Business/General Science Education world. It’s a little of this and a lot of that.
The resume reads like aÂ interimÂ president who was a Chicago culture buff and said “yea, I’ll do it” when no one else would?
I know I am not the only one that realizes there is 15% unemployment (even for executives) but there is no one elseÂ eligibleÂ for this position? Someone who is a tad more focused in areas of use to the SAIC? Someone other then a 72+ year old scientistÂ whoseÂ college administration background is “leading” his Alma mater (the self described “only all male historically black institution of higher learning in the United States”)Â for 12 years after he had retired from a career ofÂ Â Science advocacy?
How is this even close to the needs of the SAIC and ArtÂ communityÂ in the 21st century other then he is a warm body that I am sure has aÂ Rolodex (a literal Rolodex I mean) full ofÂ moneyedÂ contacts.
I know the Art world lives on nepotism and dresses it up as “vetting someone” but could you at least try to hide it more in the future cause it really reads poorly to a lot of people right now?
More information has come out from, SAIC Chairman of the Board,Â Cary D. McMillanhas (who is also on the McDonald’s board)Â who by telephone from vacation in ItalyÂ told the Chicago Tribune that Walter Massey is aÂ interim President brought on to release pressure from Elissa Tenny, who has been appointed to the newly created position of SAIC provost and senior vice president of academic affairs.
By end of the first semester, we’ll probably have a good idea of what direction we want to go, and probably begin a search some time after that. We didn’t want to be feeling that we were rushed to hire someone, and Walter is just such a great guy
Nowhere in the press release that the School issued is the term Interim even mentioned or hinted at. I am sure Dr. Massey is a great person, wonderful guy and might via his connections or mereÂ presenceÂ help others feel more free to make the changes or growth they need but no one thought to mention that in the press release? That the Chairman needs to clarify while on vacation in Italy 7 hours ahead of Chicago for the Tribune’s late night post; the fact this in actualityÂ anÂ interimÂ position?
More can be read at the Tribune’s Article here
Bad at Sports posted a week or so back about the removal of a Banksy mural by 555 Nonprofit Gallery & Studios (a local Detroit gallery) from the old Packard Plant to their site. At the time I knew this was not the end of this tale and that they were potentially going to reap the kind of attention they really dont want regardless of the intentions behind the act.
As an Update the cinder block mural has now been removed from display after the gallery & work had been reportedly threatened with defacement or destruction (I would imagine the gallery more then the work). The gallery has also now updated their statement in regards to their claim to include that they were given permission by a scrap metal removal crew working at the plant at the time.
Carl W. Goines, executive director & co-founder of 555 Nonprofit, told The Detroit Free Press
There was a lot of anxiety with the threats, so our board of directors requested that we move it until it can be displayed safely.
I still think there is more to come on this still yet and might even include a statement by Banksy himself eventually.