Below is an archive of Fall 2020 work from the Art & Society course by Tana LaKale:
Response to Alfredo Jaar:
About Alfredo Jaar’s Interviews
Without knowing anything before about the Chilean artist, I read the three interviews and the first impression he gave me is that he is someone with a plenty of references that finds inspiration in literature and poetry, which gives him an aura of romanticism and Bohemianism that I don’t know if fits very well with after the experiences he lives to produce his artwork: Wars, hungry, apartheid, dictatorship regimens…
I don’t have very clear his purpose and I see some clear contradictions in his speech, something that usually happens when artists try to make something meaningful out of other people’s disgraces. He says art is ‘peace’ and ‘freedom’ when the subject he uses for producing artwork is completely dehumanizing, and at the same time recognizes that there are things that can’t be solved with art. We should think instead who feels the ‘peace’ and the ‘freedom ‘ of your art, and if it is pointing the right direction.
When he uses the example of ‘The Man’ as a ‘reason’ why almost 50 years later Barack Obama was elected as president, it is a nice inspirational example of how culture can influence people mentalities, but I think that what he is forgetting as many other ‘provocative’ artists, is that book gives hope, gives the possibility: Makes you see a diverse future, a new option despite the reality of legal racism that The States where living at that time. I think that the problem with Alfredo’s speech and many other contemporary artists speeches when they talk about hard realities is that the look for bringing to the surface the drama or the compassion to the spectator in other to appeal to their cause, but they are not giving any fantasy, any hope, any dream, any peace or any freedom to the real affected ones.
And anyways eight years later came another racist government led by a clown that we all know, so maybe the influence was there, but the real change on the American mentality it wasn’t at all.
Anyone can say their art is political and it is fine: ‘Everything is political’, the difference is which art is making a political change, and I don’t think that is something that is happening now when the biggest diffusion platforms for artists to the global public that would be the internet and specially the social media platforms like Instagram are the biggest censors: The ones who decide what you see and what you don’t depending on how do you play to their games, the ones who decide what you can post and what you can’t, what will be trend and what it won’t.
I think he’s intention is very legitimate, but I am not sure about the formalization and the real concept behind his artworks. He says a lot of things that can be interesting by themselves, but I think he deals with loads of contradictions that can affect his credibility.
Response to Jerry Saltz’s The Last Days of the Art World … and Perhaps the First Days of a New One:
‘Art will go on. That goes without saying, since art is much bigger and deeper than the business that supports it’
These days I can’t stop thinking about art as a business and art as a living. This is always stressful, because it requires to make a step with no way back and a huge investment in all the meanings possible.
+ I want to be an artist.
+ Great, now what?
That is a great conversation with myself.
When I think in the art market that I should become part of at some point, if I decide to and I have what you need to for being there, loads of contradictions invade my mind.
+ So, that means I have to study marketing?
Not feeling like marketing right now, probably I will never feel like studying marketing. It is horrible to think that all the greatest artists who achieved great income and fame with their art were all great at marketing, and the greatest artists who didn’t but they are now extremely famous it is probably because someone after them had those marketing skills.
I really don’t feel like I will ever be those kinds of artists I see in the macro galleries, and that is something important because they will be the only ones surviving this crisis. I don’t want to see my work sold in extremely surreal auctions where buying art pieces is an entertainment for millionaires, I would feel like I am the entertainment and I don’t work for them.
+ And what will you do niña?
When I think in the future of art… I see it blurry. But that is a nice thing I guess, because when you don’t have a route to follow, you have the obligation of making your own.
Caos, sex, texture, smell, food, pleasure, love, lust, opulence, gold, sensuality, gula, color, Caos.
Intro Unit Projects:
‘The Blue of Distance’ of Rebecca Solnit
Rebecca starts the chapter trying to explain why the blue of the sea is only appreciable by the distance we take from it, and that if we want to possess it, is the moment we lose it. ‘The beauty of that blue can never be possessed’. When she started explaining us about how writing in her childhood helped her fix in letters her memories, I instantly thought that I had to connect these thoughts with the short-film ‘Zima Blue’.
This ten minutes animated film talks about a parallel reality that involves different worlds, where people live on planets but also out-space, and they live hundreds of years. Zima is a half-human half-robot that is over making portraits of people and decides to make bigger and bigger murals. In these huge murals of representations about the space and other natural motifs, start placing this little geometrical form painted of ‘Zima Blue’: His specific tone of blue. These geometrical forms start getting bigger and bigger with time, until they are the only thing that appears in his huge artworks of thousands of meters long. After years in an unknown location, he decides to call a journalist in order to tell his own true story.
Step by step, he came back to the blue. The blue of the pool tiles: The first thing he recognized. His own blue of distance that in this case, was the one who would bring him back.
The conclusion I could take about Rebecca is that we have to learn how to love and appreciate this blue of distance. To appreciate melancholy, missing and loss. And also applying Zima to the equation, that sometimes we have to know how to come back to the purest form of our existence, and as Gary Paul Nabhan explains, play like his kids in the Grand Canyon: With hands and knees.
‘All flies go to the light’