Saturday, May 19, 2012


So , some things have changed!

I started work as the park ranger for the city of Richland, so there should be all sorts of odd pictures from here on out. & I FINISHED THE READINGS!

This was facilitated by a house-sitting.  Otherwise I know regular life would have interfered.  I don't know how the rest of y'all do it. 

Anyway, here's the concensus', very short-

THE BIG ONE (Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief 'Primitivism in 20th Century Art and the Museum of Modern Art' an argument between Thomas McEvilley, William Rubin, and Kirk Varnedos)
First off-  WHO THE HELL CARES!? 70 pages of people going back and forth on a Museum of Modern Art show from 1984 has about as much relevancy to me as the rocket that didn't go to the space station today. 2 antiquated views beating each other out on who can appear more tolerant of collected "tribal"stuff and interpret a bunch of about 100 year old modernist stuff made by mostly by frenchy white types.... Claptrap! Don't care!  Modernism is nice and all, but unless I'm looking at it... It doesn't matter to me as a "concept."
Histories of the Tribal & Modern  James Clifford.
I feel like eventually we need a coherent person talking about where tribal works come from, so here's Sir David Attenborough being his sweet civilized self. 
Anyway, the reading in question... Well, for one thing, read it before THE BIG ONE, because the 2 relate. And remember, just as Jazz was "cool" in the US, it was even cooler in Paris.  One thing that both these readings forget is that Artists can't always explain why they know something is hip.  Hip is hip because hip Is.  Africa as an idea, (as opposed to being a continent that Europe had been in contact with since Mesopotamia, and was made up of innumerable tribes as well as the oldest civilizations we have yet to find out about), was just plain cool. 
Josephine Baker wasn't African, and bananas are from South East Asia, but don't tell 1920's Parisians that. Couldn't we just have a class on Josephine Baker?  She's so much more fun to talk about than, well, just about any one.  The last time I took this class (same subject matter in undergrad, but with many more "first source" materials-less claptrap) she and the hottentot venus ( were virtually all we talked about.  Ok, and Heart Of Darkness, which I'm so glad we don't have to reread....

Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial Theory: An Introduction-Laura Chrisman and Patrick Williams.
Though I understand that Britain needs its hand slapped in the 19th and 20th century for being an evil imperial humdinger, I think it's odd to act as if it was the one and only country to take over a bunch of other countries and try to impose its will. I mean, this had happened to Britain itself a couple times- like, notably, the Romans and the Normans, who both, undoubtably, shaped what Britain is. No one talks about Britain as if it's post-Norman.  It's just plain Great Britain.  I find it annoying that the only way we ever get to talk about India is as if the most tragic, and therefore only important, thing that ever happened to it was Britain. (Do you have a flag? this one is short)

However, there is one really great (out of context quote) by Walter Benjamin "the always-new in the context of the ever-same"if that doesn't explain our present quagmire, I don't know what does. 
15- What is Post (-)colonialism? Vijay Mishra and Bob Hodge.
This is a book review of a book I will never read called "The Empire Writes Back."  (I honestly thought this was a joke for the first 2/3s of the paper) Some of us think that Colonialism was just a short, unfortunate thing that happened to vibrant cultures, and luckily didn't even come close to quashing them. But, personally, I believe culture works more often in generations than in epochs, and that as important as colonialism may have seemed in the 80's, really it's the culture that I'd prefer to study, and that is still relevant.  But don't worry, this paper doesn't really address either.  
New Encounters with Les Demoiselles d'Avignon: Gender, Race and the Origins of Cubism- Anna C Chave.
If I ever liked this painting, I hate it now. I like how people post-penicillin think that is was easy to identify syphilis from herpes from a goiter from... News Flash- people used to be covered in lumps and bumps, and some of them were prostitutes, and some of them were artists.  And I don't think Picasso knew a wart from a war mask, and I don't care. 
I recently got to see a retrospective on the old guy, and I have to say, the more I see the more I realize he was just incredibly productive.  What I don't understand is why we would rather talk about this ugly painting that was obviously done quickly and passing passionately, as opposed to Guernica.  My impression of Guernica (which I've only seen the work-ups for) is that this was the intellectual, exciting Picasso.  You want to see what the man "thought " about, as opposed to what he knocked out while possibly drunk and sexually frustrated, it seems like that's Guernica in spades.  I think images of revolting prostitutes were what Picasso fell back on when he was miserable, much in the way some of my illustration friends will fall back on drawing comicbook-style explosions and gushing severed heads when they get dumped for the 6th time by the same girlfriend. 

ok, next stop the tap house with wifi . to be continued...

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