VICE wrote up a cool panel discussion at Bard on the subject of politically engaged art today, but it was lacking an answer to the question it posed: Can art be a form of political activism?
The obvious answer is, well, yes, of course. I mean, look at Jacques-Louis David’s “The Death of Marat,” or practically any of the paintings that he finished during the French Revolution: It’s basically all political propaganda, and very effective political propaganda, at that (Marat was a revolutionary writer who was assassinated; David’s painting institutionalized him as a martyr of the revolution). Manet’s “Olympia” was a political challenge to the art world, its aesthetics and values, inasmuch as it very clearly depicted a prostitute who, rather than having an idealized body and rather than existing for the aesthetic pleasure of the viewer was painted with an imperfect, human body and a confrontational expression. In the 1970s, Mierle Ukeles challenged the art world on its class and gender politics by publicly performing “low” or “women’s” work at the Wadsworth Atheneum, cleaning the museum and washing its front steps as a way of pointing out all the things that must be done to support museums and keep them physically viable. Their boards of directors, their curators, and the artists displayed might get the public attention, but museums couldn’t function without maintenance work. Keep reading »
A few people on the internet think that Sia’s video for the song “Elastic Heart,” starring Shia LaBeouf and Maddie Ziegler, depicts pedophilia. Why? I don’t know. Well, I do, but it would be mean to say, so I’ll just think it. Anyway, case in point: Keep reading »
Ever wondered what corner of Ted “Dr. Seuss” Geisel’s brain Green Eggs and Ham came from? As it turns out, it came from the part that takes dares. The iconic book was conceived after a dare to write a book containing 50 words or less (it comes in at 50 exactly).
In this video, the chief curator of the Mandeville Special Collections Library at UC San Diego, Lynda Claassen, walks through Geisel’s writing and illustration process, using his working notes and illustrations for Green Eggs and Ham. Check it out! [h/t BOOOOOOOM!]
We’ve all heard the criticism that Barbie dolls warp young girls’ beauty ideals, but what if those little girls got to see a Barbie with a less than perfect appearance? Paris photographer Hamid Blad wanted to take a deeper look at Barbie’s beauty (or lack thereof), so he put together his “Barbie Blad” series, which features Barbies from varying eras in a less flattering light than we’re used to seeing in the toy aisle. His goal was to illustrate the line between real and false beauty, so Blad used the 19th-century collodion image-making process for the photos, which takes longer than modern photography to expose and develop. He also incorporated a UV light that makes the dolls seem a bit less fake and cropped them tightly. Blad styled the dolls’ hair and skin as if they were real models and named them after ’70s runway icons. Keep reading »
So many year-end lists, so little time, so we’ve rounded up the best of 2014′s year-end roundups just for you… Keep reading »