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 »
I love David Bowie so, so, so much. SO much. There’s a David Bowie colony in my heart that takes up most of the left ventricle. I am awed and inspired by his body of work, by the flexibility of his mind, and by his prowess as a performer and as a businessman.
That all being said, he is sometimes unbearably pretentious. Take, for example, his responses to a Proustian personality quiz given to him by Vanity Fair in 2009: Keep reading »
Perfect. Absolutely perfect. Happy Sunday! [imgur]
“The kind of clothes that I’ve found I like to wear over the past year and six months have all been things that make me feel powerful and strong. I wear a lot of pants. I wear a lot of long, structured dresses.”
In a chat with Vogue for their March 2014 issue, Lorde shared some of her fashion philosophies. The singer looks up to people “who have such a sense of themselves” within their style, like Grace Jones and David Bowie. Lorde is about the most self-actualized high schooler I know of, and that certainly comes across in her sartorial choices. She’s mentioned that her favorite designers are Comme des Garcons, Miu Miu, Moschino and Simone Rocha, but the singer also has a dog named Jimmy Choo — another favorite brand perhaps? In the past, she’s explained to Vogue how important clothes are to her musicality: Keep reading »
Does watching David Bowie sit, strum a guitar, and stare menacingly into the camera for the better part of 3 minutes and 9 seconds sound like your idea of a good time? Well, it better, because I don’t want to know the person who answers no to that question. In stark contrast to the macabre religiously-themed visuals from the second music video off his new album, “Valentine’s Day” is pretty much just a video, rife with gun imagery, of a casually dressed David singing in a dungeon looking creepy as hell. It’s an appropriate and tasteful tribute to the song’s sensitive subject matter — the lyrics were inspired by the February 14, 2008 massacre at Northern Illinois University.
Today in things that are perfect: a recently unearthed recording of David Bowie and the late, great Freddie Mercury singing the Queen song “Under Pressure,” without a backing track, their amazing voices isolated for your enjoyment. I got chills. [Huffington Post]