Thursday, June 30, 2011
Now the stuff of history books, the iconic photographs of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States were once front-page news: snarling dogs, baton-wielding police, high-pressure fire hoses, and more used to keep African-American men, women, and children from realizing the promise of the American dream. White Northerners saw such images and pushed for legislation such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to aid African Americans, bringing to an end that sad chapter of American history. Or so the story goes. In Seeing through Race: A Reinterpretation of Civil Rights Photography, Martin A. Berger argues that the story in the history books isn’t true. Instead, Berger believes, those images portrayed African-Americans as weak and incapable of saving themselves—a portrayal that continues to prevent true equality and plagues race relations to this day. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Did the Iconic Civil Rights Era Photographs Do More Harm than Good?"
[Many thanks to the University of California Press for providing me with a review copy of Martin A. Berger’s Seeing through Race: A Reinterpretation of Civil Rights Photography.]
Monday, June 27, 2011
When Walmart comes to your town, there are always two different reactions: “No! They’ll kill all the small businesses!” Or “Yes! Big selection at low prices!” A similar phenomenon is taking place in the world of American art museums as all eyes turn toward Bentonville, Arkansas, where the doors of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will open this November. The brainchild of Alice Walton, daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton and the third richest woman in the world (her sister-in-law Christy is number one), Crystal Bridges both beckons art pilgrims to a new experience and inspires dread in those who see it as a sign of the apocalypse of art in America. After reading Rebecca Mead’s New Yorker profile of Alice Walton and her museum, “Alice’s Wonderland,” it’s only natural to ask if Crystal Bridges will become, for good and/or ill, the Walmart of American art museums. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Will Crystal Bridges Become the Walmart of American Art Museums?"
Friday, June 24, 2011
We all draw as kids, yet most of us stop drawing somewhere around the fourth or fifth grade. Doodles seem unserious by then, and adulthood only makes us less likely to draw. Ivan Brunetti’s Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice might be the way to rediscover, if not your “inner child,” perhaps your “inner cartoonist.” “This ‘classroom in a book,’” Brunetti (shown above) explains, “provides the aspiring cartoonist with a practical means for creative self-discovery and the exploration of complex ideas through the iconic visual language of comics.” Cartooning may be the medium, but self-discovery and self-exploration is the message. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "How to Unleash Your Inner Cartoonist."
[Image: Ivan Brunetti (author photo featuring miniature desk). Photo credit: Kurt Lauer Photography.][Many thanks to Yale University Press for providing me with the image above and a review copy of Ivan Brunetti’s Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice.]