Tuesday, October 28, 2014
“War is simply a continuation of political intercourse, with the addition of other means,” Carl von Clausewitz wrote in his famous book on battle strategy, On War. Many misquote that saying more pithily as “War is politics by other means,” but the idea that politics plays out on different battlefields remains true. Several recent performance pieces responding to political issues in America make a case for performance art as politics by other means, too. From Dread Scott's performance On the Impossibility of Freedom in a Country Founded on Slavery and Genocide (shown above) tackling the long history and sad continuation of racism in America to Emma Sulkowicz’s Mattress Performance: Carry That Weight challenging America, especially
to address the issue of rape, performance artists are creating
powerfully direct pieces that visualize and humanize sometimes faceless
and forgotten issues. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Performance Art and Modern Political Protest."
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
When Howard Zinn first published A People's History of the United States in 1980, he hoped to
a “quiet revolution” in the way people viewed history. By giving voice
to the voiceless relegated to the wings of history while major players
dominated the stage, Zinn wrote history in a wholly new, revolutionary
way. Just as Zinn gave those people a voice, photographer Paul Strand gave them a face, but more than 60 years before. Paul Strand: Master of Modern Photography at the Philadelphia Museum of Art traces the development of one of the founding fathers of modern photography in
search of democratic ideals not just in his native America, but all
around the world. Viewing the world through Strand’s lens will renew not
just your faith in the power of art, but also your faith in the human
spirit’s resilience regardless of time or place. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "How Paul Strand Photographed the 'People’s History.'"
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
“If you love someone,” pop star Sting sang years ago, “set them free.” Sometimes the first rule of love is forgetting all the rules that constrain the object of one’s affection, while trusting that the beloved will return on their own. Nineteenth century British artist J.M.W. Turner knew all the rules of painting from the Old Master tradition, but once he reached his seventh decade and found himself an Old Master, he began cutting ties to the old rules of his beloved painting and set it (and himself) free. The results, on glorious display at the Tate Britain’s exhibition Late Turner: Painting Set Free, heralded new
directions in art followed by the Impressionists and nearly every modern art movement to follow. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "How Turner Loved Painting, So He Set It Free."
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
It’s one of the most unforgettable opening acts of any 20th century film. In the midst of a dense jungle, a mercenary pulls a gun on the man paying the bills in the search for buried treasure, hoping to pull a double-cross now that the payoff is near. With the crack of a bullwhip, however, the disarmed man scurries off into the jungle. The hero turns and we see for the first time the sweaty, unshaven, handsome face of Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (shown above). Raiders, as fans now call it, remains one of the highest-grossing films ever, launched the Indiana Jones film franchise, and continues to rank among the greatest action-adventure films ever made. But could it be even better as a black and white, silent movie? Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Is Indiana Jones Better as a Silent Movie?"