Tuesday, June 18, 2013
“Workers of the world, unite!” Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels bellowed in The Communist Manifesto in 1848, largely in response to the Industrial Revolution (and Second Industrial Revolution) threatening not just the livelihoods but the very lives of many workers as profit reigned mercilessly over people. Marx even put the slogan on his tombstone, long before the Soviet Union adopted it as their official mantra. Workers of the world today facing the double whammy of technological revolution and systemic economic collapse wonder what, if anything, they should unite around. Although she doesn’t take the idea as far as I’d like to, Yvonne Roberts in The Guardian offers a possible solution in 19th century British artist and designer William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement. Morris “esteemed craftsmen and women, unlike today when they are seen are second-besters,” Roberts writes, but I think you can extend that “second-best” label to nearly all the “99%” facing underemployment or non-employment around the world. Can a 19th century British art movement solve the modern global jobs problem? Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Can a 19thCentury British Art Movement Solve the Modern Global Jobs Problem?"
[ANNOUNCEMENT: I will be presenting a lecture titled “Art Made Personal: Chris Sanderson and the Wyeth Family” at the Christian C. Sanderson Museum in Chadds Ford, PA, on Sunday, June 23rd, from 1 to 3 pm. Please come out to support a great museum with a great collection of art and historical artifacts.]
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Because two thirds of all countries in the world have abolished the death penalty, the majority of executions happen in just five countries—China, Iran, North Korea, Yemen, and the United States of America. The idea that the state holds the power to exact the ultimate price in the name of law and order remains one of the biggest debates both internationally and within the U.S. No place in America is that debate hotter than in the state of Texas, which has executed more than a third of all prisoners killed in the U.S. since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. One member of Texas’ death row, Travis Runnels, recently added a whole new dimension to the debate by donating his body to Danish artist Martin Martensen-Larsen's proposed artwork, The Unifier. Martensen-Larsen plans to paint Runnels’ corpse gold (artist’s conception shown above) and pose it in a parody of Daniel Chester French's statue of Abraham Lincoln in The Lincoln Memorial. The Unifier could become as controversial as the death penalty it takes as its subject. Should a death row inmate’s corpse become art? Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Should a Death Row Inmate’s Corpse Become Art?"
Sunday, June 2, 2013
Despite knowing the full-colored truth, I’ve always pictured the 1930s and 1940s in black and white. Laura, The Big Sleep, The Killers, Shadow of a Doubt, and countless other examples of classic American film noir define that era visually for me with their stark contrasts of dark and light paralleling the paradoxes of American society of itself. The starkly titled exhibition Hopper Drawing, which runs at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City through October 6th, examines how Edward Hopper, the preeminent painter of that era, used drawing to develop iconic works such as Nighthawks and New York Movie. As familiar as Hopper’s signature works are, seeing them in black and white through Hopper’s undervalued draftsmanship is seeing them anew. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of
"Edward Hopper’s Noir Drawings."
[Image: Edward Hopper (1882–1967). Study for Nighthawks, 1941 or 1942. Fabricated chalk and charcoal on paper; 11 1/8 x 15 in. (28.3 x 38.1 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase and gift of Josephine N. Hopper by exchange 2011.65.][Many thanks to the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, for providing me with the image above and other press materials related to Hopper Drawing, which runs through October 6, 2013.]