Archives for posts with tag: African American

Marc Jacobs Hat

I bought a huge green fur hat from Marc Jacobs.  It’s very warm, very green and attracts many, many comments.

The people who comment fall into three distinct groups.

1.  The people who comment most are African-American men and women who approach me with huge smiles and open hearts and say wonderful things about the hat.

They tell me how happy it makes them.  They ask where they could get one.  They love the color. They hold me at the checkout at Trader Joe’s and ask if they can touch it.  Black school kids holler across the street.

2.  White woman tentatively tell me how much they like it, how warm they imagine it is.  They rarely look me in the eye and their diminished confidence allows them only the slightest… but genuine opinion.

3.  Gay men.  I sighed writing that.  Gay men.  I sighed again.

When gay white men (strangers) talk to me about my hat it is always with sneering disregard.   They go out of their way to say something catty and unpleasant.   They look at me witheringly, their comments infused with: who do you think you are wearing that absurd hat?   They dress compliments up in such a way that confuses the listener.

If the African-Americans who complement my hat had not done so I would have nothing to compare the responses of the gays.  I might think I was going crazy.  But I’m not.

We all know what a heartfelt compliment sounds like and the gays seem incapable of giving one… unless (of course) they want to get laid.

Here are more pictures of our brief stay in Malibu and our trip home.

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black-1.2

It is a black day for the international LGBTQ community.

Clément Méric is as good as dead.  His brilliant, 18-year-old queer brain mangled by right-wing thugs on the streets of Paris.

He is presently kept alive by a tangle of opalescent tubes.

In Russia activists are targeted by government sponsored bullies.

In London intellectuals are beaten to the ground by members of the EDL.

In NYC a black man is shot in the face and killed.

Trans people are murdered every day all over the world, often without investigation.

Have you heard?  There is, amongst the general population, a perceived inevitability about LGBTQ equality.

Some amongst us are becoming complacent.  Bloated on the success we think we have.

Basking in the support we think we get from the President.  In fact we are silenced by him.

His words over deeds have silenced us.

We must speak up.  Continue to challenge. Continue to be seen.

We must not shirk our responsibility to queer martyrs like Clément Méric.

Speak up. Heckle.

ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Actis only now being widely discussed after the petulant FLOTUS was confronted by GetEQUAL queer activist Ellen Sturtz.

I congratulate Ellen.  Finally, a voice for the queer poor heard over the screaming voices of the queer rich.

As the Great Recession continues in so much of the USA, ending workplace discrimination (especially for trans people) is essential.

Listen to me or you can take the mic, but I’m leaving. You all decide. You have one choice.

FLOTUS

Remember.  As we strive for parity there will be those with equal and opposite views.

There will be violence.

There will be those who will kill an 18-year-old queer boy because they can.

African-Americans had to face nearly another century of lynchings before the Civil Rights Movement was powerful enough to push back strongly against violent racists.

The women’s movement of the 1920s, side-tracked for a generation until the 1960s, with so many needlessly broken lives and life expectations as a result.

Queer people are being attacked all over the world: Paris, Moscow, New York, London by increasingly emboldened haters.

As we demand equality in the workplace, the home and in the establishment these attacks will become more frequent.

We must, whether we like it or not, form a true LGBTQ alliance not only in name but in practice.

It is too late for fear to drive us into the shadows. We are out. We are visible.

We need to be more fearless and more visible.

LGBTQ.

This means YOU.

This means ME.

Reading about Clément Méric this morning, looking at his sweet, boyish profile… I began to question my own behavior.

I have, of late, let resentment toward the gays shape my own kind of homophobia.

For those of you who have read my blog these past couple of years the provenance of this loathing may seem understandable.

Today, I need to jettison those resentments.

If I truly believe in this fight… I have to accept those I detest as my queer brothers and sisters.

I thought that you might enjoy this picture as much as I enjoyed creating it.  Inspired by Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn.  My Hasidic Easter Bonnet.

Spent yesterday planning my trip to Cannes.   Of course, I love Cannes when everyone is there for the film festival.  I am deliberately revisiting all the places that we visited together so that I can expunge him from the memory of the locale.

As NYC becomes less emblematic of those painful days with him and more joyful as I remake this city with the other.  The streets are no longer associated with those miserable days of fruitless longing.

The sunshine is mine and mine alone.  I love the streets!

Could you imagine anything more ghastly than sitting in an office day after day for thirty years with minimal vacation?   Looking forward to retirement?   Eww.

My therapist and I are planning my escape.  An escape that will include the possibility of a return to what I used to enjoy:  peace of mind.

On Saturday morning I saw a young mother drop her baby on its face.   The baby was fine.  Mainly made of gristle they are more resilient than they look.  Sturdy little things.  The young mother, more from embarrassment, screamed out “My baby!”   The restaurant hushed, her other child started crying, her own mother with whom she was having breakfast, sat immobilized by fear.  There was, however, something about her scream that reminded me about the moment the Big Dog was hit by the truck.

The trauma associated with that ghastly moment lives with me, shapes my thinking and holds me hostage to the notion that I must never be hurt like that again.

When we were interviewing old people last month we met an old man who told us that he couldn’t own pets any longer because he fears the depth of emotional pain that comes with a beloved pets death.

I know what he means.  The pain felt around the death of anything you love, the loss of anything one cares about (as one gets older) is without parallel.

In many ways I am more numb now than I have ever been.  Less able to feel for fear of being badly hurt.  How could I have got this far without…and then I thought back.  I remembered the excruciating pain of being dropped again and again as a small baby/infant/child.   Suck it up Duncan.

Sunday.  Birthday party with friends.  I ate too much cake.  I was wearing a lilac cashmere sweater that garnered some reaction.  “That’s risky.” A rather bland looking woman commentated.  I smiled and thanked her as if she had just complimented me.

The baby was fine.   A little redness on the forehead but after a few moments of crying he/she was smiling and gurgling.

Incidentally, after all my Jay Jopling bashing for not being political there is a show at Mason’s Yard called NEW ORDER that looks very promising.  This work looks very impressive though a little austere.  Where is Max Beckmann when you need him?

I am desperate to see this.  I hope it is as subversive as it looks.

I have included the gallery’s incredibly verbose description below.  Who writes this shit?  Look at the way they over use/mis-use the word polemical.

Masons Yard 8 Apr—14 May 2011

‘The dream of a suitable political work of art is in fact the dream of disrupting the relationship between the visible, the sayable, and the thinkable without having to use the terms of a message as a vehicle.’
Jacques Rancière, ‘The Aesthetics of Politics’ (2006)

The relationship between aesthetics and politics has been a polemical issue for much of the history of art. In particular, the late twentieth century saw an overt politicisation of critical discourse amidst collapsing colonial hegemonies, global wars and the emergence of civil rights movements across the world. This was coupled with artists questioning the principles of modernism opening up the debate as to what constituted a work of art. A number of key figures emerged on the international art scene, whose practice specifically dealt with issues of power structures, race, injustice, gender and dissent. The works featured in ‘New Order‘ share a focus on the transformation of social or ideological structures that shape experience, and in different ways they explore existing communal, political and physical constructs of the everyday.

The formal geometry and commonplace materials of Miroslaw Balka‘s ‘Kategorie’ (2005) lend the work a pared-down aesthetic generally connected with Minimalist and Conceptual art. A six-metre long, two-metre high tunnel is interrupted by five fine coloured threads, suspended from rotating motors on the ceiling. The work is rich in associative historical and political references, such as the traumatic memory of wartime atrocities in his native Poland which Balka has addressed throughout his practice. The colours of the strands – red, violet, green, pink and black – are the colours assigned to uniforms identifying different categories of prisoner in the concentration camps (red for political prisoners; violet for Jehovah’s Witnesses; green for criminals; pink for homosexual and bisexual men; and black for Romany people, alcoholics and individuals with learning disabilities, among others).

Part of Doris Salcedo‘s ongoing series in which found domestic furniture is used as a vehicle to explore the traumatic political history of her native Colombia, ‘Untitled’ (2008) features tables and wardrobes, conjoined and partially entombed in concrete. The re-assembled components of the hybrid form of the sculpture, each through use embedded with a material history, function as silent witnesses to implied personal and collective narratives.

Rooted in black urban experience, David Hammons‘ practice comments on the iniquities present within social, political and economic systems. Critiquing the relationship between high art and the street, his sculptures often feature found objects laden with cultural association. Hair clippings swept from the floor of a Harlem barbershop are fashioned into a cornrow hairstyle upon a smooth oval rock in ‘Rock Head’ (2000), while in ‘Which Mike Would You Like to Be Like?’ (2001), Hammons takes three vintage microphones that serve as surrogates for three prominent figures in recent popular culture – Michael Jackson, Mike Tyson and Michael Jordan – referencing the limited range of role models for young African-American men.

The densely-layered, collaged paintings of Mark Bradford also incorporate materials salvaged from an urban setting, including torn bill posters or newsprint. The abstract compositions reference alternative cartographies that burgeon within cities, such as the spread of an economic underclass, the movement of immigrant communities and race relations. In ‘Strange Fruit’ (2011), fragments of text drawn from the local ‘merchant posters’ Bradford frequently uses echo across the painting, while the title is taken from the protest song about the lynching of African-Americans in the 1930s, sung by Billie Holiday.

In Julie Mehretu’s ‘Mumbo Jumbo’ (2008), a swirling vortex of shapes and marks on a grey ground, overlaid with architectural passages, give the sense of a gathering storm. Made on the occasion of the inaugural New Orleans Biennial in 2008, the painting conveys the destructive power of uncontrollable nature within a stricken cityscape, mired in bureaucratic chaos.

In 1969, Anselm Kiefer photographed himself in a variety of imposing locations (often in settings evocative of German Romantic imagery) making the Nazi salute. The resulting series, entitled ‘Besetzungen’ (‘Occupations’), provocatively confronted the blanking out of history and questioned the collective guilt of an entire post-war generation in Germany. In the works presented in the current exhibition, ‘Heroische Sinnbilder’ (2011), Kiefer revisits the iconography of his own art history, as a means of investigating the resonance of totalitarian symbols across the passage of time.

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