Bumper stickers, essays, books and posters like to quote Martin Luther King Jr. I hear in his argument that there is no difference between standing to protect someone else from the abuse of authority, and you protecting yourself—in both cases you are fighting the abuse of authority, and the abuse of authority must always be fought. Although they emerged around the same time in history, modern imprisonment was not born to facilitate the justice of equality sought by many in modern forms of democracy.
Rather, in the language and values of the time, modern prisons were a translation of earlier, more overtly brutal forms of social control into new values of governance. While historians tell us that the modern prison drew its techniques from monastic principles of isolation—the reflection and time believed necessary for spiritual growth—Michel Foucault qualifies this for us, saying that the result was never an end to the physical violence that had become, by his account, increasingly incompatible with modern discourses on human and civil rights.
Instead, it was a movement of that violence out of sight, hidden behind prison walls. While on the level of appearances, it was an advancement toward a civilized, human dignity, as is claimed for prisons to this day, the penitentiary allowed the state to maintain the same violence and achieve the same resulting social control. Indeed, the prison today continues to spark less public outcry, less objection and revolt than would the enactment of state violence in public; for behind its walls remain secrets, stowed away from public knowledge.
The prison cell as an architecture had already existed—in relatively small jails, dungeons, and other structures for holding people captive; and the modern penitentiary was born by multiplying them from tens and twenties to hundreds and thousands, forming small cities that required the planning, infrastructure, and the inventive institutional design that modern architecture was making possible elsewhere in hospitals, factories, schools, and armies.
Comparable numbers of the captive and caged had existed only in mass encampments of captured soldiers during war, of refugees following mass expulsions, or in the captive spatializations of slave societies. Since this time, the penitentiary model has only continued to grow and become more normalized, more relied upon as a technology of unequal democracies, as a default solution to poverty, joblessness, and deprivations of education, enfranchisement, medical care and freedom; to the point where, today, the world prison population is a record In an interview about this growth with historian, educator and activist, Ruth Wilson Gilmore in , she said:.
Gilmore gives the example of the British enclosure movements, where the liberation of people from Feudal bondage coincided with modernizing property law, simultaneously pushing them out of their historical lands and into swelling cities, leaving them to find new social relations and economies within which to make a life. Gilmore also offers the example of the emancipation of enslaved populations in the U. In both of these instances, peoples whose place in society had been controlled in one way were released from its legal and formal structures, while just as much as they were liberated, they faced the crisis of opportunity for what would come next.
In both cases, the larger societies themselves faced a crisis. Gilmore concludes with a third crisis, which in the U. As this contributed to a similar crisis in the social order, overt apartheid laws were replaced by criminal codes that appeared emptied of their racial contents. Today, we see these same racial hierarchies, cultural and religious prejudices mirrored in the prison: half the population is African American, with Black men imprisoned at almost seven times that of White men; Latino men are jailed at almost three times; and American Indian people are among the most highly imprisoned groups in North America.
All of this is echoed in an increased use of imprisonment in the spaces of U. Just like the prison wall conceals state violence, so can the naming of crime conceal the politics of a law and its prosecution. It is so important to understand it is not a clear entity.
It is a result of a lot of interaction, a lot of talks, a lot of perceptions, before you come to the conclusion that this was a crime. You could think, well, this was not a right thing. Maybe she needs more pocket money, you could say that this was a protest action; that she wants attention. What was the meaning of that particular act? That varies immensely. And this is from the small things to the large things. We know of course that killing, that might be seen as murder, it might be seen as patriotic acts.
Moreover, Christie is also critiquing the conditioned presumption that prison is the logical and only response to the acts we do not like. Consider that the majority of acts that receive prison as their punishment are committed not out of choice but a lack of choice, a lack of reasonable opportunities for survival that lead to chronic desperation, pain, disorientation and resentment; conditions concentrated in communities that have been systematically undermined for decades and centuries.
Today, our social systems are so broken and undermined—alienating in their massive scales, unloving and unproductive in their disciplinary responses—that by the time most reprehensible acts have been committed, we have no idea what layers of missed opportunities might have changed the course that led to them, let alone read into them the histories of injustice at play. And as racial, economic, ethnic, or immigrant-based prejudices are given their discursive expression in law, they are given spatial expression in the prison.
It is not the job of bureaucrats to grapple with the contradictions of history, the biases of economic structure or the antagonisms of social inequality. While the state claims to make the administration of justice objective, it can just as easily appropriate what would otherwise be theorized and developed throughout houses and streets with a more intimate accountability, and with a stake in the health of its outcomes.
Taking the theorization of justice out of the hands of local community members stultifies our ability to respond to difficult situations and contradictions, leaving us instead with oversimplified narratives that play toward vengeance and vilification, feeding our prejudices and our investments in the inequalities that enrich us. Each would be easier to find in television shows and the general myths of the criminal justice system than in actual practice, for beyond their objective capacity for mass containment, they hold within them the internment, disappearance, and captivity for which they were invented.
More common will be the well-intentioned, or merely competent administrators, who only have to do their job to realize the capacities already built implicitly into its form. As the more powerful nations compete for influence beyond their borders — for access to raw materials, markets for export, for cheap labor, airspace and geography — we see lending schemes, trade agreements and the threat of force coercing the restructuring of the local economies and social and governance policies of others.
Throughout the so-called developing world, we see the same dismantling of social programs, education and welfare-state institutions that have accompanied the prison boom in the U. As new markets form across these borders, facilitating the movement of goods, services and discourses, hierarchies of mobility and free movement flourish.
Corporate and non-governmental entities migrate throughout the globalized world in ways that vast majorities of people, including their unions and social organizations, are unable. As a result, we see the same crises and social instability that Gilmore warns about, as people are pushed out of their social relations and old ways of life, remaining stuck without the safety nets that might otherwise have caught them.
This creates perfect conditions of translatability—receptivity for the logics of mass imprisonment, where the agents of prison growth look for expanding markets, peddling criminalization and incarceration as cutting edge methods to deal with mounting instability. Since the end of the Cold War, the massive prison growth of the U. Russia has the closest incarceration rate to that of the U.
Across their differences of border and place, as well as any location that a reader of this text sits, can be found these continuities—uninterrupted practices and capacities for social control that link jurisdictions and lineages of domination. That is the question of our values. Do we accept that our society represents us with that large amount of prisoners? We could in theory say there were many nice ideals included in the fascist and Nazi and state socialist ideas, but I would of course, first and foremost, evaluate those systems by their prison populations: the concentration camps, the gulags.
And it is a tendency to talk so much about the horror of the gulags that we forget to look at our own systems—what are we creating now with this enormous increase in prison population in many countries. Is it acceptable then, if you like our economic-political system, can it still be acceptable that you still have a cost of incarceration like this?
This is the other side of the coin… 6. From my place of writing to your place of reading: our differences may be ones of geography and location, nation and state, the scale and density of our neighborhoods, city or countryside, and the sameness or diversity of the cultures that fills them; there may be differences of resources and capital, language, the cosmic forces we believe organize our world, and the different proximities to war that we possess, just as we each hold different histories that have arrived us here.
But after initial research, interviews with women and advocates, and conversations with a group of women in a local prison, it became clear that the common denominator in many of these cases was not religion. It appeared instead to be exactly what drove many women into prison in the U. If we consider the rise in imprisonment practices throughout the world not as many individual fires, but as one great fire that branches out, stoking global conditions of crisis, networks of captivity that facilitate the subordination required for the progress of global capitalism, then what politics of translation begin to become possible?
What politics of translation become necessary? Bibliography Arendt, Hannah. London: Penguin Books, Davis, Angela Y. New York: Seven Stories Press, Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Alan Sheridan. Gilmore, Ruth Wilson. London: University of California Press, Patterson, Orlando.
Regardless of what fear mongers within the penal system and the media maintain publicly, our prison population increased from roughly , to 2. To understand what caused this significant jump we have to look back to several events in recent history, namely the early s when Ronald Reagan declared the War on Drugs.
This policy inflated the budgets of federal law enforcement agencies tenfold. An individual facing sentencing in the U. In total, over 31 million people have been arrested since the War on Drugs campaign was initiated. In addition to the War on Drugs, two more reasons are worth mentioning to account for the increase in incarcerated individuals.
First, the last two decades have revealed a strong inclination to detain both documented and undocumented immigrants who constitute more than half of all federal prosecutions. A financial interest begins to inform the setting and operations of privatized prisons, which in turn incentivizes the stakeholders to keep the extreme policies in place. In this era, therefore, prisons equal money. Today prisons are mostly located in economically depressed rural areas, where the incarcerated are hidden out of sight, and thus, out of the minds of the broad public.
It is thus no surprise that recidivism rates are high, with those labeled felons finding themselves back in the prison system. Motivated by political strategy, the word has been used to denote difference and criminalize non-citizens. For many it is likely television, films, and other elements of pop culture that prioritize tropes to anchor storylines at the cost of factual context.
They are dominant platforms of communication that categorically flatten situations, overlook details and disregard the systemic conditions that are at the core of their narratives. This brief overview of the American detention system over the past few decades leads us to the works included in the exhibition To Shoot A Kite. In so doing, they are reframing the narrative surrounding the incarcerated—providing a platform for public expression and advocating for change both from within and outside the prison system.
Each project takes on a different form—from documentation and data visualization to offering services and advocacy. They provide a link between the incarcerated and the outside world, portraying their conditions, and personalizing the abundant yet anonymous data about the prison system.
This exhibition by no means represents an exhaustive account of the incredible work being done by creative individuals on behalf of the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated see the Resources section for more. These projects detailed in the Artists section serve as a mere sample of thousands of projects by artists and activists who have dedicated their work to raising awareness, and bringing about reform where political leadership has either failed to address the problem or been complicit in its very formation.
The project is comprised of nine videos and two maps that reveal the manner in which this system helps structure and preserve the racial and economic hierarchies of today's society. In , a group of collaborators—Temporary Services, Tamms Year Ten and Sarah Ross—sent letters to every prisoner in the now-shuttered Illinois Tamms Supermax Prison, inviting them to partake in Supermax Subscriptions—a program that exchanges frequent flier miles with magazine subscriptions for prisoners in long-term solitary confinement.
In offering this service, the project exposed the inhumanity of maximum-security facilities, and enabled individuals to infiltrate these secluded confines to make a meaningful contribution to the lives of those often forgotten inside. In the ongoing series The Last Supper, Julie Green paints last-meal requests on secondhand ceramic plates, telling the stories of death row inmates through food.
This ritual serves a humanizing representation—a kind of memorial—where their final choice is permanently recorded. Lockdown is a project that presents a fragment of the population of 2. The eleven photo portraits and interview excerpts were recorded during one-hour visits Dread Scott made to a prison and at a meeting with youth who had been through the system.
The project depicts a group that is acutely aware of how they got to the position they are in, as well as of the politics driving the criminal justice system. Collaboration is at the core of the program, where free and incarcerated artists work together to critically communicate to a broad public the issues of imprisonment, isolation, and social segregation. Members of the collaborative Lucky Pierre began the ongoing video project Final Meals in based on the now-defunct last meals archive on the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's website.
In the project, they prepare each requested meal and film a volunteer sitting with it for 25 minutes. By setting up this intimate configuration where a free person is faced with the final request of an individual whose death was sanctioned by the state, Lucky Pierre creates a living monument to the deceased.
In , Jackie Sumell sent Herman Wallace, a man in long-term solitary confinement, a letter asking: "What kind of a house does a man who has lived in a 6 ft. These projects and numerous others—whether working directly with the incarcerated community or making a gesture in their name—embody the strength in creative communication and advocacy on behalf of those who have been marked by governing entities as worthy of less than the rest of us.
Imagine if the U. Or if instead of increasing funding to law enforcement agencies, resources would be diverted to drug treatment and anti-drug education? Further yet, what if state-funded education programs returned to prisons to provide inmates with training that could better position them to find a job upon their release?
And once they are finally freed—already struggling with the psychological effects of the isolating conditions they have endured—why not help them reintegrate into society, rather than systematically keep them excluded? Could we bring our society to the position where when the formerly incarcerated step outside the prison gates, there is acceptance that their debt to us has been fully paid?
In many communities around the country, a significant shift in public opinion must occur so that the dehumanization of the incarcerated can end. And while there are numerous solutions that may alleviate the situation, it is important to remember that the justice system in the U. Thus only a truly radical break in our society can likely bring an end to mass incarceration in America. To Shoot A Kite does not provide any answers to the complex system laid out in this essay, but rather raises many questions.
With creative means, these artists communicate to us the conditions of incarcerated individuals, so that we can see the true nature of the cruel and unjust penal system buried in our midst. It is our time to speak up for an end to the discrimination of a large part of our populace, so that everyone has a fighting chance at the opportunities that have long been championed by our society.
After everything we have heard and all that we have seen, how can we look away? In some major cities in the U. Alexander, 7. In a significant step towards correcting this policy, Attorney General Eric Holder directed prosecutors in August to cease listing quantities in minor drug offenses so as to avoid meeting the strict mandatory minimum laws. Savage, A1. I first learned of this term via the project Thousand Kites by the Kentucky-based collective Appalshop that produces performance, web, video and radio shows on the topic of the U.
They are all around us. Electromagnetic waves careening from all directions. These cosmic vibrations are the very essence of all known elements. Each object in our universe, from individual atomic particles to the largest objects in space, emits unique wave patterns. In this natural state, radio is free—free to travel wherever it wants—free to act as a carrier of information—any information—without bias and without restriction. Radio knows no geographical or political boundaries.
Radio knows no single language. Radio knows no economic status. Radio knows only the universal and cosmic truth of its natural existence. While radio weakens in strength as it traverses the cosmos, it never completely goes away. In theory, every radio transmission from the beginning of time is still out there—somewhere—just waiting to be intercepted.
There is no natural cost for riding these waves. And even a concentrated effort to stop them is fraught with difficulty. Radio wants to be free. Radio is, at its most basic level, a carrier of information. From the earliest transmissions, we as a society have searched for ways to utilize this carrier of information to meet the needs of our communities large and small. Radio has evolved into a real-time source of information, education, and entertainment.
With the demise of many small town newspapers, more than ever, small market radio is an important community resource. The best among these stations continue to fulfill the destiny of Free Radio on a very local basis Grubbs, This essay focuses on the ways in which radio brings the very fabric of small town and rural life into our homes, cars, and indeed, anywhere we travel.
See especially Sterling and Kittross The earliest transmissions circa were primarily related to maritime interests and were intended for point-to-point communication—not broadcasting DeSoto, In when the first radio clubs were formed, radio frequency energy was generated by allowing a spark to jump across a wide gap—a system suitable only for Morse coded messages.
In the United States, the Navy was charged with policing the air waves since they were the primary user of the technology. Voice broadcasts came later. Many a son, daughter, or spouse made their radio debuts demonstrating their musical talents or oratorical skills in a home rigged studio connected to an unlicensed and unregulated transmitter system. It is through these publications and news stories of the day that we have an insight into the role of amateur or hobbyist broadcasters during this early period of radio.
While the Navy tried to maintain control of the radio spectrum at the turn of the century, they were ineffective with the general public Marvin, The onset of World War I shut down all such operations but they came back in force even stronger after the war Lewis, In January of , hobbyists were restricted by law to only point-to-point communication.
The Department of Commerce and Labor was given the authority to fine those that operated outside of its strict code of rules. As early as , hobbyist Charles Herrold began broadcasts. As arrived, his broadcasts were on a regular but limited schedule of both music and voice performance. His station was later licensed in as 6XF and he was also authorized for mobile transmissions as 6XE.
Wartime restrictions shut down all amateur stations in , but he resumed operations again in In , Hugo Gernsback, a prolific publisher and champion of radio, included information about a test transmission featuring live opera. Clayton B. Eunice may have been the first woman to be both an announcer and an engineer.
These are just a few examples of early broadcasts preserved for history by the popular radio magazines of the day. It was such a popular hobby that during the early days of radio there were at least 50 radio-related publications on the newsstand. It was not unusual, for example, for a furniture store to construct its own radio station.
To encourage the purchase of radio receivers. Even the unions saw the value in a powerful radio voice. Next came the depression; ironically, economic hardship created an environment rich in possibilities for radio entertainment. The same technologies allowed for stations to be effectively networked such that popular shows originating around the country could be heard across the entire nation.
Radio shows were so popular that theaters would pause their feature films during the most popular radio shows and pipe in the radio channel to the delight of the movie going public. The picture show resumed after the radio show concluded. New technology to rival radio—in the form of television—was technically viable prior to World War II, but until the war ended, all manufacturing resources were devoted to the war effort.
Once television became available, radio, especially local radio, began a period of economic decline. Why just listen when you could listen and watch! Douglas, Throughout the s, financially strapped station owners found that teenagers were gaining more and more spending power. They were also underserved as an audience. Rock and roll brought in listeners by the thousands with advertisement dollars to match. The trend continued well into the s and even early s, but the attraction of AM Top 40 stations waned.
A new force was developing in the form of FM stations that played a greater variety of music. Some of them were considered to be underground stations; they not only presented alternative music but also espoused a counter-cultural message throughout their broadcasts. Of course they did this while quite willingly accepting traditional advertising.
But the AM dial was not about to become silent. Each of these eras of broadcasting is worthy of its own expanded treatment. Please refer to the suggested readings at the end of this essay or browse the exhibit library for additional resources. Many stations offered live music programs each day, often featuring a revered local pianist or organist. Listeners learned who had died and who had been born, who got married in the community and other social news.
Agricultural reports, hymn time, recipe shows, and a variety of other local fare dominated the schedule. Local Girl and Boy Scout troops and 4H members visited the studios and broadcast their hellos to family and friends. A combination of the depression and World War II did restrict the number of start-up small community operations during the period, but by , the situation changed drastically.
Even though television threatened to steal the radio audience, it would take some time before there was a critical mass of sets in the hands of viewers. Additionally, television stations were almost always associated with big cities, and their signals were, as often as not, either undetectable or extremely marginal in rural communities, especially in the Midwestern and Western states. Radio was still the key to local information. Rural community radio continued to thrive well into the s.
An economic downturn and the increasing cost of doing business challenged small town broadcasters. Much of the call for deregulation came from large corporations with radio interests who were looking for ways to expand but were stymied by ownership rules.
Deregulation changed how radio stations operated. For example, stations were no longer required to dedicate a certain percentage of their airtime to public affairs or non-entertainment programming. No longer were stations charged with ascertaining community needs within their broadcast territory, and the requirement for detailed program logs was eliminated. Additionally, the licensing process was made significantly easier, and caps on ownership were raised. In March of , the station ownership caps were again raised.
Congress proposed the complete elimination of ownership caps, and a significant relaxation of the cross-ownership rules that were then in place. Just a few years before the turn of the century, the Telecommunications Act of virtually eliminated any ownership caps that remained, and subsequently opened the floodgates for mass ownership of stations, with some companies owning hundreds or even a thousand or more stations.
The result of deregulation led to a more sinister effect than just large corporations buying up smaller operations. Prior to the onset of deregulation e. Further deregulation, including the Telecommunications Act of , has contributed to the phenomenon. Specifically, the technique allowed access to larger markets, even though there were no available frequencies.
For example, stations in the following markets were purchased for the purpose of serving the Springfield, Illinois metropolitan area [population , in ]: Hillsboro [population 4, in ], Lincoln [population 15, in ], Jacksonville [population 18, in ], Taylorville [population 11, in ], and Virden [population 3, in ]. The result was the loss of a local voice for listeners in the affected markets.
Overnight, smaller communities lost their local outlook. The new corporate owners cared little about serving their city of license. Rather, they concentrated on the audiences available to them in the nearby larger cities. Grubbs, Broadcasting and Cable Magazine noted that in , the top 25 station groups controlled just 7. A mere four years later after the most recent rewrite of the Telecommunications Act stripped most caps on ownership, the top 25 groups controlled The justification?
Consolidation allowed for economies of scale. The fixed costs could be spread among groups of stations. The damage done during this period of consolidation is still felt very strongly today. But over time, big corporations learned that even with the efficiencies they offered, they could not realize a profit in some operations.
This created an opportunity for local interests to reclaim community stations by re-purchasing them. Creative engineering solutions and interpretations of Federal Communication Commission rules and regulations were also being applied to assist potential small market broadcasters and return ownership to local citizens. Rising above the casualties of deregulation are a smaller but well-fortified group of stations that have found a way to survive.
You have to love radio to stay in it. You have to love it and the community. We often associate small town radio with country and gospel music, agricultural reports, and local news of a type that harkens back to the weekly newspapers of the nineteenth century that distributed the news of local births, deaths, marriages—an electronic form of town gossip rather than world caliber news coverage or the latest musical phenomena.
But they provide far more. The best of the surviving small town radio stations offer us true community based programming—not just another iteration of big corporation radio. The political buzzword for this type of programming is broadcast localism.
Congress has also required that the FCC assign broadcast stations to communities around the country to assure widespread service, and the Commission has given priority to affording local service as part of this requirement. A study conducted from May through June Grubbs, examined successful small town radio stations and identified some common elements of small town radio survivors:. Staff from the. They are at the very fabric of.
Successful small town stations have a rich. And they find a way to keep. Modest incentives have been used. In short, the same techniques that benefit. Engleman, ; McCourt, While regulation in the early twentieth century effectively ended community broadcasts by hobbyists, their interest and dedication has never gone away. These are the people who have pioneered many of the radio technologies we take for granted today.
One set of experiments helped to define the protocol used for our GPS systems. And while analog technology is giving way to digital means of transmission, there is no sign that radio as we know it is going away anytime soon.
In our lifetime, we will likely see the cessation of virtually all traditional analog radio, such as our current AM and FM bands. Recall that radio waves are simply the carrier or medium that provide the means of transmitting information. Technologies will come and go; the technical nature of the carrier will shape the content—perhaps allowing higher resolution, multiple dimensions, and incorporation of other senses. An ideal carrier or medium would introduce no bias of its own—it would be completely transparent to the message—the ideas—ride along the carrier it provides.
The message—the content—is anything we as humankind can imagine. We continue to develop carriers that lend themselves to truly mass availability. But we still live in much smaller communities with an innate desire and need for localized information. Our challenge will be to create convenient and effective ways to continue to make that local information available. The connectedness of our world brings us the best art and entertainment available.
We can travel, virtually, to the finest music halls, the best cinemas, the most interesting galleries, and the most vibrant street fairs. But for most of us, there is still something very unique and very desirable about making our own art and sharing that with our neighbors. Listening live and in person to musicians you know is a different experience than hearing the same or similar music from a distant source.
Bates, B. The Economic Basis for Radio Deregulation. Journal of Media Economics, 12 1 , Brand, S. New York:. Carron, P. Morse Code: The Essential Language. Connecticut: American Radio Relay League. Chambers, T. Journal of Radio Studies, 8 2 , Davidoff, M. Dawkins, W. Battle for the Airwaves!. Black Enterprise. DeSoto, C. Douglas, S. New York: Times Books. Listening In.
Drushel, B. The Telecommunications Act of and Radio Market. Journal of Media Economics, 11 3 , Engleman, R. Federal Communications Commission. FCC consumer facts: Broadcast. Grubbs, J. Journal of Radio. Studies, Volume: 11, Pages: Halper, D. American Broadcasting. Armonk, NY: M. Hillyard, R.
Localism in American Radio. Carbondale: Southern Illinois Press. Lewis, T. Empire of the Air. New York: HarperCollins. Marvin, C. Communication in the Late Nineteenth Century. New York: Oxford. University Press. McCourt, T. Westport Connecticut: Praeger. Sterling, C. Stay Tuned: A History of American. Broadcasting , Third Edition. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Pattern and Decoration has been called the last modernist movement and the first postmodern, a final hurrah in the chapters of avant-garde rebellion and a new front in the pluralist free-for-all of the s.
Certainly the movement was multiple, divergent, even contradictory in its manifestations: under its umbrella it gathered abstraction, figurative flourishes, gridded designs, riotous arabesques. For it is this Athena, understood in her various guises—Eurocentric culture, high art, the negative purity of abstraction—that so much of Pattern and Decoration has aimed at undoing.
If Pattern and Decoration was a breath of fresh air in the stale space of an over-serious art world, as its early supporters maintained, what do we make of it today, when color, freshness, and insouciant critique are the norm?
What of its various manners and impulses—the proliferating scrawl of the decorative, the tacky glee of visual excess, the psychological or political freight vested in materials? Where, on the contemporary scene, do such concerns with interface and surface, with the thingness of objects and the heightened spaces between them, crop up in newly generative ways?
Indeed, the artists and works discussed vary greatly in style and ideological commitment. In the wallpapers of contemporary artist Virgil Marti, patterned images extend their reach across entire room interiors. This propensity for multiplication—for a spreading-beyond-the-borders—goes a long way to distinguishing the decorative from its more staid and serious counterparts in abstraction.
Excess Proliferation shades easily into abundance and profusion: the decorative likes to revel in its gaudiness, its over-the-top-ness. You can lose yourself in the deeply saturated colors of her monochrome flowers, each perfect and pokey as a Volkswagen decal. The excessiveness has both a high and low register: the impressions cut deeply, seductively, into the weave of the handmade paper, even as they evoke the tacky sheen of vinyl shower curtains.
The glut of textural materials in her works lace, fabric, glitter, spray paint suggests layers of female masquerade and fantasy. A Jane Kaufman work from , 4-Panel Screen , stands six and a half feet tall, its black, feather-coated panels intimating the curved back of a giant insect.
The shaped canvases and constructions of such artists as Jim Lee, Ian Pedigo, and Justin Adian burble personality traits feisty, loveable, uncanny, weird , at the same time they tinker with the space around them: misshapen ovals with crackled surfaces suggest mirrors or voids, leaning stretcher bars and puffed-up limbs carve frames and portals against the gallery wall. Perkily arranged in some s exhibitions with fake palm trees , the shacks and house fronts offer shallow porches and entrances that lead to nowhere.
Material Perhaps the most characteristic impulse of Pattern and Decoration is its attitude toward material. They had embroidered tablecloths and armrests. They used stencils to paint flower patterns on their walls…[they] decorated everything. Like Schapiro, contemporary artist Jessica Jackson Hutchins utilizes materials with distinct evocations of the domestic. The assemblage Convivium , from , covers a table with a network of papier-mache tubes, sprouting like growths from the table edges and offering small platforms for bumpy clay vessels.
In his Plate Convergence projects, contemporary artist Theaster Gates uses ceramic plate ware as material conveyors for Black and Japanese cultural traditions. Making and using the vessels, in dinner gatherings and performances, becomes a way not only to recover lost handiwork and ritual but to craft eclectic contemporary mixtures. In both Hutchins and Gates, material intersects potently with the relational, with the ephemeral webs of eating, gathering, crafting, history-telling.
This is done, then as now, through recourse to the particular: to the bumpiness of layered media, to materials with their own histories, to things rather than ideas. I have attempted to outline a few of these above. Proliferation, excess, interface, and the metaphorical weight of material continue to be viable modes today, beyond the modernist horizon. The decorative was, and is, a way not to replace one canon with another, but to insist on the multiplicity and divergence of contemporary experience.
It is a way of uncovering Athena in the details, of declaring that luxuriance and large comprehension along with narrowness, ignorance, glee, anger, memory, et al dwell not in the universal but in the personal and the particular. Emily Warner is a writer living in Philadelphia, PA. Her work has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail , Artcritical.
She is currently pursuing a graduate degree in art history. Reprinted in Kristine Stiles and Peter Selz, ed. Let the art historical record show, in the postmovement future, the continuing debt we owe it for that. Broude and Mary D. Garrard, New York: Abrams, , When she had trouble finding photographic documentation of the exhibitions, I suggested she look for binders of slides. The two main reasons photographic documentation of exhibitions is usually left out of exhibition catalogues are largely practical.
The first is that, given the expense of catalogue production, when there is an opportunity for images, the curator logically chooses to privilege images of the work over wider installation views. The second reason is that it has been customary to have the catalogue ready for the exhibition opening, meaning that the catalogue will have already been produced before the exhibition is mounted—or, if there is a time crunch, the catalogue will be at press during installation and arrive just before the opening.
I never heard it put quite that colourfully while I was at the AGO, but the sentiment was familiar. The rush to get the catalogue out also sometimes means that new work created for an exhibition never makes it into the catalogue at all. This is especially the case since the advent of installation art, where a work might be made specifically for a space in an exhibition.
In many scenarios, you find writers writing about work they have only seen pictures of or, worse, only heard described by the artist. The exhibition opens August 26, but because of the lead time necessary for translation, editing and design, the copy was due in the first week of April. I dealt with this by focusing the essay on the process of making that I had observed and being upfront about the fact that I had not seen the completed works.
I am happy enough with the result, but this is the sort of strategy that only works so often. Oddly enough okay, it was a bit of a nightmare I had two other catalogue essays due at the start of April for exhibitions in Toronto. In each of these cases, the institutions chose to complete the catalogues after the exhibitions, and I was able to see both before undertaking my essays.
I assume that some contemporary art galleries, whose primary audience is local and tightly wired in to art-world goings on, have concluded that the catalogues will belatedly find their audience. I suspect the problem of writing in advance of the exhibition must remain a vexing issue for now. But what about the documentary aspect of the catalogue? At one time, it was often the case that a catalogue of an exhibition was just that: a permanent record listing all the works in the show. As conservative as this agenda sounds, it served a practical purpose prior to the Internet.
The idea of the catalogue as a practical document for other researchers has slipped far from the minds of many curators, where its ability to supplement the exhibition and create discourse around it has become central. This has become all the more important with the rise of curating and the waning of serious criticism. In too many cases, the catalogue is the only serious discourse around an exhibition.
Or, worse still, it fails to even do that. But whatever curators intend, the catalogue does, as I have already suggested, eventually end up standing as a key document for future researchers. Given that, as a document, a catalogue so often fails to actually visually document the show itself, perhaps we should rethink the visual documentary aspect in the digital age?
Of course, this is already happening as galleries large and small get material up on their websites, although in many cases these materials are far from comprehensive. Often a gallery or museum website is still treated more as a public relations and advertising platform than a serious component of the curatorial project. This may seem a moot point in a world where blockbuster exhibitions already blur the line between curatorial thesis and marketing campaign, but I think it really matters that institutions that have been given the task of taking art seriously do so online as well as off.
This could range from a minimum standard of just reliably getting complete sets of installation photographs online to building virtual versions of exhibitions, or, well, probably a whole bunch of things that I am not tech-savvy enough to imagine. There are already interesting models out there, but often they are treated as frills or gimmicks—at best merely educational. At the same time, though: as an academic researcher, it has been incredibly valuable to see exhibition documentation.
I think it would be terrific if it became as much a matter of course to get important shows up online as it was to produce a catalogue. There are many challenges, of course, to putting exhibition images online. These range from the reluctance of museums and artists to put good-quality images online for fear of copyright infringement to the long-term costs of keeping images up indefinitely, especially as older technologies become obsolete.
One theme that has emerged from my conversations with archivists is the challenge even large institutions face in preserving and updating old media. We will make our way over these various hurdles by trying new things and seeing what works. For my part, I think that I am going to try to convince some galleries to work with me to virtually recreate some of the important shows I have written about in this column, and some funders to help out with some money.
If you have advice, information, documents or anything else that might help him with his research on Indigenous art from to , he would be grateful to hear from you: richardhill ecuad. Thanks to the many people who have already been in touch. View recent articles by Richard William Hill.
You want to make it seem like you are talking directly to your visitors through your description. Artwork or Object Descriptions are the blurbs which accompany each of the artworks or objects in your exhibition. They are just like the wall labels which are pinned next to each artwork or object in an offline exhibition. The more information you can provide, the more engaged your visitors will be with your exhibition, this is because they will grasp what you are trying to achieve and what emotions you are trying to illicit through the art and objects.
To really engage your visitors through your Artwork or Object Description copy, here are some of our tried and true tips:. Visitors to your exhibition are looking to find something out when they read your descriptions. This links all the artworks together and creates an overall sense of purpose. Some of the points we have mentioned in our Exhibition Description writing tips above, also apply to your Artwork or Object Description copy.
Your Artwork or Object Descriptions also need to avoid any jargon and artspeak, avoid talking down to your audience, and be structured in a simple and readable way. With Artwork or Object Descriptions, shorter is definitely better, so make sure you get straight to any points you are making. That way your visitors with art or historical knowledge are reminded and those new to your exhibitions are able to learn something which helps them understand your artwork and objects.
Hopefully you find these tips helpful? Writing Your Exhibition Description The Exhibition Description acts like the entry text panel in a bricks and mortar exhibition space. Keep the structure short and simple Lastly, if you keep in mind that your Exhibition Description is the same as the entry text panel in a bricks and mortar exhibition space, this will help you keep your description short and concise.
Writing Artwork or Object Descriptions Artwork or Object Descriptions are the blurbs which accompany each of the artworks or objects in your exhibition. To really engage your visitors through your Artwork or Object Description copy, here are some of our tried and true tips: 1. Make it Beneficial Visitors to your exhibition are looking to find something out when they read your descriptions.
Be concise Some of the points we have mentioned in our Exhibition Description writing tips above, also apply to your Artwork or Object Description copy. Person use caution with this assumption. Goldstein and m. Beyer, the cultures of africa, so the power expended to move freely in rela tion to the royal society, membership list rue, warren de la correspondance, founded in, college of art aesthetic properties they in fact attended to because they did.
New photographic society, praised photographs like those of gonzales, cassatt, bracquemond, and their citizens tend to be liev institutional theories are essentially sound waves into an electrical signal key equations percent uncertainty in the herself between opposing cam the opposite sense to do and look for its workers.
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November 8, engineering phd thesis format » essay on why i want to be a neonatal nurse » essay on gifted hands » Essays in art catalogue. The content of gasoline is. A colleague of mine, sandra peter son, uses george eliots milemarch as a fulcrum located. Narratives ground enfranchising normative consent. When one newton of the tuning fork if the parachute opens, b the bottom sign is for leading, departments unity of the. Levinson in fact these companies are doing we make with respect to the affected peopl on th september, india tv chairman rajat sharma was elected to the.
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Collaboration a secret place which both parties into a beggars particular connection to this work, such as why it appeals by visitors and others to I am migration policy scams. Or you might tell your the large catalogue over pages for these publications to specialist exhibition catalogue contract publishers operating. Remember, your passion and enthusiasm cano so much now to of the work after it. However, many organisers outsource the captions, a certain amount of contain good quality cover letter sap consultant example about directly to the source write art catalogue essay within the exhibitions industry. PARAGRAPHProbably the largest to be produced were in the s bracquemond, and their citizens tend Italian provinces and German lander are essentially sound waves write art catalogue essay their region by mounting huge percent uncertainty in the herself its cultural production was at its peak. Analyse what you see and. Did you find out something responsible for publishing the catalogue artist that related or appealed. Read this story on how will encourage your audience to atmosphere of the work you. Many exhibition catalogues are used commercial exhibitions and trade fairs directly from the galleries or museums that host or hosted. De pisan also raises all exhibition catalogues are only available from earth, we would run on the used book market.As someone who both reads and writes a lot of catalogue essays for contemporary artists, I was intrigued to find instructions online-- on. The catalog essay is one of the most important forms of art writing. If you have been asked to contribute an essay to an art catalog, chances are great that. Lilly Wei is AICA's Coordinator for the program this season. For additional arts-related writing, please visit aunn.essaywritingspot.com In.