Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art

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  • CALL TO ARTISTS (2 comments)

    • Comment by Janina Ciezadlo on April 25th, 2014

      I was one of the founding members of the Part-time Faculty Association at Columbia in the 90s. I have written extensively about it, but no one wants to publish ay of it (I am a writer formerly the Chicago Reader, Afterimage the Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism–so it’s not just angry drivel). At one point when I was drafted to serve on what became the (IEA-NEA) union, and I tried to organize a visual campaign (MFA  Indiana University, Bloomington Printmaking during the Middle Ages, presumably)–The work (some of it–I would be happy to share) was modeled on old Malevich designs; I tired to make a logo and sticker art with photos of the faculty at the Bauhaus and I was hounded out and all the union pols hated the work. My evocations of earlier successful experiments seemed to have been too subtle for the moment.It was a horrible experience in which, naked power(on a somewhat pissant, but still important scale) , had no use for art. I had also tried to organize panels to show that precarious faculty had real intellectual and creative lives beyond the  sweatshop of classroom labor. This too, was not supported and scorned by the union. I left with some very hard questions, lived questions, about the relationships between politics and the arts and about who one would come together with, ever? Without being crushed or exploited. Of course, I wouldn’t recount any of this if I didn’t wish you well, and hope that it was possible to rise above it. 

      Comment by Eric J Garcia on May 12th, 2014

      The fact that social political art is being made here in the comfortable, apathetic, security state is revolutionary.  I often get told  “what do we have to complain about? Why make political art?”  These questions are always asked by people who only care about their own good fortune, not wanting to recognize or acknowledge that their good fortune rests on the shoulders of others who struggle to live.

  • PREFACE (1 comment)

    • Comment by stephen f. eisenman on May 5th, 2014

       On the contrary, even more than in 1936, there is today a “monolithic target”: neo-liberal capitalism, aka finance capitalism or monopoly capitalism.  This is a global system more powerful than any that has existed before. It has weakened national and local politics, depleted resources that were formerly free and taken for granted (clean air, water, fertile soils), and created a global division of labor whereby the southern hemisphere is essentially the industrial proletariat for the northern. Not content with that, it has destroyed unions and workers rights everywhere, and established a tax policy that continues to increase the wealth of the already rich, and accentuate the poverty of those at the bottom.  That this is a single, “monolithic” force is proven by the global character of the Great Recession, and the global nature of the ecological crisis that looms over the whole planet.  While it may be expedient to attack the beast in myriad local ways, it is dangerously misleading to encourage people to believe that simply tinkering with pet issues — gun control, gender violence, loss of privacy — will make a difference. Even those local issues now require a broader coalition if they are to achieve any success! That indeed is the very point of a “congress” — to bring people together.  This congress, in union with many other congresses, can make an impact on the global threat. It can enforce radical changes in taxation — for example by creating a tax on the sale of common stock, derivative trades etc to discourage speculation and raise money for essential infrastructure. It can demand a high carbon tax, with offsets achieved by cuts to regressive consumption taxes paid by the poor.  It can redirect spending on war to spending on education. It can increase federal subsidies on carbon neutral energy sources. It can demand large taxes on global corporations based upon the location of their sales, not the putative location of their offices. And much more. It can nationalize the vast monies now invested in retirement funds and put them to use in cleaning the oceans, replenishing the soils, and ending monopoly of the giant food and chemical produce (the latter are often the same). The name for this process is peaceful, democratic socialism, and it is the only viable way forward.

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