Political Art, Abstract Art

Sometimes a blog post is a way to place a marker for articles I want to refer back to later. This is one of those.

People who have read this blog for a while know of my interest in abstract design. A short look back for new followers: This was my first attempt (ignoring the fact that most traditional quilts are abstract).

finished quilt

24 x 30

It started with a photograph of my street.  (Its history, reverse order, starts here.)

Then there was “Hole in the Safety Net,” which started as mere shapes and evolved into concept.

feb cla draft 2

And was helped by title to make a statement beyond what mere shapes could say. Its history is here along with a link to the finished product.

Enough background. On to the articles.

The first responds to an exhibit of abstract works of 12 black female artists and tells of their struggle to be recognized in a white male art world, a world where even black art critics considered abstract art to be white art. “Women of Color Find Their Rightful Place in the History of American Abstraction.

The second does two things. It places black artists firmly in both abstract and political (racial in this context) camps and makes a profound statement about race: “How to Embed a Shout: A New Generation of Black Artists Contends with Racism.”

And the statement: “Adrienne Edwards, curator at Performa, the Walker Art Center, and a scholar who has written a good deal about Pendleton’s work, professes: ‘Blackness is the original abstraction; people are living abstractions, meaning [they are] made up, conjured.’ Yes. I have to agree. For others, this sign of dark skin might symbolize anything and its opposite: strength, weakness, triumph, and debacle, membership or exile. The racial imaginary conditions all of us raised under its auspices to project onto black people one’s fears or desires, so that it becomes difficult to be seen as a human being rather than a space for projection. Lowery Stokes Sims, a curator and former director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, adds the historical fact: ‘If you take the track that abstraction came out of African art, then we are just claiming our birthright.’

“Blackness is the original abstraction”: think on that . . .

And yes, I remember that I promised to do the whiteness syllabus (here); it is still on the back burner where my subconscious can work on it while I finish up a few other projects.

 

 

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5 Comments

Filed under design, social issues

5 responses to “Political Art, Abstract Art

  1. sue

    Love both of them, and nice to know the history. Quilting is just great.

  2. I wonder if all women, whether of colour or not, have been making quiet statements in their abstract art through the medium of quilting because it is seen as non-controversial, ‘safe’, ‘women’s work’ rather than ‘real’ art as practised by mainly white men.

  3. dezertsuz

    You do like to enter the political field, in art, as well as thought. These two examples of your abstract endeavors are very appealing.

  4. Much food for thought, interesting post! I like your first abstract art piece and then the evolution of your next piece. You know how much I liked your abstract piece I saw in person at SOQS last year! I too like to use my blog as a placeholder for future ideas! Technically the blogs are our online diaries (we just happen to have other people reading our diaries, lol) 🙂

  5. Entirely too much that COULD be said about all of this, so I’ll just say I like the direction you’re going.

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