Thursday, May 20, 2010

Abramovic Portraits + Super Tuesday + RIP Arakawa + Boycott Arizona!

Is it mid-June yet? Nope. Oh well.

On another tip: a while ago I wrote about attending Marina Abramovic's show, "The Artist Is Present" at the Museum of Modern Art. Today a student, Rachel K., sent me a link to Marco Anelli's portraits of Abramovic and her sitting participants, all 20 pages of them: Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present—Portraits.

The Artist Is Present, from above, MoMaHere's the young woman I captured a photo of on the day I went. As has been reported, some notables (Colm Toibín, who wrote about his experience on the New York Review of Books' blogsite; Agnes Gund; James Franco; Lou Reed; Rufus Wainwright; Björk (and her daughter); Tehching Hsieh, etc.) have participated. Some, like this gentleman, participated multiple (10+?) times. Some have been brought to tears by and during the experience. Another tried to bring Abramovic energy through humor, even painting a red dot on her nose. And perhaps, most dramatically, Abramovic's former partner, Ulay, joined her as the third participant, on the first day, and took her hand, bringing her to tears.

Finally, it seems, even the museum guard who appeared to have been a bit bemused about it all the day I was there got into the act. Oh well. If you can't dismiss them, join them!


There are thousands of things I'd like to write about on here, but I have no time. But I did want to note this past Tuesday's elections, which the mainstream media, from what I can tell, have described as a referendum on incumbents. This is true to a degree, but I also view the results as a statement of utter frustration at the games that the administration, Congress and both major political parties keep playing on behalf of corporations, those with power, Wall Street, with minimal regard or care for the needs of the rest of us, which is to say, most of us in the US.

To give just one recent example, instead of sticking to his pledge not to support offshore drilling, the president decided to coddle his BFF, Senator Lindsay Graham, by publicly announcing support for drilling, to get support for the Kerry-Lieberman energy bill, only to see the turnaround blow up in his--and our--faces, as a drilling rig operated by British Petroleum (BP), Transocean and, of course, Halliburton, exploded, very likely because of numerous safety violations, killing at least 10 rig workers, wounding a number of others, and bursting a deep-sea pipe that has been spewing millions of gallons of oil continuously since the catastrophe. The devastation this oil disaster is wreaking and will cause will haunt us for years to come, and yet BP probably will get off with a slap on the wrist, as the President issues tepid condemnation and Congress wrangles over how to limit sanctions on these criminals. As C said, this is environmental terrorism, yet I have no confidence that there'll be serious penalties for it.

But this is only one example of what's gone on, again and again, over the last two decades. It all came to a head in 2008, with the financial collapse, but we've been building towards this moment for decades. Economic inequality has worsened, the country has shed high-wage; low-skill jobs, not only in manufacturing but also in the service sector; millions have seen their savings vanish and their assets, what little they had, depreciate; and all the major institutions in this country appear to be geared towards enriching those at the top, always at the expense of the middle and working classes, and the poor. Those who have a lot get a lot, those who have a little give to those who've got a lot, those who have nothing don't get squat. One incoherent response to this is the manufactured Tea Party; another are disaffected people on the Left who've pushed for primaries or dropped out of the process altogether; and millions who still are willing to vote decided against the major parties' chosen hacks--Arlen Specter, Daniel Mongiardo (both of whom had official Democratic Party support), and Trey Grayson (the choice of top Republicans, like Mitch McConnell and Dick Cheney)--in favor of upstarts: Joe Sestak (whom I'm glad I supported last fall), progressive (for Kentucky and the South) Jack Conway, and libertarian-Republican-Tea Partier Rand Paul, respectively. Progressives also made a huge push on behalf of Arkansas's Lt. Governor, Bill Halter, in his bid to unseat corporatist Blanche Lincoln, and Halter won enough votes to force a June 3 runoff.

I foresee more victories of this sort, as the Democrats continue to dither on pushing real reform and remain stuck in late 1990s neoliberal and corporatist economic policies (it's Bill Clinton's terms redux, but with problems approaching the scale that faced Franklin Roosevelt), and the Republican base moves ever further to the extreme right while the national party still pushes neocons and its own brand of corporatists and worse. Just yesterday I read, apropos of the state visit by Mexico's right-wing disaster of a president, Felipe Calderón, that the White House's economic advisors not only have argued against renegotiating NAFTA (as if that were ever an option), as not only Barack Obama but Hillary Clinton had called for during the Democratic primary campaign in 2008, but that they've even argued against any policies that would preclude offshoring, and in fact are now using a lobbyist memo (I'm not making this up) championing that horrid policy as a means for job creation! Yep--for the rich, for those execs who make those jobs vanish overseas more quickly than is occurring now, for those shareholders who haven't been wiped out. As for all the domestic workers who're hoping those jobs come back, Obama's economic team and the Democrats have three words for you: Go to hell!


An artist who, with his co-artist/partner/wife, Madeline Gins, created works to defy death (Reversible Destiny: Architecture Against Death), including a truly topsy-turvy funhouse in Long Island, has...died: Arakawa. Goodbye, sayonara, see you in the next lives....


SB 1070: Boycott Arizona!

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