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View Diary: Want Milk With Your Racist Circumcision Cake? (48 comments)

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  •  As I've said, artists do what artists do (0+ / 0-)

    but that neither sets them above criticism or outside of culture.  As more comes out about the piece, it's clear it was staged and that the situation unfolded as the artist intended.  

    The artist claims we should "stop making up these fake battles," but then he goes and stages one -- if he's sharp enough to create the theoretical framework within which the piece unfolds, he's smart enough to realize that, in fact, he's manufacturing exactly the sort of incident and distraction that he decries.  I've spent enough time with conceptual artists to understand that this is often the goal, and while I might have problems with the work itself (he talks a lot about the spectacle of race, but completely ignores the gender aspect of his piece -- the violation of cutting the cake starting at the clitoris), I'm not really here to criticize the artwork, per se.

    I do feel comfortable criticizing the minister, and the sheer egoistic stupidity of her public participation in a performance that would absolutely and without a doubt reflect badly on her outside of certain, highly rarified circles of art.  I think it's easier if we look at it another way...

    What if a black playwright had crafted a piece that demonstrated the absolute worst racist behavior he could imagine?  What if the play required that a white actor play a role that both dehumanized people of color by engaging in brutal, abusive speech and emulating abusive actions?  Is it legitimate to write and cast such a play?  Absolutely.  Would it be a good idea for a progressive white politician to play that role publicly, and to be preserved for posterity in the image of a vicious racist and sexual abuser? Absolutely not.  It would be, straight-up, a damnfool thing to do for a variety of reasons.  In my opinion, this performance was equivalent to that sort of stupidity, even if it was all engineered with the full and willing complicity of the black artist and the white participants.

    And, protestations aside, I do not necessarily believe either the minister, or the artist, in explanations that are appearing after the fact.  With performance artists, especially, one never knows where the boundary of the piece actually lies.

    "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

    by hepshiba on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 12:56:50 PM PDT

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    •  Yes, you are probably right (1+ / 0-)
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      about a lot of things here.

      Unlike you I know next to nothing about modern art (and art generally) and don´t care about it,  so I prefer to not be very opinionate about this, and mainly just read.

      Even without any knowledge of modern art, I share this impression:

      With performance artists, especially, one never knows where the boundary of the piece actually lies.
      There is so often a doll inside a doll, public´s reaction is part of the game, and any criticism and scandal appear to be worn as a badge of honor by the artist; a sign that his provocative art is "working".

      I agree it´s a damnfool thing for a politician, not least a minister, to get herself involved in such provocative art. I think she acknowledged this herself, and anyway she will be feeling it through the embarrassement the photo is causing her.

      Appears that she is reviled by part of the art world in Sweden, so to expose her as a "damn fool" may have been part of the art project.

      There is a good background information here

      The whole thing was carefully planned, a “mousetrap” as one Swedish artist puts it. And based on how much traction the picture of the event has garnered, it was a very efficient mousetrap indeed.

      I’m left wondering – whatever the artist himself says – if the intended artwork here is not the cake, nor the performance, but the picture. Because what Makode Linde and Marianne Lindberg De Geer have produced is a picture which is incredibly powerfully laden with symbolism of colonial exploitation.

      The all-white crowd, laughing bayingly and taking pictures while the African Other screams in anguish.

      I firmly believe that whenever we exaggerate or demonize, or oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose. Barack Obama

      by Mariken on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 04:18:28 PM PDT

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