Items of Interest, White Paint Edition
"I was next."
Heather Mac Donald, Barometer of Hate.“The museum immediately started planning an exhibit around the marble Why Born Enslaved! that would serve as a corrective to what the staff now viewed as the impossibly mystified Passions of Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux. The new show would ‘critically engage with issues of imperialism and colonialism that are present in that bust that were not addressed in that [earlier Carpeaux] exhibition,’ Nelson told ARTNews. Then the George Floyd race riots erupted in the summer of 2020. It became even more important to insulate the Met against any possible charge of curatorial white privilege. So the museum belatedly engaged an associate professor of writing at Columbia University, Wendy Walters, to serve as cocurator with Nelson. Walters’s closest involvement with art museums at that point had been limited to an obsession with white paint. White paint irritates Walters, especially on the ‘walls of educational spaces,’ so she is writing a book on its ‘social and cultural implications,’ as she put it in an interview.”, Visiting Hokusai. “In the exhibition, the picture books were opened to double page spreads featuring studies of bridges, trees, landscapes, clouds, sea foam among other images. Looking at the manga at first glance it looks like a sketchbook with hand drawn line drawings and washes of color. On closer examination we can see how the lines were delicately pressed and supported with two tones, a light gray and a secondary, supplemental pink. The craftsmanship is stunning; the lines move freely like a continuous freehanded stroke.”
Vincent Lloyd, A Black Professor Trapped in Anti-Racist Hell. “Four weeks later, I again sat in front of the gathered students. Now, their faces were cold, their eyes down. Since the first week, I had not spotted one smile. Their number was reduced by two: The previous week, they had voted two classmates out of the house. And I was next.”
Gary Galles, Subsidizing Higher Education Is Not Creating Widespread External Benefits. “Many have argued that subsidizing higher education results in higher productivity, benefiting others. But competitive labor markets mean that higher productivity is captured by the workers in higher compensation, not by others in society. Consequently, it does not justify subsidies from others. It has also been argued that subsidies are justified because they increase the supply of skilled workers, lowering costs. However, the greatest part of that ‘gain’ is actually a transfer from existing workers forced to accept lower wages for their skills than otherwise, not a net gain to society.”
Elizabeth Johnson interviews Caleb Stoltzfus. “When I was working on the Farm Series, it was within the context of one of the most intense political moments that I’ve experienced (2018-2021). Coming from a Conservative background, and living in the city during the pandemic, made me grapple with rival ideologies that were circulating with a particular intensity. Andrew Wyeth’s work uses his personal experience of his home, neighbors, the local landscape––observational paintings, in other words––to explore universal topics. I believe autobiographical paintings are important because they are expansive enough to encapsulate contradictions.”
Emina Melonic, The Soviet Erotic and Today’s Misbegotten Effort to Kill Eros. “There are things that transcend time and ideology, in spite of all efforts to the contrary, and it is these that make us human. Sexual tension and especially love, that is to say all things relating to eros, are part of that transcendence. Eros is among the more mysterious and powerful forces we live for, or at least, we should live it as it is the driving force of life, creativity, and abundance. The world which we inhabit right now, however, seems devoid of this tug as it is devoid of the desire for life such erotic moments indicate are part of our nature. We have worked even harder than the communists did at designing an erosless world, a machine to churn out purely perfunctory artifacts, the purposes of which are, paradoxically, meaningless.”
Jacob Sullum, The New York Times Warns That Freedom of Speech ‘Threatens Public Health’ and ‘Democracy Itself’. “[T]he First Amendment clearly bars the government from banning speech it views as hazardous to public health or democracy. The plaintiffs in Missouri v. Biden, who include individual social media users represented by the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), argue that federal officials have violated the First Amendment by trying to accomplish that goal indirectly, blurring the distinction between private moderation and state censorship. The government ‘can't use third parties to do what it can't do,’ NCLA attorney Jenin Younes tells the Times.”
Maureen Mullarkey, Even White Paint Is Racist Now. “The NorWhite study is a corrosive mélange of leading questions, buzzwords, and innuendo that implies what it does not openly claim. The study simply ‘examines’ how titanium white pigment — ‘a superior color’ — ‘led to an aesthetic desire for white surfaces, but was also connected to racist attitudes.’ As universal as racism itself, TiO2 circulates ‘through our material, biologic and economic systems.’ It is ‘virtually present in all techno-natural surfaces globally.’ Hint, hint: The color white is both agent and expression of colonization.”
Nigel Biggar, Anatomy of a Book Cancellation. “As I have laid bare in my book,they have barely an intellectual leg to stand on. Rationally, these little emperors are virtually naked. So, terrified that they will be exposed, they make a lot of aggressive noise to silence critics and distract onlookers. They cancel, because they can’t answer.”
Emma Camp, After Muslim Students Complained That an Art Exhibit Was ‘Harmful,’ Macalester College Shut It Down. “Yet another Minnesota college is embroiled in a controversy after a group of Muslim students expressed outrage over ‘offensive’ art. Last month, Macalester College—a liberal arts college just two miles from Hamline University, where a similar controversy involving an adjunct art history professor erupted in December—briefly shut down an exhibit from an Iranian-American artist over student claims that some of the work displayed caused ‘harm.’”, Rules for Rhetorical Art. “These should be born in mind by any artist making rhetorical arguments through art, regardless of their politics. As these things are not taught in university art departments (and even some of the more traditional art schools), they are worth spelling out, despite seeming obvious. Even obvious things are not taught now, because they can be used against the establishment and the status quo by the competent rhetorical artist.”
Ente: zero-knowledge image storage.
Newly released: Nicholas Frankel, The Critical Writings of Oscar Wilde: An Annotated Selection.
Available for pre-order: Nina Paley, Agents of H.A.G. Paley is a cartoonist whose 150% funded IndieGoGo campaign was refunded to backers by IndieGoGo, thus cancelling a book about cancel culture.
On now: “Calligraphy of Line: The Paintings and Drawings of Anna Walinska” at Graham Shay 1857, New York City, through Februrary 24. “From 1954-1955, Walinska spent six months traveling across Asia into Europe, sojourning in Burma [now Myanmar] for four of those months. The abstracted works inspired by the artist's time in the country are featured in our current exhibition, highlighting one of the most important experiences that forever impacted her trajectory as an artist.”
Nigel Biggar, Colonialism: A Moral Reckoning, HarperCollins, 2023.
Regarding the Macalester incident, if nothing is allowed to offend anyone, a normal society cannot exist. However, that is not the idea, which is that nothing is allowed to offend certain people, but others can be offended with impunity. It depends on the "correctness" or lack thereof of the offended.
For an example of the double standard in question, also involving an art exhibition at an educational institution, see https://bit.ly/3lC69WJ
Hokusai was a great virtuoso draftsman, greater as such than even Hiroshige.