Saturday, February 12, 5pm – Art & Politics
It is a new world we want not an endowed chair in the concentration camp…Art must be our magic weapon to create and re-create the world and ourselves as part of it…
Theodore Harris & Susan Noyes Platt
Susan Noyes Platt author of Art and Politics Now: Cultural Activism in a Time of Crisis (Midmarch Arts Press)
Susan Noyes Platt is an art historian and art critic who has written extensively on art that addresses social and political concerns. Art and Politics Now begins with the anti WTO demonstrations in 1999 in Seattle and concludes with reference to the BP Gulf oil spill in the spring of 2010. Topics include opposition to war, terrorism, racism, borders, and the violation of the earth. It ranges from the art of street protest to the work of gallery artists and finally the international art scene with a special emphasis on Turkey and the Middle East. It examines individual artists, collectives, curators, and exhibitions as political endeavors and includes media ranging from street puppets to oil paintings. Art and Politics Now reveals the power that artists have to make a difference when they choose to thoughtfully engage with the concerns of the world.
Theodore A. Harris author of Collage and Conflict: A Triptych Manifesto
As an artist I create work to act as a lobbyist for liberation-not to hold up oppressive regimes and an oligarchy that resolves conflict with sanctions and nooses of war; entering into a konkordat with the church that put silencers on crucifixion nails. The existence of Arlington National Cemetery and the prison industrial complex is evidence enough the scales of justice are not blind and even, those graves are not filled with blue bloods but fresh with our dead, the working poor in this country, deployed to go off and kill the working poor in another country like drones. This is proof the business class only sees life through the narrow profit margin eyeglasses of mercantilism. It is with these conclusions I see war as a map of wounds; turning flesh and bones into glue. This is the reason the protagonist in my confrontational collages are inverted images of the US Capitol and Pentagon buildings, intended to be read as an invective critique of blind patriotism.
Collage is the confrontational voice of easal painting. The collagist is a surgeon with scissors and the glue sticks are gaze and donated blood.
An anti-imperialist collage does not sell Dewars White Label(1) or bail out banks to greedy to fail, it instructs you how to rob them to create a new world out of an existing world. (2) You don’t need x-ray vision to see the fuhrer’s spin is made of gold coins, a swastika for a heart, and an iron cross kidney.(3)
When he reads out loud from his Patriot Act bible his month is an oven vomiting municipal waste.
As a lobbyist for liberation, my aim as a collagist is to free the framed political prisoners and fill the cells with wardens and military contractors. These collages are mug-shots of murderers, montages of maggots who’s floor plans for our future is the architecture of doom, fashioning flesh into brief cases or furniture for fascist to sit on.
Our bones are not prison bars, yet it’s bricks and mortar have buried us in a Bermuda Triangle of concrete.
Create a new world out of an existing world where collages wrestle the keys, handcuffs, and guns from the jailers and lock them in the Basement of Night, (4) without perolle under the weight Heartfield’s guillotine scissors and Bearden’s theory, crushing missile with our hands as if they were deaths teeth,(5) coming apart in four panels like the Destruction of the National Front.(6)
In aesthetic and political terms Collage and Conflict aims to de-collage this war, to free our Limbs from the Desertion of a Rhodes Scholar.(7)