Contemporary Art and GlobalizationPast the post: whatever next?
Modern and Contemporary History• It is within our time that we have witnessed the dismantling of old regimes-the unification of Germany with the destruction of the Berlin Wall originally erected in 1961 and brought down in 1989.• Pictured is an image of the Berlin Wall which totally enclosed the city of West Berlin from East Germany.• This section of the wall included such defense mechanisms as guard towers, “fakir beds,” (beds of nails) trenches to stop Thierry Noir, View of the Berlin Wall from cars, and other mechanisms. the west side of graffiti art on the walls infamous "death strip" at Bethaniendamm in Berlin-Kreuzberg, 1986.
• The year 1992 saw the dismantling of the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics)• The USSR was 1of 2 super powers during the the Cold War period Mikhail Gorbachev, former (1945-1991). and last General Secretary of – At this time the US and USSR were the USSR, 1985-1991. embattled in a power struggle that dominated the global economy, foreign affairs, military operations, and most types of cultural exchange from art to sports.• In 1987, then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced perestroika (literal translation= restructuring) – economic and political reforms led to the dissolution of communist political forces and the restructuring of the Soviet political and economic system. A large propaganda poster proclaiming Perestroika.
• 1994 was witness to the end of racial segregation in South Africa known as Apartheid.• Apartheid was enforced by the National Party of South Africa from 1948 to 1994. – During these times the minority whites of South Africa established and maintained all policies of discrimination against the majority population of black South Africans. – Black South Africans were denied citizenship from 1958 on and the government provided inferior services including education, medical care, and other public A sign from the apartheid era, 1948-1994. services.
• Efforts to reform apartheid in the 1980s were squelched by increasing pressure to end the policy once and for all.• In 1990, President Frederik Willem de Klerk commenced negotiations to end apartheid.• In 1994, South Africa held its first multi-racial democratic elections resulting in the African National Congress winning under the leadership of Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela, 2008.
The Post Era• With the collapse of these and various other regimes, there was an increase in the number of self-governing countries.• These countries and their people, which had formerly been colonies to empires including Britain, France, and others were left with the task of creating a new, postcolonial identity to define themselves and their culture.• These people were left to negotiate a history/past that included various forms of colonial rule and discriminatory practices that in turn meant they would also confront issues of cultural identity, self-definition and governance, political re-organization, and economic control. – The result is a dominance of the theme of the self, the body, and identity in contemporary art.
Modern vs. Contemporary• It must be recognized that the term modern is a complex one.• It refers not only to the current moment, but it refers also to an epoch. – It means both today and the recent past.• Modern art places value on those things appreciated by Western society: – Openness to the new – Vitality – Sensitivity, awareness, and relevance to the present situation• Contemporary on the other hand is the most recent of the modern. – Contemporary art is a part of modern art; it is not distinct from it.
Past the post: whatever next?• The final decades of the 20th century and the earliest of the 21st were met with the question, after postmodernism what’s next? – The latter half of the 20th century defined itself against the basic tenets of modernism. – With modernism well enough challenged, what was left? – The question remained: where had postmodernism left modern art and the audience?
Past the post: whatever next?• The avant-garde of the previous century successfully challenged and overthrew canonical ideas of art-its creation, who could create it, what materials should be used, how art was to be defined and used.• Art was opened to new possibilities-there were no restraints on who could create art, expression became paramount, the diversity of the audience was recognized, appreciated, and desired.
"My drawings dont start with abeautiful mark‘. It has to be amark of something out there in theworld. It doesnt have to be anaccurate drawing, but it has tostand for an observation, notsomething that is abstract, like anemotion." - William Kentridge William Kentridge, Drawing from Stereoscope, 1998-1999. Charcoal, pastel, and colored pencil on paper, 47 ¼” x 63”.
William Kentridge (b. 1955)•Kentridge’s drawings focus on the2 main characters, Soho Ecksteinand Felix Teitlebaum. • These characters help him explore living in the post- apartheid era.•In this image, Felix is depictednude representing vulnerability andthe human condition.•Like his other drawings, his workrelies on context.• His work is expressionist in style- William Kentridge, Felix in Exile:he uses form to express emotion. drawing: Felix Dreaming of Nandi, 1994. Charcoal and pastel on paper, 47” x 59”.
William Kentridge (b. 1955)•Kentridge uses biography to explorethe relationship between history andthe present.•He considers all of his art to be aboutJohannesburg-the city in which he wasraised and attended school.•He is best known for his animatedfilms- to make these he films hisdrawings, makes erasures and changes, William Kentridge, Felix in Exile (fromand films it again. the series 9 Drawings for Projection), 1993–94. Color video, transferred – The drawings are put on display with from 35 mm film, with sound, 8 min., the showing of the film. 43 sec., edition 7/10, dimensions variable. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY.
Jimmie Durham (b. 1940)•Like Kentridge, Durham’s workexplores his own identity as a NativeAmerican.•His work is politically charged andconfronts inequalities and stereotypescharged against a people as reflected intheir identity and visual culture.•His work questions the existence ofany truly authentic form of NativeAmerican art. Jimmie Durham, Red Turtle, 1991. Turtle shell, painted wood, paper, 61 ½” x 67 ½”. Collection Dr. and Mrs. Robert Abel, Jr., Delaware.
Jimmie Durham (b. 1940)•Red Turtle is hand-made from a turtle shell,painted sticks, and paper; a gathering ofmaterials presumed authentic media forNative Americans by Westerners, arepresentation of the debris encountered bya Native American on a daily basis•The label reads: We have tried to train them; to teach them to speak properly, to fill out forms. We have no way of knowing whether they truly perceive and comprehend of whether they simply imitate our actions Jimmie Durham, Red Turtle, 1991. Turtle shell, painted wood, paper, 61 ½” x 67 ½”. Collection Dr. and Mrs. Robert Abel, Jr., Delaware.
Kara Walker (b. 1969)•Walker is a contemporary artist ofAfrican American descent whosework addresses issues of race,gender, the brutalities of America’shistory of slavery, sexuality,subjugation, violence, and issues ofidentity.•She is best known for her room-size silhouettes depicting lifeduring the antebellum south.•She takes inspiration from Kara Walker, Installation view of the artistromance novels, especially those in front of Burn, 1998 (left) cut paper andthat romanticize “relationships” adhesive on wall, 92” x 48” and Untitled,between slave masters and their 1996, cut paper, watercolor, and graphite on canvas, 69 ½” × 66”. Metropolitanfemale slaves. Museum of Art, NY.
Kara Walker (b. 1969)•Her process involves cutting andaffixing black silhouette cut-outsonto the wall and then oftenprojecting imagery onto the wallto complete the scene.•She introduces horror, humor,and wit into the images to appealto various viewers on multiplelevels.•The large embracing scale ismuch like Abstract Expressionistpractice. Kara Walker installing The End of Uncle Tom and the Grand Allegorical Tableau of Eva in Heaven, 1995.
Kara Walker (b. 1969)•Her images are raw andunapologetic.•Her subject explores ourhistory as a nation andidentity as a culture.•She argues that Americanidentity is formed upon thebrutalities of its racist past Kara Walker, Panoramic installation, "Slavery!practices. Slavery! presenting a GRAND and LIFELIKE Panoramic Journey into Picturesque Southern•She integrates the racist Slavery or "Life at Ol Virginnys Hole (sketchesiconography into her work to from Plantation Life)" Installation view, ”No Placecreate strong statements. (Like Home)," as displayed at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1997. Cut paper and adhesive on wall, 12 x 85 feet.
• Walker is criticized by many for her employment of racist stereotypes and exaggeration of physical characteristics.• Little Sambo is a usual reference for the artist as is the mammy or Aunt Jemima.Helen Bannerman, Little Black Sambo, from the cover of Little Black Sambo,1899. Color lithograph. The book was A reproduction of a tin advertising signwritten and illustrated by Bannerman. for Picaninny Freeze.
Betye Saar (b. 1926)•Walker is not unique in her use ofracist iconography.•Artists including Betye Saar, RobertColescott, and Faith Ringgold have alsoappropriated the characters of LittleBlack Sambo, Uncle Tom, and AuntJemima. Betye Saar, The Liberation of Aunt Jemima, 1972. Mixed media assemblage 11.6” x 7.9” x 2.5”. University of California at Berkeley.
Kara Walker (b. 1969)•In Insurrection, she presents whatappears to be an otherwise bucolicscene of liberation.•Once one takes a closer look, itreveals itself however to be a scene ofdebauchery where the charactersincluded seem little occupied withliberation and more with pleasures ofthe flesh.•She explores the sexualized violenceamong slaves, between slaves, andbetween their white masters or slave- Kara Walker, Insurrection! (Our Toolsowners. Were Rudimentary, Yet We Pressed•He narratives complicate the history On), 2000. Cut paper and projection onof African Americans within American walls, 11’10” x 21’ and 10’8” x 32’ 10.” Installation view of two walls.history. Guggenheim Museum, NY.
Whitfield Lovell (b.1959)•Much like Walker, Lovellreconciles the past with thephysical nature of the present.•Lovell recreates a pastoverlooked-the stories ofAfrican-American familiesdiscarded by American history.•Whispers From the Wallsmarries photos from pastresidents with a period styleone room home of the time. Whitfield Lovell, Whispers From the Walls, 1999. Installation view.
Whitfield Lovell (b.1959)•To recreate this full-scale renditionof a typical 1920s home belongingto a North Texas African-Americanfamily the artist uses charcoal todraw the walls of a shack.•The drawings are based on actualphotographs of people alive during1920s live in Texas.•The figures appear from the wallsas if ghosts.•To aid this the artist hassoundtracks playing of old bluesmusic and inaudible voices. Whitfield Lovell, Whispers From the Walls, 1999. Installation view.
Shirin Neshat (b. 1957)•Neshat is a visual artist born in Iran butcurrently living and working in NY.•She is primarily known for her work infilm, video, and photography.•Central to Neshat’s work is her identityas an Iranian woman in a Westernworld-especially after 9-11.•Her work confronts issues of identity,violence, community, abuse of power,and the religious, cultural, and socialpractices of Muslim society. Shirin Neshat, Rebellious Silence, c. 1994. From the Women of Allah series, 1994. Gelatin silver print, 13 ½” x 9.” Gladstone Gallery.
Shirin Neshat (b. 1957)•Neshat uses her identity as a womanof a Islam to confront Muslim practiceand the perceived stereotypes held byWesterners.•Neshat investigates her progressiveupbringing through the more traditionalroles of Iranian women.•Her first mature work was her Womenof Allah series. Shirin Neshat, Allegiance with Wakefulness, 1993/1994. From the Women of Allah series, 1994. Gelatin silver print, 13 ½” x 9.” Gladstone Gallery, NY.
• Neshat selects the imagery for her movies in effort to capture the two worlds in which she, like many other women, exist- between Islam and Western society.• Her films often include shots of old cities, desert landscapes, and the image of Islamic women clad in traditional clothing. Shirin Neshat, Untitled (Rapture), 1998. Production stills.
• Her images address the separation of the genders as seen below-men occupy an architectural man-made space while women inhabit nature.• Her work addresses the difficulty and challenge of being a woman of Islamic background and reconciles femininity with Muslim culture. Shirin Neshat, Untitled (Rapture), 1998. Production stills.
The scroll took a year to make...I was looking at many ways ofdeparting from the conventional miniature in the context of whatwas happening the past couple of years in the miniature paintingdepartment at school. I was looking at Chinese scrolls and I waslooking at other forms of eastern art which come out of this wholeaesthetic, because they still deal with landscape and they still dealwith issues of space." - Shahzia Sikander Shahzia Sikander The Scroll, 1991-1992. Vegetable color, dry pigment, watercolor, tea on hand-prepared Wasli paper, 13 ⅛” x 63 ⅞”. Sikkema Jenkins & Co.
Shahzia Sikander (b. 1969)•Like Neshat, Sikander addresses issuesof identity.•Sikander is Pakistani American livingand working in New York City.•Her art takes the form of traditionalMughal and Persian miniature painting.•She too explores identity in theMuslim culture as well as the Hindu and Shahzia Sikander, Pleasure Pillars,Muslim divide in Pakistan and India. 2001. Watercolor, dry pigment, vegetable color, tea and ink on wasli paper, 12” x 10”. Collection of Amitta and Purnendu Chatterjee, NY.
Shahzia Sikander (b. 1969)•Sikander draws inspiration fromtraditional miniature paintings, bookillustrations and illuminated manuscripts.•While her work makes reference to thetradition of miniature painting, it presentsmodern concerns.•Perilous Order joins Muslim, Hindu,modernist, and personal iconography.•The piece was created in 10 layers andtraps light. Shahzia Sikander, Perilous Order,•The black dots are traditional design and 1997. Vegetable pigment, dry pigment, watercolor, and teahere make reference to Minimalism. water on paper, 10 3/8 x 8 3/16”. Whitney Museum of American Art, NY.
Shahzia Sikander (b. 1969)•Pleasure Pillars joins Western figuraltradition with East.•Sikander utilizes the traditional dotsthat at once add yet obscure the viewof the image.•Commenting on the many femalebodies usually found in her work theartist explains they represent themultiplicity of women’s spiritualidentity. Shahzia Sikander, Pleasure Pillars, 2001. Watercolor, dry pigment,•Her work joins tradition and the vegetable color, tea and ink onmodern and the arts of various cultures. wasli paper, 12” x 10”. Collection of Amitta and Purnendu Chatterjee, NY.
Mariko Mori (b. 1967)•Japanese video and photographyartist.•Mori features herself in variouscostumes in effort to exploreidentity, desire, and fantasy.•Much of her work, especially herPlay with Me series was inspired byher work as a model.•Mori addresses the tradition of theideal woman in Japanese anime. Mariko Mori , Play with Me, 1994. Fuji super-glass print, wood pewter, 10’ x 12’ x 3’. Galerie Perrotin, Paris.
Mariko Mori (b. 1967)•In her Play with Me series, Moridresses like a cyborg andinteracts with her Japaneseaudience.•Her work is informed by andutilizes 1970s feminist practice.•Her work addresses theJapanese male’s inability toreconcile anime characters withreality. Mariko Mori , Play with Me, 1994. Fuji super-glass print, wood pewter, 10’ x 12’ x 3’. Galerie Perrotin, Paris.
Mariko Mori (b. 1967)•As part of her Play with Meseries, Mori attempts to servetea to Japanese business mendressed as a cyborg.•Again she forces interactionbetween the fantastic world andreality. Mariko Mori, Tea Ceremony III, 1994. Cibachrome print, wood, aluminum, chrome frame, 48” x 60 ¼” x 2”. Galerie Perrotin, Paris.
Takashi Murakami (b. 1962)•Fellow Japanese artistMurakami also works intraditional anime style.•Like Warhol, Murakami pullsfrom popular culture blurringthe boundaries of high and lowart.•He works in paint andsculpture producing unusuallylarge sculptures and“Superflat” paintings. Takashi Murakami, SuperNova, detail from “The Apocalyptic Champ,” c. 1999.
Takashi Murakami (b. 1962)•Murakami’s signature style has beenbranded and used to sell anythingfrom clothes to children’s toys. Takashi Murakami, Happy Summer Solstice (First Day Od Summer)(Longest Day Of The Year)
Takashi Murakami (b. 1962) •In 2003, Murakami teamed up with Vuitton and created a very profitable partnership. •In true Warhol fashion, Murakami branded his style and popularized his work in the world of art, fashion, and pop culture.Takashi Murakami’s Louis Vuitton Neverfull bag accompanied by a close-up of his monograph developed for Louis Vuitton, 2003. These bags sell for an estimated $5,000 American.
Takashi Murakami (b. 1962)•In 2009, Murakami alsocreated a QR or barcoderead by computers andphones.•This one joins Murakami’ssignature style andcharacters with the LouisVuitton logo. Takashi Murakami, QR code with Murakami and Louis Vuitton.
Takashi Murakami (b. 1962)•He has created cover art foralbum covers for artists includingKanye West. Takashi Murakami, cover art for Kanye West, “GRADUATION”, 2007/
Takashi Murakami (b. 1962)•Murakami’s subject matterdeals with Japanese identity ina post WWII world.•His large sculptures featuringover exaggerated femaleanatomy address the issue ofhow young boys have difficultyforging relationships with realwomen because of theirfascination with animecharacters. Takashi Murakami, installation view of Second Mission Project ko2 (SMP ko2),1999-2000. Installation view as seen at Wonder Festival, Summer 2000, oil paint, acrylic, synthetic resins, fiberglass and iron. Human figure 108” x 99” x 56 ½”, jet airplane 21” x 76” x 73”
Sally Mann (b. 1951)•The controversial work ofphotographer Sally Mann takes her3 children and their life aschronicle.•Mann’s photography capturestheir behavior, hobbies, when theywet the bed, when they are injured,and their ambitions all on film.•Her images of her childrenurinating, bleeding, lying in urinesoaked sheets are disturbingly truecaptions of life. Sally Mann, The New Mothers, 1989. Gelatin-silver print, 20” x 24”. Edition of 25.
Sally Mann (b. 1951)•Mann’s work is also full of socialcommentary.•Here she photographs her 2daughters as they play mother.•Mann takes the opportunity tomake the viewer aware of theincreasing pressures put on younggirls-the sexualization they faces atyoung ages and prescribed genderroles of becoming the nurturingparent. Sally Mann, The New Mothers, 1989. Gelatin-silver print, 20” x 24”. Edition of 25.
Lorna Simpson (b. 1960)•Artist Lorna Simpson alsoaddresses issues of identityfacing African Americanwomen.•Simpson juxtaposes imageryof women of color with text tointerrupt institutionalizedconcepts of the black woman.•Simpson aims to broadcastthe difficulties and challengesof being a black woman in Lorna Simpson, Guarded Conditions, 1989.today’s world. Eighteen colored Polaroid prints, twenty- one plastic plaques and plastic letters, 91”x 131”. Sean Kelly Gallery, NYC.
Adrian Piper (b. 1948)•Similar to Simpson, Piper also addresses thisissue.•Piper’s Self-Portrait adapts the feminist motto,the personal is political, and adds the componentof race.•Piper created several series that investigate howrace plays a factor in how people react andbehave toward one another.•As a light-skinned woman of color, shenegotiates the white and black communities tostudy how ideas of race are made and how thataffects identity politics.•Many of her pieces, like Self-Portrait, documentthe discrimination she experienced as a youngwoman of color. Adrian Piper, Political Self-•She uses language in narrative format to reveal Portrait #2 (Race), 1978.how racism figures into dominant attitudes and Photostat, 24” x 16”.the building of community. Collection Richard Sandor.
Adrian Piper (b. 1948)•In her Catalysis Series, Piper uses her body toconfront people’s attitudes towards her.•As a light skinned woman of color, she canpass as white, black, or Latina allowing her totravel between cultures and get a privilegedview of how people react to her.•To survey people’s reactions, Piper drenchedher clothes in vinegar (upper corner) andstuffed a rag in her mouth then went on theNYC subway to gather reactions.Adrian Piper, Catalysis III, 1970. Black-and-white photographs, usually 5” x 5.” Photo- documentation of a Street Performances in New York, NY
Nan Goldin (b.1953)•Much like Mapplethorpe,Goldin photographed the“undesirables” of hercommunity-gays,transgendered, prostitutes,and drag queens.•Her photos document thoseusually outcast and made tofeel ashamed celebrating andliving positive lives.•Golding captures the intimatedetails of their lives on film. Nan Goldin, C Putting on Her Make-Up at the Second Tip, Bangkok, 1992. Cibachrome print, 30” x 40”. Edition of 15.
Nan Goldin (b.1953)•Capturing people putting onmake-up and clothes in frontof a mirror illustrates to theaudience how identity issomething that is put on, amask or masquerade we eachperform daily.•The people featured andtheir lifestyles challengeconvention and defy socialnorms of behavior. Nan Goldin, C Putting on Her Make-Up at the Second Tip, Bangkok, 1992. Cibachrome print, 30” x 40”. Edition of 15.
SEDUCED BY ONE YOU FRAMED THE & EVEN THOUGH WEANOTHER, YET BOUND LIKES OF ME & I KNEW BETTER, WE BY CERTAIN SOCIAL FRAMED YOU, BUT WE CONTINUED THAT TIME CONVENTIONS WERE BOTH FRAMED HONORED TRADITION BY MODERNISM OF THE ARTIST & HIS MODEL Carrie Mae Weems, Framed by Modernism, 1996. Gelatin silver-print (triptych).
Carrie Mae Weems (b. 1953)•Artist Carrie Mae Weems also takes assubject identity, especially the role womenplay that sometimes leads to their colludingin their own victimization.•Her photographs concentrate on therelationship of narrative to the constructionof history and identity.•This image features the artist as bothphotographer and model to artist RobertColescott. Carrie Mae Weems, Framed by Modernism, (detail) 1996. Gelatin silver-print (triptych).
Carrie Mae Weems (b. 1953)•The text accompanying each portion ofthe triptych unearths the tale of howartist and model continue the game offraming one another.•The increased significance is that bothartists are of African American descent. – Weems is alluding to how each has been framed as a person of color and each has framed one another. – The irony being presented that each has been framed by modernism but each has also framed another. Carrie Mae Weems, Framed by Modernism, (detail) 1996. Gelatin silver-print (triptych).
Kiki Smith (b. 1954)•Smith focuses on the social andphysical realities of the body in herlife-size casts.•Smith uses pliable materials thatrecall the vulnerability of the bodyto create lifelike models of thehuman form.•Smith places the forms on polesfor display.•Each body is weighed down bygravity its fluids leaking from itsvarious orifices. Kiki Smith, Untitled, 1990. Beeswax and microcrystalline wax figures on metal•Smith aims to promote a more stands female 6’1 ½”, male figure 6’4aware knowledge of ourselves and 15/16.” Whitney Museum of Americanour bodies. Art, NY.
Matthew Barney (b. 1967)•Like Smith, Barney is also interestedin using the body to understandprocess.•Barney tests the limits of his ownphysical strength by performing thebody, is body.•He documents this performancethrough film and photograph.•His thesis suggests the body is a sitefor social, aesthetic, and personalchange. Matthew Barney, The Apprentice Cremaster 3, 2002. Video to film transfer, 182 mins.
Matthew Barney (b. 1967)•His Apprentice from the Cremasterseries is faced with the final challengeof killing sculptor Richard Serra, anicon of the modernist aesthetic.•Serra appears in the piece painting inhis mature style of dripping moltenlead against the gallery wall.•The technique, reminiscent ofPollock’s signature style, allows for ametaphoric exorcism of the modernfrom the postmodern. Matthew Barney, Richard Serra as Fifth Degree Cremaster 3, 2002. Video to film transfer, 182 min.