This solo show by Venezuelan artist Alessandro Balteo-Yazbeck takes up the question of refugees, arguing that human rights NGOs and charities have developed into a full-blown industry, with their own marketing and propaganda techniques. Working as an artist and a researcher, Balteo-
Yazbeck proposes that governments and NGOs use human tragedies, such as the migration crisis, to advance political and ideological agendas.
Strong political art is tough to make. So, when it turns up, it’s worth a look. In an era of “great, great walls” and “bad hombres”, an exhibition called “State of Exception/Estado de Excepcion” at Parsons School of Design.
Bringing together projects by architects, designers, and artists, working in a range of mediums and scales, that respond to the complex circumstances brought about by forced displacement, the exhibition focuses on conditions that disrupt conventional images of the built environment.
This exhibition is part of Citizens and Borders, a series of discrete projects at MoMA related to works in the collection that offer a critical perspective on histories of migration, territory, and displacement.
Ankledeep was completed in 1991 in Preston, where Himid lives and works. It is part of a series entitled Revenge: A Masque in Five Tableaux that the artist finished in 1992 and first exhibited that same year at Rochdale Art Gallery. The series comprises twelve works (ten paintings, an installation and a drawing on paper) that include figurative pieces presenting pairs of black women in a range of scenarios, as is seen in Ankledeep and Between the Two My Heart is Balanced 1991 (Tate T06947), as well as more abstract works suggestive of modernist abstraction and African fabric and textiles, such as Carpet 1992(Tate T12886).
“Migration is beautiful.” These three words give dual meaning to Oakland artist Favianna Rodriguez’s daffodil-colored print of a stained-glass-esque butterfly, the wings of which are appropriately filled with human likenesses. The pro-migration butterfly is just one of the many distinctive images used throughout the artist’s transformational body of politically and socially entwined works.
Culture and community combined this past week for a unique artist-in-residence program that brought a renowned Mexican artist to downtown Phoenix.
Betsabeé Romero, a contemporary artist from Mexico City, collaborated with other artists from throughout the Valley during her stay in downtown Phoenix. Together, they used their cultural experiences as inspiration for a temporary public art installation at Growhouse at Second Street and Portland Avenue.
More than 75 years ago, a young artist named Jacob Lawrence (1917–2000) set to work on an ambitious 60-panel series portraying the Great Migration, the movement between the World Wars of over a million African Americans from the rural South to the industrial North in search of a better life. Today, the exhibition organized by The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, and The Museum of Modern Art, New York, in collaboration with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture displays 60 panels by the artist.
On Paper: Visual Artist Jesse Chun explores visual rhetoric involved in identity and mobility through an appropriation and transformation of the familiar marks contained in immigration documents. On Paper was shown from July until October 2016 at the Spencer Brownstone Gallery in New York City.
Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist Jesse Chun explores interdependencies between aspects of identity, transit and migration. Her body of work titled “Landscapes” re-contextualizes passports’ watermarked imagery through methods of appropriation, deconstruction and reconstruction, generating large-scale images of unbound nature. The breaking down of passports–an object-sign whose original function is one of identity bound to state and sovereignty–into its material actuality, that is, its condition of and as paper, is a conversion-reversion of the sign itself. Chun appropriates visual elements whose distinct significations are opposed to that of identity politicization: images of natural landscapes highlight a natural order in which no cultural construction deploys its function nor exercises its political power. This emphasis of the natural over the social underlines a non-political status as a site of expansion and movement filled with possibility. By using techniques of rephotography and digital manipulation, the artist divests the bureaucratic document of its original meaning and extracts that which symbolizes a counter-meaning. Thus, Chun dissects the object-sign through its materiality and visual formulation in pursuance of elements whose very presence invites our attention to a criticality of the object itself.
Along similar lines, Chun’s “Blueprints” presents a series of immigration forms whose only visual elements are grids and lines. Deprived of any legal data, this collection of papers becomes a minimal exercise of geometry whose absence of categorical information opens up the possibility of new forms of situating the self. Chun preserves the material, in this case, the paper of such legal forms, while setting aside cultural regulation through naming and legalization in the interest of transcultural understanding. Such annihilation of the subject as a reduced, single political entity opens up a re-thinking of identity as a category whose distinctive feature is one of multiplicity in sameness–it assumes diverse forms and gestures always in relation to a unified entity. Identity can be thought of in terms of variability within coherence, diversification within generality, in terms of alterability within familiarity. Here, issues of identity are closer to the temporal indefiniteness of “becoming” than to the particular fixation of “being.” It is an order of trans-formation rather than concluding re-solutions, of gathering in changeability rather than fixing in absolute terms. The minimal character of this artwork opposes fixing terms such as identity, subject and context to enclosed values whose corresponding correlations mediate all forms of interrelations between those terms. The whiteness of the forms frees the subject from the idea of identity as oversimplified data and proposes an intrinsic quality of identity-as-process. This confronts the stability of such bureaucratic forms and, as a consequence, Chun is able to reveal the relativity of such object-signs–one that is destined to categorize and crystallize identities from the exteriority of the subject himself but one that, in the end, is always reversible.
But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise gathers artwork from different contemporary artists such as Nadia Kaabi-Linke and Kader Attia who aim to explore issues of moving and migration in the Middle East and North Africa.
Exhibition on view at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City running until October 5th, 2016
Find the Exhibition Overview in the Guggenheim’s website: