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had a dream

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A year has passed and the euphoria has subsided. I've been reflecting for the past couple of weeks on a phrase that made its way through the media and onto t-shirts and wall plaques in the fall of '09, and which I again only recently stumbled upon in a activist bookstore. The timing was poignant, a few days after president Obama's Dec. 1st. announcement at West Point of his decision to escalate the war in Afghanistan. The Phrase:
"Rosa sat so Martin could walk, so Obama could run, so our children can fly."
On this Martin Luther King Day I cannot help but dream another world is possible.



Mary Hull Webster 5 years, 10 months agoReply

Mark, I have those dreams too, for the good of us all. I still stand behind Obama as the best light in a very murky and depressing world. AND I'm happy to see even a very mild political reference in Rhizome. What's wrong with artists these days? No more political art? Very weird. When I was in an MFA program 2001-3, I brought in a political piece and the other students had no comment at all. The teacher was embarrassed and looked away. It was a video equating Rumsfeld and bin Laden, and suggesting that oil was behind our dear leader's invasion of Iraq. Is art so defanged, does it matter so little these days, that all we can do is make it for money?

mark cooley 5 years, 10 months agoReply

thanks for your note Mary. i would suggest that all art is political or becomes politicized as soon as someone pays attention to it. this is sort of inescapable in my mind, but there are many that insist on trying to maintain the modernist paradigm. art for arts sake. i say look at the state of the world. how about art for life's sake. sorry to hear about your MFA experience, and i hope it pushed you to make more work. i must say rhizome has been a little disappointing to me for the last few years. the direction, i think, has moved away from highlighting consciously political works to a lot of rehashing of a pop art mentality - still political - but more of a celebration of popular culture (often with a retro or ironic tint) rather than stuff that might generate critical ideas. obviously, this isn't a rule, just something i've generally sort of noticed about rhizome over the years. i could be wrong. i do wish there were as many people criticizing Obama that there were criticizing Bush. Obama might actually listen. Bush was a lost cause it seems.

Mary Hull Webster 5 years, 10 months agoReply

Actually, what seems to interest me most is art that is both a visual knock-out (and, yes, sometimes, modernist-looking), along with observable content, whether that be political, psychological, historical, futurist–just something to chew on past the initial take.