Category Archives: EDUCATION/ACTIVISM

ALISON SAAR AND HANK WILLIS THOMAS

I want my work to be universally understood. Not necessarily appreciated but somehow to connect with people universally—which I think is a very utopic, if not moronic, approach to making art. [Laughter] But it’s something I aspire to. I think a lot of times, even beyond issues of race and gender and stuff like that, I’m also really interested in issues of humanity, and these utopic, kooky ideas of how [if] we can all come to understand each other, life will be better. — Alison Saar*

Join Hamza Walker in conversation with Alison Saar and Hank Willis Thomas., presented by the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.

See link below to register for this online event.

ALISON SAAR and HANK WILLIS THOMAS IN CONVERSATION WITH HAMZA WALKER

Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon

Thursday, April 15.

4 pm on the West Coast, 7 pm East Coast.

*Alison Saar, from forthcoming feature in PARIS LA 17.

From top: Alison Saar, Queen of the 88s, 2021, multi-block linocut on handmade Hamada Kozo paper backed with Sekishu Kozo, image © Alison Saar, courtesy of the artist and Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland; Saar, photograph by Paul O’Connor, courtesy of Saar and LA Louver; Hank Willis Thomas, courtesy and © Hank Willis Thomas Studio; Thomas, History is Past, Past is Present, 2017, print, lenticular, image © Hank Willis Thomas, courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery.

STRIKE MOMA

The International Imagination of Anti-National Anti-Imperialist Feelings (IIAAF)—a coalition of artist and activist groups—has called for ten weeks of protest and action against the leadership of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, beginning on April 9. What follows is a brief excerpt from their Strike MoMA framework and terms for struggle.

Any day now, hedge fund billionaire Leon Black is likely to resign as the chair of the board of MoMA. [On March 26, Black reportedly told colleagues he would not stand for chair re-election in June, but is expected to remain on the board.] It has been six weeks since the deep financial ties between Black and Jeffery Epstein resurfaced in the headlines. Black has already stepped down from Apollo Global Management, but MoMA remains silent about his ongoing role at the museum. Artists and community groups have demanded that Black be removed, and calls for action have been circulating publicly for a month. Last week anonymous sources confirmed to the media that Black is facing pressure from other members of the board to step down. They know his  continued presence on the board is a recipe for crisis, but getting rid of him could set a precedent and put at risk MoMA’s use of his priceless art collection. The museum administration is in a classic decision dilemma.

Whether Black stays or goes, a consensus has emerged: beyond any one board member, MoMA itself is the problem. MoMA Divest offered a summary of its reasoning as follows:

“Five MoMA board members—Steven Tananbaum, Glenn Dubin, Steven Cohen, Leon Black, Larry Fink—have been identified and targeted by different groups over the last year for their ties to war, racist prison and border enforcement systems, vulture fund exploitation, gentrification and displacement of the poor, extractivism and environmental degradation, and patriarchal forms of violence. Board members also have ties and donate to the NYPD Police Foundation. In short, the rot is at the core of the institution, which includes PS1.”

We agree, and also point to Honorary Chair Ronald Lauder, the cosmetics billionaire who is also president of the Zionist lobbying group World Jewish Congress and a major Trump donor. Deserving of recognition as well is board member Patricia Phelps Cisneros, whose billions come from the right-wing Grupo Cisneros media-industrial empire in Latin America. Speaking of Latin America, let’s shine a light on Tananbaum, Jeff Koons enthusiast and chief investment officer at Golden Tree Assets, one of the hedge funds involved in extracting wealth from the people of Puerto Rico through the PROMESA debt-restructuring program. And how could we forget Paula Crown and James Crown of the General Dynamics armaments fortune, whose Crown Creativity Lab on the second floor of the museum hosts The Peoples Studio, an “experimental space where visitors can explore the art and ideas of our time through participatory programs.” This is the condition of modernity that we find at Modernism Central: death-dealing oligarchs using art as an instrument of accumulation and shield for their violence.

From top: Image from MoMA exhibition on home movies Private Lives, Public Spaces (2021); Strike MoMA, courtesy and © IIAAF.

ON WOJNAROWICZ

On the occasion of the streaming release of WOJNAROWICZ—F**K YOU F*GGOT F**CKER, filmmaker Chris McKim will join editor Dave Stanke and artist-activist Leo Herrera in conversation.

The film features commentary by Fran Lebowitz, Peter Hujar, Kiki Smith, Richard Kern, Nan Goldin, and Carlo McCormick. See links below for information.

WOJNAROWICZ Q & A—CHRIS MCKIM, DAVE STANKE, and LEO HERRERA

Film Forum

Tuesday, March 30.

4 pm on the West Coast, 7 pm East Coast.

WOJNAROWICZ—F**K YOU F*GGOT F**KER

Directed by Chris McKim.

Laemmle Virtual Cinema

Through April 1.

Chris McKim, Wojnarowicz (2020), from top: Untitled, David Wojnarowicz image courtesy of the David Wojnarowicz Papers, Fales Library and Special Collections, New York University; Wojnarowicz, image courtesy of Tom Rauffenbart; Wojnarowicz poster courtesy and © World of Wonder and Kino Lorber; David Wojnarowicz, Fuck You Faggot Fucker, 1984, image © the Estate of David Wojnarowicz, courtesy of the estate and P.P.O.W.; Wojnarowicz, image © the Estate of David Wojnarowicz, courtesy of the estate and P.P.O.W.

BLACK FUTURES SYMPOSIUM

Kimberly Drew, Jenna Wortham, and The Underground Museum present the Black Futures Symposium, a weekend-long series of online talks, readings, performances, and meditations. On the closing day, Joy Yamusangie and Ronan McKenzie will stream their 2020 film WATA.

See link below to register.

BLACK FUTURES SYMPOSIUM

The Underground Museum

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, March 26–28.

From top: Joy Yamusangie and Ronan McKenzie, WATA (2020), still, image courtesy and © the filmmakers; Jenna Wortham (above) and Kimberly Drew, Black Futures Symposium, image courtesy and © The Underground Museum; WATA poster, image courtesy and © the filmmakers; Black Futures, edited by Drew and Wortham, cover image courtesy and © One World.

ON EDWARD SAID

There seemed to be two parallel streams in his life. The first—discipline, family order, schooling—dutifully performed but disavowed. The other, an “underground or subterranean” Edward who longed not only to read but to be a book. Everything artistic belonged to this second version: his tastes in reading, his love of music, the creativity he unpersuasively palms off in the memoir as “fibbing.” His childhood friends agreed: “Said was never really part of us … He lived a life separate from us, coddled, spoilt and adored… Timothy Brennan*

This week, Timothy Brennan and Kai Bird will discuss Brennan’s acclaimed new book Places of Mind: A Life of Edward Said. For information on registering for the online conversation, see:

TIMOTHY BRENNAN ON EDWARD SAID, with KAI BIRD

City University of New York

Wednesday, March 24.

3 pm on the West Coast, 6 pm East Coast.

*Timothy Brennan, Places of Mind: A Life of Edward Said (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2021), text © Timothy Brennan, courtesy of the author and publisher.

Image below courtesy and © Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Above: Edward Said.