We desperately need to explore a new genealogy for radical art – one that does not focus on obsessive materiality or abstracted gestures (isolated from social catastrophe); that does not avoid the brilliant moments of resistance that sustain us, but is not simply propaganda (although we need propaganda). Soulèvements – curated by philosopher and art historian Georges Didi-Huberman (winner of the 2015 Adorno Prize) – on display at the Jeu de Paume in Paris –provides an important contribution to exploring an alternative tradition for radical art.
Recently, one of Red Wedge's editors had the chance while in London to stop by the picket line at the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton. It was perhaps one of the more spirited and creative picket lines that he's attended in quite some time, particularly considering the bitter cold and the utter intransigence of management.
The Ritzy is part of the Picturehouse chain of cinemas in Britain, which presents itself as somewhat art-house but unpretentious (the Ritzy, for example, is currently showing Jim Jarmusch's latest film Paterson as well as Office Christmas Party).
These are hard times. These were hard times before the ascendancy of Donald Trump; before the fascist human dust of the United States became emboldened; before the incoming administration started planning a series of social policy arsons. Times are even harder now. To pay for these hard times the Dollar Art House is selling out; or rather we are selling artwork and putting on some first rate poetry and musical performances. From 5pm to 11pm on Friday, December 9, the “Dollar Art House Sells Out” will feature music and performances by Poet X, IndyBlack, Sunni Hutton and Jesa D’Or, along with artwork by Craig E. Ross and Adam Turl.
“To defend our beloved Cuba.” The closing line of this poem from the great Chilean communist and surrealist writer Pablo Neruda rather sums up how working and oppressed people – in Latin America and around the world – are feeling in the wake of Fidel Castro's death. There is a lot to say about Castro the man, but it is far less important than the Cuban Revolution he helped lead, build and maintain for more than fifty years against the outside pressures of American empire.
Poor Mike Pence. Greeted with a friendly gaggle of actors who both recognize him and are willing to express well-meaning concern over the havoc he may wreak as vice president. Pity too Donald Trump, who now feels blindsided by the realization that the theater isn't somewhere he and his cohort can retreat from the consequences of their actions.
Trump's reaction is what ultimately makes the action of the Hamilton cast a Good Thing. The man spent fifteen months using his own bully pulpit in a far less kindly way.
Written she lapsed my eyelids curse
Never subjugated to her thoughts worse
Dreaming of twinkled themes her subconscious works
Works night and day because her lips she tamed
Her words released could leave bodies slain
Quiet in spite of riveting details
Still her mouth only inhales
Their thoughts she thunk perhaps prematurely
President. Donald. Trump. These are three words that never had any reality outside of a grotesque comic. Until now. The man who has bragged of sexual assault, threatened to “build a wall” and refused to denounce an endorsement from a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan is President of the United States.
Hate crimes and proto-fascist incidents are spreading across the country. A right-wing terrorist outfit in Texas is threatening to arrest and torture “diversity professors.”
In 2015 it became clear that Viktor Shklovsky’s imperative to “make the stone stony” is a much simpler task than “making the corpse corpsely.” I am thinking of the use of autopsy transcript as poem, Kenneth Goldsmith’s appropriation of the shooting death of Michael Brown.  While this particular text was said to be uniquely parasitical and vampiric, likely as much for its arrogance as its form, it should be understood as the logical product of an aberration in American documentary poetics that has recently adopted the brand name “Conceptualism.” Goldsmith’s personal framing of Conceptualism holds that all that must be written has been written and must merely be re-packaged
“Heard joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he's depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says, ‘Treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up.’ Man bursts into tears. Says, ‘But doctor... I am Pagliacci.’ Good joke. Everybody laugh. Roll on snare drum. Curtains." – Rorschach, Watchmen
It’s easy to say that it’s because of Halloween. But why this Halloween? Why not last year or the year before? Will 2016 (already an ignominious year) be remembered as the year that sent in the clowns?
This group of paintings has a non-linear connection to events in Syria. I started using this particular form – oil on large wood panels – when Syria was still a relatively tranquil country. None of the iconography I arrived at through shifting oil and pigment presaged, referenced or interpreted any of the digital images that have found their way to comfortably horrified audiences in the West. Yet after five years of following the Syrian nightmare from afar, I cannot help but see Syrian tropes in all of these paintings...