Feb 16, 2009

Just 'Cause

A few items of interest presented themselves today.

The first is a fantastic piece courtesy of the New York Times' video site detailing a new theatre piece that involves the use of mobile phones and computers. I confess, I initially had a few doubts about this, but seeing the participants' reactions, thinking about the intimacy being created (especially via modern technology), well... I'm a believer. Check it out.

Still with the Times is a video covering the recent art show in Baghdad called The Art Of Reinvention (along with a written article). Fascinating for the way politics is so deeply interwoven with art -art's taken on a whole different significance for the people of Iraq. To quote the article,
“Isn’t it pessimistic?” a person in the crowd of visitors asked the exhibition’s curator, Asad al-Sagheer, as he described an unsettling composition of death masks, painted in thick strokes of red and blue. The artist, Halim Qassim, found inspiration in Baghdad’s central morgue, near his home in Babalmuabhm, a place once overflowing with corpses.

“He thinks there’s beauty in the faces,” Mr. Sagheer said, “even after they’ve been killed.”


Closer to home, people are getting the role arts and culture plays in daily life. Apparently the National Endowment for the Arts is getting additional funding as part of President Obama's stimulus package, and artist Chuck Close thinks there's no better time than tough times -now -to be an artist, despite his opinion that the Depression didn't produce especially good art.
"When we've had major times of financial distress in this country.. .a lot of people argue that some of the best work was made. I don't think it was America's greatest hour; art... the best period for me in American art was the 50s and early 60s... That could be seen as a time when America opened its arms to ... immigrants, and we became a beacon as a free and open society, and attracted some of the best and brightest from all over the world."

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