celebrating people of color in the arts

Archive for July, 2008|Monthly archive page

the art of “the politics of fear”

In art, notable on July 21, 2008 at 10:16 pm

Last week, the New Yorker cover proved that to reveal how ludicrous right wing propaganda is, you don’t have to do anything except pile it on top of itself. But the satire did not stop there. In the tradition of the cleverest satire, the cover used “outrage” as a tool to play with our perceptions of who we think ourselves to be, and what we consider funny.

A few years ago on a gorgeous October morning in New York, I was walking down Crosby street and happened to pass by Housing Works Used Book Cafe. Glancing at their store window, I was shocked to find a copy of Ann Coulter’s book “How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)” displayed proudly in this haven of progressive thought. What??? How could Housing Works Used Book Cafe want to sell Ann Coulter? What was the world coming to? I fumed inside. I wanted to throw up. Then I stepped back to look at the larger picture (literally) and found that Read the rest of this entry »


dance: Noche Flamenca

In dance on July 20, 2008 at 2:06 pm

“[T]he emotional quality of flamenco cannot be choreographed; it’s an intangible consequence of the dancers’ and musicians’ intense identification with their art in the moment of performance. And with the exception of the company’s star, Soledad Barrio, the dancers (Alejandro Granados, Alfonso Losa, Vanesa Coloma and Elena Martin) on Thursday night too often substituted an intensity of facial expression or gesture for the elusive real thing.”

“Spanish Guitars, Fast Footwork, Everything but the Cafe,New York Times

Image: Andrea Mohin/The New York Times

theater: East 14th

In theater on July 20, 2008 at 1:19 pm

“It’s a situation hard to imagine — life with a father surrounded by drugs and prostitutes — but Mr. Reed, a graceful, genial performer, brings it to life, inhabiting a multitude of personalities: Jim, his strict, abusive stepfather; Tony, gay and handy with his fists in a brawl; Daryl, like his father an unrepentant manipulator of women; an array of prostitutes…”

Read the entire New York Times review here.

art: The Iraqi Century of Art

In art on July 19, 2008 at 2:28 pm

“Mohammed al Hamadany’s 25-panel painting Night of Fire…is the most ambitious statement yet to come out of post-invasion Iraq (of course, there are very real limits on what can come out of post-invasion Iraq).

The artist himself has described the work as offering “an Iraqi perspective of ‘Shock and Awe,’ and ” a mediation on the brutality unleashed by the invasion.”

Night of Fire is not just a belated echo of Western styles, but also reads as something of an elegy to Iraq’s own avant-garde, with its unique triumphs and struggles.” 

Excerpted from: Ben Davis, The Iraqi Century of Art, artnet Magazine

Image: Mohammed al Hamadany’s Night of Fire

bookmark: The Slaves War

In literary arts on July 19, 2008 at 1:44 pm

In his review of The Slaves War, book forum’s Lawrence Hill questions:

“Is it a problem that many of the most famous and enduring fictional accounts of African Americans have been penned by whites?…[T]he average elementary or high school student in the United States or Canada who wants—or is told—to learn something about black culture and history is more likely to begin and end his or her reading with Twain and Lee than with any of these African-American writers.

One way to interrupt this trend—whether unconscious or deliberate—of ignoring African-American writers is to incorporate memoirs into the body of Civil War literature. In its transparency and vitality, the African-American memoir has the power to reach out and grab readers and hold them chapter after chapter. A great slave narrative, for example, offers the drama of fiction and the cutting edge of historical fact.”

Excerpted from: Voices Carry, bookforum.com, June/July/August 2008 Issue