Friday, June 11, 2010

bonus post

The 5 Pointz trip was great. All of the artwork was amazing and diverse. Hopefully sooner than later they will fix the staircase and people can tour inside the buildings! Because the artists have to pay for their space I don't see the 5 Pointz graffiti as political protest art. However I'm sure some of the artwork is politically driven. The political graffiti breaks the rules a little to make people look at a situation outside of their box. For example I think Bansky has effectively political graffiti. Other than 5 Pointz I see graffiti all over New York City. Often times it is simply a tagged name of a person or group. In the Lower East Side there is an artist by the name of Chico and his artwork is on the walls and gates of Alphabet City. Chico has a mural of Obama, numerous community geared murals, and some in memory of ... murals. He is not the best at tagging, but it seems to be that the local businesses hire him to decorate their outside guard rails, leaving personality on the store's facade after it has been locked up. I heard recently that New York is going to remove all of the solid guard gates and replace them with heavy linked ones so that graffiti cannot be placed outside of businesses after hours. I think the graffiti adds character to my neighborhood and its neat to look for Chico's work, which is always around the corner. There aren't enough places like 5 Pointz where people can legally and publicly express themselves!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


In "Clay Refuses Army Oath; Stripped of Boxing Crown" the author's language shows an obvious bias against Muhammad Ali's decision. The use of Ali's American name Cassius Clay, for starters, was a way for the New York Times to jab at Ali's choice to follow his religion rather than go to war. The reporter leaves Ali's statement for the end of the article which doesn't make too much sense to me. It seems as if he filled the article with some useless information just to make Ali look worse before getting to the news that people actually should be reading. For instance, "He had obeyed Muslim dietary strictures by passing up the ham sandwich included in the inductees' box lunches." There the reporter tries to mock Ali and his religion. Another useless piece of news blocking what was actually going on is the 'Groups With Signs.' Here he notes the protestors of the vietnam war contrasting the the white and black groups of people. "The Negro eventually swelled into a group of about two dozen circling pickets carrying hastily scrawled, "Burn, Baby, Burn." He definitely makes the black protestors seem out of control compared to the group of white protestors who were said to have been asking for the Vietnam war to stop and greater civil rights efforts.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I'm still unsure as to which direction I'd like to take with essay 3. I may go the women's rights and feminism route and look further into "A Room of One's Own" because Virginia Woolf has always interested me and I haven't read that piece of her work. If I am able to find a piece of visual art or poetry that has a political message, I would like to write about that. If there are any artists you know of please send them my way. I am more concerned with artwork and its relation to the purpose, rather than the movement itself.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


My reaction to the Read-a-Thon was a pleasant surprise. Before I arrived my assumption was that the mandatory classroom attendance for this event meant it would be painful to sit through. So painful, that I would come 3 minutes late and leave exactly 57 minutes later. Luckily that was not the case. It was a beautiful day where beautiful words were read. In fact, I might even say the Read-a-Thon was moving. The poems, excerpts, and stories that were told impressed me. My most favorite works were the originals; the girl's chapter from the novel she was working on was amazing and the performance poem a boy recited from memory was so energetic, it was great. I ended up staying for nearly 2 hours and left mostly because the tan I was getting from that sunny day was soon turning into a burn. Had that ben different I would have stuck around until all the readers had finished.
The Read-a-Thon made me think more seriously about my own creative writing. Since then i've stopped neglecting it. I also now have an interest in attending a creative writing club meeting.
I think the Read-a-Thon was a nice addition to the class schedule and I would like to have more activities like that one!


Larry Neal's maifesto, "The Black Arts Movement" is an attempt to link black artworks to the social and political movements going on in the late 1960's. Neal calls for writings that inspire the community and their efforts with an emphasis on a positive interaction between aesthetics and ethics. He sees art in politics as well as political art, he doesn't want them to be separated, but rather intertwined among each other.
This manifesto was published in the summer of 1968, which was a tumultuous time in American history. 1968 was the climax of America's civil rights movement. Lyndon Baines Johnson is the president of the United States of America, but primaries and conventions are ongoing because it is an election year. 549,500 American soldiers are stationed in Vietnam at war. April 1968 civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated. Riots break out all over the country. Robert Kennedy was murdered in June. All of these monumental events probably influenced Larry Neal's manifesto. He call to unite the community through arts and hopefully political interest, is sort of a way to heal the black community of the wounds they suffered that summer.


After listening to 'Strange Fruit' by Billie Holiday, I was surprised by the honest lyrics that don't try to skirt around the lynching issue whatsoever. The song and Holiday's tone evoked an instant reality to the issue and I felt horrified from the subject after the first time listening to it. The strength in this song and Holiday's conviction while she sings is why I choose to work with this song.
Ida B. Wells-Barnett's "The Case Stated" is also centered on the issue of lynching which shed's more light on 'Strange Fruit'. Holiday's haunting voice and Wells-Barnett's haunting historical evidence compliment each other. "The Case Stated" gives evidence and the excuses that there have been in regards to any and all lynching or unlawful executions. I see 'Strange Fruit' as the communities reaction and outrage to such offenses. Each work has an obvious goal to bring lynching to the main stream, as an act that the public is aware of, to hopefully stop its progress.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


The visual arts have been a part of my life since I can remember. Drawing and painting are the best way I know how to express myself, and have become the form of art that I most appreciate. However when it comes to politics and protest, I must say, music tends to be the most important. Music often keeps the listener repeating and retelling the message if it is a piece with strikingly memorable qualities. In many ways music has changed how I view the world by way of droning out the day's surrounding sounds, inspirational lyrics, and causing awareness. One of my favorite bands Iron & Wine made some statements to the Bush Administration in their latest album. I prefer the underlying motives in songs like "Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car" rather than blatant protest. Hopefully sometime in the future I can get myself into some form of political protest and fight for the things I believe in through my art.