Jane Evershed's Inspirations
Where did this art come from? What inspired and informed it?
Why does Jane Evershed continue to devote her life to painting and poetry. Does it have anything to do with what women have said to her over the years?
Here are the answers (click on a series title or simply scroll down):
(Originally Dream for South Africa) later expanded to include the entire continent with advent of the pandemic, AIDS.
As a privileged white person able to leave South Africa where freedom of speech did not exist I felt it was my duty to speak out against apartheid through my art and words. When I arrived in the US, freedom of speech felt like a luxury after being silenced and briefly jailed in South Africa, then a police state. I got right to work, and what follows is my effort to shed light on the injustices of the white South African government at that time and later the devastation of Africa as a whole.
I also knew that if I stayed in South Africa I would probably spend the rest of my life in jail and I was pregnant with my first child, Evershed and did not want him to be born during the reign of the white supremacists and be forced to join their army at a later age. My first boyfriend had been visibly changed for the worse before my very eyes by his mandatory, post high school indoctrination in the SAP, South African Police force.
The first time I ever heard Martin Luther King was in 1984, the year I arrived in the US, as he had been a very well kept secret in South Africa. I was so moved I recorded his "I have a Dream" speech to play later on to my then husband, who laughed out loud when he realized I thought it was current some 20 years later.
Informed South Africans hid their banned books such as, Biko, the true story of an ANC, African National Congress activist murdered while in jail, for fear of police raids unearthing them. At protests the police would pop up out of armored tanks with video cameras, tape the protestors and later identify and find them. Once, after attending a protest for higher wages for women, African women, the police raided our house, threw us in the back of a pick up truck and took us to jail where I heard the demeaning sound of Zulu women being made to sing for their supper. My friend, Marianne Knudsen, had a "colored" boyfriend, Steve Fataar and one morning we woke up to a headline in the major newspaper that said: Police tell couple, stop living together. It was plastered all over the place. The police actually took sheets from their bed to test them for various human secretions. That was in 1981. To allay my guilt for being a walking symbol of oppression I would draw cartoons for the Confederation of South African Trade Unions for no charge. Once I went to an ANC meeting that was really scary as I could hear the power of the people in their chants and feel that it would not be long before the white people were ousted from government. Although this did finally happen in 1990? really only the color of the government changed and there still exists grave disparities among the different cultures and parity in South Africa does not yet exist. At the time Africans outnumbered whites by 5 to 1.
Growing up white in South Africa taught me firsthand the bones of oppressive systems but I was soon to realize that the oppression of women worldwide was on a far greater scale than that of one country at the southern tip of Africa...
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Power of Women Series
South Africa was as racist as it was sexist. As a white woman I still felt like a second-class citizen. I had left home to study art with a small loan guaranteed by a white male policeman of the S.A.P, John King, my friend's father. Only the male artists were taken seriously and though my grades were among the highest I was not considered for any grants. I had to leave art school after just 6 months at The Durban Technicon. I was broke. I began teaching art classes with my friend Natalie Goldsmith, to kids and was surprisingly, soon hired by an advertising agency by Jack Green, the father of one of the kids who came to the classes. Again my gender was attacked by male colleagues there who resented my being promoted to Account Executive and my boss would sometimes refer to me as a "naughty girl". I was also derided for being friendly with an African staff member who was teaching me Zulu, and told not to be too friendly with him.
Everywhere I went I felt the unchallenged sting of righteous superiority from men.
I later left my job not realizing that it would be crucial to my future work as an artist as I had learned how to reproduce and market, and print art. I vowed never to take another job and started "Cartoons And" where many of my clients came to me from my previous job. Then I met my husband at Life in the Park. I joined a group that got funding from Durban City Hall to bus people of all races to city parks to play games. This was the brainchild of Donna Burrell to begin to break down racism in South Africa.
After a brief time in the Seychelles Islands where my son was born my husband and I came to the US. Once again I felt the constant edge of superiority by virtue of being male, infused into our marriage. I joke today that our marriage was a free feminist education from which he never graduated. I began my card collection with the help of Scott Cramer of Northern Sun Merchandising in Minneapolis who printed my very first postcards. Thanks Scott. I was on my way to being able to support my now, two children after the birth my daughter, Elizabeth. I did not know then that only 1% of artists make a living from art. I was 30 years old when I got divorced and I bought my first home slash gallery/office.
I had endured way too many years of blatant sexism starting with my father who wanted me to leave high school: "girls of 18 should be married by now with babies", to my boss at the ad agency, and then my husband. I decided to address this issue in my art and began the Power of Woman series. I realized that a woman with a baby on her hip and a vacuum cleaner in the other hand was not going to be able to find time to read a feminist manifesto. I could give her an image and a few words and she would get the message quickly. I read Simone de Beauvoir's Second Sex, Mary Daly's Pure Lust and Beyond God The Father, I devoured The Great Cosmic Mother by Monica Sjoo and Barbara Mor and many more feminist books. I found the key to this was to go camping and let my kids explore nature, perfectly content, while I read. We went camping for weeks at a time in Afton Minnesota in the summer. They were naked, no laundry, we cooked over the fire, no dishes! Here follows many of the images from this period in time, and later as I evolved. The parallels between the domination of nature and the domination of women were screaming to be revealed in paint and word, so followed, the Scarred Sacred Earth Series...
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The Scarred, Sacred Earth Series
"If trees could scream, No-one on Earth would sleep peacefully again" were the first words written in this series that has remained closest to my heart since 1989 when I wrote and painted Mourning in the Rainforest. So much damage has been done since then and finally we see the mainstream acceptance of global warming despite the cover ups.
By default, because of whites being separated from African people in South Africa, I had grown up in a pristine natural environment in sub tropical Africa along the coast. So few white people in such vast untouched tracts of land had me living at least 50 years back in time as far as an anthropomorphic effect could be seen. I had got lost in snake infested jungles bordered by crocodile and hippopotamus filled rivers, I had got lost in the Drakensberg Mountains before the Koi-san or Bushmen became extinct. I had hitch hiked my way all over South Africa along the coast and through the deserts. My father had built our first home in the bush on a remote dirt road called Edgebaston Drive in Westville in the province of Natal. My sister was raped in the bush at the age of eight, years later I recognized her perpetrator from a flat on Durban beach front and yelled RAPIST at him, he was visibly shaken. My friends were poisoned by snakes and lost limbs to sharks, we picked mangoes all day from the trees and plucked avocadoes from trees that hung with fruit by the kitchen window. I played in Bilharzia poisoned rivers and showered under huge waterfalls, built giant bonfires of driftwood on beaches marked "Whites Only". Then I came to America. It was the shock of my life.
Everything was paved, the trucks were huge, the semis were overbearingly large, there was no pedestrian awareness, the whole place seemed to revolve around motorized transport. I was horrified to see drive through banks and liquor stores. I first landed in West Virginia where my husband had been waiting for me as he had inadvertently shipped my entry papers ahead of me and I had got stuck in London with my baby for three months living in a squat and going on the dole while I tried to get all my papers in order to come to the US. West Virginia was the headquarters of Union Carbide and the Bhopal leak that killed and poisoned thousands of Indian people was in the news. We drove past the headquarters often and I was deeply affected at seeing the actual source of the devastation.
Then in 1986 there was Chernobyl, and later landslides in Afghanistan after a nuclear test in Pakistan, coincidence? On and on until the recent history of New Orleans devastated by Hurricane Katrina and oh the terrible war in Iraq. I saw the pattern, conquer it and you own it, wreak havoc and make billions, let havoc reign, impress fear upon the masses, take control as protector and have dominion over nature so as to justify mining it for profit no matter the damage to the environment. Own her, take control, use her to raise your offspring for nothing, you work, she stays home, you pay the bills you own her. Hell, let her work and the pay the bills too. "Rule of thumb" comes from the time when you could legally beat a woman with a stick as long as it was no thicker than your thumb. Beat her, burn her, sell her for sex, give her a gun to fight your wars, the domination of nature is the same recipe as that for the domination of women. Don't ever let her get out of hand. Let brown men vote before you let her vote. So followed The Realm of the Nurturing Man series..
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The Realm of the Nurturing Man Series
My father was cold and distant, a British navy veteran of World War 2, your quintessential dirty old man, deafened during wartime, and sexually deviant. He told magical imaginative stories to us as children about Noggin the Nog, all made up off the top of his head, but when we became teenagers he eyed us lasciviously, spied on us and saw his five daughters as a financial burden. The youngest of 11 children he had been beaten by his mother and he beat us too. He was an inventor and we had solar power in our home in 1975 and he wrote a mathematical equation thesis insisting one could get energy from nothing using centrifugal force called "World Without Fossil Fuels" I admired his creativity but despised his behaviour at the same time. His idols were Da Vinci and Einstien and when he died my mother muddled up all his papers which she referred to as "scratchings" and handed them over to my youngest sister with absolutely no respect for the lifetime of passion and dedication poured into them.
Having no brothers and attending an all white girls school, he was my only male role model until I gave birth to my beautiful son, whom I hoped and prayed would grow up to be a loving and nurturing man.
"Father's you have rich milk for your children's souls, Feed them that they may create a more compassionate world for all of us". This statement began this series when I realized that nurturing is not the exclusive domain of women as I had been taught to believe by my parent's example.
There are so many men whom I love and adore for their work and integrity, they are Ghandi. Nelson Mandela, Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky to name a few more prominent names. These men have shown exemplary patience to allow the truth of humanity to bubble to the surface through deep intellectual endeavor with the dedication of a Christ or a Buddha. These are not the men who drive patriarchy, and though they delve deeply into the details of patriarchy's destructive antics they fail to highlight the significance of having left women out of the equation of humanity's overall evolution. Many prominent women in the media theater miss this opportunity too as they also discuss the endless antics of patriarchal systems accepting it as the status quo.
I believe that essential earth healing will come when it is socially acceptable for men
to embrace their gentle side and for women to acknowledge and act upon the essence of their strengths.
When this happens all children will be deeply revered for the incredible beauty of their little souls and originality and no-one would ever want to see them suffer in any way. Child soldiers would not exist, trafficking in young girls would vanish, kids bellies would be filled and their imaginations stimulated. And so my path led me on to the Rights of Children series...
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Abused children grow up to be diminished in their potentiality and often become abusers themselves. They have no one to believe in and poor self esteem and are easily manipulated into warped belief systems outside of their natural development.
They are easily brainwashed into going to war, consumerism and materialism. The patriarchal system takes advantage of this, molding them through its divisive and muscular media arm. Patriarchal systems wrestle our children from us through peer pressure and infiltration through their learning institutions. We wonder where our precious child, niece, stepchild went when they become teenagers.
Crowded urban areas have spawned parents fearful of letting their children stray more than a few yards from home. They go from vehicle to building as celebrities with security details and in between that they are hooked up electronically to some device/fad or held rapt by a screen. This results in a serious deprivation of the natural. We are all earthlings meant to experience actual earth at times and feel in tune with the weather and the seasons. Sheltering kids from being outside in the elements deprives them of their basest instinct: that of survival.
In famine stricken areas the children are over exposed to the elements and left starving in the blazing sun without adequate shelter, the landscape has been eroded of its natural shelter through the oversight of poor stewards of the earth often precipitated by the initial imprint of colonialist, imperialist pillaging of resources and fomenting of wars resulting in mass migrations of nomadic refugees.
We must begin as responsible adults to ask ask not whether a woman is fit enough to decide whether or not to bring a child into the world, but rather ask whether the world
is a fit enough place to bring a child into and act accordingly. If our immediate environment does not bode well for the raising of offspring we must curtail it until it has been repaired sufficiently to support and ensure a healthy environment on all levels, to raise children in. Which brings me to the matter of relationships with others from whence these offspring come. We are all voluntarily ride the emotional roller coaster at some point and suffer the consequences of the ride. This idea led to my Emotional Equations series...
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As humans we all really experience the same things from love to pain to death, from youth to old age and failure to success and failure again. From illness to wellness to debilitation and back.. It is the normal cycle of life, to feel everything from ecstasy to humiliation, it is what molds us. Emotions are the fabric of our being but we cannot let them control our lives. We must be able to master controlling our emotions so that we don't act in an irrational way. If humans could do this there would be no revenge, rape, murder, bitterness, clinging to the past, life long depression, misery and resentfulness.
It is our choice whether we live in fear or not. Our minds are like gardens that we are in charge of growing and nurturing. We must learn to be in control of our thoughts and minds, listen to ourselves think and be able to self diagnose our thoughts toward more mentally healthy thoughts which will ultimately control our life's outcome and our resultant actions. We have been fed a very superficial dose of what love is. Under patriarchy it is connected to materialism in that if a man truly loves his wife he will buy her a big diamond to prove it. Humanity's notion of love needs to be greatly advanced. True love is unconditional, unconstrained toward loved ones and allows complete freedom of expression. Love does not try to change people, it teaches by example. As we move toward a more spiritual way of being rather than a religious way of being we are more free to express ourselves as individuals connected to the whole. We feel no shame for who we are and celebrate our uniqueness. Our deeper connection to life is with nature and the natural world rather than material wealth. Our connections are more authentic and far less superficial. We have the strength to speak our truths regardless of the consequences and risk everything to be true to our inner self. Once we have mastered our emotions we are able to move to deeper levels of our psyche and we can revisit our souls and communicate with our subconscious selves, which is the mind soil that the Revisiting Our Souls series grew out of...
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Subconsciously everyone knows that humanity is on a collision course with extinction, but we all act like everything will continue the same forever. Many people are beginning to make small positive changes in their way of life, which is having a profound impact on our planet's psyche. We all groan collectively when we recognize that our leaders are wasteful of the earth's resources, when wars break out and innocent people die. We all celebrate collectively too when kittens are rescued, lost children are found and sovereign nations elect their leaders democratically so that the natural resources of that country can be used to better the lives of the people. When more people feel that it is truly as gratifying to give, as it is to receive we will see a huge shift in all areas of our evolution as a human species.
It is natural to want to cling to the familiar, hold on to the nest egg, hoard for the future and the immediate needs of the suffering will always be greater so how do we reconcile these? In my Revisiting Our souls series the best I could come up with is that if we use our unique talents to discover what our authentic life's path is we will create a situation of divine guidance and not have to worry so much about watching our backs. We will be freer to look forward, more open to spontaneous opportunities that come our way and be more creative in our manner. The vast wealth of some countries has spawned a dearth of incontinent slothfulness that deprives people of their connection to earth through the stagnating of the survival instinct. The debilitating poverty of so many countries also deprives people of their purpose as they are left to use all of their resources to barely survive from day to day. Both situations are as bad as each other when it comes to our evolution as a species.
If we really sit down with our souls and visit, listen closely, unearth our truth we would make correcting these disparities our priority and we could all get on with the business of repairing our dying planet using the specific tools we grabbed just before arriving here.
So let's start looking at the damage and assessing it. Here begins the Patriarchal Carnage Series...
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Guess what! You can advocate womens rights and love men at the same time.
This series is the visual representation of where we have come to as a species through evolving under the exclusive leadership of men. Oh yes we have had a queen over here and a Thatcher over there from time to time, but never in the numbers required for balanced gender leadership. Indeed any women with significant power have been tools of the patriarchy to further its agenda. I would also like to stress here that to blame the patriarchal system in place today is not to blame men specifically. There are many more factors such as wealth, lineage and class that play into maintaining the patriarchal monopoly. Although it must be said that many men benefit from exclusive male rule millions of men do not, but billions of women suffer under it, for they have too few spokeswomen to defend their rights. Indeed many outspoken women are threatened with death by men and women in especially fundamentalist environs.
It has been proven that when just 33% of women constitute a ruling body, the nature of the priorities changes drastically toward domestic issues over defense issues. I am also not naively biased enough to think that if women were running the world it would be a better place. I am saying that if we take nature as our teacher/provider whose deepest mantra seems to be that of balance then we as humans would do well to imitate nature. This earth has been here for billions of years and survived, what better role model can we take as humans? Nature is also the greatest economist and uses everything for a deemed purpose without wasting. We as humans do not yet do this.
We must also identify our problems at the root cause instead of placing band-aids over all the symptoms. I believe the patriarchal system is at the root cause of global damage. It has no respect for sovereign nations and the sanctity of eco-systems, and it pillages resources for profit wherever it goes. It is a global men's club with an arsenal of weapons in its front hall, enter the foyer, choose your weapon and leave by the back door to topple leaders, ruin countries, and leave masses of dead in your wake without consciousness never looking back and become celebrated among your peers when you return to the club for a cigar. This is the accepted global phenomenon across the world today. Leaders from all walks of life are corrupt or become corrupted by the patriarchal system in place.
Patriarchal systems effectively use powerful iconography to win the hearts and minds of people through images such as the Raising of the Flag at Iwojima and the toppling of dictator's statues such as Saddam, I have usurped their imagery and converted it suit my message. Patriarchy has a symbol which is the double cross, I have women tearing it down and I show them too raising the symbol of women.
After this patriarchal painting tantrum and dredging up anger from feeling so hopeless about the war as I saw the blatant lies and disregard for long held standards and international safety nets for humanity thrown to the wind, I became sick of people altogether. I became uninspired to paint people so I decided to paint flowers for a while and take a break. So I had a flower show...
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This series mostly speaks to the future of humanity going forward with vision, hope and optimism that we will survive these dark days on the planet and that there will be a place and a life worth living for the children that are born into these times. At the top of my wish list is that globally all military forces would be dispatched to protect our environment. This series is probably too optimistic and too idealistic but it is my hope that if you manifest it, it will happen, so no harm in envisioning it anyway. That was the thinking behind painting The Fall of Patriarchy too. All of these paintings were not painted after I moved to the river as this theme had been bubbling up for a long time, but I took the series further once I got to the peaceful environment of the river and the animals along it. I could begin to envision it more clearly now that I was an actual earthling experiencing earth itself. I planted a vegetable garden and flower gardens, created trails from which to observe nature and decided it was time to put my book together as it had been so delayed by moving and activism in the past, now was the time. You have it in your hands now, I hope you enjoyed your journey through this art.
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I went into my garden to seek solace from the mayhem of war and to try to wash the blood of war from my hands stained by a blatant disregard for the Constitution in so many ways. Whilst gardening I fantasized about sitting at the right hand of the creator and being in charge of designing new native flowers for North America as bright and expressive as those found in the tropics.
At this time I also became a board member for Women Against Military Madness in Minneapolis and became pro-active against the war. This was the time when I was arrested with the Alliant 28 for protesting against the use of depleted uranium in weapons manufacturing. This fine powder finds its way into the genetic make up of humans and causes gross birth deformities in babies, we wanted Alliant Tech to stop using it. We were all found not guilty by way of the Geneva Convention in Hennepin County Court in 2003.
There is not much to say about my flower show save that I had fun painting my flowers.
And they were a respite from the gloom and doom of another stolen election, which meant prolonging the war in Iraq and Afghanistan preemptively undertaken by the US.
My flower series started out animated and in the end became completely abstract, only the fun ones are shown here in their entirety as there were too many to print so I just made a collage of the best ones with an explanation and then debuted a few more.
I gave my Wildflowers painting to a woman I am still trying to find as it was payment in return for a show she arranged for me to have at a salon. After painting 36 large canvasses day and night for three months I hung the show with the previous exhibitor when he took down his work. The next day I was called to remove all my paintings from the salon as I had put three nails in the wall I found my paintings tossed haphazardly into a back room for pick up. That was a low point as I had invested precious resources in the endeavor.
It felt like I was out of synch with the universe. My children had left home and I was experiencing the lonliness that it brought after 20 years of being a single mother. I felt it was time to move on. I had for a long time the dream of trying to live off grid. I found a little house in the woods on a river in Wisconsin where I thought this might be possible down the road and left Minneapolis. I gave up painting flowers and went back to humans again, but this time I wanted to paint the human connection to the earth instead of the human connection to superficial systems.
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For the record, I am calling my genre of art, Terra-ism, as it embodies the state of the Earth.
"Terra" means earth. A terra-ist is an earth lover.
Terra-ism is a vehicle to express affirmative direction toward earth healing through action and the arts.
Terra-ism has no hierarchical posture other than divine intelligence as the superior teacher of all life. It is born of the deep need of peace loving peoples to visualize and express a future that is life sustaining for generations to come, and does not view earth as a purely fiscal resource above all else. It further purports equality rather than the existing paradigm that proffers wealth of the few over the many, and humans as superior to all other life.
Terra-ism does not condemn any religion or spiritual practice that holds earth, nature and all sentient beings in high esteem. It embraces the sum of all doctrines that revere earth and the cosmos as divine sustenance. Terra-ism does not seek its information from institutionalized patriarchal establishments, rather it defers to the intuitive knowledge of the individual human mind and soul to discern for itself a life path of purposeful action through learning.
Terra-ists seek to communicate on a mass scale, the importance of natural earth cycles and eco-systems and the dire need to keep them un-tampered with by human interference. Terra-ism communicates to others, the irreversible damage wrought by the incorrect notion that the human mind is superior to divine intelligence. It condones the practice of man-made aberrations of nature created by interspecies gene mixing.
Terra-ism does not separate humankind from nature and recognizes that war is rendered obsolete by natural disasters caused by human negligence and the resultant climate changes. Terra-ism seeks to be a portal to the survival of the human species, which is our basest instinct.
Terra-ists declare that the age of creation rather than destruction is present now on a global scale. There are billions more peace loving creative people in the world than the few who wage and threaten our lives with war and damage and destroy earth, heavens, and waters with no respect for the life that resides therein.
Americans live in a "democracy" that morphs itself daily, from the faces of America's founding forefathers into the demonic visage of "palatable" fascism. A slow- rot diet that many are choosing to push aside as poisonous to their global health.
Our lives are dictated by the decisions of the patriarchal system under which we live. Our destinies are intertwined with decisions made long ago by these patriarchs that forge the way to over consumption above all other doctrines. This assures poverty and struggle for the masses in order to keep us manageable, gullible and joined at the hip to the groping blindness of duality, racism, sexism and righteous patriotism that serves only to justify war. It is paramount that we address the war issue as a nation, for all other concerns of our nation are directly affected by it. American feminists have conveniently been banished to the place where old bras are burnt while rising stars in Jamaica, Chile and Liberia emerge to show the world that women can lead nations. The fact that women do not have nearly enough seats at the table of global consequence is deemed as insignificant and easily rectified with the mumblings of names such as Margaret Thatcher and Condoleeza Rice. Our cries and warnings of nuclear warfare in space nurtured by a multitude of video games and violent futuristic movies where the babies of today become the space soldiers of tomorrow's global warfare, taunting the world with lite nano-technological weaponry that feature incinerating un-housed silent lasers that melt human beings inside their clothes. This notion is generally scoffed at as unbelievable in America. Woman are often blamed for supplying these games or "free babysitters" to their children. Marketing to children and teenagers is a multi-billion dollar industry which is beyond policing by parents and sold with peer pressure marketing tactics.
The focusing of masses of children's eyes on a variety of screens throughout their lives steals their ability to know empathy and relate on a soulful level to other humans. They hyper-interact and images burned into the fabric of their brains become more real than reality itself. The vault wherein computerized war becomes justifiable through years of accumulated games played is breached. The game is now death and destruction truly implemented yet perceived as just a game in the psych of the mind. Frantically pressed buttons become the all-consuming focus rather than the devastation wreaked by the pressing of the button, the shifting of the joy stick and the ever-rising digital score emblazoned top left.
Even as I watch the most alternative news available all I can see is ingenious minds discussing the antics of a global patriarchal system heaving with orgasmic brutality as it is streamed through all the propoganda systems available to it: The printing press, the movies, the church of fundamentalism, the chains of financial non-stability and the mechanisms of daily psycho-babble delivered by seemingly innocent blonde bombshells with super-glossed sexy lips mouthing the will of their superiors with Bin-Ladenesque faith, snipping at the edges of half truths with shiny white canines, like the dogs at Abu Grahib. Old patriarchs espouse the necessity for war from miserable jowls, near death themselves they have no thoughts toward a promising future for humanity while their allied officials sit for weeks debating ceasefires and prolonging the misery that war is. The infrastructure that these victims of war have created for generations is so easily decimated by manufactured adversaries in a few short days.
Where is social consciousness in all of this? Will we find it from the artists of our society? Will there be any artists left, nurtured, funded or taught?
"What is referred to as the 'art world' is not a thing apart from the art market. The latter
has long been heavily influenced by a small number of moneyed personages like Huntington Hartford, John Paul Getty, Nelson Rockefeller, Paul Mellon, and Joseph Hirschorn, who have treated artworks not as part of our common treasure but, in true capitalist style, as objects of pecuniary investment and private acquisition. They have financed the museums and major galleries, the art books, art magazines, art critics, university endowments, and various art schools and centers- reaping considerable tax write-offs in the doing.* As trustees, publishers, patrons and speculators, these wealthy few and their associates also exercise an influence over the means of artistic production, setting implicit ideological limits to creative expression. While they cannot always predetermine artistic output, they exercise much control over its distribution.
Artists who move beyond acceptable boundaries run the risk of not being shown. In most high-toned art circles, political art that contains radical content is treated as an oxymoron and labeled "propaganda." Art and politics do not mix, we are told----which would be news to such great artists as Goya, Daumier, Picasso, and Rivera.
While professing to keep art free of politics ('art for art's sake'), the moneyed gatekeepers impose their own politically motivated definition of what is and is not art. For years, the art they bought, showed, and had reviewed was usually Abstract Expressionist and other forms of 'non-objective' art, a genre that is sufficiently ambiguous to stimulate a broad range of aesthetic interpretations, having a sufficiently iconoclastic and experimental appearance while remaining politically safe in content -
Or lack of content. In more recent times as artists have reverted to a more realistic form, their art is still usually devoid of critical social themes. One need only visit our museums and galleries to find confirmation of this point."
Excerpted from The Culture Struggle with the permission of author Michael Parenti.
*See Chin-Tao Wu, Privatizing Culture: Corporate Art intervention since the 1980's
(New York/London Verso, 2002.)
#For an alternative approach to the distribution of art, see Jerry Fresia, A Call To Artists, Z Net Dec 15th 2004.
Thanks for stopping by.
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