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United States Couple Create Photo Exhibits of War Dead, Booked in 39 Communities

3/22/11

http://www.artdaily.com/section/news/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=45897&b=

 

The article, “United States Couple Create Photo Exhibits of War Dead, Booked in 39 Communities,” concerns the company Patriotic Productions Inc., which runs a show called “Remembering Our Fallen,” featuring photos of war dead from Nebraska and Iowa. The article falls under the rubric of post-modernism as it deals with memory and what we as a culture choose to recognize and choose to seemingly forget. The point of the show is represented in a quote from Evonne Williams, one of the husband and wife partners that run the show, “We need to remember their names.”

 

It’s a sad statement and demonstrates the misery of the Bush-Obama wars.  Of course these aren’t wars officially, but instead “combat operations” conducted by the military, our allies and private contractors, or mercenaries subcontracted by private security firms.  There is no mention that these “combat operations” have been continuous with the infamous “no-fly zone” since 1990. Have the million Iraqi’s who died during Clinton’s embargo and no-fly zone been remembered? Will the million dead in the latest wars be remembered? Doubtfully there could even be pictures found of all the dead since by the time many had been killed they and their families might have been to poor to even afford a camera with which to take pictures. And where would they ever find room to show 2,000,000 photos of dead war victims in all the 39 communities where they now show those who died serving in the wars?

 

There might also be a lapse in memory when it comes to the circumstances that drove America to start an aggressive war with Iraq. Let alone the increasing skepticism of the government’s accounts of 9/11, do those who display and attend the show of photos recall the lies of WMD’s? Are visitors reminded of the retired army general at the United Nations claiming to have proof of yellow cake uranium that Saddam Hussein was to have had? Are they remembering the push of six corporations, Time Warner, Walt Disney, Viacom, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., CBS Corporation and NBC Universal, which collectively control US media?

 

Memory in the exhibit seems to be selective. What is left out of consideration tells much about the sentimental and nostalgic drive behind the show. By demonstrating the sacrifice of the American war dead the producers of the show generate the feeling that they shouldn’t die in vain and the wars must continue so those lost may die as heroes.  Of course these wars aren’t meant to be won, but are meant to be endured for the sake of permanent military bases in oil-rich nations. It would be better to see the brave men and women who died in service to America as a reason to stop the government from waging unconstitutional wars.

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April 5, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rare Work that Sheds Fascinating Light on British Delegation to China in 1954 to Be Shown at Sotheby’s

March 29, 2011

http://www.artdaily.com/index.asp?int_new=46108&int_sec=2

 

In 1954, British artist Stanley Spencer traveled to China as part of a cultural delegation. The works he painted then are part of a valuable 20th-century British art sale in Hong Kong, April 1-6, 2011.

 

This topic doesn’t fall into the rubric of postmodernism. Spencer’s art is painted in a representational way that indicates a notion of progress in personal and institutional knowledge, optimism for his experience, rational portrayal of his subjects, and a search for a harmonious and absolute knowledge in his understanding of his subject and the society and political environment in which it existed. From reports sited in the article, it can be inferred that Spencer also was a believer in the idea that being true to oneself and others was a strong foundation for gaining knowledge.  One report is of how Spencer charmingly answered then Premier of the People’s Republic of China, Zhou En-lai’s questions about the British’s experience in China. Spencer answered by relating his home to China in homey and comfortable ways.  It is also related that during the trip Spencer found time to develop a respectful relationship with Chinese painter, Qi Baishi, honoring the artist with the purchase of several of his paintings.

 

These actions suggest that Spencer wasn’t concerned with the end of progress in any form. It is doubtful that Spencer was interested in the end of history or society since the most famous of his work from this trip, Ming Tomb’s deals favorably with the ancient art of China and it’s “rediscovery” in the modern world. Finally, from the article we can surmise that Spencer cared little of the relationship of reality to “signs,” or signifiers. Spencer related his life directly to Zhou En-lai’s in order to form a cross-cultural relationship built on common experiences. Spencer’s understanding of their lives was built on the reality in which he found himself.

April 5, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment