The internet was a little boring this week…but there were still some good reads. Highlights: Students marched for their lives, say Stephen Clark’s name, is the class vs. race debate even a debate, Lena Waithe is a badass, ICA Philly believes in paying artists, Will Ferrell and Joel McHale try to understand art, WTF is Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, JUMPSUITs every day, Ethiopia is in a major crisis, and who would win in a fist fight between Trump and Biden.
1. New York Times: March for Our Lives Highlights: Students Protesting Guns Say ‘Enough Is Enough’
The March for Our Lives took place yesterday in DC, and hundreds of other cities around the country and every continent except Antarctica. I went to the one in DC yesterday and it was filled angry, hopeful students. There was a strong emphasis on registering people, especially pre-registering teens, to vote.
Most speakers at the protest were youth affected by a school shooting or gun violence in their everyday lives. Race was something not shied away from in the speeches, speakers were constantly checking their privilege, or calling out institutional racism and other inequities: it was made clear that this is a movement and not a moment.
Last Sunday Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old unarmed black man, was fatally shot in his own backyard in Sacramento, California. Clark was holding his cell phone which police believed to be a weapon. Both officers on the scene fired 10 shots at Clark. This has caused a national uproar in the wake of the Movement for Black Lives and gun control movement spearheaded by survivors of the Parkland shooting. On Thursday massive protests shut down freeways and a lockdown at the Sacramento Kings game.
3. New York Times: An End to the Class vs. Race Debate
A study was just released the rebuts the notion that “ if we address class issues, we can fix racism.” The study found that Black men have a harder time both maintaining and accumulating wealth than Black women, and men from other racial demographics. “Whether born to a rich family or a poor one, in an impoverished neighborhood or wealthy one, black boys lag behind their white peers as adults. Black boys who grow up rich are twice as likely as their white counterparts to end up poor. And of those black boys who start life poor, nearly half will remain so in adulthood…Black women may surpass their white counterparts in individual income, but they lag in household income. The men who would be their husbands are missing — incarcerated, unemployed, unable to be the partners that women want.” For many Black people, this does not come as a surprise. It is a confirmation of what they see every day.
4. Vanity Fair: Lena Waithe Is Changing the Game
This article has been popping up everywhere on social media this week. Most people probably know Waithe for her historic Emmy win for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for her work on Master of None, where she also played Denise.
I was discussing this profile with a friend when she asked me about what I thought about Waithe saying “I am tired of white folks telling my stories. We gotta tell our shit. Can’t no one tell a black story, particularly a queer story, the way I can, because I see the God in us. James Baldwin saw the God in us. Zora saw the God in us. When I’m looking for myself, I find myself in the pages of Baldwin.” My friend thought it was surprising that such a rudimentary statement could seem so radical, so profound. It is profound because a queer black woman said it. And it is a radical thing for Waithe to publically occupy that space.
ALSO! Amy Sherald in mentioned on the cover.
5. Artforum: ICA Philadelphia Becomes First Museum Certified by W.A.G.E
YAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!! Anyone who has spoken to me about museums knows that ICA Philadelphia is my favorite museum on the East Coast. It is free with poignant, beautifully curated, culturally relevant exhibitions, and now it is the first W.A.G.E. certified museum! W.A.G.E. (Working Artists and the Greater Economy) is a “New York-based activist organization that advocates for artists to receive fair compensation from the institutions that contract their work.” This is super important as artists often don’t get paid for museums shows, even though they are extremely important in cultivating one’s career. This is a big step for US museums and I hope more will follow soon!
6. Facebook: Will Ferrell and Joel McHale visit the Hammer Museum
So I am really not sure what this video is but I kinda love it?? Will Ferrell and Joel McHale get a personal tour of the Hammer Museum’s exhibition Stories of Almost Everyone. The video begins with Ferrell questioning the title of the exhibition saying that “there are stories being told…almost everyone? I don’t know about that. I would say five to ten people, The Stories of 5–10 People, that is what it should be called.” It seems like Ferrell is poking fun at all things contemporary art, and much of the conceptualist work exhibited (featured artists include Darren Bader, Jason Dodge, Antonio Vega Macotela and Mungo Thompson), but he also seems to be referencing who goes to museums, and whose stories get in be in them.
Ferrell and McHale both seemed baffled but some of the work in the exhibition, as its curator, Aram Moshayedi, tries his best to discuss some of the works without letting go of hist polished art-speak. Ferrell closes the video by saying what a lot of people are thinking “interesting concept…taking a variety of objects that might not be seen as art, and seeing it through the lens of the artist.” McHale compliments Ferrell declaring that “it’s definitely art. I would say. I think…Staring at them for a long time with other people kinda makes it art.”
7. Los Angeles Times: Wes Anderson’s ‘Isle of Dogs’ is often captivating, but cultural sensitivity gets lost in translation
Isle of Dogs. Isle of Dogs. Isle of Dogs. Say it fast enough, and can you hear it? Sounds like “I love dogs,” which is largely the stance that Wes Anderson takes in his new animated puppet movie based in Japan. While Anderson does his best to aestheticize a fictitious Great Pacific Garbage Patch The film has problems areas, which seem obvious once Justin Chang articulates them, but are buried beneath the devoted aesthetic and sophisticated language. Chang begs the question, “does this white American filmmaker’s highly selective, idiosyncratic rendering of an East Asian society constitute a sincere act of homage or a clueless failure of sensitivity?” The answer isn’t at all clear-cut and requires some prodding on the reader’s part of Chang’s critical landscape.
8. The Paris Review: The Jumpsuit That Will Replace All Clothes Forever
I often wake up in the morning and miss my high school uniform. I hate choosing what to wear, and have a wardrobe that mostly consists of black paints, plaid shirts, single-toned sweatshirts, and have 5 pairs of the same Vans. The Rational Dress Society (RDS), a self-described counter-fashion collective, produces and sells a single product, with a multi-faceted mission: behold, the JUMPSUIT. The idea of being able to wear the same thing for the rest of my life is alluring.
At the heart of the Rational Dress Society’s ideology is a critique of consumer society, and how free market capitalism intersects with democracy and choice. How much free will do we have if we can only choose from what’s available? Besides, what we choose to wear is mostly a projection of how we want the world to see us, which itself is informed by how the world sees us.
In a lot of ways, RDS’s product engages the same capitalist tools in order to sell what it ostensibly rejects. A $200 JUMPSUIT is not cheap, and if it constitutes an entire wardrobe, one is likely not enough. The project is structured under the premise that, by choosing just one wardrobe, the consumer rejects the free-will fallacy of consumerism. The end result is a halt of consumption altogether, helping us see some of the choices that have become embedded in how we live and dress and buy. A portion of the proceeds of all the work will go toward the purchase of a full-page ad in Vogue, which will mark the end of the JUMPSUIT era. As soon as the ad goes up, no one will be able to buy the product. RDS builds its brand with all the requisite elements of capitalism, but it falls apart as soon as it hits the consumer, exposing and then destroying the façade.
I wonder if they know who Andrea Zittel is…
9. BBC: Ethiopians refuse to return after shooting
Ethiopia is in a major crisis that is threatening the political stability of East Africa. The immediate issue is the resignation of former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement, and his potential replacement by Demeke Mekonnen, who would be the first Muslim PM of the country. However, this is a symptom of long-standing tension and lack of voice between different ethnic groups in the country. The above article is a timeline of events as they are unfolding, with the most recent at the top.
10. TMZ: I Could Kick Joe Biden’s Ass in a Fight!!!
Donald Trump and Joe Biden got into an argument over who would win a fistfight if they were in high school. We actually live in a country where things that are said in politics make more sense as TMZ headlines than they would in the New York Times. I don’t really know of better examples of contemporary American politics than it being reported in TMZ and protest memes.
*All images taken from reference articles*
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