Ruth Cuthand: Dis-ease
For more than 30 years, Ruth Cuthand has been challenging mainstream perspectives on colonialism and the relationships between ‘settlers’ and Natives in a practice marked by political invective, humour, and a deliberate crudeness of style.
Ruth Cuthand’s Dis-ease series consists of large, seductive beaded circles with complex patterns supported on rich, black, velvety surfaces and framed under glass. These circles depict microscopic views of agents that have caused the devastation and loss of many of North America’s indigenous peoples—diseases and viruses such as Spanish flu, hepatitis C and tuberculosis. At the same time, these circles echo some of the forms seen in First Nations beaded medallions.
These Dis-ease pieces were no mere scientific “curiosities” hung on Truck’s wall; there was no mistaking Cuthand’s understanding of history, nor her scientific grasp of the subject matter. This knowledge is depicted in the forms themselves. The clearly defined labels on the glass prompt us to distance ourselves from the work, but the details in the beadwork draw us in, making us understand that what we see is from a First Nations way of knowing. Although Cuthand provides no indication of how many victims were afflicted by these agents, we can feel the gravity and significance of that loss.
Seven Joys of the Virgin Altarpiece
Oil on Wood, 89 x 180 cm.
The Image of the Black in Western Art Research Project and Photo Archive, W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, Harvard University
Maybe put it on a canvas instead of someone’s property, and we can all be happy.
who paying for these canvases or the art programs so these kids can have that? Why should it matter if these run down buildings that never get fixed up anyway get graffiti’d?
Therein lies the issue. Art programs, both visual and performance based, are the first programs to be cut. Canvas ain’t cheap. Neither are the supplies. Much of the graffiti that takes place IS on buildings that are run down. The gov’t didn’t place any value on these properties and yet get pissy with dudes “vandalizing” their shit. You can’t have it both ways, ya dig.
My father was a garment contractor in LA. In the late 80s, he owned the building where he had his factory. He thought it would be a cool idea to commission local graffiti artists, usually young Black and Latino men looking to stay out of trouble, to paint murals on his buildings. After all, he runs a garment design/manufacturing company, and creative signage is great advertising.
One day, he showed up to the building and the city just painted over the murals without permission or notice.
First, the city told him he couldn’t have graffiti art on HIS building because it brought down property value. After he complained, then they said: ok you can do this, but you need a permit. After he got the permit, then the city said: ok, but you can only use these artists. Of course, these artists were all White graphic design students from USC, and of course they charged 3x more.
There is a prejudice against this type of art, and it’s racial. Banksy vandalizes folks buildings all the time, and folks treat him like the Messiah. He ain’t doing nothing new that Black and Brown folks haven’t done for decades.
This whole post…I just find it really interesting! And sad, too, but good thing to read.
Rice University Art Gallery presents a stunning new installation from American artist Soo Sunny Park, who continues her exploration of light and its impact on physical space and architectural design.
So gorgeous. Wow.
"Another reason we thought it was men all along… ‘[M]ale archaeologists were doing the work," Snow said, and it’s possible that “had something to do with it.’”
This is exciting both in its own right, and as an example of how science can be improved by elimination of patriarchal values that attribute works to one gender or another based on assumption, rather than evidence.
In other words, it is exciting to see that so many early artists were women, and equally exciting to see scientists breaking through conditioned patriarchal thinking in order to reach better conclusions.
The erasure of women’s roles in human history is tantamount to violence. To this day, men - prominent men - feel totally comfortable saying women just aren’t good artists or writers. Admitting women are good at something - as good as men! maybe better! - means admitting that men have had an undeserved level of access to success in that field.
Last week, a few news sources reported on a recent study that suggests women are generally better investors than men. I saw it posted on Facebook, and because I’m a masochist, I read the comments. To paraphrase the majority of comments left by men: “But ladies be shoppin! LOLLLL” Even when we’re proven, statistically, to be better at something, men feel the need to tear us down. (You can’t really prove with math that women artists are just as good as men, but with something that’s entirely numbers-based like investing, it’s a little easier.) And in the case of the story above, it’s just assumed that something culturally and historically significant was done by men. A fist bump across time and space to the cave ladies making art before it was cool.
Possibly had something to do with it? No, definitely had something to do with it.
the teachers at my high school do this to the graffiti in the bathrooms and i literally cant
[Self-portraits by Carrie Mae Weems, Käthe Kollwitz, Judy Baca, and Frida Kahlo, text “Never apologize for selfies”]
Wanted to get modern women artists and some WOC up in this one. If you reblog it would be cool if you kept the part in the brackets so these artists, two of whom are still working, will get credit—this conversational part below is nbd.
S. Ross Browne
Ummm…I am so VERY into this right now!
But Black people in period or fantasy settings totally makes the stories unreal.
Also holy shit I love these.
James Luna, Artifact Piece, 1987, San Diego Museum of Man
In this piece Native American performance artist James Luna lay for several days in a glass display case atop sand next to other display cases containing Luna’s personal items and ceremonial objects from the Luiseno reservation. Upon approaching the case many viewers were surprised to find a living being watching them, reversing the voyeuristic experience of museum going. Luna also calls attention to the tendency of museums to present Native American cultures as dead and extinct rather than carrying the history through to modern day representations.