Cults: January 2010 Archives

Beuys's cane continuously raps on the surface of Ustvolskaya's percussion box, one corner of which rests on a copy of Castaneda's "Don Juan"

the hugely-outsize Boli, constructed of sacrificial materials, including one of Evo Morales's acrylic sweaters, contemplates Malinowska's replica of Malevich's "Black Square"

a group of slightly-scruffy habitués of McCarren Park "performing the Solar System model falling apart", accompanied by toy piano, in a video using Messiaen's "Visions de l'amen" as sound

Joanna Malinowska has installed her own aggressively-idiosyncratic diagram of the universe, "Time of Guerilla Metaphysics", inside the two gallery spaces of CANADA, on the Lower East Side.

It's not a simple walk-through show. A certain amount of attention has to be paid when the universe is being re-imagined. Its appeal may only develop slowly, at least partly because it's surfaces are largely brown and gray, and because its pieces echo the diversity of Malinowska's model, the universe itself, but ultimately the installations, both separately and together, register as powerful, tantalizing, and, ultimately, deliciously enigmatic. Their mysteries mirror the artist's sources themselves, which include traditional West African totems, Joseph Beuys, Copernicus, Mammoths, Galina Ustvolskaya, Oglala Sioux dance, Spinoza, Kazimir Malevich, Evo Morales, and Brooklyn’s McCarren Park.

I left the gallery thinking that visitors to this, her second New York show could only be scratching the surface of this artist's creative imagination.

William Blake Hecate or the Three Fates 1795

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings."
[Cassius, in "Julius Caesar", Act I, Scene II]

The stars, the fates, Hecate, Parcae, Fata, the norns, the three sisters, they're us, and we should start acting like we know it.

The Transportation Safety Administration can't give us security; it's in our hands. All of the grotesque, costly, and invasive measures the TSA has already introduced, or might still introduce, are only reactive, and cannot match the efficacy of the initiatives which a look at the broader geopolitical picture would demand. We should also remember that all the current fuss is about passenger air travel, which is only a tiny portion of our national security responsibilities.

The only comprehensive security measure that makes any sense, and which incidentally would be acceptable to, if not applauded by, the entire world (including air travelers everywhere) would be an elimination of the cause, not a continual search for the effect of the intense resentment and hatred behind suicidal and other terrorist acts.

We should begin by looking at ourselves as others see us. We should end all of our current, totally optional wars, close the U.S. military bases and operations currently located within well over 130 countries, and begin to show a decent respect for the cultures of other peoples. 

Of course it would also be helpful if we could actually bring ourselves to extend real foreign aid, not military hardware, and only where it can be constructive, not where we believe we can buy love or increase our own wealth. 

[image from poor old dirt farmer]

This page is an archive of entries in the Cults category from January 2010.

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