The line between assimilation and artistic freedom.

Homogenizing. It’s already happening. Genres and styles are beginning to blend and appropriate one another. So do we fight homogenization? It sounds dirty. Homogenize. It sounds like emasculated countries are forced to conform to the ideals of the emasculator, but, perhaps these cultural blends aren’t always as violent and dangerous as one would think.

I grew up in the western world. I am a kid from a small town in Iowa. I live in a country that is and has been considered a driving world power for years. Even as I write this I am sitting in a room that was built on land that was once cultivated by the natives who lived here. America is pretty bad at allowing culture to be preserved. We are the assimilators. My countries culture has been forced on the culture’s of many.


but art tho…

While I’d like to say, “tell America to fuck off with their assimilation bullshit.” Perhaps there are artists from other parts of the world who truly dig a specific technique that is employed only in American art. What is exchange and what is appropriation? What is artistic freedom, and what is assimilation? Where are these lines?


I want to know!


Globalization… beware


The art world is expanding says Robin Cembalest. In a video titled the globalization of Art, Cembalest discusses the increase in biennials. She claims that, now, there are so many biennials that no one can go to them all, and if you do, it’s because it is your job: “go to all the biennials.” This is wonderful. There is much to gain from this globalization. Many countries that were once considered out of the  art loop are able to gain recognition on a global scale. Artists from Pakistan and other countries that were once ignored have their shot at the gallery, but there must be some sacrifice… right? What are some of the problems that are making their way out of the woodwork because of this globalization.


Critics haven’t changed, so, artists are pressured to.

Cembalest suggests that there is a pressure that exists at biennials. Artists interested in making a deal are often influenced into changing their art so it can be viewed in a gallery. More and more at theses biennials, artists are changing their work in order to cut a deal.


Enforcing a national identity.

At the end of the ARTnews video Robin Cembalest is asked what parts of ther world should American’s be paying attention to right now. She responds, “everyone is watching China, and everyone is watching India.” The question makes me feel strange. What parts of the world should we be watching? Perhaps nationalism is being enforced through biennials. While attempting to construct a global conciousness, we are telling ourselves that art from place to place is different. While each country has its own unique history, I think, more and more, Artists are being influenced by one another through the internet to create borderless and art. Art that all can interpret regardless of cultural or national identity. In the Postmodern (if this era is not, in fact, dead) we are becoming aware of realativity and circumstance. Ethics is circumstancial. Religion is circumstancial. Governments are realative. Authority is relative. Our grasp of reality is even considered to be a relative construct. In this age of transglobal relativitey, artists seem to be stressing individual interpretation over derived intent. If we do away with national identity in art, perhaps we can begin to truly understand one another as global citizens.


This post is not meant to instruct artists how to make art. This post is only attempting to grasp the sacrifices that are made at biennials and how to respond to this new state of globalization. I do not wish that all art look the same. I do not wish to enforce national identity through art. I just want art. Excess of it. And I want artists to feel free. I don’t want artists to change there work in order to try to appeal to art critics. Perhaps soon these problems will fade, but it appears that doors only open when others are closed… whatever that means… here’s the video:

Takashi Murakami and the Superflat

While I never watched much anime when I was young, many of my friends did. In fact, a few of my friends obsessed over it. When they were over, they would tell me of the stories that they had seen on the tube. Many of them stayed up late to watch Toonami on Cartoon network where they would be able to catch a half hour of Dragon Ball Z. As they grew older, they fell away from the genre. I, on the other hand, have started to grow fonder to the artform. I am not alone either. There are many American young adults and adults who study and critique anime and manga.

The anime fanbase intrigues me. Somehow Anime and Manga’s demographic isn’t exactly specific. Adults and children both can get together and bond over Dragonball or Princess Mononoke. Why is this?

Takashi Murakami, a prominent Japanese graphic artist delves into the infantilization of characters in Japanese art in his art series titled “Little Boy” where he employs his classic Superflat aesthetic– the aesthetic he gave name to in his Superflat manifesto. An artblogger on the web blog Post Bubble Culture explains this aesthetic and movement in his blog  titled “Pop Psychosis” He explains that Murakami’s artwork suggests Japanese anime and manga’s cute ‘kawaii’ style is a result of WWII. The country of Japan was completely emasculated after WWII by the laws that the United States had put in place. Many died in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the Tokyo after the United States bombings. Murakami suggests that anime and kawaii imagery is a result of the escapist mentality that followed the war.

In his work, Murakami paints mushroom clouds with cute kawaii styled eyes. The internet blogger asks his readers if this style could be misinterpreted by a western audience. If so does it help or hinder Superflat arts statement about WWII?

While Murakami’s art is executed in a cute style, I am drawn closer to it because of its depictions of war. It gives me an eerie feeling that I cannot shake. I mean look:

Is this not terrifying? Everything about it is sharp. Even the colors are vibrant, bold, and in your face. What do you think? Is the Superflat aesthetic’s confrontation with WWII problematic? Could this be passed off as simply a formalist work, or are transglobal audiences pulled into inquiry because of the Superflat aesthetics contradictory cutsie and violent nature?

Questions for Nicholas Bourriaud

Before I can begin to understand Nicholas Bourriaud’s definition of Altermodernism, I must have a few questions answered:

Q: If Post-modernism is dead, when did it die and what should be written on its epitaph?

“What is postmodernism?” This notorious question has been dodged by students and artists alike for decades. David Foster Wallace avoided this question at all costs, and he is, arguably the epitome of postmodern authors. When did this become an easier question to answer? If it still cannot be answered, how can we be so damn sure that a new period of art exists? There seems to be a pretty clear shift from Modernism into Postmodernism. The rise of mass media seemed to usher in the era of relative truth, yet still, it appears that when anyone asks the question, what is postmodernism, everyone shrugs and says “no fair.” If this period is dead, define it in a phrase. What can we write on its tombstone?


Q: Can Altermodernism fit within the realm of the Postmodern?

It appears to me that we don’t even need the label Altermodernism. In his comic Nicholas Bourriaud defines Altermodernism as art on a Trans-global scale. Is this art anything more than this: transglobal? Why claim that Postmodernism is dead? Transglobal art is aware of relative experience is it not? What is fundamentally different in their two MO’s? Please I would really love to know?


Q: Why not Metamodernism?

In an article written by Seth Abramson of the Huffingtonpost he very clearly defines the difference between Postmodernism and what he believes to be Meta. In this article he stresses the necessary components of Postmodernism and why we are moving in a different direction. He claims the age of the internet is making way to this new era of rejecting distance. If Postmodernism was about the distance between irony and sincerity, cynicism and naivete, then Metamodernism collapses these distances. Artists create art on a global scale in order to create positive change in world communities.

Q: I find the argument for Metamodernism more compelling. Can you open my eyes? 

It’s hard for me to believe another modernist manifesto can be written without discussing the internet! The internet has changed EVERYTHING. It has affected everything from popular culture to social discourse. We have apps like tinder that allow us to meet strangers we are sexually attracted to. Uber is crushing taxi drivers everywhere. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are United States presidential candidates. I refuse to believe that the art that is being created today is not influenced by the transglobal monster that is the internet! Not until someone can explain it to me.

Nicholas. I want to believe. Please… please…


Link to Metamodernist ponderings from huffpost: