Blogs Untitled (Blog) Brooke Kellaway

The Sculpture is Never Finished: An Interview with Vincent Fecteau

  It’s unlikely that Vincent Fecteau’s Untitled (2010) sculpture is seen the same way twice. It hangs on a peg in the gallery’s wall so that the two-sided work can be shown as occasionally reversed and rotated. With each adjustment to its display, the viewer’s discovery of the object is slightly different, exposed to new […]

 

Vincent Fecteau. Untitled, 2010, Walker Art Center

It’s unlikely that Vincent Fecteau’s Untitled (2010) sculpture is seen the same way twice. It hangs on a peg in the gallery’s wall so that the two-sided work can be shown as occasionally reversed and rotated. With each adjustment to its display, the viewer’s discovery of the object is slightly different, exposed to new aspects of its variegated surface, imperfect acrylic paint layers of uneasy hues, traces of papier mâché infrastructure, and range of casted shadows on the flat wall behind it. While Fecteau worked on this series of what he’s referred to as “360-degree sculptures,” each awkward wall-mounted shape consisted of an arduous exercise in not only confronting the limitations of sculpture but also in determining the state of completion for these challenging and indefinitive works.

In a recent interview, Fecteau discusses his sculptural practice. He talks about the development of his work in the Walker’s collection, what he’s working on now (an exhibition of his newest pieces just opened at Galerie Buchholz in Berlin), and the exciting impossibility of making art.

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Flashback to the ’80s: New Dance USA

Cotton balls were given out to lessen the intense volume of Rhys Chatam’s music accompanying Karole Armitage’s Drastic-Classicism (1981), a performance in which “pitting punk pretenses against formal facility, it was a ferocious barrage of smashing guitar chords juxtaposed with an off-kilter corkscrewing of classical dance techniques.” – Allen Robertson, The Minneapolis Star, October 6, […]

Karole Armitage, Drastic Classicism 1981    Children’s Theatre, October 5, 1981

Cotton balls were given out to lessen the intense volume of Rhys Chatam’s music accompanying Karole Armitage’s Drastic-Classicism (1981), a performance in which “pitting punk pretenses against formal facility, it was a ferocious barrage of smashing guitar chords juxtaposed with an off-kilter corkscrewing of classical dance techniques.” – Allen Robertson, The Minneapolis Star, October 6, 1981

In Lucinda Childs’ Dance (1979), with a set by Sol LeWitt and sound by Philip Glass (and performed for a less convinced audience than the captivated one watching Dance in the Walker’s McGuire theater last year), “by combining speed and repetition in an unrelenting two-hour mathematical equation, Childs puts herself in the vanguard of new dance.” – Iris M. Fanger, The Boston Phoenix, October 20, 1981

At New Dance USA (October 3–8, 1981), the Walker invited Karole Armitage, Lucinda Childs, and 25 other choreographers to perform their work at five locations throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul. The festival lineup piqued the interest of audiences near and far who came to check out and assess what the 1980s postmodern dance scene was about. Along with the week of performances, the Walker—known as one of the nation’s leading presenters of dance—put together a three-part lecture series on postmodern dance, a Dance Critics Conference, a panel of dance presenters discussing creative ways to organize residencies, an exhibition of scores and graphic works by some of the participating choreographers, and a 50-page catalogue. (more…)

Amelia Jones on Marcel Duchamp

On November 29, 1994, art historian Amelia Jones gave a lecture at the Walker Art Center entitled, “The Duchampian Phallus.” Jones introduced her book, Postmodernism and the Engendering of Marcel Duchamp. Her critique of the “fetishization” of Marcel Duchamp offered an alternative view to the masculine-oriented sensibilities that pervaded modern art. The talk was presented […]

On November 29, 1994, art historian Amelia Jones gave a lecture at the Walker Art Center entitled, “The Duchampian Phallus.” Jones introduced her book, Postmodernism and the Engendering of Marcel Duchamp. Her critique of the “fetishization” of Marcel Duchamp offered an alternative view to the masculine-oriented sensibilities that pervaded modern art. The talk was presented in conjunction with the Walker’s exhibition Duchamp’s Leg. Below is an excerpt from the transcript, published today in recognition of the 125th anniversary of Duchamp’s birth.

Amelia Jones
The Duchampian Phallus

I’ve written a book entitled Postmodernism and the En-Gendering of Marcel Duchamp. This book attempts to make a critical intervention into dominant histories and theories of postmodernism and the visual arts. My book focuses almost exclusively on discursive constructions of Duchamp within United States texts about post-1960 art rather than on the work of artists who may have been influenced, jolted, inspired, pissed off, or tantalized by the work and persona of Marcel Duchamp.

I’d like to retrace very briefly here the arguments I make in the book, and then as seems appropriate for this forum address, what I see as a striking difference between constructions of Duchamp within United States art history and criticism and artists’ uses and abuses of Duchamp. In my book I point out that since the late 1960s a dominant and accepted account of postmodernism has developed, one that defines postmodernism as radically overthrowing modernism’s masculinist investment in genius and hierarchies of quality, and yet one that consistently invokes Marcel Duchamp, the French-turned-American Dadaist as the father of this postmodernism, in this way assigning him the phallus of postmodern authority. The central argument of my book is that this construction is self-contradictory and that it explicitly defines a male modernist as the paternal origin for a supposedly anti-modernist, anti-masculinist postmodernism.

I also argue that this construction closes down the highly charged eroticism that I feel Duchamp’s work so dramatically encourages in the interpretive exchange. It does this by ignoring the sexual aspects of his work and focusing exclusively on the institutional critique put into play by his readymades, and these of course are the mass-produced objects he selected from the world of things in the nineteen-tens and signed as art objects, so that the readymades are identified as indicative of his dislocation of modernism. I spend the first third of the book tracing the obsessive critical invocation of Duchamp as originary postmodernist, but the bulk of my text is more playful, attempting to reopen the circuits of desire closed down by the vast majority of Anglo-American art critical and historical texts referencing Duchamp.

To this end, I re-read Duchamp’s readymades as his performative self-display as a woman in the Rrose Sélavy photographs taken by Man Ray. And his final masterpiece, Étant Donnés, or Given: The Waterfall, The Illuminating Gas. And I’m not going to go into a detailed discussion of this piece here but I have a whole chapter in the book on the piece. These re-readings are explicitly feminist attempts to re-eroticize the interpretive field surrounding Duchamp and his works.

Man Ray. Marcel Duchamp as Rrose Sélavy (1920-21). Gelatin silver print. Image and sheet: 8 1/2 x 6 13/16 inches (21.6 x 17.3 cm) Mount: 9 x 7 3/16 inches (22.9 x 18.3 cm). Image: Philadelphia Museum of Art.

So why Duchamp as origin? Very briefly let me trace here the various historical reasons that might account for the fetishization of Duchamp in United States art discourses about postmodernism. American art practice and criticism in the 1940s and 50s are now seen to be epitomized by the figures of Jackson Pollock, the heroic genius of modernist painting’s last gasp, and Clement Greenberg, that now-infamous avatar of the transcendent abstract formalism linked with Pollock and his New York School colleagues. By the mid-1950s with the inspiration of counter-cultural anti-genius geniuses such as Merce Cunningham, the dancer, and John Cage, musician-poet-artist and friend of Duchamp, a younger generation of artists began to search for alternative avenues of expression in their work and self-presentational strategies. That is, artists such as Robert Rauschenberg who had worked with Cage at the Black Mountain School in North Carolina in the early 1950s; Jasper Johns and Allan Kaprow, linked to Duchamp through Cage’s classes at the New York New School, these artists began to produce non-formalist and specifically ironic or self-critical paintings, objects, and performances, some of which explicitly reference Duchamp, such as Jasper Johns’ According to What? of 1964, literally paraphrasing Duchamp’s 1959 Self-Portrait in Profile. So this is an example of the direct reference of Duchamp’s work.

Robert Rauschenberg. “Trophy II (For Teeny and Marcel Duchamp). 1960. oil, charcoal, paper, fabric, metal on canvas, drinking glass, metal chain, spoon, necktie. overall installed 90 x 118 x 5 inches. Photo: Walker Art Center

In this way these artists definitively distance themselves from the pretentious aesthetics and masculinist authorial politics of the Pollock – Greenberg tradition of high modernism. Johns in particular began collecting works by Duchamp during the 1950s, and both Johns and Rauschenberg, along with any number of other younger artists, had access to Duchamp’s works in bulk at the newly-acquired Arensberg collection in Philadelphia which was opened to the public in 1954; through the first monograph published on Duchamp by Robert Lebel in 1959; and through the widely attended retrospective of Duchamp’s works at the Pasadena Museum of Art in 1963.

As an Americanized-to-exotic French artist whose roots extended into the racy and countercultural Dadaist period of French modernism, and whose dandified persona struck chords of great desire among art writers in this country, Duchamp was a perfect idol, mentor, inspiration for the younger generations of artists and desirists, whether consciously or not, opposing themselves beyond the histrionic genius identification and austere self-important aesthetics of Greenbergian modernism. Duchamp’s seeming ambiguity, his eroticism, which while rarely overtly acknowledged by United States critics and historians until recently, has clearly contributed to his seductive appeal and his unfixability [which] paradoxically became precisely those characteristics that encouraged these critics and historians to try their best to fix him in the genealogical firmament of contemporary American art.

Why the readymades? Why is it that the readymades became such a central part of this construction? Why, given the multiplicity of the Duchampian figure and [inaudible], have these discourses tended to reduce Duchamp to the function of the readymades? I tackled this question at some length in my book. Here I will just note briefly that borrowing from modern European cultural theory, influenced by Marxian and more specifically Frankfurt school theory, in the 1970s and 1980s the critical value system became dominant in the United States, one that privileged the readymades as originary gestures in the dislocation of the market politics of modernism. That is, as Frankfurt-school-influenced writer Peter Burger wrote in his Theory of the Avant Garde of 1974, the ready-made is a paradigmatic gesture of radically avant garde practice.

And, this is Peter Burger’s quote: “Duchamp’s provocation through the readymades not only unmasked the art market where the signature means more than the quality of the work. It radically questions the very principle of art and bourgeois society, according to which the individual is considered the creator of a work of art. By inserting the mass-produced into the art context, a gesture legitimated to the signature of the author, Duchamp negates the category of individual creation, undermining the bourgeois conception of genius.”

Now of course you should be noting a slight paradox here since Duchamp is then celebrated as a genius. In this way the readymades have come to function as iconic statements of avant garde resistance to the usually hidden market structures that give aesthetic value to, and take economic value from, high art. At the same time they have obviously been fully incorporated into structure, just as Duchamp who was celebrated as the radical critic of artistic genius, has come to be seen as the quintessential genius origin of postmodernism. I would hardly deny this conception of the readymade. This isn’t a question after all of the true meaning of Duchamp but rather an examination of how and why his meanings are constructed as they are. What interests me about this fixation on the readymades, however, is the myopia it entails, both in terms of the meanings of Duchamp’s works, among which I would include his persona as a performance of himself as author, and in terms of the history of contemporary art in general, with Duchamp simplistically reduced to the readymade, a gesture that hardly challenges the modernism implicit in art history. The discipline can continue to believe in and enforce its self-satisfied, ostensibly disinterested, and de-eroticized narratives of modern and postmodern art.

It is only through recognizing the eroticism of interpretation and eroticism again that I believe Duchamp’s works exacerbate, that its conservatism can be challenged. If my book makes any impact at all I hope it serves to emphasize the need to complicate our own assumptions as viewers and interpreters as well as makers of contemporary art about the ways in which those works are placed historically and given meaning. It behooves us if we are to privilege the postmodern as that which subverts or challenges modernism’s solipsistic self-importance, closed value systems, and investments in centered authorial genius. It behooves us to question our own investments – erotic, intellectual, and otherwise – in determining particular meanings for Duchamp’s as well as other artists’ works.

I should stress again that my argument in the book is taken against art critical and historical accounts of Duchamp’s influence in relation to United States postmodern art, not against the artists who have explored various aspects of the Duchampian project. My book in fact only discusses a few contemporary works and those are by a little-known group of French artists. As I think about Duchamp’s Leg or legacy in contemporary practice – l-e-g-s is the French word for legacy – it seems to me that artists have had far more subtle and multivalent relationships to Duchamp than art critics and historians. For the moment I’d like to look at some artistic projects that negotiate a range of issues raised by Duchamp’s art and public persona. This discussion will inevitably circle around phenomenological issues involving the body and the subjectivity of the artist, as this is my current book project which I’m writing at this moment.

Certain interesting gender-sex divides will arise in relation to these works negotiating Duchamp as well. And I think this is because Duchamp occupies a very different role for women feminist artists attempting to critique the masculinism of art discourse than he does for the majority of male artists who are forced to approach Duchamp’s phallus, his paternity, through a rather classic Oedipal relationship. And very briefly I think this approach marks the deeply sexual nature of our relationship to art and artists in general. It marks the impact of what I call in my book Duchamp’s seduction on our understanding of his work. As a seducer, Duchamp is the quintessential desired object but also the actively titillating subject who animates the field of discourse around his life and work.

Robert Morris, who became a prominent figure here on the avant garde art scene in the early sixties and is still an active artist, having been honored with a retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum, represents a seemingly clear-cut but ultimately I think complicated example of the difficulties faced by an artist attempting to negotiate what I’ve called here the Duchampian phallus. I’d like to engage just very briefly with a piece he has done that in my view most brilliantly negotiates the profound issues of meaning and subjectivity put into play by Duchamp, not just as author of the readymades but again as the seductive, complexly engendered author function.

This piece is called Eye Box from 1962. In this self-critical and ironic piece, Morris hides a picture of himself the male artist, self-assured but radically unveiled behind the hinged eye-shaped door of this modestly-sized box. It’s about 18 or 19 inches tall. As I argued Duchamp did with his self-presentation as Rrose Sélavy, Morris opens out and simultaneously inscribes the masculinism of the artist, parodying the modernist alignment of the male subject via the veiled but nonetheless unmistakably virile body of the male artist with the phallus of artistic authority. Presenting the artist directly unveiled, Eye Box is an aggressive refutation of the New York School’s unself-critical celebration of phallic prowess and masculine genius, as for example evidenced in the now-famous images of Pollock in action thrusting aggressively across and over his canvas.

Morris emphatically marks the way in which the male artist takes the position of the I, the centered artistic subject, who speaks the object as a work of art, as Duchamp’s signed [inaudible] did for the readymades. Morris’ smart filial relationship to Duchamp allows him to play with the phallus of artistic authorities, such that like Duchamp he can critique and get mileage out of the masculinist author-genius function at the same time. Several feminist artists have also grappled with Duchamp’s paternal influence, but to stress the point again I think their negotiation takes a different cast. Thus in 1976 in front of Duchamp’s Large Glass at Philadelphia Museum of Art, Hannah Wilke performed C’est la Vie Rrose, a feminist version of Duchamp’s notorious chess game with a naked Eve Babitz at the Pasadena Museum in 1963. And this, for those of you who know Duchamp studies, is a kind of thorn in the side of people who want to argue for his radicality in terms of gender issues. Here the identities of chess players are transformed. The author-artist in the Wilke piece is a female and it is she who is unclothed. The opponent is also female but dressed in a butch style with heavy leather jacket and closely cropped hair. A pointed comment on the overtly misogynist character of Duchamp’s image, Wilke presents the female nude as both author of and sexual object of both male and potentially butch or female desire within the piece.

Sherrie Levine has also negotiated the Duchampian function in pieces that interrogate both the readymades and more complexly the corporeal politics of The Large Glass. In Fountain: After Duchamp, 1991, she has reconstructed his infamous Fountain of 1917, a readymade urinal rotated and hung as a work of art. Levine reconstructs it in bronze, emphasizing the aesthetic exchange value of the mass-produced but now with the Duchampian reference, highly valued readymade object.

Sherrie Levine. Fountain (after Marcel Duchamp: A.P.) (1991). Bronze. overall 14.5 x 14.25 x 25 inches. Image: Walker Art Center

As Levine herself has noted, The Fountain now becomes a kind of gorgeous anthropomorphic sculpture, closer in appearance to Brancusi or Arp, and yet produced by a woman artist I think it intervenes rather aggressively into this masculine genealogy of modernist form.  In Levine’s untitled The Bachelors [indaudible] from 1989, Levine has fabricated in lovely white glass the bachelor molds that are sketched on the surface of Duchamp’s Large Glass. Placed horizontally in the vitrine, the bachelor lies helpless with legs spread, referencing Duchamp’s ownÉtants Donnés. Frozen in a display case, unable to hide from the probing gaze of the gallery goer. Levine literalizes Duchamp’s metaphoric narratives of the interrelationships among sex, desire, and aesthetic values.

Of course many others have also played with the Duchampian function. While male artists from Morris to Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons have explored and expanded upon the ironicized virility of the Duchampian author function to various effects, obviously very different effects, the majority of feminist artists interested in Duchamp have approached him through the readymades, but in such a way as to intersect these objects of institutional critique with an erotic politics of subjectivity, encouraged both through Duchamp’s own work and through the feminist movement. Maureen Connor, for example, reconstructs Duchamp’s readymade bottle rack piece of 1914, anthropomorphizing the menacing rack by making it life-sized, turning the prongs inward in this case, and by embellishing it with fabric or with cast body parts such as lungs.  In another piece by Levine called Penis, a rather unsubtle title, 1989, she again turns the prongs inward and constructs an explicitly feminist reply to Duchamp by marking the phallic pretension of the ostensibly neutral rack, and yet she does so by draping it with pink lace so it’s a kind of play on the masculine-feminine. Connor, like Morris I think, approaches Duchamp through deep questions of sex and of body subjectivity. In my view it is not only through the readymade as an isolated gesture of institutional critique that Duchamp and his postmodern admirers most dramatically intervene into modernism, but through this interrogation of authorial identity and subjectivity.

 

Installation view of Walker exhibition, Duchamp’s Leg (November 5, 1994-March 26, 1995).

I close the book by offering an alternative theory of postmodernism in the visual arts, one that argues per the French philosopher Jean-François Lyotard that postmodernism always existed within the modern, hence the postmodernism of Duchamp’s readymade gesture which took place in the teens, the heyday of the modernist avant garde. But while postmodernism always existed within the modern, it has only in the last 25 or so years begun to emerge as the dominant discourse. In this way as [inaudible] has argued in relation to Duchamp, postmodernism is a performative function. It is the speaking of itself in relation to modernism. Thus when Robert Morris spoke himself as an ironicized male authorial I in 1962, he claimed an aspect of Duchamp for postmodernism. When Levine remade Duchamp’s Fountain, she reclaimed him too for postmodernism. I am speaking him here again as a formidable but if always equivocal force informing postmodern art and art history.

The whole point of all of this really is to argue that Duchamp has become what we, having related to his works and what we know of his authorial identity, make him to be. This is his leg. I am insisting here that his greatest gift to us has been his coy seductiveness, his simultaneous challenge of the phallus of artistic authority and obvious use of it to confirm his own indispensability to the practices of contemporary art. The interpreter’s relationship to the Duchampian phallus is one that implicates her or his desires and subjectivity in the determination of the work’s meanings. Our fascination with Duchamp and desire to fix him has to do precisely with the confusion and undecidability his works put into play. I will end then with an anti-phallic statement by Duchamp, quote: “A genius is not made by the mind itself. It is made by the onlooker. The public needs a top mind and makes it. Genius is an invention of man just like God.” Thank you.
Transcribed by Yvonne Bond.

Note: Images in this text were not those included in Jones’ lecture. They are inserted here for reference.

 

Molly Nesbit on Marcel Duchamp

On November 8, 1994, Vassar professor Molly Nesbit gave a lecture at the Walker Art Center in which she discussed gender and language in Marcel Duchamp’s glass painting, The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even—a work commonly referred to as The Large Glass (1915-1923). Nesbit’s talk was presented in conjunction with the Walker’s exhibition […]

On November 8, 1994, Vassar professor Molly Nesbit gave a lecture at the Walker Art Center in which she discussed gender and language in Marcel Duchamp’s glass painting, The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even—a work commonly referred to as The Large Glass (1915-1923). Nesbit’s talk was presented in conjunction with the Walker’s exhibition Duchamp’s Leg. Below is an excerpt from the transcript, published today in recognition of the 125th anniversary of Duchamp’s birth.

Molly Nesbit
Now Her Words

The Large Glass is Duchamp’s first great work. It is a glass painting. It’s currently in Philadelphia. It was broken when it was being shipped in the 20s from an exhibition and repaired by Duchamp in the 30s, which is why the cracks are in it. It’s a piece Duchamp worked on from 1912 to 1923.

The glass is composed, you will remember, of two registers: the upper part of the window, and it’s an American-style window, not a French window because Duchamp was in America in 1915 when he put the window together.

The upper register is the home and the register of the bride who has an apparatus that rises in a kind of tubular way with shields and rods on the left, and then expands into a cloud. At the bottom is the bachelor apparatus. So it divides into two according to male and female. The bachelor apparatus begins at the left with the malic moulds and is attached to a whole range of little machines. The apparatus is meant to move like a physics experiment or a chemistry experiment set up from left to right, distilling bachelor splashes and flipping them through those discs at the right up into the upper register. Its connecting mechanism was never completed. All that you have in The Large Glass are the gunshots, which in one plan emerged from a kind of cannon aiming for the cloud. It was an intersection.

From the period when Duchamp broke with conventional painting, with art actually, which was in the summer of 1912, until 1923 when circumstances really forced him to finish the work on the glass because he was on to other things and he was going to live in Paris, the glass did provide the frame through which he thought a non-aesthetic frame. But the glass was in the end a step, not a premonition of a life or a life’s work. It was always a catalyst, always a problem, never man’s nap. For in the beginning there was very prominently a woman, the bride. She was different and she had a voice.

The glass has had its commentators, beginning in 1934 with André Breton, Duchamp’s friend, though not a best friend, who took the challenge of the notes for The Large Glass that Duchamp had written during this long period of work and then collected together as photographed scraps in what he called The Green Box. Breton stitched a narrative out of the scraps. It’s a narrative which is implicit from the notes. And Breton typically paid what I would say is insufficient attention to the independence of the bride. Duchamp had expressed her independence, which was also her difference, in two ways: there was a difference in her sexual machinery, which is a difference I think you can see, and a difference in her form of expression: less visual. In other words, her difference is to be seen in her drives and in her words. Funny that Breton, who was after all a writer, didn’t focus on her words. We shall, and my talk is actually entitled Now Her Words.

Her words contained first of all a difference from the bachelors. Initially in late 1912 and 1913, The Large Glass had taken the business of the sexes away from the nude altogether and imagined the figures as car engine parts. In 1914 the work developed out from the old motor narratives into the problem of the expression of desire in dimensions. Marcel by then was far from being a Cubist though he had been one before 1912. But like them he was most interested in dimensions numbering n or 4. And so the bride’s desire would be expressed not by tampering with her [inaudible], her cylinder breasts or other such genital equivalents, but by turning to what Duchamp came to call her épanoissement, her blossoming—a Milky Way that was a dynamic cloud of her thoughts and commandments, a dimension maybe. Certainly a space. And it is that cloud at the top of the large glass.

Marcel Duchamp. The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass). 1915-1923. Oil, varnish, lead foil, lead wire, and dust on two glass panels. 109 1/4 x 70 x 3 3/8 inches (277.5 x 177.8 x 8.6 cm). Photo: Philadelphia Museum of Art.

It was a space voluntarily hers. Now that space might be figured by draught pistons. Still a motor, but they would be there outside of the bride, outside of herself, like a negative, a negative of desire, right? A photographic emulsion, a film of lace netting, a flutter over a radiator. An image of a cube gone feminine, backlit by his dormer window, strung nonretinally into a pearl of whitest sky. Her desire would be white. Duchamp knew that early on. But it would have a malicious tip. Not a malic to be confused with male. Oh no. Her desire contraption would not take up so much room. It would be but the string around the bouquet. That’s Duchamp’s term for it. The blossoming then would be in a space apart from her, but hers. And it was a space, this blossoming of her desire, that Duchamp imagined being cinematic as well as linguistic. It’s complicated.

Now it’s quite an idea or jump from the drive and its string, to the flowering space of language apart from her, but hers. It wasn’t exactly like a movie. It wasn’t a subtitled silence. It was more like Mallarmé, but that would be another talk. In any case, understand that the image of the Milky Way had been stripped from Apollinaire, another poet, with whom Marcel had gone in the spring of 1912 to see Roussel’s play The Impressions of Africa, Impressions d’Afrique, from which he got the general approach to the glass. And it was also with Apollinaire that he’d taken the car trip that October to the Jura [Mountains] that had provided the first storyline in which the machine had five parts, the machine being the car. Remember, I said it was a motor narrative. And it was filled with Apollinaire, Duchamp, Marie Laurencin, Apollinaire’s mistress, Picabia – that’s four – and then the figure of the hood ornament make five. They were on their way to the Jura to meet up with Picabia’s wife Gabrielle Buffet and they’re going to her family’s country house.

It was a trip. From that same trip Apollinaire derived or made the poem Zone. The Milky Way, though, was not part of Zone. It was part of a short stanza that repeated periodically but not quite like a refrain. In the Chanson du Mal-aimé, or the Badly Loved One. And it’s a rather beautiful stanza in French. I’ll read it in French and then I’ll read an English translation. It goes like this:

Voie lactée ô sœur lumineuse
Des blancs ruisseaux de Chanaan
Et des corps blancs des amoureuses
Nageurs morts suivrons-nous d’ahan
Ton cours vers d’autres nébuleuses
*transcriber’s note: copied from Internet

Or,

That sister light, the Milky Way, whose whiteness
Flows from Canaan’s streams
And from the white of lovers’ flesh
Shall we at death not follow her
And swim toward further nebulae

It’s a small, squaring lyric, sung by a bachelor. Marcel took the Milky Way – everybody knows Milky Way – for his bride and let the stanza go.

Her space would be linguistic but wordless; if language, a blank. Unlike Apollinaire, nobody would cry in public. This would be cinema with the lights up. Now that was one idea for the blossoming of that space of her language, her words. It wasn’t really realized. In terms of Duchamp’s meditation on language, though, it led him to the dictionary. For Marcel was interested to pull the words away from physical reference—even words having desire as their business, and to work with words that were abstract about the physical. In other words, abstract.

So we have [dictionnaire] Larousse and another idea and more notes. For right away in Duchamp’s plans there would be supplementary text, a pamphlet for his glass, an idea that was a kind of a premonition for what would be The Green Box, the notes for The Large Glass that were published in 1934. Now in the pamphlet that language, as opposed to the bride’s, would be absolutely cryptic. Composed only of abstract words from Larousse which would then be redesigned as new signs, perhaps with the help of the stoppages and possibly using colors to differentiate the nouns from the verbs, from the cases. It was an idea. It was idea of a language that was going thick.

Now the inscription in the blossoming would be a different language, a tripled imprint of the drafty lace, a trace of something no longer there, indexical but thin, a veil that would permit all combinations of letters to be sent through it to join up with the gunshots and the splashes sent up from the boys below. Her space and their projections would combine in this transparency, this cloud. But hers was a language not going thick but rather thin. And the bachelors, they did not speak. They would only splash and splash and splash. Their drive led not to language but directly to splashing, and it never transcended the mechanics of their fluids.

Duchamp’s view of the bachelors was inspired by Cubism, or rather the vulgar response to Cubism, which saw the Cubist nude to be an obscenity or cul [derived from the Latin word for tail], which is the French word for the combination of all the lower orifices. It’s an extremely dirty word. We don’t have an English equivalent. It’s not ladylike, though I shall pronounce it, hoping not to offend. It’s a combination word basically that shifts to give it its English sense, between cunt and asshole. The cartoons that lampooned Cubism beginning in 1910, liked to put the geometry right there at the cul, seeing a kind of word play, clever on their part, that extracted the cul from cubisme. Now Duchamp took that idea not to the bride but to the bachelors.

Now the bachelor’s face had been mapped by making the stoppages lines fan into a perspective. The malic moulds were laced together at their tips, and they provide the channel through which the splashes would be channeled and begin the course rightward through this increasingly elaborate grinding apparatus.

But the space of the bachelors’ desire was actually set up by another set of lines connecting them together at the crotch. It was a line that made a polygon that Duchamp called the polygone du sexe in 1913. Later he called it the polygone imaginaire du sexe, the imaginary polygon of sex. It was not a triangle. It was not a cube. It was not the Milky Way. It was also not a language. It was his version of cul. Imagine male solids as void. It’s one of the nice perverse little places in Duchamp’s Glass. The bachelors would listen—said the notes Marcel kept writing and revising—to the litanies of the neighboring chariot, singing the refrain of every bachelor machine. But, one of the notes explained, they will never be able to pass beyond the mask. They would have been, as if enveloped alongside their regrets by a mirror reflecting back to them their own complexity, to the point of their being hallucinated rather onanistically in the cemetery of uniforms or liveries. That’s the end of the note. In other words, there’d be a song of the dog ringing in their ears, if they had ears. But their cul would be a burial ground, cemetery, but not exactly a death. The polygone imaginaire, the sexe, kept splashing. And it occupied the kind of space – so you remember the outside world – normally reserved for women.

Now the two different registers of the glass, the pistons and the polygone imaginaire, actually contain different kinds of libidinal regime, differently articulated. The bride would speak, kind of, but never appear in the conventional sexual way. The bachelors would not even have mouths, only their collective pants, a devilish collective hairless beaver all their own, an existence that risked becoming solipsistic, self-referential, narcissistic to a fault. Duchamp found all of this hilarious. He designed his glass to be funny. And if you take the time with it, it is.

 

Transcribed by Yvonne Bond.

Interview with Robert Bechtle

Robert Bechtle has been painting his surroundings in the San Francisco Bay Area since the 1950s. When I went to interview him the other day, it was a bit like being inside one of his photorealist works. On my way to his place in Potrero Hill I walked up some steep hills flanked by rows […]

Robert Bechtle in his studio.

Robert Bechtle has been painting his surroundings in the San Francisco Bay Area since the 1950s. When I went to interview him the other day, it was a bit like being inside one of his photorealist works. On my way to his place in Potrero Hill I walked up some steep hills flanked by rows of sunlit flat-front houses, under crisscrosses of power lines, and in and out of morning street shadows I recognized from his paintings and drawings. I crossed the streets in 20th and Mississippi Night (2001) and a few blocks over to the east is the corner in Covered Car – Missouri Street (2001)—both charcoal on paper drawings in the Walker’s collection. He would say later, “They’re all things that I’ve noticed just living here. Things that I see on my walk in the morning, or I’m driving by and something jumps out and says, ‘Photograph me.’” He may be the most familiar with San Francisco’s architecture over the past 60 years. Sometimes he’d draw and paint the same scene several times. (more…)

Selections from John Waters’ Library

Filmmaker/author John Waters — who guest curated the Walker’s Absentee Landlord exhibition — was recently invited to San Francisco where he extended his curatorial prowess to a new Reading Shop in the city’s Mission district. The shop is part of Kadist SF (counterpart to Kadist Art Foundation based in Paris, France)—a mixed-use 1,400 square foot nonprofit […]

Filmmaker/author John Waters — who guest curated the Walker’s Absentee Landlord exhibition — was recently invited to San Francisco where he extended his curatorial prowess to a new Reading Shop in the city’s Mission district.

The shop is part of Kadist SF (counterpart to Kadist Art Foundation based in Paris, France)—a mixed-use 1,400 square foot nonprofit art space on the corner of Folsom and 20th. Since last March when Kadist SF opened it quickly became popular in the local art scene for its flexible, laid-back, and definitely riveting program of exhibitions, events, artist/art magazine residencies, and, notably its reading room. The room would open Saturdays 11 am to 5 pm, inviting visitors to come by and check out more than 100 international art magazines not often available elsewhere. The visibility of these imports brought the public nearer to critical dialogues on art happening from Vancouver to Tel Aviv, and for the most part pretty far beyond the main distribution channels of arts discourse.

This month, in response to the Reading Room’s steady increase of visitors, Kadist SF expanded it into the Reading Shop—a reading room/bookshop. It not only stocks art magazines but also highlights independent publishers, and invites notable cultural producers to curate selections from their personal libraries. Waters was the first guest. He was given free hand to compose a list that includes novels such as David Gates’ Jernigan and Patrick White’s Voss, Jean Genet’s biography by Edmund White, and several writings by Waters’ himself (some of which you’ll find in stock at the Walker Art Center shop, too). The books bring new insight into the ways in which fiction has influenced the filmmaker’s work.

I asked curator Devon Bella about the Reading Shop’s culture, content, and the prompt to invite Mr. Waters:

Brooke: What is the story behind the Kadist Shop? Why did it open, what’s stocked, who does it serve?

Devon: The Reading Shop launched on the premise, and expansion of, Kadist’s Reading Room. It is a hybrid of a store and a library. As a program, the Reading Shop loosely addresses the current state of publishing, but in the most expansive and speculative sense — by making available selected art books and international magazines, creating space for public use, and responding to interested readers. It borrows various conditions from bookstores and libraries, and expands on them in order to heighten the culture of art publishing locally.

The Shop comprises a rotating selection of magazines and books – two racks of international art periodicals, one shelf dedicated to publications from an independent art publisher, and a table full of books culled from a personal library. All of the magazines hanging on the racks for the past few weeks are far too many to mention (I only order one copy per magazine), but in collection they represent an expansive view of contemporary practices in art publishing internationally. They include: Pages (Rotterdam and Tehran), It’s Nice That (London), Picnic (Tel Aviv), No Order (Milan), Graphic (Seoul), Fillip (Vancouver). This season we also opened with a survey of J&L Books, a small art press founded in 2000 by artists Jason Fulford and Leanne Shapton, alongside the library of filmmaker and artist John Waters.

In San Francisco, there are very few resources to peruse art publications from other countries, with only a small handful of art distributors circulating magazines for the entire US. Yet during the last decade, English has informally become a trade language of the international art world, so dozens of magazines from Europe and Asia that once printed in their local language were made increasingly legible for US readers. All this to say, the Reading Shop is an endeavor to intensify local art discourse by making known, and disseminating artistic and cultural perspectives from other city centers, from Seoul to Tel Aviv to Rotterdam, because each magazine produces, and is produced within, a context, and the experience of browsing and discovery has so much potential for cross-pollination.

Brooke: Could you talk a bit about the titles? How are they selected?

Devon: For each title, I always like to explore the visual characteristics, the editorial voice, and its seriality. I’m interested in how a publication date is also punctuation of time, and for magazines, in particular, how they evolve, or dissolve, from one issue to the next. Some of my favorite magazines over the last five years are no longer in circulation, and I find this impermanence really thrilling in the case it germinates further titles and new networks of producers, writers, etc.

A couple of my favorite magazines are produced by artists with wildly different editorial approaches:

Toilet Paper (Milan) is a high-production, lo-brow, text-free magazine combining commercial photography with dream-like narratives directed by the artist Maurizio Cattelan and photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari (Le Dictateur). It follows in the wake of Cattelan’s cult publication Permanent Food, with every issue produced under a provocative, hyperrealist theme. What really fascinates me about it though, is the online counterpart, where the absurd scenes one muses on in print are animated, and come alive for the screen. The magazine exists in a state of flux, in new space between print and the internet. Not to mention, even the fine print is curious, where one expects to find the typical names of contributors, editors, etc– TP credits include “stuntman,” “party boy,” and “ice cream whippers” (!!!)

Pages is a bilingual English and Farsi- magazine started in 2004 by artists Nasrin Tabatabai and Babak Afrassiabi, both Iranian-born conceptual artists based in the Netherlands. Pages publishes roughly twice-yearly with ruminations on Iranian art, culture, architecture, theater, history, and politics. It functions as a platform for dialogue between artists and writers from Iran and elsewhere, and in the process conveys a complex understanding of the region, a realm that remains primarily uncharted territory for mainstream media outlets.

Brooke: How does Selections from the Library of John Waters jibe with programming currently at Kadist (if it does)?

Devon: The library, as it operates within the context of the Reading Shop, is a lateral, programmatic shoot, with John’s library formalizing his various roles as a writer, filmmaker, artist, collector, and storyteller. Waters is the ultimate bibliophile, and I wanted to show the books he has read over a lifetime; it is an elaborate index of pulp, subversion, and bravura, where the substance of each title and the life of John Waters are intricately woven together, inhabiting a reflective, interior space of John himself. In comparison, I wonder if his exhibition at the Walker now also inhabits this kind of space, as it uses the very same formula.

In a way, yes. In the Walker’s parallel gesture of inviting Waters’ private art collection and his own artistic work to be thoughtfully positioned in public space, there’s this intimate look into the construction of a consciousness (some sliver of it). Inevitably the checklist and layout lends insight to Waters’ influences, affections, politics, and jokes. But while the exhibition may expose, somewhat indexically too, this interior mind space, I think there’s a lot of intrigue in the way curating becomes a provocative art form for Waters.

“Can artwork sexually attract each other?  Does minimalism make pop horny?  Does pornography elevated to high art lose its erotic power?  Does size matter or can a tiny joke compete with a maximalist icon?  Can art ever be “funny” without losing academic enthusiasm?  Would Fischli/Weiss and Roman Signer fight over who’s more droll?  More Swiss? And even more importantly, if all these works had to live together would Carl Andre ever be able to laugh?” – John Waters



The exhibition is imbued with his filmic language and contemporary art world critique. Walking through the galleries, you do find yourself, like Devon said, in this new fantastic context where John Waters the filmmaker, the writer, the artist, the collector, and the storyteller intersect. I’d like to know more of the visitors’ perception of what it was like to come to the Walker and experience this artist/curator sensibility. It’s so important to grant space for artists’ curatorial expressions, especially as the notion of curator is so radically changing, and it’s totally wonderful that Kadist SF is doing that.

International Women’s Day: Leading Ladies in the Walker’s Collection

With registrar Joe King and registration technician Evan Reiter we took a trip to art storage to see the first 5 works by women to enter the Walker’s collection.                     June Corwine Still Life (1945) Oil on canvas Accessioned May, 1946           […]

With registrar Joe King and registration technician Evan Reiter we took a trip to art storage to see the first 5 works by women to enter the Walker’s collection.

"Still Life" (1945) by June Corwine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June Corwine
Still Life (1945)
Oil on canvas
Accessioned May, 1946


Joe King, the Walker's Registrar, with "Rose Planes" (1945) by Irene Rice Pereira.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Irene Rice Pereira
Rose Planes (1945)
Oil on parchment
Accessioned September, 1946


Evan Reiter, the Walker's Registration Technician, with "Rocking Chair Gossips" (1945) by Clara Mairs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clara Mairs
Rocking Chair Gossips (1945)
Oil on composition board
Accessioned December, 1947


"The Door" (1947) by Evelyn Raymond.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evelyn Raymond
The Door (1947)
Mahogany
February, 1948

 

"Der Tod im Wasser" (20th century) by Käthe Kollwitz.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Käthe Kollwitz
Der Tod im Wasser (Death from Drowning) (20th century)
lithograph on paper
Accessioned December, 1949

CAA in LA: Notes

“A few people have donated their bodies to the project to be eaten by mushrooms.” – Jae Rhim Lee, visual artist/designer/researcher. The College Art Association celebrated its 100th year with more than 5,000 people gathered in downtown LA last Wednesday through Saturday for “the world’s best attended international art conference.”  The city’s convention center buzzed […]

“A few people have donated their bodies to the project to be eaten by mushrooms.” – Jae Rhim Lee, visual artist/designer/researcher.

The College Art Association celebrated its 100th year with more than 5,000 people gathered in downtown LA last Wednesday through Saturday for “the world’s best attended international art conference.”  The city’s convention center buzzed with art talk, escalators, iPads, coffee shakes — most of our energy was sustained by the one Starbucks in a mile perimeter — and some stir-craziness at being in sunny 750 Los Angeles where the sessions better be good to keep us (notably the snowbirds) from hitting the beach.

Martin Kersels gets the audience to participate in his presentation for "Performance Evaluations."

Pablo Helguera cuts the lights for his talk in “Live Forever: Performance Art in the Changing Museum Culture.”

That they were. One of the most exciting reasons to go to the CAA conference is for the new research and artist projects presented (several of which were beamed in by Skype this year). With topics including “Artists in Times of War and Revolution,” “Performance Evaluations,” “Information Visualization as a Research Method in Art History,” and “Mobile Spectatorship in Video/Film Installations,” the discussions and papers brought new insight to some of the programs and initiatives at the Walker involving crossing borders, performing arts/visual arts, online publishing, and audience engagement.

Some artist and curatorial work I’m still thinking about:

Supply Lines: Visions of Global Resource Circulation (2011-2012).  An in-depth research project—exhibition and multimedia web platform—that investigates socio-spatial influences impacting perception and control of natural resources. It was initiated by artist/theorist/curator, Ursula Biemann, and the work is produced by artists, geographers, architects, and art historians from numerous cities throughout the world from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, to Eugene, Oregon. Emily Eliza Scott, a scholar and artist currently at Zurich University of the Arts involved as part of the Concept Group for Supply Lines, presented the project in the CAA session, “Investigatory Art 1969–2010: Technological Innovation, Sociability, and Immediate Experience.” Scott cited several inquiries underway. She pointed to photojournalist Uwe Martin’s study of the private sector’s response to the global food crisis by his looking at massive land grabs in the western lowlands of Ethiopia for foreign agricultural investment. And to architect Paulo Tavares’ interest in the geopolitics of frontier zones, particularly in resource extraction infrastructures pillaging the upstream lands of the Amazon Basin. Supply Lines is an amazing example of a collaborative, interdisciplinary, wide-reaching project that will use the web as a research hub in tandem with an exhibition. It is expected to launch in early 2013.

Another Life: The Digitised Personal Archive of Geeta Kapur and Vivan Sundaram. A project led by Asia Art Archive’s researcher, Sabih Ahmad, and presented by him in the CAA session, “Internationalizing the Field: A Discussion of Global Networks for Art Historians.” The archive documents contemporary Indian art since the 1960s through the extensive collections of Delhi-based Geeta Kapur, an art critic and curator, and Vivan Sundaram, one of India’s biggest installation artists.  Like many of Asia Art Archive’s recognized projects to document and make accessible research on contemporary Asian art, this digitized collection will provide the public with much material on India’s art scene that would otherwise never be seen—including artwork, writings, lectures, sketches, slides, exhibition catalogues, newspaper clippings. Kapur kept an unpublished manuscript on painter Tyeb Mehta, and saved her correspondence on curated shows. Sundaram filed concept notes of events he organized. And both have hundreds of images of works by artist friends, exhibitions they went to, and photographs of the Indian art community. AAA’s so far digitized nearly 10,000 items/documents/images. In contrast to “the national art history”—knowledge channeled through art historical frameworks constructed by major national institutions, Ahmad emphasized the alternative, or “vernacular” art histories that exist in these personal archives. And that Kapur and Sundaram are known for “paving the way for discursive shifts in Indian art practice” makes this an invaluable and much anticipated resource that I can’t wait to check out.

Asia Art Archive’s research project, "Another Life: The Digitised Personal Archive of Geeta Kapur and Vivan Sundaram." Quantitative summary of project inventory.

Jae Rhim Lee’s Infinity Burial Project (2009-present).  This one was the most far out of artist projects (and presenter papers) I encountered. Working at the intersection at art, science, and culture, Lee, interested in the environment and the impact our toxic dead bodies have on it, invented this burial suit embedded with edible “infinity” mushrooms that would eat the corpse, and transform it into compostable material.  The artist’s proposal was a focus of Abou Farman’s presentation in the CAA Session, “Live Forever: Performance Art in the Changing Museum Culture.” Farman, speaking about artists whose selves (not just their work) completely embody the artistic concept of impermanence or immortality, asked, “Where is today’s afterlife art? … Whatever happened to the afterlife as a public artistic medium?” He situates his interest in post-secular aesthetics in artist works, and artists themselves, pushing the question of how such performative work figures into the logic and structure of art institutions. The Walker recently took up a similar issue with its acquisition of Dahn Vo’s Tombstone for Phùng Vo (2010) that will be installed in the Sculpture Garden until the artist’s father dies and the stone is then shipped to his grave site in Denmark.

Jae Rhin Lee in her Infinity Burial Suit.

OtherIS. This online video database, curatorial platform, and news digest brings visibility to artists from U.S. sanctioned countries: Belarus, Burma, Cote d’Ivoire, Congo, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Zimbabwe. It was presented by curator Sandra Skurvida in the session, “Artists in Times of War and Revolution” organized by the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey. Skurvida, insisting on the exemption of art exchanges from economic sanctions, discussed two OtherIs exhibitions/screenings she was involved with last year. TV/Dinner, a series of videos by artists working in the above-mentioned countries, launched at Tania Bruguera’s Immigrant Movement International (Queens, NY) and was then screened in NYC cafes and restaurants that served food from these places. For Iran via Video Current which opened at Thomas Erben Gallery (NY), New York-based Skurvida worked with Tehran-based curator Amirali Ghasemi to each program a selection of videos focusing on Iran, and through the process posed the issue of representation in transnational art production by critically considering the ways in which their projects intersected and diverged.

Sohrab Kashani’s The Adventures of SuperSohrab, 2011. On OtherIS.

OMNI-ZonaFranca.  A Cuban artist collective committed to engaging with communities in Havana through their work in performance, installation, sound, and poetry.  They founded the National Rap Festival, a recurring poetry marathon—Poesia Sin Fin, and a “cosmic-lab” where they regularly meet to collaborate with other artists and activists. They’ve held weekly community nights where action poetry becomes a mechanism of healing, showed each others work in local art spaces, and have set up public interventions amidst people waiting in long lines at public places like bus stops and markets. Founded in the nineties, OMNI-ZonaFranca is one of the few groups in Cuba that have been able to sustain an artistic practice for so long, smartly navigating the law against what the state refers to as “social dangerousness.” In Coco Fusco’s wrap-up for the CAA session, “Breaking Laws in the Name of Art: New Perspectives on Contemporary Latin American Art,” she showed slides listing the kinds of art Cuba accepts and does not accept (for example, does: “evidence of material hardship in order to celebrate the ingenuity of Cubans in face of adversity,” and does not: “critiques of the internal security apparatus”).  Despite the restrictions and arrests the OMNI group has dealt with, they continue to take risks with their work. Look forward to knowing more about them.

The experience of artists, art historians, curators, and graduate students coming together to share their work and ideas with each other, and exchange discussion in a critical space outside of our usual contexts (university, museum, gallery, media lab, or elsewhere), is certainly worth the yearly trip. Though I completely crashed on Sunday. For next time: nix the high heels, bring an insulated coffee container, and with the many super compelling presentations to choose from it’s essential to subdue that frantic tension between thoughts of “I’m constantly missing out” and “this could get really good” in order to get anything out of it. And to lay off Twitter to avoid being tempted by updates like “Someone is blasting Joan Jett’s ‘I love Rock and Roll’ in the next session room.”#CAA2012.

Harry Cooper tributes Rosalind Krauss in "The Theoretical Turn."

Helen Frankenthaler: A Walker Chronology

With the passing of Helen Frankenthaler (December 12, 1928–December 27, 2011), the Walker commemorates the 60 years her paintings and prints enriched our exhibitions.

With the recent passing of Helen Frankenthaler (December 12, 1928–December 27, 2011), the Walker commemorates the 60 years her paintings and prints enriched our exhibitions. (more…)

The Migrant Manifesto: presented today by Tania Bruguera and Immigrant Movement International

The United Nations has designated today, December 18th, International Migrants Day. In cities throughout the world, artist Tania Bruguera and those involved with her five-year project Immigrant Movement International (IM International) presented the Migrant Manifesto: MIGRANT MANIFESTO We have been called many names. Illegals. Aliens. Guest workers. Border crossers. Undesirables. Exiles. Criminals. Non-citizens. Terrorists. Thieves. […]

The United Nations has designated today, December 18th, International Migrants Day. In cities throughout the world, artist Tania Bruguera and those involved with her five-year project Immigrant Movement International (IM International) presented the Migrant Manifesto:

MIGRANT MANIFESTO

We have been called many names. Illegals. Aliens. Guest workers. Border crossers. Undesirables. Exiles. Criminals. Non-citizens. Terrorists. Thieves. Foreigners. Invaders. Undocumented.

Our voices converge on these principles:

1. We know that international connectivity is the reality that migrants have helped create, it is the place where we all reside. We understand that the quality of life of a person in a country is contingent on migrants’ work. We identify as part of the engine of change.

2. We are all tied to more than one country. The multilaterally shaped phenomenon of migration cannot be solved unilaterally, or else it generates a vulnerable reality for migrants. Implementing universal rights is essential. The right to be included belongs to everyone.

3. We have the right to move and the right not to be forced to move. We demand the same privileges as corporations and the international elite, as they have the freedom to travel and to establish themselves wherever they choose. We are all worthy of opportunity and the chance to progress. We all have the right to a better life.

4. We believe that the only law deserving of our respect is an unprejudiced law, one that protects everyone, everywhere. No exclusions. No exceptions. We condemn the criminalization of migrant lives.

5. We affirm that being a migrant does not mean belonging to a specific social class nor carrying a particular legal status. To be a migrant means to be an explorer; it means movement, this is our shared condition. Solidarity is our wealth.

6. We acknowledge that individual people with inalienable rights are the true barometer of civilization. We identify with the victories of the abolition of slavery, the civil rights movement, the advancement of women’s rights, and the rising achievements of the LGBTQ community. It is our urgent responsibility and our historical duty to make the rights of migrants the next triumph in the quest for human dignity. It is inevitable that the poor treatment of migrants today will be our dishonor tomorrow.

7. We assert the value of the human experience and the intellectual capacity that migrants bring with them as greatly as any labor they provide. We call for the respect of the cultural, social, technical, and political knowledge that migrants command.

8. We are convinced that the functionality of international borders should be re-imagined in the service of humanity.

9. We understand the need to revive the concept of the commons, of the earth as a space that everyone has the right to access and enjoy.

10. We witness how fear creates boundaries, how boundaries create hate and how hate only serves the oppressors. We understand that migrants and non-migrants are interconnected. When the rights of migrants are denied the rights of citizens are at risk.

Dignity has no nationality.

Immigrant Movement International

 

From IM website:

“IM International held a two-day convening on November 4th and 5th, engaging (im)migration experts from both local and international communities, activists and community leaders from social service organizations, elected officials and academics.  The event focused on re-defining what it means to be a (im)migrant in the context of the 21st century, establishing a new framework for analyzing this multifaceted concept. The meeting concluded with the first draft of a migrant manifesto that will be used directly in our call to action on December 18th

 

Bruguera read the Migrant Manifesto at Occupy Wall Street’s Immigrant March at 2pm this afternoon. Elsewhere, in locations from Birmingham, Alabama to Laayoune, Western Sahara, the manifesto was read in conjunction with nearly 200 projects related to migration issues and experiences: http://immigrant-movement.us/december18/

 

 

 

 

 

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