Recent news regarding censorship has set the art world ablaze with First Amendment cries and sheer outrage against an institution that has long been examined, criticized, cherished, and doubted throughout contemporary art history: the museum. Although he has been dead for eighteen years, American artist, David Wojnarowicz, has once again sparked the first instance of this latest controversy, which has shed light on the chaotic collision of art and politics. An abridged version of his video, “Fire in my Belly” was part of the “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture” exhibition, and was removed by The National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian Institution after the Catholic League and other right-wing political figures like John Boehner (R-Oh) found excerpts of it deeply blasphemous and offensive.
“The Museum: Friend or Foe?”
Buildings balanced on crooked legs, lumpy plaster walls crazed in a filigree of fine cracks, weeds and flowers sprouting awkwardly out of a house’s shingled roof; is this the setting for a fairytale? For architect Terunobu Fujimori of Japan, this is a fairytale come true. His structures re-envision and reconstruct Japanese ideals of tradition and modernity.
Terunobu Fujimori, the leading historian of Japanese modern architecture, began designing his own structures in 1990. On the journey from historian to architect in the latter part of his life, Fujimori found “the act of conceiving and building…to be immensely rewarding, since the act of practicing architecture gives life to the knowledge I have gained as a historian”. Architect Fujimori’s designs emerge as if from a children’s book with imaginative and playful hints at the fantastical seen in his “tree house” designs.
Today marks the 152nd birthday of the legendary Italian composer of such famous operas as “Manon Lescaut,” “La Bohème,” “Madame Butterfly” and “Turandot.” Giacomo Puccini’s talent continues to inspire and enrapture classical music enthusiasts around the world decades after the composer’s death.
The emblem of culture, modernity, and innovation, design encapsulates society, and prides itself through a number of categories including but not limited to fashion, interior decorating, architecture, food, graphic, and engineering. It has also redefined marketing and advertising in ways we cannot ignore. In short, design reflects our relationship to the space in which we live. It is the byproduct of material culture, constantly in flux with social changes.
“The 2011 Gwangju Design Biennale”
Beyond the dozens of strip malls, ubiquitous frozen yogurt nooks, and unavoidable chain restaurants, the San Fernando Valley will be able to boast its newest addition in early 2011: The Valley Performing Arts Center. Known as VPAC, this 160,000 square foot structure has been under construction on Nordhoff Street on the California State University, Northridge (CSUN) campus, one of southern California’s largest public universities. Calling VPAC a breath of fresh air would do serious injustice to what will be the first large-scale venue to provide a quality cultural escape for residents of the San Fernando Valley and surrounding areas. Rather, it is a remarkable leap into the arts, a gaping fracture that the Valley has desperately been in need of mending but has rather chosen to veil with more malls, more movie theaters, and more drive-throughs.
“Northridge Meets Culture”
This past Sunday the GRAPHITE team along with other members of HSA (Hammer Student Association) had the opportunity to explore Simon Toparovsky and Ariel Soulé’s A Letter from the Renaissance: The Double Soul, which is currently on display in the UCLA Library’s Department of Special Collections. After being bused to the Getty Center where we got a 60 minute crash course on 16th century Italian history and portraiture, we were fortunate to have one of the artists, Simon Toparovsky, give us a personal tour of the exhibition in Special Collections.
“The Double Soul”