Category Archives: fine arts

“Revolution Every Day” at Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art

The exhibition “juxtaposes works of Soviet graphic art—primarily posters from the 1920s and 1930s—with works on video and film.”

‘Calling Detroit’s 1967 Civil Unrest a “Rebellion,” a Museum Takes a Strong Stand’

‘Colloquial references to the events of ’67 as either a “rebellion” or an “uprising” are common in Detroit … but the Charles H. Wright Museum appears to be the first institution to officially adopt that nomenclature as a matter of policy, and this seems right in step with their commemorative exhibition, organized by Erin Falker, Say It Loud: Art, History, Rebellion.’

“Detroit Museums Examine the Riots that Changed the City”

“The story of Detroit’s July 1967 riots is, in some ways, a tale of two cities, one black and one white. Now, 50 years later, three neighboring museums here are revisiting that fateful summer with exhibitions that portray and explore the riots in sharply different ways.”

Lynn Clement: “The Commune’s Marianne: An Art History of La Pétroleuse”

“The near-mythical pétroleuse was one of the principal figures to emerge from the short-lived, yet radical Paris Commune (1871). The pétroleuse represented those women accused of setting devastating fires that gutted government and cultural institutions during the Semaine Sanglant (The Bloody Week). … Damaging ideologies coalesced around the pétroleuse and as such, a study of these symbols of female destruction reveals the fears and tensions that surrounded French women’s political power and agency by way of the proletariat’s civil war and revolution.”

Matt Broomfield: “Manifesto for a Left-Wing Meme”

“The left as self-created through the melancholic meme is not only abstracted from the present: even the lost past it clings to is held at a distance. … Though Freud dismissed it as mere rhetorical device, irony often functions as a Freudian defence mechanism. On the melancholic meme pages, it enables the ego of the weakening left to displace its self-loathing onto its past incarnations in a playful fashion, rather than consider its contemporary failures. But now is the time for attack, not defence. An ironic revolution is no revolution at all.”

“Russian Revolution: Hope, Tragedy, Myths”

At the British Library:  “From the fall of Russia’s last Tsar to the rise of the first communist state, this definitive exhibition takes a fresh look at the Russian Revolution 100 years on.”

“A Searing Show Commemorates the 25th Anniversary of the 1992 LA Uprising”

“The exhibition Re-Imagine Justice, mounted by the South LA-based community organization Community Coalition, aims to take a deeper look at the causes of the uprising, explore the neighborhood’s transformation, and highlight current issues of injustice and inequality. … It continues through April 29, culminating with Future Fest, a rally, march, and concert that begins at Florence and Normandie, ground zero for the 1992 unrest.”

Holland Cotter: “To be Black, Female and Fed up with the Mainstream”

The exhibition “We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965-85” at the Brooklyn Museum asks: “What did women’s liberation, primarily a white, middle-class movement, have to offer African-American women in a country where, as late as the 1960s, de facto slavery still existed; a country where racism, which the movement itself shared, was soaked into the cultural fabric? Under the circumstances, to be black, female and pursuing a career in art was a radical move.”

Jennifer Schuessler: “A New Museum of the American Revolution, Warts and All”

The new Museum of the American Revolution opens in Philadelphia:  “If it doesn’t quite throw the old heroic narrative out the window, it does draw on decades of scholarship that has emphasized the conflicts and contradictions within the Revolution, while also taking a distinctly bottom-up view of events.”

Holland Cotter: “In ‘Black Power!,’ Art’s Political Punch and Populist Reach”

Review of an exhibition:  “A cultural infrastructure supporting the new [1960s] art grew. Revolution-minded galleries, bookstores and presses opened in African-American neighborhoods. … But despite its intense motivational energy, ‘Black Power’ as a movement foundered. … Rival factions, driven by ideologies or personalities, came to blows. The United States government subjected movement participants to unrelenting surveillance and attack. A misogynist streak in the movement, as in American society in general, held firm. The single most universal sign of solidarity, black-is-beautiful fashion, was absorbed by the market, including the entertainment industry, and reduced to commercial fodder, a process already at work in the new protest culture today.”