Art On My Mind
I didn’t know when it was that I became familiar with my art history “Ancient true Gothic” teacher Frank
Russell, at The Maryland Institute of Art, to start questioning the art on my mind. I think I got to a point where I could not find the reason for the class. After a while, the images looked the same. Gothic buildings and Madonna and child. I thought, what does this have to do with me. Or maybe I said it out loud. Nevertheless, I did not get an explanation. Frank Rusell tried to get me kicked out of class.
Prominence of European Culture
He could have told me that this was part of my indoctrination. To elevate European art as the epitome of culture. For when I enter a Museum, I will defend the prominence of European culture without question. At the very least Frank could have explained the role of the church with the Banco to generate the funds to create these masterpieces. Thus reinforcing the “imperialist white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy the interlocking political systems that are the foundation of our nation’s politics.” bell hooks art on my mind
Bell Hooks doesn’t get deep into her favourite mantra in “Art on My Mind”. But she doesn’t have to because this book is about bell hooks.
How I wish she were teaching art history at MICA. She makes it fun. Frank Rusell didn’t even try to make it fun. Well, “Art On My Mind” was fun, lots of fun. Not in its criticism; that is serious, but because I never encounter anything like it. It’s small, not too small. But compared with the monstrosity of my Art History book, this is tiny, at least, it had lots of pictures. But bell hooks Art On My Mind Visual Politics is personal, very personal. And bell hooks gets down to the essence of her love for art.
If you ever wonder how artists feel about art. Bell Hooks give an excellent explanation and artists, especially this one is grateful. I am grateful that if I ever wonder why I’m doing art; the thought does cross my mind sometimes; I will read this book again. bell hooks art on my mind has a purpose, a human purpose as well as a political purpose. Bell hooks, goes on to give arguments about why they’re an insufficient criticism of black artists male and female in mainstream media and why this is important. I will spare the “imperialist white-supremacist capitalist patriarchal political systems because although relevant it does not add to the beauty of bell hooks love for art. Regardless, Ms Hooks goes on to critique her love of art and of the artist she admires. It’s not all admiration; she contrast her opinion with relevant analysis, do in part to the fundamentals of “imperialist white-supremacist capitalist patriarchal political systems.”
Along the way, Bell Hooks introduce and share conversations and ideas with artists everyone should know. American sculptor, painter and installation artist Alison Saar, rude boy Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work at the Whitney Museum, what did the critics ignore or did not know. She does not critique the aesthetic of the art. But Bell Hooks focuses on the personal. For as we are all familiar with these artists we’re not familiar with them. And the criticism is more of a reflection of the critique than of the artists role in society. Because as a person of colour, to be noticed in these institutions and to have them see your work. We have to assimilate or fit the expectation or pedagogy.
Recognised by Ourselves
Bell Hooks give a personal perspective on her family with photographs of her father and how black folks collect pictures, reinforcing that this is art and part of our lives but not recognised by ourselves. The beauty of Felix Gonzalez-Torres.
Most of bell hooks art on my mind has this theme of love. As a child artist, it seems that I was the only one in my family that thought this is beautiful. To look at our faces, skin, home, food, pictures, space and admire how this was part of you. But like everything else this also benefits from reinforcement adulation and love. Decimated in small doses in Afro-American communities. As a culture, we firmly believe we can dance better than Michael Jackson, in fact, many don’t give him credit. Bell Hooks will intone that this is a result of imperialist white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy or jus patriarchy, or be a man, and she could be right.
Bell Hooks made me feel that we’re art. Seems like something I should know, but this too has to be thought and celebrated. I’m grateful bell hooks wrote “Art On My Mind” it’s an example we can follow.
Bell takes us on a journey with artist Carrie Mae Weems and Emma Amos. It may seem natural to some. But I was never was privy to an intelligent conversation between two black women about art. And that is profoundly sad. She will continue this thru out the book introducing us to more artist like photographer Lorna Simpson. About this time, I realise that Bell Hooks knows everybody.
I read her books before, but her knowledge and appreciation and willingness to share is outstanding, almost unbelievable. I started to wonder where does she get the time or emotional fortitude to vest herself in the art of others.
Bell talks about the Gullah society; artist Halle Woodruff; Charlotte Masson; Charles Alston; Elisabet Catlett; Printmaker Margo Humphrey; Kobena Mercer; Charles White and Zora Hurston.
Evidence of Things Not Seen
Many writer and poets appear in this book, a brilliant passage from The Evidence of Things Not Seen by James Baldwin about memory suggesting other things show just how unappreciated as an artist James Baldwin is. Bell discuss black male body image contrasting with Robert Mapplethorpe and George Dureau with photography of Esther Bubley representation of black male and Lyle Ashton Harris, who did her dirty. But Bell is quick to point out that patriarchy has no gender or sexual orientation.
In the radiance of Red, Bell talks about the redemptive transformative power blood red with Andres Serrano’s work. Bell Hooks reveals a great personal appreciation for the metaphors in Serrano’s works of art. I could be looking to deep into this. Who doesn’t like red?
Her appreciation is so high for these artworks that I wonder why I did not appreciate them as much as she does. I knew most of the artist she mentions, but honestly bell gave me new eyes to admire these works. Bell Got right in with Michele Wallace brilliant critique “Invisibility Blues” Michel Wallace cautions that binary opposition of negative versus positive images too often sets the limits for African-Americans. A clear warning that by defining ourselves by racist ideology, we have a long way to go. In her conversation with Emma Emos, we get a glimpse of the Spiral, the group of now-famous black artist, at the time they wee struggling artists Romare Bearden and Norman Lewis, who was the only black person in the New York abstract expressionist group. The Spiral discuss topics like Elizabeth Catlett her marriage to Charles White. Bell hooks cover this and much more art and influence in a way that’s more like family gossip than art history. Forging in resistance identities that transcend narrowly defined limits. But thanks to Bell Hooks art history feel like family gossip.