Sort the disorder of "genocidal art"

Now that the “door to painting” has opened to the valley, we have a chance to reflect – not so much for undoing culture, not so much ...

Now that the “door to painting” has opened to the valley, we have a chance to reflect – not so much for undoing culture, not so much for white appropriation – but we Americans do know more talk and think?

Never to fail us, good old Northampton, in the form of his arts council, first heard a not unreasonable complaint about the parameters of what constitutes art, heard a cry of racist appropriation and s ‘is rushed not only to cancel a play accused of “art of genocide”, but then decided, hell, let’s cancel the whole show!

Oh, the red meat thrown in the middle of the arena! Ready. Constant. Struggle.

But rather than unearthing a nefarious existential dilemma over race, history, and identity, it’s more of a prime example of why there’s just not much people can do and of the general state of confusion in the American mind.

Of course, in the days when we wanted to shake power, we called them racists to blame them. It was a tactical move and we all used it regardless of our affinity.

What we have completely lost is the understanding that consciousness is a process – the raising of consciousness is also a process, a product of education and not of nature. The goal today is to curse those who are less aware and beat them until they educate themselves.

So, an artist who did not appear on the show sounded the alarm about an “old white lady” who he said had just discovered genocide in American history, and so, I guess , made art a “duty”?

We saw this debate begin a few years ago when a black artist stood in front of a painting of murdered Emmet Till by a white artist. His protest was intended to block the view of others on his objections to a white artist’s appropriation of Till’s body and suffering for his own “white” reasons. The accusation was then also a kind of “genocide pornography”.

We have seen it in writing as well. Just before COVID hit, a book by a white author on Mexican immigrants landed with a million dollar deal and tons of critical criticism of this white author’s progress over that of the writers of color warning of people they actually know. The white editor thought the Whites would go for a novel about brown immigrants if it was written by a “nice white lady.”

So there you have it, you have to give it to us, white people can screw up when they open a folded napkin! And one of the good things about “Noho” is that he regularly manages to catch a little national air.

For example, an artist who did not participate in the Biennale exhibition appeared at a meeting and arrested the Arts Council in its tracks with the accusation that another artist was engaging in “genocidal porn”. When she painted a room with the Mayflower in the center and ghostly. images around him. I rather liked. The ghostly images reminded me of cave paintings, and the Mayflower in the center, like a watermark, made me think of how we too would disappear into the dark like the creators of these handprints ago. millennia.

The sharp horns of this dilemma seem to be the right thing to do when the “losers” come together to call off the game, so to speak. I hope the Gazette will publish the artwork and poem that would have been rejected by the council alongside the work accused of being genocide art.

And this is not a false accusation. Like it or not, we live in a country where almost all interactions between people of different races must be undermined for traces of racism. It sucks, it’s tedious, it’s even boring, but it’s a place where white people can step in: if you don’t like that “old white lady” being canceled, well maybe the white man’s job now is to take this on the chin.

But does that mean that the world is now plagued by whoever speaks the loudest, claims racism first, or dare we say it, confuses his selfishness with politics, aesthetics and race?

Until white people can understand what racism is, then maybe! Why not?

Regardless of the details of this mess, it is true that white people have a habit of ‘discovering’ something well known to oppressed people, and then devoting their lives to it as if they were the greater generation when they were. are just the last generation to arrive. belatedly to our historical reality.

We white people have to own this. When the “white lady writing about Mexican immigrants” dispute erupted, I thought I would withdraw my own work for signs of appropriation. It’s pretty easy to do today: find those sites and articles written by writers of color for white writers on the very subject. What I found in large part was good advice built around a notion: white writers using colored characters who are not real, have no real agency or agenda of their own, they are only there for give something to a white character.

In other words, the warnings were about the bad writing that inevitably results from cultural appropriation. Some writers have given very specific advice: do not describe the color of a black character unless you do so for all characters, for example.

Most of the time the advice was to think more and more about why, as a white writer, I would include a character of color. But none of them said writers should stick with characters of their own race. Nothing.

So yes, it’s up to white artists to first investigate, educate and awaken before crossing the color line. There must be a solid reason why such a choice is necessary. Not because you’re yelled at by bad losers, but because you now know it leads to better art, better writing, and better thinking.

Joe Gannon lives in Easthampton, can be reached at

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Newsrust - US Top News: Sort the disorder of "genocidal art"
Sort the disorder of "genocidal art"
Newsrust - US Top News
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