All My Stars (46)
November 17, 2016
One in a weekly series in which Joanne McNeil recommends books, films, exhibitions, and more. You can also subscribe to the All My Stars newsletter here.
When things are scary and confusing, turn to art. Why it works for none other than…
Artists and writers sometimes forget how much our work may be politically charged. And no, I don’t mean the much fussed over sloppy habit of comparing current events to Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, or using any other pop culture reference to explain politics. Consider The Ghost Army, and its artists, people like Bill Blass and Ellsworth Kelly. Or Frances Stonor Saunders’s research.
I am going home to Massachusetts this week and one of the first things I plan to do over the holiday is reread Edifice Complex by Deyan Sudjic. It looks at the architecture of autocrats. Most famously the work of Albert Speer. Hitler, as well as Stalin, Mussolini, and Mao “all treated architecture as an indispensable instrument of political propaganda, one which they took an enthusiastic and obvious pleasure in using to maintain their grip on the apparatus of state power.” The second half of the book considers contemporary starchitects and their various corrupt projects. That’s why I was encouraged to read comments from architects rejecting a statement by the AIA, pledging its commitment to work with the President-elect.
Right now, I hope an ambitious art and/or design writer is researching the Old Post Office. I always loved that building when I lived there. It’s just a strange wallflower of a tower, gloomy looking, unlike the birthday cake-like neoclassical buildings all over the mall. Never really had a clear purpose. DT’s chintzy revamp — now it is a hotel with a “Spa by Ivanka” — broke my heart, even aside from all of this. There’s a story there. It is a conflict of interest. So many art collections and so many buildings are stories of corruption.
This is the picture of Trump Town that I’m going to remember:
I had no idea who Awazu Kiyoshi was just four hours ago. And now I’m tremendously inspired. And that’s what’s keeping me going. There’s always the potential for something inspiring just around the corner, a hallway you haven’t explored before…
It’s been a while since a Google Image search has made me this happy. But there will be others. Until then…
CURATED SERIES at HILOBROW: UNBORED CANON by Josh Glenn | CARPE PHALLUM by Patrick Cates | MS. K by Heather Kasunick | HERE BE MONSTERS by Mister Reusch | DOWNTOWNE by Bradley Peterson | #FX by Michael Lewy | PINNED PANELS by Zack Smith | TANK UP by Tony Leone | OUTBOUND TO MONTEVIDEO by Mimi Lipson | TAKING LIBERTIES by Douglas Wolk | STERANKOISMS by Douglas Wolk | MARVEL vs. MUSEUM by Douglas Wolk | NEVER BEGIN TO SING by Damon Krukowski | WTC WTF by Douglas Wolk | COOLING OFF THE COMMOTION by Chenjerai Kumanyika | THAT’S GREAT MARVEL by Douglas Wolk | LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE by Chris Spurgeon | IMAGINARY FRIENDS by Alexandra Molotkow | UNFLOWN by Jacob Covey | ADEQUATED by Franklin Bruno | QUALITY JOE by Joe Alterio | CHICKEN LIT by Lisa Jane Persky | PINAKOTHEK by Luc Sante | ALL MY STARS by Joanne McNeil | BIGFOOT ISLAND by Michael Lewy | NOT OF THIS EARTH by Michael Lewy | ANIMAL MAGNETISM by Colin Dickey | KEEPERS by Steph Burt | AMERICA OBSCURA by Andrew Hultkrans | HEATHCLIFF, FOR WHY? by Brandi Brown | DAILY DRUMPF by Rick Pinchera | BEDROOM AIRPORT by “Parson Edwards” | INTO THE VOID by Charlie Jane Anders | WE REABSORB & ENLIVEN by Matthew Battles | BRAINIAC by Joshua Glenn | COMICALLY VINTAGE by Comically Vintage | BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh | WINDS OF MAGIC by James Parker | MUSEUM OF FEMORIBILIA by Lynn Peril | ROBOTS + MONSTERS by Joe Alterio | MONSTOBER by Rick Pinchera | POP WITH A SHOTGUN by Devin McKinney | FEEDBACK by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FTW by John Hilgart | ANNOTATED GIF by Kerry Callen | FANCHILD by Adam McGovern | BOOKFUTURISM by James Bridle | NOMADBROW by Erik Davis | SCREEN TIME by Jacob Mikanowski | FALSE MACHINE by Patrick Stuart | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | 12 MORE DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE (AGAIN) | ANOTHER 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE | UNBORED MANIFESTO by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen | H IS FOR HOBO by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FRIDAY by guest curators