Friday, June 25, 2010

TimeLine a WebAntiphon in Institutional Critique

In continuing to think about my response to the question of how feminist art and the movement have been internalized in the south. Feminist art wasn't really something we saw in our environment, those are among the least likely shows to have made it to my neck of the woods when I was growing up. If an artist insisted on showing work that was seen as inflammatory, then they find themselves without a place to show....unless one just put it out there beyond the ivory towers. The feminist movement has an example in the impact of "trickle down" theories. What have we learned about how this has worked in economics?

It has been the legal changes that have been the clearest evidence of its impact. For example, legislation ending the legalization of marital rape and domestic violence being taken more seriously.

Perhaps because basic assumptions of freedom were arguably more grievously overlooked in southern culture, that asserting ones worth and right to choose include and reach beyond the expected.

Generally speaking, once cases were overturned by the Supreme Court it would take about 20 years before the new laws were embraced or actually took affect down south. For example, Brown vs. Board of Education was a 1950 case ending racial segregation in schools under separate but equal. However the high school in the county where I attended did not integrate until 1970. Interracial marriage was legalized 1967 by a Supreme Court overturning Virgina ruling that said equal punishment for the crime of interracial marriage made the practice just. But when I was growing up it was not unusual for interracial couples to be asked to leave establishments, denied admission, or otherwise made to feel unwelcome or harassed.
Even in 1989 when my husband I were newly coupled, I recall a BBQ place clearing out when we entered at lunchtime. The service was colder than the food we were served. It could be that all those people just happened to have to leave when we sat down - but I have not gone inside a BBQ restaurant since. On another occasion, I recall getting upset with a hostess who wanted to sit us in the back near the kitchen although the place was not crowded. Since it has happened previously, on that occasion I wanted to know why we were be seated in this dreadful dark corner by the kitchen. I didn't get an answer but we were given a better table.

The case that led to marital rape being called Rape was decided in 1970, I think, but certainly this and related issues made the lives of many women I knew difficult because lax enforcement and stigma can be more powerful than the law.

What is emerging is that I am curious about the class division in the feminist art movement as being related to the issues of Institutional Critique. I wonder if it is class as much as race that has been the issue limiting discourse around those topics relevant to women's movements. However, with little effort this emerges as a humanitarian and ecological movement - a shift towards peace building rather than war making.

What IF the opposite of war is CREATION?
that is the question that reflections on the play Rent prompted me to Re-consider.

The Art Installations I recall from my early exposure were all in urban environments...usually presented in pristine sterile contexts. What happens if instead of fighting about the way it has been I put my attention on creating solutions... and then continue building on what I learn?

I put up the installation and a retired school teacher came over to ask about it. I briefly explained the art concept as being a TimeLine putting world events in the context of personal experiences to create a more accurate historical picture.
She shared with me about her and her husband's family history as a (white) sharecropping family. His mother was known for the speed in the cotton field. She had met her husband when he returned from the Vietnam War.

I will be adding their events to the TimeLine.

The encounter demonstrated that put in a familiar setting that "high art" can attract those people who would avoid it in an institutional setting.

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