Monthly Archives: May 2013

Masculinity, Sexism and Censorship Law



In the 1970’s and 1980’s a debate (to put it mildly) took place concerning the limits of sexuality in everyday life but also in art. Gender discrimination was taken into consideration and the fact that male sexuality was encouraged to the point of being glorified while at the same time females where treated as inferior bacame more and more an issue in courts of law.

Feminist lawyers brought forth cases of sex discrimination only to be shut down on grounds that where surreal: i.e in the case of unwed pregnancies and the result those had in women’s’ lives “the justice said that the difference in treatment was okay because it was not based on sex. Instead the discrimination was simply between pregnant and nonpregnant persons!” (?!??!?!?!?!?!!?!?!? show me a pregnant man then…)


Female sexuality reached a point of being considered a “vile aspersion” and homosexuality was censored. Terms such as “healthy lust” popped up and stereotypes of what is male vs female sexuality where supported. All else, residing outside those stereotypes was up for censorship, fear(of emasculation or vulnerability), even condemnation.




” Some women find a penis distasteful, others can take penises or leave them, but many of us find penises rather vulnerable and endearing. It’s the rest of men that scare us.” –> Very well put, it shows that gender does not define identity, personality or even sex… The fact that one is male or female says nothing about their personality as an individual…


“The penis even in sweet repose, appears to be more threatening in this culture than any aspect of the female anatomy”  –> That which has been given power is the scariest… It has been a symbol of power over others for so long in our culture that exposing it brings up the fear of taking away its power, sooo it is labeled threatening in an effort to keep said power…


“It is well-nigh inevitable that censorship of sexual ideas and information will target the expression of women, sexual minorities, racial minorities, all those who have not been in power, have not set the rules.” –> I REST MY CASE… IT SAYS IT ALL.






In Defense of Performance



We are dealing here with an artist’s personal take on what is performance art, through both a theoretical and a practical perspective but on a personal note.

We see the authors point of view as to how performance artists regard, use and portray their body, their relation to other artists and their social conduct.

We have examples through personal experience, real or in dreams (!!) of how performance artists view time, how they archive their work (according to the author, BADLY) and interview excerpts.

All very concise and engaging.

So “summary”???

Hell NO! (pardon my french!). This is a paper that should be read from start to finish! For one, it is actually interesting on a more everyday level and also it is one of the few that are so easy to read and enjoy. The style of writing is lovely and the format nice and clear. And to me it spoke on a very personal level that I could realy relate to…

So I will skip ahead to the quotes since there are a few that give a clear image of the personality and content of the paper!



“…cut me some extra slack: I am a contradictory vato, and so are most performance artist I know” -> I actually loved this quote because inner (and outer actually) conflict- of ideas, emotions, wants, needs etc- is the story of my life… Does that make me a (potential) performance artist?????? HAHA 🙂


“We theorize…. different from …academic theorists. They have binoculars; we have radars.”  –> It is very interesting to read that from someone else because it is something I have had to deal with for a very long time…  The way I interpret it academics see, explain, analyze; performance artists sense/feel,show, act.


“We are what others aren’t, we say what others don’t and we occupy cultural spaces that are often overlooked or dismissed. Because of this, our multiple communities are composed of esthetic, political, ethnic and gender rejects.”  –> It really says it all on its own… The feeling of not quite fitting in… And isn’t that something that the same society we (yes I’ll throw myself in there) don’t quite fit in, needs in order to define the boundaries of “normal”?

And in relation I add:

“It is a lonely and largely misunderstood journey, but most performance artists…love it”  –> the notion of being different, the illusion perhaps of being unique!


“In the act of crossing a border, we find temporary emancipation.” –> Well this I found extremely interesting since my last paper was on whether or not emancipation can be achieved thorugh transgression! It is an issue that has is really bugging me lately…


“Though we treasure our bodies, we don’t mind constantly putting them at risk.”  –> Pain is a reminder that we are still alive 😉 And taking a risk and overcoming it is simply exhilarating!!!







Bourdieu, Rules of Art

The Conquest of Autonomy


This chapter describes the journy artists had to travel in an effort to gain autonomy.

We go though the history of art, and maily literature and painting in Europe in the second half of the 19th century discussing the “bourgeois” and the effect of industrialists and businessmen as well as aristocracy had on the arts.

The high society that holds the influence and power choses which form of art to promote and which not.

There is an in between rank in society during that time, that of those powerful enough to be taken seriously by the artists but not so powerful so as to pose a threat to the actually powerful ones… The salons choose who to include and promote and who to exclude and it is actually who they exclude that defines them and distinguishes them.

Power is also held by the directors of the papers since publication creates a certain reputation and opens doors.


Bohemia is the new way and the art of living is invented. Not all those seeking a post can be given one of the positions offered and so all those who have qualifications but no jobs turn to the arts. Bohemia defies classification, it shifts in time, absorbs more and more people and there is a point where two bohemias coexist: the proletaroid intellectuals and the penniless bourgeois.

A society of artists forms that favours transgressions and rewards artists who introduce it in there art and lifestyle. On the other hand, “Imagination, like courage, was singularly flattened, and the public was not disposed, any more than the powers that be, to permit independence of any kind”.


We have a whole section on Baudelaire as a lead figure in his time mostly because he made a difference by defying the whole established literary order.  He becomes a symbol, challenging mental structures and overturning the set scale of values.

A comparison between Flaubert and Baudelaire is made to point out that unlike Flaubert, Baudelaire makes a point of placing both his work and his entire way of life “under a banner of defiance and rupture”.  He sees being deprived as the road to freedom and inspiration.

However competition arises and all artists who until then where being compensated for their work in one way or the other, are now up against newcomers, there to contest authorities.

It becomes more and more clear that the context, the sociopolitical circumstances during the time a work of art is created reveal more about its value than the work in itself.

The artists that survived time did so BECAUSE of their contemporaries that did not, and because of the comparison between them.


I will stop here because I feel I am not contributing anything by my writing… These last two papers where a little too much for me, I would have to study them again and again and there is no time now for that… Alot has sunk in but in a level that I cannot put into words yet…


I feel that there is so much detail that I am losing the bigger picture…


Kind of these picures of my face… Can anyone tell what I look like through them?!?!?!?!?!


DSC03000 DSC03003 DSC03004 DSC03006 DSC03010

Surrealism, Dada and the Refusal of Work


There are two art-historical frame discussing “activist-art” : the post modern move towards colletive practices and the failure or success of the revolutionary avnant-garde ambitions.

In the bourgeoise era art began to seek autonomy from other social institutions. In the early 20th century this striving for aesthetic autonomy was taken a step further, to imply a freedom beyond the limits of aesthetic production.

The avant garde becomes impossible as anti-art works themselves are brought up as artwork!

The concept of ‘autonomy-as-value’ starts to exist and through this a dialect/conflict between notions of work and play, purpose and disinterest.

However the gap between aesthetic play and capitalist work brought on the possibility that art as play is reactively articulated against work and the “sovereignty or art expressed in ‘autonomy-as-value’s ideal of free play, could be imagined as allied with attacks on other forms of sovereignty, such as that of capital or the state”.

At the beginning of Surrealism art work had to be approved by the group before being made public and what was thought of regular work (a.k.a. a job) was forbidden.

It was a refusal to participate in any way in the promotion of capitalistic values.

Little by little aesthetics began to play an actual role in the composition of social identities.

After World War I and due to the technological leap that had been made, modernity started to represent a new high point of technical composition.

This lead some artists to re-evaluate and consider the impact of their work in terms of the social role it performed.

Dada comes along to point out that a worker who is opposed to capital must be opposed to himself as capital, to the identity of worker.

Art begins to be more of a protest than a means of aesthetics and the art of activism is thought of as one of the fine arts.\

“The term ‘activist’  itself as an ideological suffix to ‘action’, referring to one who adopts the anarchist strategy of political direct action”

Constructivism begins when the Berlin Dadaists add production of material objects to production of performance and objects are given a performative value.

Four-page pamphlet called “Every Man His Own Football” is distibuted as a form of ironic protest/ political statement.




“The artist is celebrated for a rejection of measure and fixity, and provides a refuge of non-normative behaviour. In other words, the artist was a sovereign figure” –> It is for me a statement showing the power of those who dare do the non-normative, those who transgress beyond the existing sovereign figures.


“Man is only fully a human being when he  plays” –> The absence of judgement in play allowes for the freedom of expression and creativity…More and better results can come through play than through a life of criticism.



How do I portray the NOTHING I felt after reading all these papers???? Just a headache and the need to get out of the house and be around people and talk about everyday things and relax…..

If it would be a picture it would be one at the beach, a drink with a tiny umbrella stuck in it and me sleeping in the sun. IT IS RAINING THESE DAYS THOUGH!!!


Politics and Aesthetics in the Arts

Fist of all, considering the fact that we are also looking at protesting through art let me say that I really DID NOT LIKE reading this particular paper…..

BUT, it did have some interesting…..


  • Interesting fact: “Degenerate art”, paintings consigned by the Nazis, where auctioned and bids where made as political/aesthetic statements
  • Art has been at times censored for being to provocative ideologically and ethically (dealing with the flag and/or homosexuality)
  • Politics, aesthetics and art are intertwined, the interact
  • Anger is frequently the cause behind creating but also censoring art
  • Politics is not JUST black and white, there are many shades of grey in between
  • Political advantage is sought after through the competition to gain control over the arts.
  • In politics as well  as in art there is the factor of judgment and that is frequently a cause for anger



“Every relationship is a power relationship”  –> Of course it is… We live in a society where control is considered important. Forgeting for a moment alternative yogi or meditative lifestyles, in almost every relationship there is the matter of who will control it. If we are lucky we can at least have a ballance of power with each person being “in control” in one aspect of the relationship. But as long as one western man’s greatest fears is loosing control, there will always be a fight for power in relationships of any kind.

“Anger in texts can go underground and therefore be difficult to locate” –> Ahhhh, yes, the need to speak our mind versus the fear to do so…. The easy way out?? Hidden implications that can easily be denied or passed off as something else… Hypocrisy!  I strongly believe that we should have the courage to support our beliefs…


“Something is known in aesthetic experience which is not available to us as knowledge in other forms of experience” –> It all goes back to not seeking understanding solely with our intellect, but with all our senses, even  if we are unable to put it into words…