Friday, October 26, 2012

Recommended: November '12 Issue of Juxtapoz

My love/hate relationship with Juxtapoz magazine continues.  One month I see it on the magazine stand doing some gimmicky Halloween issue that makes me feel like I should never look through it again.  But then this month, they have an amazing Art & Politics issue curated by Ron English!!!

It's a very impressive group of artists that English has rounded up.  There are some well-established street-artists you've heard a lot about, like Shepard Fairey and Robbie Conal; documentary filmmakers Morgan Spurlock and Susan Saladoff; and some up-and-coming artists--who are not new to the art world, but will probably start receiving a lot more attention--and that you should start following: Molly Crabapple and Ernesto Yerena Montejano.

One of the stand-out interviews is with conceptual artist Tom Forsythe who was involved in a long legal battle, in the 90's, with the toy-company, Mattel, who sued him for his depictions of Barbie dolls that he used a various series of photographs.  He talked about why he choose to work with Barbie:

"I needed something that exemplified the crass consumerism I meant to critique.  It took a nano second or so to come up with Barbie, since Barbie had every consumer need imaginable, and every outfit and accessory that any good consumer could dream of. . ."

But, my favorite interview in the issue is with revolutionary communist artist Dread Scott who was in the national spotlight in the late 80's when his installation piece, "What Is the Proper Way To Display A US Flag?" caused so much controversy that the US Senate passed legislation to "protect the flag."  (And that later resulted in a landmark Supreme Court decision that ruled flag burning to be protected by the First Amendment).

In the interview, he shares his very refreshing views on his approach to art ("I make art with the basic assumption that a lot of people agree with me"), how he sees the role of art, and the role of the artist.  He says about being a communist and an artist:

"For me, constantly making work that concentrates my communist world view has limited some opportunities.  Some people in powerful places in the arts don't want a truly radical work to get seen and sometimes my work gets pigeonholed into the "political art ghetto."  But my work has been shown in major museums, had many students study it, been called disgraceful by G.H.W. Bush, and outlawed by Congress.  All because I stuck to my beliefs."

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