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Memory Heap from “The Course of an Empire” series by Danielle Cole (24″x18″; archival print of handmade collage; 2017). Courtesy of the artist.

It’s official. Art has moved online and it looks like it is going to stay that way post-pandemic. Art Basel has replaced the annual September fair with viewing rooms. Artnet reported “Hauser & Wirth sold an 18-foot Alexander Calder sculpture through its digital sales platform for $15 million.” Small community art centers to major museums are offering openings, viewing rooms, workshops…nearly everything they usually do in a virtual space from the comfort and safety of one’s home. Virtual life is the future we’ve been promised and that future is now. …


Artist Life in the Cool Zone of History

For something called The Great Pause, it sure did come on quickly. One day in March, I was preparing a Collage Artist Lab, getting ready for World Collage Day, and reviewing submissions for Kolaj Fest New Orleans. Not a week later, I was housebound waiting to see what would happen next. Fourteen days became a month. Borders closed. Travel restrictions were enacted. As time moved forward, events got postponed or transformed. We all went online like townsfolk taking to the hills at the first glimpse of the invading army. This wasn’t a retreat or even a pause. …


What the visual history of riots teaches us about whiteness in America and the response to the murder of George Floyd

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Detail of drawing by Thomas Nast in Harper’s Weekly, September 8, 1866, page 569.

As I struggled to make sense, for myself, of the events in Minneapolis and elsewhere, I turned to history and began reading about other times when our civic discourse turned into violence, when law enforcement clashed with the people.

Law and order is a fundamental part of how we construct whiteness in America. Knowing that we can dial three numbers on our phone and summon help to our door provides us a sense of safety. …


How personal loss, grieving, and memorialization can humanize and illuminate the controversies around monuments.

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Artwork by Darshana Bolt (courtesy Serenity Bolt)

A year of grief. On December 14th, 2016, Marietta — my best friend of nearly three decades, a magical person I turned to in triumph and tragedy — slid off an icy road in Vermont and died. I would say that is when my year of grief began, but it started earlier: first the death of idols Bowie and Prince; then the death of country and ongoing despair of the 2016 election; then, come July, the suicide of an artist friend; and then my own visitation from the black dogs of existential crisis and depression. …


As Western Civilization, as we have known it, seems to be unraveling, what are artists to do?

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Ric Kasini Kadour, “The Soft Power of Art” (2016), digital collage (courtesy the artist)

Harvard professor Joseph Nye coined the term “ soft power” as a way to describe the ability of a nation to influence others with its values and culture. The United States is brilliant at this. In 2011, for example, the Chinese government sought to limit the availability of reality TV shows like Meet the Kardashians because the Communist Party saw them as fueling independent viewpoints — that is, American cultural values. Ironically, when China’s own famous-for-being-famous star Angela Yeung threw herself a $31-million wedding in October 2015, she was hailed as the Kim Kardashian of China. In the middle of the 20th century, the US Central Intelligence Agency used American modern art as a weapon in the Cold War and worked diligently to move the avant-garde from Paris to New York. …


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In its most basic sense, “contemporary art” refers to art dealing with themes and ideas of the present. But like any moment, it’s nearly impossible to have a historical view of the present. In that sense, contemporary art is more of a question than an answer. Here’s another way of thinking about it: Jackson Pollock is not a contemporary artist. For one thing, he’s dead. More importantly, however, his art making-the act of composing paintings by dripping paint onto a surface-is exemplary of art that is rejecting past traditions in favor of experimentation. That is to say that Jackson Pollock is a Modernist. …

About

Ric Kasini Kadour

Ric Kasini Kadour is a writer, artist, and culture worker who is curious about the intersections of art, history, and society. https://linktr.ee/kasini

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