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the work of history

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    The San Francisco Tenderloin in the 1960s


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    unhistorical:

    unhistorical:

    The San Francisco Tenderloin in the 1960s

    From an old video warning of the degeneracy of “gay San Francisco”:

    “Every great city of the world seems to have an area given over to the fleshly needs of men. In San Francisco this area is called the ‘tenderloin’… it is a market-place of vice, degradation and human misery.”


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    Spectrum Colors Arranged by Chance VI (1951) & Spectrum Colors Arranged by Chance II (1951), Ellsworth Kelly


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    November 9, 1989: The Berlin Wall opens up to free travel.

    The extraordinary breach of what had been the most infamous stretch of the Iron Curtain marked the culmination of an extraordinary month that has seen the virtual transformation of East Germany under the dual pressures of unceasing flight and continuing demonstrations. It also marked a breach of a wall that had become the premier symbol of Stalinist oppression and of the divisions of Europe and Germany into hostile camps after World War II… Mr. Schabowski’s announcement about the unimpeded travel was greeted with an outburst of emotion in West Germany, whose Constitution sustains the hope of a reunited Germany and whose people have seen in the dramatic changes in East Germany the first glimmers of an end to division.

    The New York Times“CLAMOR IN THE EAST; EAST GERMANY OPENS FRONTIER TO THE WEST FOR MIGRATION OR TRAVEL; THOUSANDS CROSS,” November 12, 1989

    “If 90 percent of Americans say it was the U.S. being firm, 99 percent of Europeans think it was they being soft — that the wall fell through Ostpolitik and West German TV.” For many Americans of both political parties, 1989 seemed a wonderful example of the embrace of universal values that happened to be theirs, and some believed it was only a matter of time before all dictatorships crumbled before the same forces of strength, openness, economic liberalism and people power… “People mix the fall of the wall with the fall of Jericho in the Bible, as in, ‘We’ve won; history is over,’ etc.,” [Hubert Védrine] said. “But to me it’s the beginning, it’s the prologue of an opera with a cymbal crash, the prologue of 15 to 20 years of Western arrogance.”

    The New York Times“The Legacy of 1989 Is Still Up for Debate,” November 8, 2009


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    Sea Study (1881)


    Storm off the Coast of Belle Ile (1886)


    The Sea at Fecamp (1881)


    Shadows on the Sea at Pourville (1882)


    Storm at Belle Ile (1886)


    The Seacoast of Pourville at Low Tide (1882)


    The Sea at Fecamp (1881)

    Paintings of the sea by Claude Monet


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    Thank you so much! I hadn’t been updating this blog very regularly this past year so this is very nice to read.


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    Thank you so much!! I’m trying to be less sporadic though, so.. here’s hoping.


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    Claude Monet (November 14, 1840 – December 5, 1926)

    Everyday I discover more and more beautiful things. It’s enough to drive one mad. I have such a desire to do everything, my head is bursting with it.


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    Disney’s Fantasia (November 13, 1940)

    It’s my very pleasant duty to welcome you here on behalf of Walt Disney, Leopold Stokowski, and all the other artists and musicians whose combined talents went into the creation of this new form of entertainment, “Fantasia”. What you’re going to see are the designs and pictures and stories that music inspired in the minds and imaginations of a group of artists.


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    The Questioner of the Sphinx (1863), Elihu Vedder


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    Art installation in Petrosino Park, New York City (1990) by AIDS activism art collective Gran Fury


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    Gran Fury was an artistic collective active in New York between 1988 to 1995 that operated in tandem with ACT UP, the AIDS advocacy group founded in the city in 1987. The organizations’ graphical material, in particular its iconic SILENCE=DEATH design, eventually disseminated beyond the city and beyond activist circles into national discourse and popular culture. Named for a line of Plymouth cars used by the police department, Gran Fury’s tactics embraced advertising techniques - bold aesthetics and graphic design, the exploitation of public spaces, emphasis on wide distribution. At the same time, its members remained wary of the branding of its art as trendy “convenient product” and consistently emphasized the limitations of art and importance of direct action, exemplified by the recurring slogan “Art is not enough”.

    Our first projects were poster sniping (illegal wheat-pasting of posters on vacant signage), and Xeroxed flyers, a working method which grew out of an ACT UP aesthetic and our limited funds. After about a year, our tactics changed as we questioned whether postering was the most effective means of reaching a large general audience. 

    As Gran Fury received increasing art world support, we did so with the condition that we receive the greatest possible public access to our work, in most cases exhibiting outside the art space itself. We decided not to produce work for the gallery market. Art institutions provided us with access to public spaces a group such as ours would otherwise never have had the resources to acquire; they profited through supporting AIDS work by an activist group which met their aesthetic standards and which was willing to observe certain boundaries of wheat was and was not allowable-explicit obscenity or critique of their sponsors.

    …At the same time, our work began to feel like a signature style, a convenient product for the art world to use to fulfill its’ desire to “do something” about the AIDS crisis. Gran Fury’s status as flavor of the month in the American art world was over; interest in our work had shifted to Europe where we consistently felt handicapped by attempting to understand their specific issues, as well as by our inability to use colloquial slogans. In 1992 we designed a campaign for Montreal which utilized the symbols of Quebecois sovereignty to draw attention to AIDS issues – specifically a warning to conduct research and design programs that would apply to the Canadian situation. The project backfired because the icon we chose to use was too potent – some did not recognize it as an AIDS campaign. In general, we found that we could only produce the most general messages, otherwise we ran the risk of misreading a local situation or creating something that would fail in translation.

    Good Luck…Miss You ~ Gran Fury

    We want the art world to recognize that collective direct action will bring an end to the AIDS crisis. And that collective direct action can mean a whole lot of things across a whole lot of communities: we have already been co-opted, we are complicit with the art world’s institutions in what we hope are strategic ways. We do not only act as an irritant, we also point to what’s going on in society at large. 

    Whenever we can, we steer the art world projects into public spaces so that we can address audiences other than museum-going audiences or the readership of art magazines…

    Our main beat isn’t with the art world, it’s with the United States government’s lack of response and the political crisis that underlies the medical crisis of AIDS. If we can use the art world as a tool to broadly articulate concerns, then we are glad for that support. My fear is that the heavy emphasis on the cultural analysis of AIDS distances us from the fact that this is a living, breathing crisis in which lives are at stake right at this moment.

    BOMB: Gran Fury by Robert Gober

    NYPL


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    Visions of Earth from Gemini VII (December 4-18, 1965)

    NASA


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    Nine Colors (1951)


    Spectrum Colors Arranged by Chance II (1951)


    Spectrum IV (1967)


    Study for "La Combe II" (1950)


    Colors for a Large Wall (1951)


    Study for Meschers (1951)


    White and Black (1952)

    Ellsworth Kelly (May 31, 1923 - December 27, 2015)


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    Compartment C Car (1938), Edward Hopper

    Hopper also took an interest in cars and trains. It is a pity he didn’t live long into the jet age, though we sense his shadow in many contemporary works. The artist was drawn to the introspective mood that travelling seems to put us into. He captured the atmosphere in half-empty carriages making their way across a landscape: the silence that reigns inside while the wheels beat in rhythm against the rails outside, the dreaminess fostered by the noise and the view from the windows – a dreaminess in which we seem to stand outside our normal selves and have access to thoughts and memories that may not emerge in more settled circumstances. 

    The pleasures of sadness


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    January 27, 1973: The Paris Peace Accords end formal U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War.

    Representatives from North and South Vietnam, the communist-aligned South Vietnamese provisional government, and the United States concluded peace negotiations at the end of January 1973 with the “Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam.” The path toward what would become these peace settlements had opened with hesitance and much discord five years, while American planes continued to rain tons of bombs over North Vietnamese infrastructure, industry, and civilian populations. 

    In 1968, polls revealed that the majority of Americans agreed, for the first time, that deploying troops to Vietnam had been a mistake. In 1968, negotiations in Paris stalled. And negotations continued to stall as President Nixon took office, and still continued to inch forward in infinitesimal steps when in early 1970 Henry Kissinger and Lê Đức Thọ of the North Vietnamese Communist Party commenced the secret meetings that produced the primary body of what would become the peace agreements. These were the talks for which both men would be awarded the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize (Kissinger accepted and dedicated his controversial award to the never-ending “quest for peace;” Thọ declined his). 

    The Agreement declared on the day of signing, January 27, 1973, a ceasefire to be observed throughout South Vietnam and in the same hour, a decree that the United States would “stop all its military activities against the territory of the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam by ground, air and naval forces.” Apart from -provisions regarding military ceasefires and bodies of authority responsible for their supervision, terms touched less immediately and less candidly on political issues, such as: reunification at some future time between North and South Vietnam, and a reaffirmation of the 1954 Geneva Accords. And the agreements concluded that the United States and Democratic Republic of Vietnam would normalize diplomatic relations, as independent states with full mutual respect for the rules of sovereignty, and that in accordance with its “traditional policy” the former would lend a hand and aid for “healing the wounds of war and to postwar reconstruction.”

    Bitter bloody conflict continued on even as the United States washed its hands of Vietnam and its protracted-aborted conquest. Neither party held strictly to the provisions of the Paris Peace Accords after January 1973. By the time of the Paris Peace Accords, 50,000 Americans had died, the last of which was Colonel William B. Nolde, whose name would be inscribed in American history as the “last official combat casualty” of the war. Meanwhile, the number of South Vietnamese casualties in 1973 nearly doubled those of preceding years; civilians continued to die in the midst of war; villages still burned, and not until after over two more years of fighting following the signing of the peace accords did Saigon fall to North Vietnamese and Việt Cộng forces.

    “Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam” - Text


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    unhistorical:

    January 27, 1973: The Paris Peace Accords end formal U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War.

    Representatives from North and South Vietnam, the communist-aligned South Vietnamese provisional government, and the United States concluded peace negotiations at the end of January 1973 with the “Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam.” The path toward what would become these peace settlements had opened with hesitance and much discord five years, while American planes continued to rain tons of bombs over North Vietnamese infrastructure, industry, and civilian populations. 

    In 1968, polls revealed that the majority of Americans agreed, for the first time, that deploying troops to Vietnam had been a mistake. In 1968, negotiations in Paris stalled. And negotations continued to stall as President Nixon took office, and still continued to inch forward in infinitesimal steps when in early 1970 Henry Kissinger and Lê Đức Thọ of the North Vietnamese Communist Party commenced the secret meetings that produced the primary body of what would become the peace agreements. These were the talks for which both men would be awarded the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize (Kissinger accepted and dedicated his controversial award to the never-ending “quest for peace;” Thọ declined his). 

    The Agreement declared on the day of signing, January 27, 1973, a ceasefire to be observed throughout South Vietnam and in the same hour, a decree that the United States would “stop all its military activities against the territory of the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam by ground, air and naval forces.” Apart from -provisions regarding military ceasefires and bodies of authority responsible for their supervision, terms touched less immediately and less candidly on political issues, such as: reunification at some future time between North and South Vietnam, and a reaffirmation of the 1954 Geneva Accords. And the agreements concluded that the United States and Democratic Republic of Vietnam would normalize diplomatic relations, as independent states with full mutual respect for the rules of sovereignty, and that in accordance with its “traditional policy” the former would lend a hand and aid for “healing the wounds of war and to postwar reconstruction.”

    Bitter bloody conflict continued on even as the United States washed its hands of Vietnam and its protracted-aborted conquest. Neither party held strictly to the provisions of the Paris Peace Accords after January 1973. By the time of the Paris Peace Accords, 50,000 Americans had died, the last of which was Colonel William B. Nolde, whose name would be inscribed in American history as the “last official combat casualty” of the war. Meanwhile, the number of South Vietnamese casualties in 1973 nearly doubled those of preceding years; civilians continued to die in the midst of war; villages still burned, and not until after over two more years of fighting following the signing of the peace accords did Saigon fall to North Vietnamese and Việt Cộng forces.

    “Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam” - Text


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    Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) (1950)


    Full Fathom Five (1947)


    Galaxy (1947)


    Number 32 (1950)


    Number 8 (1949)


    Number 1 (Lavender Mist) (1950)

    Jackson Pollock (January 28, 1912 - August 11, 1956)


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    Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) (1950)


    Full Fathom Five (1947)


    Galaxy (1947)


    Number 32 (1950)


    Number 8 (1949)


    Number 1 (Lavender Mist) (1950)

    unhistorical:

    Jackson Pollock (January 28, 1912 - August 11, 1956)


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    “CRAYON ANGEL” (still) (1975), Keiichi Tanaami 


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