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jalopnik.comThere Are Two Important Words Missing From American Car CultureThere are two things you notice when you first encounter car culture in Germany. The first is the surprising number of Opels, and the second is that they have two perfect words to describe a particular kind of car, words that we oddly don’t have in America but desperately need. Those words are youngtimer and oldtimer.
jalopnik.comThe Amazing Hidden Showrooms And Garages Of MelbourneFollowing all the cars I saw on the road in Melbourne and beyond, I had some time to kill after the Pagani rally wrapped up. So in between sightseeing and visiting some art galleries, I went around some of the showrooms in the city. As great as it was to see some of the local culture out in the wild, the best stuff are always hidden inside showrooms. It’s just a matter of finding them.
aclu.orgHonoring Police Includes Acknowledging Systemic Reform Is NeededDuring the third week of May, tens of thousands of cops from across the nation will gather in Washington, D.C., for “Police Week” and its national memorial services, a solemn tradition that dates back to the Kennedy administration. As a former law enforcement officer, I know the importance of this week.I also know that this is an ideal time to commit to improving the institution from within as well as from without. There is no better time to recognize and appreciate our courageous officers — and make their work safer, more satisfying, and, ultimately, more legitimate in the eyes of the people.Twenty-three years ago, as Seattle’s police chief, I traveled to our nation’s capital to join the family of a gifted, compassionate police officer, Antonio Terry. On June 4, 1994, Detective Terry was shot dead by a motorist he had stopped to assist. Police Week is meant to honor the men and women, like Terry, who are gutsy enough to do this critical, often dangerous work.But a proper tribute starts by accepting what is for some a painful truth: Much of the criticism of American policing — rudeness, bigotry, and discrimination; unlawful stop and frisk; false arrests; sexual predation; corruption; excessive force — is valid. And another truth: Airing these criticisms is but a first step. Communities must have a meaningful role in improving the system — which includes reform-minded people joining the ranks.Many officers accused of unlawful acts, including the use of excessive and deadly force, are playing out what the system of policing has taught them. Whether that learning takes place in the academy or in the locker room or the front seat of a squad car, it must be addressed, checked, and countered by proper training and a supportive culture that will more effectively protect everyone.While there are numerous examples of effective, often heroic police work, deeply-rooted patterns of dysfunctional policing stretch back generations and are less talked about, certainly within the ranks. It’s time for police to discuss them openly and honestly with our communities. Such frank conversations would create an environment in which those who believe in the best values of policing would be more likely to enter the profession or to work with departments to bring about needed change.For too long, our police have been taught never to back down and always to maintain the upper hand, regardless of the circumstances or whether the methods and tactics employed are likely to backfire. Senior officers have taught junior officers to convey an attitude of We’re in charge here. Or, put differently, We’re the cops, and you’re not. This equation leaves little room for the rights and humanity of regular people. And, this mentality, reinforced throughout an officer’s career, is pretty much guaranteed to escalate tensions, strain community-police relations, and cause citizens to view their officers as arrogant, unapproachable, and unfeeling.Furthermore, the increased militarization of law enforcement, fueled by an immoral, wrong-headed, unwinnable drug war, has only added to these problems. For the past half century, local cops have served as foot soldiers in an armed conflict against their neighbors, especially low-income people and communities of color.Actual reform of the institution demands a willingness of all stakeholders — crime victims, grassroots community activists, civil libertarians, civic leaders, police officials, and rank-and-file officers — to come together to build a robust new system. Some critics go so far as to argue that police departments should be abolished entirely. I disagree. But for those of us who believe police are necessary, we must be prepared to enact fundamental reforms that fulfill the promise of joint community-police protection and service.Such a police department will have clear and nameable priorities: the protection and preservation of human life as the agency’s highest calling; crime-fighting that concentrates on domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault, and other predatory offenses; an iron-clad agreement to play by the rules, vigilantly honoring human rights and civil liberties; a commitment to treat one another and all community members with the utmost dignity and respect; and dedication to authentic community policing.True community policing, at its core, includes full citizen participation in all aspects of police operations. That includes policymaking, program development, officer selection and training, crisis management, performance appraisal, department discipline, and citizen oversight of investigations into alleged police misconduct.Resolving to practice these principles and priorities will yield better cops and better and safer policing.When I picture good cops, I see maturity, calmness, and friendliness. They are individuals who embrace a “nobody dies on my watch” ethic and who respond properly, lawfully, and humanely to all situations, including those where the officer is fearful. Good cops understand that uncontained fear leads to distorted perceptions and poor judgment. Through training, experience, and mindfulness, good cops learn to manage their fear. They become the kind of officers that everyone — including young people, poor people, people of color — would want to show up on their doorstep in a time of need.Building a system that produces such cops cannot be left to chance.Community and police, working together as bona fide partners, can and must create a new type of police organization, one that, in policy and practice, rejects racism, counteracts implicit bias, ends excessive force, consistently uses de-escalation to prevent and stop violence, and is transparent with and accountable to the people it serves,To honor our police officers — and to help both them and the people they serve make it home to their loved ones, day after day, night after night— we must begin the hard work of establishing a revolutionary new police department. Our departments must become a “people’s police,” in which officers and citizens work in tandem and in harmony.Norm Stamper was a cop for 34 years, the first 28 in San Diego, the last six (1994-2000) as Seattle’s Chief of Police. He is an advisory board member of Law Enforcement Action Partnership, a nonprofit of police, prosecutors, judges and others who want to reform the criminal justice system, and the author of two books on police reform, “Breaking Rank: A Top Cop’s Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing” and his latest, “To Protect and Serve: How To Fix America’s Police,” which provides a blueprint for carrying out the changes advocated in this essay.
vogue.comLove and Marriage in NepalChoosing a wedding date in Nepal—the small mountainous country nestled in between China and India—has always been a big deal. Across the world, to the annoyance of couples everywhere, “What’s the date?” is often the first question after the engagement is announced. And while in the United States, the couple may talk to family and friends regarding their availability and check to see if their first-choice venue has already been booked, in Nepal, an astrologer makes this major decision. “Back when marriages were almost all arranged, the astrologer would look at each person’s chart and based on the placement of the sun and the moon at the time of their births, an auspicious date would be chosen,” explains Sneha Shrestha, the founder of Sight Impact, a company that provides bespoke travel experiences to Nepal. Sneha was married a few years back in a traditional seven-day Nepalese wedding, and has also been to her fair share of friends’ and family members’ celebrations. “These days an astrologer might come up with a few auspicious dates,” she says. “And then, the couple’s families pick one.” While choosing a wedding date with an astrologer is a common thread through most Nepalese weddings, beyond that, they are as varied as the Nepalese people. “Nepal is a mosaic of culture, religion, language, and tradition. With a population split between a variety of tribes and ethnic affiliations, there is no single wedding style or practice,” writes Nadya Agrawal in “The Essential Guide to Nepali Weddings.” Hinduism and Buddhism are the most widely practiced religions in Nepal, but the engagement and wedding traditions in each can differ greatly. For most Nepali couples who are not of the same faith, they pick and choose what they want to include, creating their own traditions. Though love marriages are much more popular than they once were, arranged marriages are also still quite common, and caste generally determines these matches in rural parts of the country. Despite the variety of cultures in Nepal and the different kinds of marriages, Nepali weddings remain constant in one thing: color. “Red and green are the dominant hues in Nepali weddings, speaking to love, vitality, and tradition,” writes Agrawal. Sneha’s friend Aditi Rana Shahi, a program associate at Practical Action South Asia, was wed in an arranged marriage this past February. Meanwhile, Sneha’s cousin, Akriti Shrestha, who now works as a psychologist in Australia, married an Indian man from Jaipur the same month. Both weddings took place in Nepal and neither was short on vibrant color, but while one was a by-the-book union set up by the bride and the groom’s parents, the other was a complete melding of two different cultures. We sent photographer Matthieu Paley to document the two celebrations. Aditi’s Hindu marriage to her now-husband Prabodh Shahi was completely arranged by their parents. For a long time, tradition dictated that the bride and the groom couldn’t see each other at all before they married, but in some areas, families are now allowing the couple to set a date to meet and talk before the actual wedding. This couple met two years before their big day. “Prabodh and I were introduced for the first time on March 4, 2015. As it was an arranged marriage, we were made to meet through an aunt who was known to both of us,” explains Aditi. Before the wedding there was a sangeet—which translates to “music night” or “musical party.” This is where both the bride and the groom’s families let their hair down and mingle before the wedding in a relaxed environment. At Aditi’s sangeet, she wore a lehenga, or a long embroidered and pleated skirt that is secured at the waist and leaves the lower back and midriff bare, and she and Prabodh performed a few Bollywood songs. At the swayambar, priests from both the bride and groom’s sides were present to conduct the traditional Hindu ceremony that would officially marry the couple. Aditi and Prabodh sat next to each other, but on separate mats, as the priests began the series of rituals by performing a puja or ceremony. The couple then exchanged garlands. Later, Aditi sat while Prabodh put red vermilion pigment along the part in her hair three times. She then made seven statements or vows before taking a seat on the left side of Prabodh. A priest concludes the ceremony by reciting a hymn saying that all assembled wish the couple good luck and prosperity. A few days later, Prabodh traveled from his home to Aditi’s in the evening. Called the janti, this officially kicked off the wedding festivities and these processions often look downright cinematic. Typically, the groom travels in either a decorated car or horse-drawn carriage—Prabodh made the trip by car—accompanied by family members, friends, and often a band, wearing a new outfit, a tika, and a garland of flowers and dubo or durva grass, which is a symbol of long life. Once Prabodh arrived, the bride’s parents, relatives, and friends welcomed him. “The next morning, rituals started at 4:00 a.m.,” remembers Aditi. Kanya Daan is also known as “the giving away of the bride,” and it includes that last rituals that take place at the bride’s house before she goes with the procession to the groom’s house. “At noon, we headed back to Prabodh’s place for the first time,” says Aditi. The return procession or janti upto of the bride and groom is similar to the janti of the groom, but the bride and members of her family now join the procession with a brass band taking the lead. Once at the house, relatives and friends were treated to a traditional type of feast called bjoh to celebrate the marriage. A reception was later hosted by Prabodh’s family at Hotel Annapurna, located in the heart of Kathmandu. “The food was a mix of Indian and Chinese, keeping the Nepalese palate in mind,” explains Aditi. “The party carried on until very late with music and drinks. Prabodh and I had had a long day. We were really tired so we ended up leaving the venue at 11:00 p.m.” Two weeks after the wedding, the couple travelled to Bali for their honeymoon. Akriti’s relationship started out very differently. She met Saumitra Dixit, an IT analyst, in Australia through a mutual friend. They kept their relationship platonic for a year before they eventually started dating, and the two saw each other for five years before things became more serious. “It was less of a proposal and more of a mutual decision after dating for five years to make it official,” says Akriti. “He did, however, get down on his knee in front of all of our guests during the engagement ceremony, though.” Akriti always knew she wanted to get married at home Kathmandu—“I have beautiful memories there.” Her wedding started with three days of both Nepali and Indian traditions in Kathmandu and the festivities continued in Jaipur. All of the Nepali ceremonies were conducted and many Indian traditions were incorporated as well. During the sangeet, toasts were given and the newlyweds did their first dance to a Bollywood song from the movie Baar Baar Dekho: “Nachde Ne Saare.” “There were choreographed performances, speeches by my parents, a friend from Australia, and Sam’s cousins,” remembers Akriti. “A friend served as emcee and did a good job of telling the guests our ‘stories’ when he introduced us. There was a dance party at the end with family members young and old and friends from all over the world grooving to English, Nepali, and Hindi songs.” The ceremony was long and emotional. “Since we combined Indian and Nepali traditions, it was even more drawn-out than usual,” explains Akriti. “But it was interesting for my family to witness the Indian ceremonies, like walking around the fire and reciting vows, and for Sam’s family to be a part of some of the Nepali rituals. The latter part of the ceremony was extremely emotional for me, especially when my family provided me with blessings and gifts. This almost signifies a goodbye as the bride then leaves the house and goes to the groom’s house—which for me was across international borders.”1
jalopnik.comThe Transporter Is Like Fast And Furious All Grown UpThe Transporter’s stunt choreography and car chases were so good it launched the career of Jason Statham, and conned me into buying a BMW as a teenager. I’m not sure which was a more significant contribution to the culture. You be the judge.
artreview.comAna Mendieta: artist or martyr?, by Rosanna Mclaughlin / ArtReview‘Stop glamorising violent men! Where the fuck is Ana Mendieta? NEVER FORGET… CARL ANDRE KILLED ANA MENDIETA.’ So read a cardboard placard, decorated with teardrops and a portrait of Andre with a Pinocchio nose, at a protest outside the opening of Tate Modern’s Switch House in 2016. When Ana Mendieta fell from the window of the apartment she shared with Carl Andre in 1985, in the midst of a drunken argument, her death cleaved the New York art community in two. Many refused to believe that an artist preparing for her first solo institutional show, at the New Museum, had committed suicide; nor did they think it feasible that she might have fallen accidentally. Others accepted Andre’s acquittal in court, believing that the continued accusations of murder were designed to serve a feminist agenda. The unsatisfactory official verdict did little to quell the discord, and the case continues to prove divisive. Judge Alvin Schlesinger, the man responsible for the decision in a bench trial, later admitted that although Andre ‘probably did it’, there were no grounds to rule out reasonable doubt. In the decades since, in place of closure, the couple have become the protagonists in a macabre artworld legend, with Mendieta playing the role of Cuban exile and martyr-on-high and Andre the white male bogeyman. Ana Mendieta, Body Tracks, from AR April 2018 Feature Ana Mendieta Ana Mendieta, Body Tracks, 1974, colour photograph, 25 × 20 cm. © the estate of the artist. Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co, Paris & New York The protest at Tate Modern was carried out in response to the inclusion of Andre’s Equivalent VIII (1966) in the new building’s inaugural display. It was organised by a cohort of artists and activists who have taken up Mendieta’s death as an emblem of the abuse of women, particularly women of colour, and who accuse institutions of condoning this systemic abuse whenever they choose to exhibit work made by Mendieta’s husband and (as they maintain) killer. In an article for Artslant, Liv Wynter, the organiser of the protest – who in March publicly resigned from her role as one of four artists-in-residence with the schools workshop programme at Tate Modern following injudicious comments by director Maria Balshaw about sexual harassment – alluded to the manner in which Mendieta’s story has become a proxy for wider issues. ‘My motive was basically to make noise, to remember our sister who has passed, and to demand acknowledgement for how many murderers and abusers, most of whom are white men, occupy these galleries.’ To turn a dead woman into a martyr is to turn her story into your own, and to view Mendieta only through the lens of victimhood is to risk repeating her erasure Murder is not the only offence of which Andre is popularly accused. Some of the charges are more unflattering than illegal, others pertain to the transgressions of his demographic, but all add to the prevailing appetite for retribution: Andre was lauded among the greatest sculptors of his generation at a time when the work of women was routinely absent from museums and galleries. Guilty, of gender privilege. He told the emergency services operator that Mendieta ‘went out the window’ following an argument about his greater fame; a detective later told the writer Robert Katz that, when he arrived at the scene, Andre produced a catalogue of his work to show him. Guilty, of delusions of grandeur. Andre’s defence argued that Mendieta’s ‘fiery Latin temperament’, and her interest in the Afro-Caribbean practice of Santería, was evidence of a suicidal disposition. Guilty, of racial stereotyping. The case against Andre was so hamstrung by police procedural errors as to make prosecution almost impossible. Guilty, of belonging to a group who routinely avoid censure for domestic abuse. Yet found not guilty of second-degree murder. In New York, 1992, a few hundred people turned up outside the Guggenheim SoHo to protest the exhibition of Andre’s work, among them Mendieta’s friends. It would be over 20 years before the second protest occurred, organised by the artist Christen Clifford and spurred on by the opening of an international touring exhibition of Andre’s work, Carl Andre: Sculpture as Place, 1958–2010, that debuted at Dia Art Foundation, New York, 2014. Clifford is too young to have known Mendieta personally, but she feels a close affinity to her work. Over the phone she told me that, as a young woman, she had reenacted some of Mendieta’s Siluetas – outlines of her body, dug out of ice, mud and sand, filled with blood, set on fire, left to dissolve beneath the tide and the sun. Clifford stumbled across a number of articles published in the run-up to the opening at Dia, all of which framed Andre in a positive light. Her thought process went something like this. ‘Wait, isn’t this the guy who killed Ana Mendieta?’ followed by, ‘Why is no one saying anything?’ Ana Mendieta, Moffitt Building Piece, from AR April 2018 Feature Ana Mendieta Ana Mendieta, Moffitt Building Piece (still), 1973, Super 8 film transferred to HD digital media, colour, silent, 3 min 17 sec. © the estate of the artist. Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co, Paris & New York On a May evening, a small group gathered outside Dia: Chelsea wearing white, forensic-style overalls. Clifford unfurled a banner bearing the words ‘I WISH ANA MENDIETA WAS STILL ALIVE’, and a bag of chicken guts was deposited on the pavement – a reference to Mendieta’s early videowork Moffitt Building Piece (1973), for which she left a pool of blood on the pavement in Iowa City and filmed the reactions of passersby while hidden in the back of a car. The second protest took place the following March, inside Andre’s exhibition at Dia: Beacon. Clifford and a handful of friends staged a cry-in, sobbing by Andre’s sculptures, until they were escorted off the premises by security. Outside they made Siluetas in the snowbanks and embellished them with fake blood. The protests also proved divisive. ‘When I first heard about the protests in New York, I’ll admit I rolled my eyes in disdain,’ the scholar Jane Blocker wrote in Culture Criticism. ‘The protest at Beacon seemed similarly silly – crocodile tears manufactured for the occasion by people who, judging from the photo documentation of the event, weren’t even alive, let alone grieving, in 1985 when Mendieta died.’ The artist and curator Coco Fusco, who knew Mendieta briefly in life, had a similarly caustic response to Mendieta’s posthumous canonisation. ‘The people who can’t separate her from Carl Andre and from her untimely death’, she wrote to me, ‘are obsessed with constructing female experience as victimisation. They are not concerned with her art or her life, only with capitalising on her death to justify fantasies that are neither empowering nor politically sound.’ (Wynter’s recent resignation from Tate would unlikely alter Fusco’s position. In an email circulated to the press offering herself for interview, Wynter comes uncomfortably close to taking credit for Mendieta’s stature: ‘Within months’ of the protests she organised, she wrote, ‘Ana’s work was being celebrated, leading onto many film screenings and spotlights on her – this happened as a direct response to the two protests.’) Fusco and Blocker are ardent and intelligent advocates of Mendieta’s work, who acknowledge the likelihood of Andre’s guilt. They are not women whose opinions are easy to dismiss. Blocker ends her essay on a conciliatory note, accepting that the protesters’ tears may well be genuine, yet it occurred to me that both the protesters and their critics were right – a reality typical of the era, in which virtue and self-interest are not easily parsed. The legal system’s ineffectual record of prosecuting domestic violence must be scrutinised, as must the precedent for facilitating abusive men. But to turn a dead woman into a martyr is to turn her story into your own, and to view Mendieta only through the lens of victimhood is to risk repeating her erasure. I am cautious of the expectation that a protest be perfect because it risks overshadowing the very reason it has mobilised. When conservative estimates suggest 35 percent of women globally have been assaulted by a male partner or ex-partner, it seems unwise to tear down the house because we object to the colour of the walls. A deadly war is being waged against women, in which the legal system has shown itself an ally to the aggressor, and it is in response to these bleak conditions that Wynter and Clifford felt compelled to act. (‘Of course I wish she didn’t have to be a victim,’ Clifford put it. ‘How much better if she were still alive.’) Nevertheless, I felt a growing unease at the repurposing of imagery from Mendieta’s oeuvre as a means of symbolising her victimhood. Moffitt Building Piece – echoed in the dumping of guts outside Dia: Chelsea – shows Mendieta at her most complexly voyeuristic. Passersby are shown blood, but without a body, and with no way of ascertaining cause or effect. To confuse the blood of Mendieta’s work with the blood of her death is to overshadow its particular cosmology of meaning – the metaphysical reckoning with her status as a Cuban exile, the desire to manipulate and overwhelm audiences – which add to its peculiar emotional charge. As Maggie Nelson writes in The Art of Cruelty (2011), ‘You can’t toss it in the ghetto of feminist protest art and ignore its more aggressive, borderline sadistic motivations and effects.’ Ana Mendieta Tate Protest 2016, from AR April 2018 Feature Ana Mendieta Protesters march towards Tate Modern, London, demanding the removal of a work by Carl Andre from Tate’s new collection display, June 2016. Photo: Charlotte Bell By the time the protests spread to London in 2016, the mood had grown angry, and increasingly morbid. Participants arrived in funeral attire, and later returned with arms dipped in red paint, a reference to Mendieta’s performance Body Tracks, in which she drags her blood-drenched arms down a canvas – again, the blood of her work mingled with the blood of her death. A pamphlet handed out that day contained a piece of writing by the artist Linda Stupart, in which the details of Mendieta’s fatal fall from the window of Andre’s apartment are described in bone-splitting detail. Following the protest, I contacted Stupart to enquire about the resurgent interest in the case. ‘The abject, Cuban, bleeding, traumatised body and her work is literally murdered by Andre and his minimalist utopian yawnfest, and I think every time his work is shown, that happens again’, they replied, exchanging Mendieta’s name for a gendered and racial description of her body at death. In an artworld willing to congratulate itself for championing overlooked and maligned women, we must also acknowledge the possibility that we may be complicit in a collective type of abuse, in which the ideal woman artist is dead or close to dying ‘Oi Tate, we’ve got a vendetta,’ the crowd shouted, banging on the glass windows at the private view, ‘where the fuck is Ana Mendieta?’ One of the ironies of this history: if protesters have taken up the mantle of ensuring Mendieta’s work is not forgotten, with regard to the market and institutional representation, it’s not clear that they needed to. ‘Ana Mendieta suffered during life from being undervalued, not after her death,’ Coco Fusco wrote to me. ‘She has become a kind of postmodern Frida Kahlo. She has not been overlooked at all – on the contrary, she is one of the few Latin American women artists of her era who is widely known and exhibited.’ Her work is included in 57 public collections, in the US, Latin America, Europe and Australia, collections that include the Guggenheim and Tate, the same institutions where protests decrying her absence have been held. When Mendieta died, she was yet to have a single museum show. The death of a beautiful woman, wrote Edgar Allan Poe, ‘is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world’, a sentiment shared by artists from John Everett Millais to David Lynch. The spectacle of female death has long been a defining cultural feature, and Mendieta’s posthumous CV may reveal an uncomfortable truth. In an artworld willing to congratulate itself for championing overlooked and maligned women, we must also acknowledge – as curators, viewers, writers, collectors, dealers and protesters – the possibility that we may be complicit in a collective type of abuse, in which the ideal woman artist is dead or close to dying. How to remember Mendieta, without viewing her practice solely through the lens of her death? How to mourn her without objectifying her? ‘Feminism is not served by turning violence into a litany’, writes Jacqueline Rose in ‘Feminism and the Abomination of Violence’ (2016). ‘Such strategy does not help us to think… violence against women is a crime of the deepest thoughtlessness. It is a sign that the mind has brutally blocked itself.’ In response, Rose urges us to think. Think enough, to disentangle the cultural fascination with female victimhood from the fight against misogyny. Think enough, so that we do not only see women as broken and damaged, even as we cannot ignore the breaking and damaging done. Think enough, so that any violence done to Mendieta does not brutally block our ability to see her work for what it was. Occasionally sadistic, mesmerisingly narcissistic, deeply ambitious and utterly beguiling. Rosanna Mclaughlin is a writer and editor. In 2017 she was a TAARE resident with the British Council Caribbean From the April 2018 issue of ArtReview
jalopnik.comWhat Netflix's Fastest Car Gets WrongNetflix’s Fastest Car premiered earlier this month and it was a triumph in democratizing speed. It showed that owning something fast wasn’t just limited to wealthy supercar buyers, anyone could build up their car and go toe-to-toe with an exotic. All of that was well and good, the show just got some of the finer parts of car culture wrong.
jalopnik.comNetflix’s Fastest Car Shows That Speed Can Be For EveryoneIf you’ve been hunting around for something to watch on Netflix while your dinner cools in front of you, you might have noticed a new, Netflix original series called Fastest Car. Its eight episodes bring viewers a fascinating exploration of tuner car culture outside of the usual Porsche and Ferrari chatter.
brooklynstreetart.comThe Many Faces of Lisbon on the StreetA Scholarly Eye On Artistic Interventions in Public Space The excitement that pours from city walls in Lisbon is palpable, an animated mix of graffiti, Street Art, murals, sculpture, and the traditional artisan tiles. Like the famous Bacalhau dish of Portuguese cuisine, it all can be mixed together almost a thousand different ways and each surprising recombination can be loved for its unique character. To appreciate the varied elements playing into the Street Art scene here, you won’t find greater insight than by touring with Pedro Soares-Neves, and he’ll make sure you won’t leave without understanding the forty years that have contributed to the scene up to this point. Park. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) Most visitors are overtaken by the sweeping views, the heart of the old city in the valley, the winding Bairro Alto streets full of colorful illegal artworks, the ancient bricks, traditional azulejos tiled buildings, tiny streets, sloping topography, endless staircases and retro-style cable cars that are climbing impossible inclines – each slaughtered with colorful graffiti tags. Unidentified artist. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) Now an international destination for many Street Artists, the growing number of murals here is remarkable, if not outstanding. Soares-Neves can look at the huge variety of expressions on the street and explain why the art is here now and how it fits into a greater context of a historical city that has gradually embraced nearly all expressions of modern art-in-the-streets. A self-described fan of urban history Pedro is one of the few scholars in the global urban art scene who calls graffiti writers “authors”, quite possibly because he was one himself in his early teens here during the city’s first stage of graffiti proliferation in the early 1990s. “I am kind of an architectural urban history fanatic,” he says proudly but in a confessional tone. Completing his doctorate in Design and Urbanism this year he is also co-organizer of the Lisbon Street Art & Urban Creativity Conference and the Street Art & Urban Creativity Scientific Journal. Lister. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) A lifelong Lisboan born at the same time the revolution from the dictatorship was born here in the mid 1970s, Soares-Neves tells the story of urban art as a progression of social movement, individual engagement, immigration, urban planning, importation of culture, commercial incursion and coalescing of local artists as a quasi-professional network. As you ride in his 4-door family SUV-hybrid with kids toys and storybooks scattered across the back seat, you gaze along the historic spice trade waterfront and the Jerónimos monastery and museum row, swerving through the central “filet mignon” of the ornamented city to the outskirts, which he calls “the back-office”. He gestures at the trains and wooded walls and areas where he once painted graffiti , to some of the current crop of throwups along the highway and to wall murals that have been commissioned by municipal, professional, and commercial interests. As the trip unfolds the story is not quite linear of course, and city history intertwines with personal history. Telmo & Miel. Bairro Padre Cruz. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) As is its personality, art-in-the-streets shape-shifts and redefines itself, creating new alliances, reconfiguring the balance. For example, currently Lisbon city leaders are working with former vandals and art school professionals to create programs of large colorful murals on soaring public housing towers. The adjacent neighborhood of older single family houses laid out like suburbs features Soare-Neves’ own curated walls done by more conceptual artists who play with ideas about public space as well as aesthetics. The Portuguese +MaisMenos– directly intervenes with stenciled words here, creating quizzical conundrums for passersby and the French experimenter Matthew Tremblin who brings an online poll results via bar charts posing an existential question about Street Art. Matthew Tremblin. Bairro Padre Cruz. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) A truly unique insight into the rather omnibus experience of this urban academic, we actually get to look at two eras of Pedro’s own personal history as an artist are here as well, only blocks away from one another. This IS a tour! Pedro Soares-Neves. Bairro Padre Cruz. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) One Soares painting is on a low wall encircling a park. Part of a graffiti wall of fame (which he helped organize), it shows his 1990s affinity for character illustration and experimentation with letter styles. His more recent installation is a mixed media paint/land art derivation that converts disused construction materials and a habit-formed footpath leading up a grassy knoll to a numerical wall. Again, the spirit of experimentation here is what is core to his art practice. Perhaps this is why his personal philosophies toward public space lean toward the organically Situationist act of creation, a practice that can be extended to all of the public and to the moment of inspiration. Following are many images captured in Lisbon during our tour interspersed with this history of the last few decades courtesy Soares-Neves and our own research. Corleone. Underdogs Gallery/Public Arts Program . Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) 1980s-90s and Lisbon's Dawn of Graffiti Speaking with Pedro about the early graffiti of the 90s you capture a perspective on two important cultural factors that steered its direction. The first is that through the lense of the liberators of the Carnation Revolution in the 1970s the style of aerosol bubble tags and characters recalled the earlier people-powered community murals and represented “freedom” in their minds, whereas cities elsewhere in Europe would have thought this painting indicated vandalism or a breakdown of the social fabric. Suker. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) Secondly, the fascination with graffiti was spurred by the children of African immigrants from former Portuguese territories of Angola, Mozambique and Capo Verde who moved to Lisbon after wars with them ended during the revolution. Now second generation teen immigrants from two cultures, they were looking for self-identity, according to Soares-Neves. “They found resonance in this Afro-American and Latin American thing that was going on during the 80s so they connected with it and used it for language.” Aire. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) Quite possibly they were reacting to class and race prejudice and they identified with brothers and sisters in the music videos of American commercial hip hop culture. Seeing the exciting growth and the implied power of graffiti writers, musicians, and bboy movies like “Wild Style” in the 1980s, the expression of graffiti was alluring – a welcome visual art and anti-establishment practice that created identity, community, and newfound respect among a select peer group of cool kids. “Actually it started with bboying culture in the mid 80s and then in the early 90s it started with a visual language of it,” he says, explaining the progression. Unidentified Artist...speaking the truth. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) A Personal Introduction to Graff His own teenage aestheticism extended to characters, and a fascination for punk or “rough” magazines and the illustration stylings of artists in the classic Chiclete com Banana magazines. “I had this relationship with drawing and cartoons and this kind of stuff – this popular culture sort of thing,” he says. His talents as an artist were well prized among his peers until he was nearly outshone by a graffiti writer from Cape Verde, a classmate who threatened Pedro’s status as the school artist; a funny story he explains this way: “At that time in my high school I was ‘The’ guy who was doing the best cartoons and all this kind of stuff,” he says, reflecting on his celebrity. “Suddenly he did a big piece on the wall! So I was the king of the ‘drawing thing’ and this motherf***er came here and did a big and colorful piece!” Edis1. Bairro Padre Cruz. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) BSA: ..and everyone knew about it of course. Pedro: Yeah of course it was much more visible than what I did. So I started to interact with the guy. Pedro’s personal history with graffiti began there and never stopped. After starting on walls and greatly enlarging his own illustrations and experimenting with letter styles, he and his peers grew to about 10 or 12 writers and the graffiti scene appeared to blow up from there. A community of writers from many backgrounds spread across the city practicing one-upsmanship in technical skill and logistical daring, operating singularly, in small groups, or the occasional Wall of Fame project. Because there wasn’t a strict evolutionary lineage of style, many young artists developed their own in the laboratory of the street, not necessarily related to the hip hop culture but adapting from their own culture. Cola. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) 2000s and the Turn Toward Street Art By the late 90s and early 00s he feels that the scene suffered a sort of malaise when purely commercial murals began to take parts of the wall inventory and change the character of some areas. It was a development he deeply disliked for its perversion of a freer art practice yet he appreciated it for the employment it provided to professional artists. The city also borrowed the vernacular of graffiti for public service announcements painted as murals. The mid 2000s began to reflect the influences of artists like Banksy and a new sort of community comprised of artists from old school graffiti writers and new generation Street Artist began to coalesce in Lisbon he says. Additionally the later 2000s began an increasing flow of international Street Artists and graffiti writers who began avoiding Barcelona after that city started cracking down on their famed urban art scene. RAM. Bairro Padre Cruz. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) “They (artists) started to add a few other languages to try to surpass this previous period and also began dialoguing with the new things that were happening in Street Art,” he says of the witty skewering of pop culture iconography, introduction of fine art illustration styles and the use of newer art-making methods. “It was starting to really have lots of people doing stencils and paste ups and this kind of stuff all around. It started to influence the younger generation and that put some pressure on the older generations, who started to do that themselves.” Visual Street Performance and the Crono Project A collective guild comprised of artists from both graffiti and Street Art like HBSR81, Hium, Klit, Mar, Ram, Time and Vhils joined together in the mid 2000s and called themselves called Visual Street Performance (VSP). A professional/DIY effort, they began to organize large events and an annual exhibition through 2010 that expanded the vernacular to hybrids of fine art and elements of pop, character illustration, photo realism, surrealist fantasy, found object art, abstract expressionist, more traditional graffiti and graphic design. Pang. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) Pedro had been studying abroad in the Czech Republic and Rome for a few years, “And when I came back I noticed a different panorama. There were lots of younger kids with totally different skills and with that approach of making money out of it,” he says with a mixture of admiration and possibly concern at the professionalism entering the equation. “They managed to invent themselves,” he says, “and also within the exhibitions the kids like Vhils were born from these,” he says as he talks about the commercial aspects of the cultural scene with connections to an aerosol art brand, print makers, and related clothing projects. Kam Laurene. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) A notable commercial and marketing milestone that married Street Art and urban culture with the image of Lisbon itself took place in 2010-11 when the year long Crono project, curated by Soares-Neves, Angelo Milano (of Fame Festival), and local Street Artist Vhils (Alexandre Farto), brought rising stars of the moment to a high profile block-long series of ornate Art Nouveau and shuttered buildings along a heavily traveled strip in the city, Avenida Fontes Pereira de Melo. Os Gemeos . Blu . Sam3 . Erica Il Cane. Crono Project. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) The Internet’s volleying of fresh images of pieces by the Italian anti-corporate BLU, the hallucinatory dream illustration style of Brazilian graffiti twins Os Gemeos, and the lyrical storytelling of Spanish 2-D SAM3 alerted the Street Art worlds’ knowledge of Lisbon, and the project quickly became a destination for travellers. Os Gemeos . Blu. Crono Project. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) Soares-Neves sometimes speaks about the commercial appropriation of the street art vernacular in his academic work and in some ways it appears that the unexpected success of the Crono Project unsettled him as well. The curators had worked with the city to finance the project with an intention of giving opportunities to artists and fostering new aspects of the public art conversation, but according to Soares-Neves the high profile of the project undermined their own anti-establishment sentiments when city leaders recognized that a comparatively modest investment had ballooned into a successful city “branding” campaign. Os Gemeos. Crono Project. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) Possibly this is a cautionary tale that underscores the incremental dangers present when subculture crosses the rubicon into simply “culture”. There is always the fear that the original philosophies encoded in a subculture will be irreparably transformed, candy-coated, cheapened, or worse, excised. Recently closed London-based Street Art print pioneers “Pictures On Walls” lamented in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek way on their website in January when describing the evolution of their 15 year old business this way, “…inevitably disaster struck – and many of our artists became successful. Street Art was welcomed into mainstream culture with a benign shrug and the art we produced became another tradeable commodity.” Borondo. Bairro Padre Cruz. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) The City We See Today The city seems like it is absorbing all of these changes well, and the variety of faces and styles of public artistic intervention that you see scattered throughout it feel vibrant and necessary. The city continues its 25 year heritage of organic graffiti and entertains international writers and has the occasional Walls of Fame. Elements of unsanctioned Street Art exists as well and neighborhoods are accented by the new generation of muralists with mad skillz. Then there are those who are a little harder to categorize, like the subtle reworkings of traditional Portugues tiles with modern icons and patterns by Add Fuel and the prized sculptural pieces across the city by the trash-recycling animal naturalist Bordalo II, who just had a massive solo exhibition in November. Bordalo II. In conjunction with his solo exhibition ATTERO Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) The contemporary urban artist and international Street Art star Vhils is a company at this point: operating a studio in a few cities, here running a gallery, a studio laboratory program for young artists, a street art tour business, and partnering with city art programming initiatives as well as brands. Somehow he still finds time to create artworks in the streets, including a recent portrait collaboration with Shepard Fairey in Lisbon and LA. Shepard Fairey . VHILS. Underdogs Gallery/Public Arts Program . Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) At the end of our tour marathon Pedro Soares-Neves takes us to the Centro de Informação Urbana de Lisboa (Lisbon Urban Information Center) where we climb the stairs through the airy modernist foyer full of scholarly readers to discover a small scale maquette of the entire city that we have just been traversing. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) Fanned out for you before the shiny blue Tagus River, perhaps 15 meters at its full expanse, the topographic features of the city are much less daunting when viewed from this perspective. As Pedro walks around the perimeter of the mini-city and points to neighborhoods, regions, the forest, the airport, the old city and the newly gentrifying areas of Lisboa he recounted stories of expansion, retrenchment, privatization, skullduggery and deliverance. Thanks to him we appreciate graffiti/ Street Art/ urban art truly in its context of this city, its history, its people and the built environment like never before. Lisbon. Pedro makes a point. December 2017. (photo © Steven P. Harrington) Bordalo II. In conjunction with his solo exhibition ATTERO Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) Borondo. Bairro Padre Cruz. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) Vhils. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) Vhils. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) Shepard Fairey. Underdogs Gallery/Public Arts Program . Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) Shepard Fairey . VHILS. Detail. Underdogs Gallery/Public Arts Program . Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) Lister. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) Crayon. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) Andre Nada. Bairro Padre Cruz. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) Unidentified Artist. Amoreiras Wall Of Fame. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) Slap. Amoreiras Wall Of Fame. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) RariOne. Amoreiras Wall Of Fame. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) ±MAISMENOS± Bairro Padre Cruz. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) Corleone. Bairro Padre Cruz. Underdogs Gallery/Public Arts Program . Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) Utopia. Galeria De Arte Urbana. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) Tags. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) Blu. Lisbon. Crono Project. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) Blu . Sam3 . Erica Il Cane. Crono Project. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) Erica Il Cane . Lucy McLauchlan . M-Chat. Crono Project. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo) With gratitude to Pedro Soares Neves and to Raul Carvalho, General Manager of Underdogs Gallery for taking the time to talk to us, for sharing their knowledge and insights with us and for showing us around Lisbon. BSA in Lisbon comes to you courtesy BSA in Partnership with Urban Nation (UN). This is the first of two articles with BSA in Lisbon in collaboration with UN Berlin, it was originally published on the Urban Nation website, and the project is funded in part with the support of Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art (UN) in Berlin.
wallpaper.comExploring Night Fever at Vitra Design MuseumDry ice, block rockin’ beats and a DJ booth elevated on high from a Konstantin Grcic pimped up Smart car… the preview of ‘Night Fever: Designing Club Culture 1960-Today’ wasn’t your average exhibition launch. But then the subject matter is as visceral ...
nme.comBlur: Their 10 Greatest HitsAs they enter another dormant period in their legendary career, we reassess Blur’s singles to reflect on which tracks have retained their magic. 10 Go Out After the sonic sojourns of their later records, the lead track from ‘The Magic Whip’ wrapped an arm round old Blur and another round new Blur and asked if they were so different, after all. Relatively trad, the track smuggles in just enough spacey warps and manic whirrs to keep a jittery handle on ‘Parklife’ and ‘Think Tank’ zealots alike. 9 To the End A resplendent breakup ballad plucked from the heart of ‘Parklife’, ‘To the End’ makes living crappily ever after sound like the best thing since love everlasting. Check the French version featuring Francoise Hardy to lift your sunken heart into an amorous reverie. 8 No Distance Left to Run If ‘No Distance Left to Run’ seems an odd single choice, excavated from 1999’s majestic ‘13’, the passage of time has validated it as one of Blur’s crowning achievements. Shorn of volume, velocity and any tangible chorus, the tune sounds like the long, empty sigh that follows a car-crash breakup. Damon has scarcely sounded more adorable. 7 Beetlebum Tapping into the timeless rock tradition of heroin ballads cloaked in the language of love, ‘Beetlebum’ lusts after an ambiguous muse who “turns me on/ I just slip away and I am gone”. Damo’s best work came once he’d flushed out the smack, but this masterful Beatles pastiche- their second Number One single – is an undeniably sweet hit. 6 Song 2 You might know this one. Released in 1997, Blur’s eminent head-banger shot from their self-titled fifth album at 300mph and hasn’t stopped, careening into indie discos and karaoke machines with enough turbulent velocity to obliterate, for two glorious minutes, your crushing awareness that the ‘90s ended, youth fades and you’ll never be a rock star. 5 Tender’ Just as we’d acclimatised to Britpop’s sudden burnout, 1999 saw Blur flip the tables and reemerge as rock’s shining saviours. While songs like ‘Girls and Boys’ perfectly capture a fleeting moment in time, ‘Tender’ is their earliest single that stands up on its own merits, a triumphant, gospel-backed sermon on the virtues of musical reinvention. 4 Good Song Half a decade after the Britpop boom, Blur’s 2003 album ‘Think Tank’ riled a clutch of fans, who felt betrayed by Damo and co’s arrogant pursuit of a musical style that didn’t taste of the previous decade’s leftover Foster’s. Not everything came off, but ‘Good Song’’s twinkly, music-box lullaby proves they’d found a beguiling space station to call home. 3 Girls and Boys Disco bass pops, pro-LGBT lyrics and an impossibly addictive to-me-to-you chorus – ‘Girls and Boys’ is the defining Britpop anthem. Not just a commercial breakthrough for the group, who springboarded into the pop culture stratosphere off its back, the track also made NME’s 1994 single of the year. Which is obviously a way bigger deal. 2 Out of Time After a four-year hiatus, Britpop’s …Continue reading »
doc.blogThe human solution to Facebook's machine-produced problems also won't workIn Facebook CEO Vows To Rid Social Network Of Bad Info, Actors, @mp_gavin says Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook post promising "To cleanse his social network of trolls, purveyors of false and misleading information, and other bad actors" is "his most ambitious pledge yet."He'll fail.See, what we're talking about here is trying to fix just one kind of awfulness produced by the world's most consequential algorithm—one designed to allow anybody on earth, at any budget level, to micro-target ads at highly characterized human beings, using up to millions of different combinations of targeting characteristics (including ones provided by parties outside Facebook, such as Cambridge Analytica, which have deep psychological profiles of millions of Facebook members)—by giving actual human beings (not just fancy machine systems doing AI, ML and other cool hot tech stuff) what The Wall Street Journal calls "The Worst Job in Technology: Staring at Human Depravity to Keep It Off Facebook." This is not only ironic in the extreme (in case you missed it in my too-wordy paragraph above, we have humans fixing the unavoidable errors of machines meant to understand humans), but also impossible to pull off.Facebook's message-aiming system (good for fake news as well as ads) is too complex, too massive (Facebook has many data centers, each the size of a Walmart or few), too difficult and expensive to rebuild, and too good at what it does. It would be like turning a cruise ship into an aircraft carrier.And, to a creepy degree, both the ads and prejudice-stoking postings actually work well enough—at least for the people and organizations placing them. That it works for bad guys as well as good guys—and is bad for culture and democracy—is a feature, not a bug. Again, it was designed to do exactly what it does.You know Goethe's (or hell, Disney's) story of The Sorceror's Apprentice? Look it up. It'll help. Because Mark Zuckerberg is both the the sorcerer and the apprentice. The difference with Zuck is that he doesn't have all the mastery that's in the sorcerer's job description. He can't control the spirits released by machines designed to violate personal privacy, produce echo chambers, and to rationalize both by pointing at how popular it all is with the billions who serve as human targets for messages (while saying as little as possible about the $billions that bad acting makes for the company).Switching metaphors, Facebook is Humpty-Dumpty, and it's already on the ground. None of King Mark's horses (e.g. better algorithms) or men (and women, doing icky jobs) can put it together again. Look at what's happening for Zuck in terms of grief stages: denial, anger, bargaining and acceptance.At first he denied that the problem was there—even as fraudulent and misleading ads ran right next to the post where he did the denying. I suppose he went through the anger stage in private. Now he's at the bargaining stage, betting that humans with awful jobs can halt the rising tide of outrage and embarrassment. He's not alone. In How to Fix Facebook—Before It Fixes Us, Roger McNamee, an investor and old friend of Zuckerberg's, deeply examines What Went Wrong, and teams up with ethicist Tristan Harris to produce an eight-point prescription for fixing Facebook, and all the awful shit it's doing to us.It won't work, because it can't.John Battelle explains why in two pieces published in his magazine NewCo Shift. The first, which went up last September, is Lost Context: How Did We End Up Here? The second, published today, is Facebook Can't Be Fixed. As his subhead explains, "Facebook’s fundamental problem is not foreign interference, spam bots, trolls, or fame mongers. It’s the company’s core business model, and abandoning it is not an option." That nicely compresses my main point here.The best thing all of us can do, both for ourselves and for Facebook, is face both what it has become and how terminal it is.The best thing for Zuck to do is get the hell out, let it finish failing, and start over with something new and better, based on what he and others have learned from the experience. (Which tends to be the best teacher. And hell, he's still young.) It should help him—and all of us—to know that all companies fail; they just fail faster in Silicon Valley.Google has the same problem, by the way, but is more aware of it, more diversified, founded on far better intentions (e.g. that nice stuff about gathering and sharing all the world's knowledge) and therefore more likely to survive, at least for awhile. It helps to remember that all companies have souls born of founding purposes. And there's a helluva big difference between a search engine meant to find "all the world's knowledge" and one meant to find hot girls on a college campus.Yet what matters far more than Facebook and Google is that we all live digital lives now, on a network that puts us all a functional distance apart of zero. (When we're connected, that is. The distance apart when we're not is infinite).This is new to human experience.What we know about digital life so far is largely contained within what we've retrieved from the analog ones that preceded it. To wit,Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon might all deal in digital goods, but their structures and operating methods mostly improve on the ones modeled by Carnegie, Ford and J.P. Morgan.YouTube and Netflix are TV 3.x (where over-the-air is 1.x and Cable is 2.x).BuzzFeed, Verge and Vox are all print magazines in digital drag.Podcasts are shattered remnants of radio.The Web is networked Gutenberg.Search engines are library card catalogs.AI systems just automate decisions based on how shit gets remembered.Marshall McLuhan says all technologies are extensions of ourselves. Hammers, pens, binoculars, cars and computers all give us ways to do what we can't do with our brains and bodies alone. What I just listed are early rudiments of what will surely come.It helps to recognize that we are still going through early stages in our new Digital Age. Everything we know about digital life, so far, is contained within prototypes such as Facebook's and Google's. And all of those prototypes are just projects. If you don't doubt it, look at your computer and your phone. Both are either new or to some degree already obsolete. Hell, even the new ones are old. Nothing will feel older a year from now than today's latest Samsung and Apple mobile thingies.It isn't turtles all the way down, it's scaffolding.So let's at least try to look below what big companies, Trump and other dancing figures in the digital world are doing, and try to look at the floor they're dancing on—and the ground under it. That ground is new and unlike anything that precedes it in human experience. Nothing matters more than at least trying to understand it.1
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stereogum.comCar Seat Headrest Calls Wes Anderson’s Isle Of Dogs “Racist” And “Infuriatingly Bad”Wes Anderson's new animated film Isle Of Dogs hit theaters on Friday, and most people seem to like it. As of right now, it has a 93% fresh rating on RottenTomatoes and a score of 81 on Metacritic. But it also happens to be set in a dystopian near-future version of Japan, and Anderson's portrayal of Japanese culture has drawn its fair share of criticism, including from Car Seat Headrest's Will Toledo. As Pitchfork points out, Toledo took to Twitter today to air his grievances with the film, calling it "racist," "alienating," "infuriatingly bad," and "the first Bad Wes Anderson Movie." Isle of Dogs is bad. It is an infuriatingly bad film. I am infuriated.— car seat headrest (@carseatheadrest) March 28, 2018 like. why. why is it racist. why is it written as a joyless kid's film when it's specifically designed to be alienating and inappropriate for kids. why is it so fucking ugly— car seat headrest (@carseatheadrest) March 28, 2018 I mean props to Wes for finally