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history.house.govHERNÁNDEZ, Joseph Marion | US House of Representatives: History, Art & ArchivesJoseph Hernández, the first Hispanic Member of Congress and the first Territorial Delegate to represent Florida, bridged his state’s cultural and governmental transition from Spanish colony to U.S. territory. Hernández fought first for Spain and later for the United States; he also earned—and lost—a fortune that included three plantations and numerous slaves. His complex life and career as a slave-owning, Indian-fighting politician cut from Jacksonian cloth embodied conflicting attitudes toward statehood, representation, and territorial conquest. Though brief, his service to the territory set an effective precedent, prompting the Washington City Gazette to declare, a “compliment is due to the zeal and industry of the honourable delegate from Florida, who during the session, appeared at all times attentive to the objects connected with the prosperity of his constituents and the interests of the Territory.”1José Mariano Hernández was born on May 26, 1788, in St. Augustine, Spanish Florida. He was the third of 10 children and the first son of Martín Hernández, Jr., and Dorotea Gomila, immigrants from the island of Minorca. The Hernándezes settled in St. Augustine in 1784, living in the northern section of the city, dubbed the Minorcan Quarter. Local residents earned their livelihoods by farming, fishing, and making handcrafts. Although the Hernándezes were not among St. Augustine’s elite families, Martín Hernández was a skilled laborer and a slave owner, indicating that the family had some wealth. José Hernández attended local schools run by Catholic priests and worked with his father in carpentry. As an adolescent, he was educated in Savannah, Georgia, and Havana, Cuba. He returned to East Florida in 1811 after studying law, most likely in Cuba.2During the Second Spanish Period (1783–1821), Spain regained territory lost to the British in the Seven Years’ War (1756–1763). At that time, the Florida peninsula was divided between East and West Florida.3 One historian describes Spanish East Florida as a “province virtually devoid of people, a place rich in land but poor in inhabitants.” By 1811 the population numbered barely 4,000. St. Augustine and Fernandina, both coastal ports, were its only urban centers. The remainder of East Florida was “a scattering of forts, cotton and rice plantations, citrus groves, farms, cattle-ranching operations, sawmills, and lumber camps.” Many of the colonial properties were nestled along the St. Marys, Nassau, and St. Johns Rivers. The area’s major landmarks were military installations that guarded important routes on the rivers. East Florida society was a “small, somewhat self-contained world, one in which Spanish officials had to carefully balance Crown prerogatives against local needs and … defend Spanish interests with limited resources. Political life revolved entirely around the governor in his dealings with various factions of settlers.” As a result of East Florida’s physical isolation, small tax base, and limited funding from the Spanish government, local officials sought regional trade opportunities. In the 1790s, East Florida increased its trade with neighbors such as Mexico, Cuba, and the United States. However, territorial ambitions, economic competition, and distinct cultural differences between East Florida and its northern neighbors in Georgia and the Mississippi Territory poisoned their relations and plunged the region into armed conflict. In 1790 the king of Spain spurred increased settlement—and possible conflicts—by offering homestead grants to U.S. citizens.A variety of factors stirred tensions between the settlers in Georgia and those in Florida. Economic competition played a major role. Both groups of settlers jockeyed for influence with the Florida Indians, who controlled lucrative trade markets and were potentially a significant force in an armed conflict. Also, much of the commerce in the Southern United States was based on access to rivers, many of which emptied into the Gulf of Mexico through the Floridas. Furthermore, control of the Floridas was a security issue because foreign powers could encroach into the Deep South by using the Florida route. Cultural conflicts deriving from differences in religious background (U.S. Protestants vs. Spanish Catholics) and great-power alliance (Spain was an ally of Great Britain, and memories of the American Revolution were still fresh) further divided the two groups. But their attitudes toward slavery drove the largest wedge between them. First, many of the conflicts regarding slavery developed from the differences between the black-white framework of Anglo-American jurisprudence and the more permeable three-race structure of Hispanic societies. Second, U.S. slaveholders were aware that Florida was a close haven for fugitive slaves, who could blend into Spanish or Seminole communities with relative ease. Third, the use of armed black soldiers in the Florida militia alarmed U.S. slaveholders, who feared possible slave revolts. Underlying all this was the lack of a clear governing authority, which encouraged violent acts of retribution. After 1790, neither the U.S. nor the Spanish authorities could effectively control border conflicts.4For the next two decades, U.S. encroachment into East Florida, though sporadic, was sanctioned by two presidential administrations. President Thomas Jefferson and his Secretary of State, James Madison, sought to expand U.S. territory to the south and west of the original 13 colonies. Both men particularly coveted the Louisiana territory and the Floridas. After the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, Jefferson and Madison pressured Spain to cede the Floridas through a combination of economic inducement, military force, and slow advancement by U.S. settlers.5The outbreak of what is known as the Patriot War developed out of U.S. settlers’ resentment toward the Spanish government and their wanton desire to annex the territory for the United States. In March 1812, a group of self-proclaimed “Patriots” led by U.S. general George Mathews occupied the town of Fernandina and laid siege to St. Augustine. They declared victory in July 1812. The Madison administration supported the Patriots as a low-risk effort to foment instability in East Florida that could be used as a pretext for seizing new land and stopping British incursion into the region. However, when President Madison later withdrew his support, the initiative became a bloody, destructive war that lasted two more years. After returning to Florida, Hernández volunteered to join the Spanish military to defend the territory against U.S. expansionists.6In February 1814, Hernández married Ana Hill Williams, a wealthy widow who lived in St. Augustine. Ana had at least nine children from her first marriage, including Guillermo, José Mariano Tomas, Eliza Ana, José Sam Gil, Juan Theofilio, Ana Teresa, Martín, Dorotea, and Louisa. Ana owned properties—among them, a 3,200-acre sugar cane plantation called Orange Grove—that allowed Hernández to become a prominent planter. Hernández also acquired a number of profitable land grants during the Patriot War.In 1817 the First Seminole War erupted in the West Florida province. In January 1818 Andrew Jackson led a force of 4,800 men into the Spanish Floridas, seizing a fort and destroying Seminole settlements along the way. The campaign concluded in May 1818 with the formal cession of West Florida to the United States. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams and Spanish Ambassador Luis de Onís negotiated and signed a treaty of cession on February 22, 1819. After two years of diplomatic wrangling, the treaty was approved by the Senate on February 22, 1821. Although Hernández’s role in the war remains ambiguous, it is clear that he benefited from the conflict by receiving more land grants from the Spanish government.7 Ultimately, with the land that he purchased or inherited by marriage and the massive holdings he received as service grants from the Spanish crown, Hernández controlled 25,670 acres at the time of the U.S. annexation.8Rather than fleeing with other Spanish settlers to Cuba, Mexico, or Texas, Hernández chose to stay and work with the new regime, changing his name from José Mariano to Joseph Marion. Hernández became friendly with the territory’s first civil governor, William Pope DuVal, a Jeffersonian Republican, a former Representative from Kentucky, and an ally of Andrew Jackson’s. In April of 1822, DuVal submitted the names of Hernández and seven others as delegates to Florida’s first legislative council. Hernández was also nominated to the brigadier generalship of the East Florida militia. The Florida legislative council selected Hernández to serve as Territorial Delegate, a decision that was confirmed by a three-day election (September 30 to October 2, 1822) in which Hernández faced no opposition.9Hernández was sworn into the House on January 3, 1823.10 As a Hispanic Catholic Representative in a Congress that was predominantly Anglo-American and Protestant, Hernández was entering uncharted territory. But Hernández was well qualified to usher in Florida’s transition from Spanish to U.S. rule: He was bilingual, an established planter, and a well-known soldier who had fought in two major wars that determined Florida’s territorial status. However, his legislative role was circumscribed, largely because of institutional restrictions on the powers of a Territorial Delegate. At the time, Territorial Delegates were prohibited from serving on standing House committees; thus, Hernández did not hold a committee assignment during his brief tenure.11During Hernández’s time in Congress, the finalization of Florida annexation by the United States involved two controversial issues, access to owning land or validating land deeds and the removal of Seminoles from the territory.12 These overarching priorities shaped Hernández’s four-pronged legislative agenda as Delegate: verifying the status of land grants as a result of their transition from Spanish to Anglo-American jurisprudence; advocating for infrastructural improvements; assisting Florida with its recovery from recent wars; and fostering relations among U.S. settlers and the remaining Spanish elites, Indians, and territorial authorities.Hernández’s first objective was to facilitate the verification of land claims from the Spanish government to the U.S. government. This was a personal issue as much as a diplomatic matter, given his extensive land holdings. On January 20, 1823, Hernández submitted a bill asking the House Committee on Public Lands to award “public lots and houses within the city of Pensacola” to the city instead of to the U.S. government. The next day, in a letter to Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, Hernández noted, “[It] is to be regreted Sir, that in a Territory so recently obtained from a forign Nation, whose Inhabitants are yet unacquainted with the System & Laws of Our Government, Should have had instances of … open Controvercy between its public functionaries” regarding these land claims. Hernández included a memorial from the St. Augustine city council and his own resolution. He asked Adams to “lay the enclosed papers before the President [Monroe], in order … to prevent … interference with the said property” until Congress rendered a decision.13 On February 17, upon hearing that the Senate would reject the bill, Hernández appealed to Vice President Daniel D. Tompkins of New York to submit a bill creating an additional board of commissioners to settle the land claims.14On behalf of the residents of St. Augustine, Hernández submitted a petition that lobbied for the separation of East and West Florida, outlining a plan for “a separate board of commissioners … to ascertain titles and claims to land” in East Florida and to permit settlement on public land.15 The petition also requested that the “aid of Congress may be extended” toward building and maintaining transportation infrastructure and asked Congress to prohibit U.S. soldiers from voting for Territorial Delegates. The House sent the petition to five committees, each of which had jurisdiction over specific complaints.16 Hernández also submitted a petition that called for a revision to the “assessment of taxes and the establishment of county courts.”17 In February 1823, Hernández objected to a bill that proposed forming a single board of commissioners; he argued that two boards were required because the dispensation of land grants in East Florida differed from that in West Florida. A new law (3 Stat. 754–756) resolved the issues regarding land claims and the formation of a board of commissioners described by Hernández in his legislation.18Federal support for capital improvement projects such as roads, bridges, and canals was another priority. Hernández sought the construction of a 380-mile road between St. Augustine and Pensacola, Florida’s two largest settlements. A contemporary observed, “The best practicable track is about seven hundred miles, through an unsettled and savage wilderness, which is travelled with great hazard and difficulty.”19 Hernández also lobbied for new roads south of St. Augustine to facilitate the economic development of East Florida. In February 1823, Hernández submitted H.R. 275, which called for congressional funding for these routes, noting in a memorandum that a portion of the Pensacola–St. Augustine road “was originally opened by the British Government” during its occupation of the Floridas. After consideration by the Committee on Public Lands, a bill appropriating $15,000 for the project was passed by the House. On March 1, the bill was taken up by the Senate, where it was ordered to lie on the table but was not acted upon before the 17th Congress closed on March 3.20 Hernández did not give up. In a March 11, 1823, letter to Secretary of War John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, Hernández insisted that a major roadway would benefit the military and the territorial government. He also believed it would facilitate the construction of a capital city and make Florida an attractive candidate for statehood.21Hernández was a diplomatist as well as a legislator, promoting resolutions to conflicts with American Indians and seeking to smooth the transition from Spanish to U.S. rule. In the first decades of the 19th century, relations between Anglos and Indians often involved the imposition of racial separation. Although Hernández had interacted with Indians during his youth and adulthood, he conformed to the separatist practices of U.S. settlers. He encouraged the James Monroe administration to negotiate a treaty that would gather the Seminoles in one location and outline their relationship with the U.S. government. The resultant Treaty of Moultrie Creek, ratified in December 1823, compelled all Indians in Florida to move to a four-million-acre reservation with defined boundaries.22When Hernández’s term ended in March 1823, he prepared to run for a second term. A local newspaper endorsed his candidacy, stating, “In the faithful execution of the various and important trusts committed to him … his good sense and information on every subject connected with the interests and prosperity of this territory have inspired confidence and esteem in the Administration … and gained for Florida many warm and valuable friends on the floor of Congress.”23 Three opponents challenged the incumbent in the June 1823 election: Alexander Hamilton of St. Augustine and Farquar Bethune of Fernandina, both from East Florida; and Richard Keith Call, a Jackson acolyte who served on the territorial legislative council, from West Florida. According to one scholar, “Politics in Florida were largely of a personal nature as certain men of wealth and education became the natural leaders of political life on the frontier.” In sum, voters were predisposed to support political candidates because of regional ties rather than party loyalties.24 The candidates from East Florida split the vote three ways: Hernández garnered 252 votes to Hamilton’s 249 and Bethune’s 36. Call ran unopposed in West Florida, capitalizing on his service as the region’s brigadier general of the militia, and with 496 votes he won a seat in the 18th Congress (1823–1825). Hernández’s political career shifted to territorial politics with his appointment by President James Monroe to the territorial legislative council at the suggestion of Territorial Delegate Call. President John Quincy Adams renewed Hernández’s appointment in 1825.25Hernández ran for Delegate in 1825 against Joseph M. White, a Kentucky lawyer and politician who lived in Pensacola, and James Gadsden, a territorial council member who would eventually become known for negotiating the purchase of a portion of southern Arizona and New Mexico in 1853.26 A laudatory editorial in the East Florida Herald reminded readers of Hernández’s service in the House. Describing Hernández’s efforts to secure passage of H.R. 275 and his facilitation of the Treaty of Moultrie Creek, the editor wrote, “We cannot but admit, that if talent or zeal deserve reward; if useful services call for some gratitude and acknowledgement … the claims of Gen. Hernández are paramount to those of every other candidate.”27 A rebuttal stressed White’s superior qualifications and suggested that having a Hispanic Delegate would be a liability for Florida. While no one would deny Hernández credit for his previous service, the writer argued, White was “better acquainted with our language, the organization of our political institutions, and the mode of transacting business in the councils of the nation.” Hernández was almost left off the ballot. Announcing his candidacy in a public letter to local electors, he wrote that hearing rumors “I had withdrawn my name; I deem it a duty, that I owe to the public and my friends … to put an end to any uncertainty, that may prevail on this subject.”28 In the general election, White prevailed with 742 votes, Gadsden placed second with 460 votes, and Hernández trailed with 362 votes.29During the 1820s, Hernández established himself as a major territorial planter, producing some of Florida’s biggest cash crops, including sugar cane and cotton. Contemporary publications noted the outstanding productivity of the Mala Compra and St. Joseph Plantations. However, Hernández’s sugar cane and cotton crops required him to use between 60 and 150 slaves to run three massive plantations. Despite his agricultural success, Hernández was forced to sell large tracts of land during the mid-1820s to retire debts and make mortgage payments. In 1835 he borrowed money and used his estates as collateral to remain solvent.30By this time, relations between white settlers and the Seminoles had deteriorated almost to the point of open conflict. Territorial authorities believed Indian removal policies that had been adopted in other parts of the Southeast would also work for Florida, and white settlers wanted to permanently eliminate Indian enclaves for fugitive slaves. Like other slave owners, Hernández was concerned about havens for fugitive slaves and about the possibility of armed rebellion by escaped slaves and the Seminoles. In response to the unrest, President Andrew Jackson sent a 700-man regular army force to coordinate the defense of East Florida. By late December 1835, black and Seminole insurgents had destroyed a half-dozen plantations in the St. Augustine area. A number of other devastating attacks in the region signaled the start of the Second Seminole War.31Hernández returned to the battlefield in the Second Seminole War (1835–1842). According to his most recent biographer, he “was incredibly influential in shaping the course of … the conflict” as the senior commander of the East Florida militia. He was responsible for ensuring the safety of civilians in East Florida and for protecting its complex of plantations, including his own. Hernández managed the defenses of the region with limited manpower in a territory that covered all of modern-day Florida except the Panhandle. Hernández contended with the militia, which was reluctant to fight away from home and with recalcitrant army regulars, who refused to follow his orders. After the arrival of reinforcements in March 1836 and a new field commander, Hernández played a significant role in the conflict, but was not the senior field commander. Throughout 1836, he helped recover slaves and prevented them from fleeing toward enemy lines.32The war brought Hernández financial and political misfortune. In early 1836, the Seminoles attacked and destroyed 16 plantations in East Florida, among them Hernández’s St. Joseph sugar cane operation. Compounding this loss, the U.S. Army requisitioned the Mala Compra Plantation. Mala Compra’s use as a hospital, field headquarters, and supply depot, along with its abuse by soldiers, all but destroyed Hernández’s home. Moreover, his workforce was greatly diminished. The war also brought Hernández unwanted national recognition. An informer led Hernández, two mounted companies of militia, and three companies of regular troops to a secluded camp of escaped slaves and Seminoles. Hernández’s group captured dozens of enemy combatants, including a prominent leader who had organized the destruction of Hernández’s St. Joseph plantation. In October 1837 he facilitated a meeting between U.S. forces and a group of prominent Seminole leaders that included Osceola.33 Osceola’s party arrived under a flag of truce but with no indication that they were willing to surrender. However, Hernández’s commander, General Thomas Sidney Jesup, ordered Hernández to capture the men. Following orders, Hernández’s 250-soldier contingent captured Osceola and 79 Seminoles. Within Florida, Hernández and Jesup were hailed as heroes, but nationally, Jesup’s decision to ignore the truce was criticized by the press. Although Hernández escaped censure, his association with the incident tarnished his political prospects. For the remainder of 1837, Hernández participated in expeditionary campaigns against Seminole insurgents in central and South Florida. In January 1838, he asked to be relieved from duty because of the war’s toll on his personal fortunes. The Seminole War dragged on for four more years.34Hernández attempted to revive his political career by running for the U.S. Senate. In the early 1840s, as Florida became more partisan with the Whig-Democrat divide, Hernández joined the Nucleus, a faction of conservative elites drawn from the ranks of planters, businessmen, and merchants. Like his counterparts, Hernández opposed single statehood for Florida; instead, he advocated for two states, East Florida and West Florida. His main competitor was David Levy, a Whig who tirelessly promoted the one-state concept. In July 1845, several months after Florida was admitted to the Union, Hernández, Levy, James D. Westcott, and Jackson Morton ran for Florida’s two U.S. Senate seats. A majority of the Florida senate chose Levy and Westcott, who won handily with 41 votes each; Hernández and Morton received 16 votes each.35Though his dreams of national office had ended, Hernández remained active in local politics, serving as mayor of St. Augustine in 1848. He eventually left Florida to reside in Matanzas, Cuba, in his later years and died on June 8, 1857.36
artforum.comGeta Brătescu (1926–2018)Geta Brătescu, a leading figure of Romanian Conceptual art who honed her legacy of pioneering abstraction in a Bucharest studio amid the repressive Ceauşescu regime, has died at age ninety-two. The death was confirmed by Hauser & Wirth, which has represented the artist since last year. Although Brătescu has long been a major inspiration for many contemporary Romanian artists, she worked in relative obscurity outside of that country until recent years, which saw a career survey at the Tate Liverpool as well as her 2017 participation in both Documenta 14 and the Venice Biennale, the latter as
archinect.comAssemble completes new Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art, opening September 8The Guardian's Oliver Wainwright gives a first look into the new Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art, which opens September 8. The project is the first permanent building of the young Turner Prize-winning collective Assemble, who won the competition in 2014 to transform the former...
eventbrite.comCanada coast to coast: on an emotional journey with Bruce Mau DesignHunter Tura will take the audience on a cross-country journey through towns, villages, crossroads and coves whose names are inspired by emotions, presenting the Canadian installation ‘The Canadians: An Emotional Landscape’ selected for the Canada Pavilion at the London Design Biennale 2018. Hunter will discuss BMD’s research behind this project and retrace the footsteps of Canadian Design ahead of the forthcoming UK debut of Design Canada, a documentary film by Greg Durrell celebrating the golden era of Canadian Graphic Design. Hunter Tura [Canada] is President and CEO of Bruce Mau Design where he is responsible for the firm’s overall strategic direction, creative excellence and global business development. In past two decades, he has worked with business, cultural and design leaders from organizations such as Samsung, GE, Unilever, Sonos, the V&A, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania and the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing on a range of design initiatives. Current collaborations include projects for the Audi, Netflix, Asics and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Since 2012, he has been an active commentator on the brand of Canada at conferences and universities worldwide.
design-milk.comBeads Become Clouds: The Art of Liza Lou - Design MilkThe newest beaded sculptures by L.A. artist Liza Lou are on view at Lehmann Maupin Gallery in New York this month. These may be the most intricate and mesmerizing contemporary artworks this fall… and that’s before you find out how they’re made.
artforum.comManuela Moscoso Named Curator for 2020 Liverpool BiennialManuela Moscoso, who is currently senior curator at Mexico City’s Tamayo Museo, has been appointed curator of the 2020 Liverpool Biennial. She will work with the biennial curatorial team to cocurate the eleventh iteration of the contemporary art festival, which will take place from July 11 through October 25, 2020. The biennial is the largest festival of contemporary visual art in the United Kingdom.”I am thrilled to be moving to Liverpool to start working with the talented team on the next edition of the Biennial,” Moscoso said. “It is a challenge and a great new context in which to set my1
artforum.comCurators for 2019 Armory Show AnnouncedThe Armory Show announced today that Sally Tallant, director of the Liverpool Biennial; Lauren Haynes, curator of contemporary art at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; and Dan Byers, director of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University, will curate portions of its 2019 iteration. That edition will mark the fair’s twenty-fifth anniversary since it started in 1994, and will run from March 7 to March 10 on New York’s Piers 92 and 94.Tallant will curate the “Platform” section, a section dedicated to large-scale installations and performances. According to a release,
mudabure.comBiomess exhibition challenges conventional ideas of what belongs in a galleryOron Catts and Ionat Zurr are the creators of the Biomess project. (ABC Radio Perth: Emma Wynne) Beetles that fall in love with beer bottles. A broken arm that can grow a new body. An entirely new lifeform that only exists inside a laboratory dish. Biomess — The Tissue Culture and Art Project is a mix of confusing, out-of-place and confronting ideas about life, death and reproduction currently at the Art Gallery of Western Australia. 'It's exploring contemporary biological technologies, especially tissue engineering, as a medium for artistic expression,' co-creator Oron Catts said. Bearded Dragons can, due to climatic conditions,16
brooklynstreetart.comRafael Schacter Investigates “Street To Studio”“These are artists who are thus not slavishly reproducing their exterior practice within an interior realm but who are, rather, taking the essence of graffiti – its visual principles, its spatial structures, its technical methods, its entrenched ethics – and reinterpreting them with the studio domain,” says author Rafael Schacter in his introductory exposition for his book Street to Studio where he offers a unique assessment derived from his 10 years of researching the foundational, conceptual, methodological, and ethical considerations that impact the original graffiti/Street Art scene as well as where it is going. Rafael Schacter. Street To Studio. Lund Humphries Publishers. London, 2018. The presentation is impressive in the craft and depth of field; the 40 artists whom he has chosen to profile have elements of each of these considerations to one degree or another as they move from street culture to more formalized ways of analyzing their works. Whether figurative, conceptual, performative, iterative, abstract, ephemeral, or purely digital, Schacter endeavors to find a common thread in a wide field of work and influences that have as their common denominator a regard for the practices of art in the streets. It may be difficult for some readers to see the streets from here; perhaps it is not a measurement of relative biographies or works through storytelling as much as it is an examination of methods and practices. Often it could appear to be a name-checking of alliances with recognized contemporary artists, schools of art practice, and an anchoring to experiences as student of formalized institutional structures rather than the streets that help define the artists – criterion which ironically have been used to bar consideration of many early graffiti writers as relevant artists, with the effect of stigmatizing them. Rafael Schacter. Street To Studio. Kaws. Lund Humphries Publishers. London, 2018. There are not stories of economic or structural adversity here – although one can argue that these may be equally formative realities that affect one’s art practice. You won’t find many references to attending Public School 141 or the local community college or working as a bike messenger. Instead there are many finely educated artists here with backgrounds in formal art theories - an MA in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, an MFA at Universität der Künste Berlin, or London’s Central Saint Martins, Oslo’s National Academy of Art, Paris’ Saint Denis or Madrid’s Complutense. Being a part of the Mission School of 1990s San Francisco is what helps ratify a work as Fine Art, for example, even though switching the nameplates next to certain pieces may cause you to place the work in a number of possible categories or potential origin. Rafael Schacter. Street To Studio. Stelios Faitakis. Lund Humphries Publishers. London, 2018. The inclusion or exclusion of specific details in an artists journey or resume is the authors prerogative and is in service of supporting a view of the work. As part of our daily discourse where we receive texts from artists, PR folks, and historians, we enjoy listening to how people and their art are described by themselves and others; what cultural signifiers are used, what associative branding is employed, and to note the differences that appear as they get closer to commercial or institutional success. Many of these artists here are nearly mid-career studio artists with connections to street practice, a substantial track record, and have taken great risks to challenge their work and their own perceptions. Quoting McCormick again, If we are to take graffiti and street art seriously, as not simply a method but a mandate, let us acknowledge studio practice as part of this process - but, equally importantly, understand the compatible, essential roles that action, observation and introspection play in progressive social art. Rafael Schacter. Street To Studio. Katsu. Lund Humphries Publishers. London, 2018. Excuse the tangent: In our own discussions here online and offline for the last decade we’ve noticed a certain “whitening” of the landscape as we get closer to certain environments like fine art or contemporary art. In the ongoing class war that is human life on Earth, the assured divine nature of the resource winners is ever buffeted by a self-created system of rewards and penalties and cleverly clouded demerits - and you can see this at art fairs and galleries some times. While many advents of style and practice may emanate from more grassroots origins, those originators have not always successfully claimed authorship of those great ideas once they have permutated into textbooks that tell the history. Graffiti and Street Art have often been maligned, marginalized, and dismissed rather openly and subtly by many of the current class of museums, press, academics, collectors, and those aspiring to be them during much of its evolution, even if its techniques and conventions are imitated and appropriated. Now less tentatively embraced by adventurous collectors and institutions, there is still the trouble of how to present the work; currently afoot is a rebranding as Contemporary Art that imparts a crisp veneer of coolness without the association with less desirable traits. You know which traits. Rafael Schacter. Street To Studio. Barry McGee. Lund Humphries Publishers. London, 2018. We have even been asked by some artists to stop calling them graffiti writer or “Street Artist” because they no longer want to be associated with the label, preferring “painter” or “contemporary artist” instead. Part of this is self-marketing, yes, and the aging of the terms that doesn't quite encompass their current work. We can't help thinking that part of it smacks of classism and classic eurocentric racism. In the broadest manner of description, it's generally accepted today that the hallowed halls of academia have held centuries of Eurocentric art evolution in the highest regard and dispensed with the contributions of most everyone else not willing or able to stroke the narrative of white straight male supremacy – this is understandable tribe-like behavior meant to insure a narrative about relative importance and in furtherance of these guy's power. Sorrily, it has often also been a disabling and narrow view that has lead many to miss and mis-characterize absolutely amazing contributions to culture and the canons, and we are all poorer as a result. The original graffiti artists cared little about these institutional views and looked instead for opportunities to be seen and heard by their peers and the public. Rafael Schacter. Street To Studio. MOMO. Lund Humphries Publishers. London, 2018. These observations are not directly related to the author or artists presented in Street to Studio but you may safely surmise that some of this work would be so far removed in traditional associations with train bombing and b-boys that many would say the relationship is thin, or tenuous - and it is sort of remarkable how refracted the field becomes. It has been a continuous peregrination over five decades of course – this movement between the street and the fine art world and the commercial interests – with graffiti writers spraying across canvas in the seventies, collectors like Wicked Gary gathering tagged stickers on cardboard; art school kids like Dan Witz arranging garbage across the sidewalk in New York’s East Village in between classes at Cooper Union. “The reciprocal flow between studio and street continues today, with ever more complexity and mutual sway,” writes art critic and cultural observer Carlo McCormick in his introduction to Street to Studio, and Rafael Schacter has undertaken with a scholarly eye this unthinkable task of measuring that complexity. The results are a thoughtful and considered collection of individual histories and practices, supported by his own research on the evolving academic discussions that will define the era. Rafael Schacter. Street To Studio. Evan Roth. Lund Humphries Publishers. London, 2018. The graff-writing culture persisted; it evolved and nurtured and inspired a few generations and studio practices that followed. Street Artists work has spread across entire continents and into cities around the world without help from institutions, public programs, or academic approval. Now it merges with all our modern fashions in aesthetic and intellectual art-making yet it stands on its own - even as we grapple to document and describe it. The development of a distinct studio practice and institutional oeuvre is key to the text, even whilst this may disregard some important artists working today, says Schacter regarding his methods of analysis for inclusion in this particular story. Overall, what was key was to provide a rounded selection of artists working in diverse formal and conceptual manners - artists pushing their practice with the realms of architecture and abstraction, performance and painting, digital art and new media, yet whose output provides a perfect exemplar of the dense possibilities that graffiti can provide. Today a generation of art students who grew up with the transgressive social politics of punk and hip-hop and wore wildstyle lettering and drips on their backpacks and clothing have their imaginations permanently sparked and have inherited an automatic expectation that their art could and should be staged on the street as well, illegally for extra points. Those practices expand and evolve and the current results are here. It appears to be a two-way street between outside and inside. The spirit of graffiti is without doubt here. We just may not have realized how many forms it could take. Rafael Schacter. Street To Studio. Swoon. Lund Humphries Publishers. London, 2018.1
theparisreview.orgMary Lee Settle, The Art of Fiction No. 116 Mary Lee Settle is best known for her five volume series of novels called the Beulah Quintet. It is a monumental work that took twenty-eight years to research and write, and it traces the evolution of the people we have become, from seventeenth-century England to contemporary West Virgina....2
artforum.comGlasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts Fears Closure After Fire Devastates Art SchoolManagagment staff at Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA)—which neighbors the Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh Building, the beloved architectural icon that was gutted a by fire on June 15—are worried that the center will run out of funds if it is not given the green light to reopen. GlasgowLive reports that the center believed that it would be welcoming visitors again by September 14, but was told by the Glasgow City Council that it had never confirmed the date.Other locals and businesses in the area which were temporarily shuttered after the fire were allowed to return to
artforum.comClark Art Institute Appoints Larry Smallwood Deputy DirectorThe Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, announced today that Larry Smallwood has been named its new deputy director. Smallwood, who currently serves as the deputy director and chief operating officer of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) succeeds Tony King, who is stepping down after a twenty-year tenure. Smallwood will assume his responsibilities on October 29.“Larry Smallwood brings unique skills and boundless energy to his work and is a dynamic and creative team-centered leader,” Olivier Meslay, the director of the Clark, said in a statement. “He joins
uni.newsBridget Riley’s dazzling art collection at Tate ModernTate Modern in London houses some of the most famous collection of British art and international and modern contemporary art. According to their website: “When Tate first opened its doors to the public in 1897 it had just one site, displaying a small collection of British artworks. Today we have four major sites and the […]7