British politicians at the Epsom Derby Wellcome V0050376.jpg From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository

Politics and The Creative Act of Destruction.

Capitalism relies on innovation to thrive, it must continually change, destroy the previous orders of things in order to function. Change is essential to capitalism. Wars create jobs through the act of destruction (military industrial complex). Technology relies on the same methods. Last year’s iPhone is made obsolete by next year’s model, it is replaced, or destroyed by this years iPhone. Built-in obsoletion is a concept used by successful businesses, however, it’s inherently part of the system.

It only makes sense that the complement to a fully functioning capitalist society is Democracy. Democracy relies on continual change, people are voted in or out based on the sway of public opinion, often based on factors that have nothing to do with the politician’s duty, such as likeability or rumors. Politics are like a sine wave, the Right and Left take turns doing the opposite of each other. Ideology fuels the cycle of destruction, Reagan was negated by Clinton, Clinton was negated by Bush, Bush was negated by Obama, and Obama was negated by Trump. The job of the politician is simply to poop all-over whatever the previous order did, to start wars with someone, to take away rights or to give rights. Otherwise, the cycle itself ceases to function.

For example, this is a timely anecdote. Politics are the following. The conservative Right believes that illegal immigrants should be deported. The Liberal Left believes that illegal immigrants should be offered more opportunities, like citizenship and fair wages. What actually happens is neither. Hegel might call this a synthesis. The illegal immigrant is allowed to live in the United States but is not allowed fair wages or citizenship or any of the same opportunities as a citizen.

A politician does a good job only if they manage to poop all over everything. This is the ridiculousness compliment to capitalism from Democracy, in order to move capitalism forward, the whole point is to elect someone who has no idea what they’re doing and the wake of that destruction allows people to put it back together, or to replace it with something else altogether. This is the function of politics, like art. To create through the act of destruction.

"Origami Elephant" Oil 18x24

The History of the Camera: Photo-realism and its Origins

The first handheld camera was invented in 1888 by George Eastman[1], it was called the Kodak One. Eventually, the handheld camera achieved enormous popularity in 1910 with the invention of the Brownie Camera[2]. People regularly made remarks about how you couldn’t even go outside without having your picture taken[3]. The Single Lens Reflex Camera was invented in 1933, which became the standard model for the cameras used today. The Single Lens Reflex or SLR camera included interchangeable lenses and film that could be removed without shipping the whole contraption to the manufacturing facility. The SLR was eventually replaced by its digital counterpart, the Digital SLR, which was invented in 1976[4] and had only .64 Megapixels. As the early stages of camera technology developed, representational painters were forced to produce non-representational art. By the mid-1900’s, the representational painting had almost disappeared. But something happened in the 1970’s. In my opinion, representational artwork had not reached its pinnacle until the 1970’s and it’s largely because of innovations in Camera technology.

Photo-realism as an art form was an utter impossibility without the invention of the camera because as the name implies, Photo-realism requires the use of a photograph. The projector also drove the development of Photorealism by allowing the artist to accurately replicate a photograph structural lines onto a painting surface with ease. These two innovations explain why photorealism happened in 1970 instead of 1870, and could not have happened in 1870. The argument that photorealists paint like renaissance painters is inaccurate.

The human eye is the equivalent of a 576[5] megapixel camera. So while photography may have created photorealism, the human eye still outperforms even the best cameras in terms of megapixels. Also, cameras may be able to interpret more bits of color than the human eye, but cameras interpret it differently than the human eye. This is how Hyper-realism emerged. Hyper-realism is a step further from photo-realism, while a hyper-realist may utilize the same techniques as a photorealist, the hyper-realist often works from a mixture of life and photographs because of lens distortion, the difference in bits of color, and unintentional lens curving.

The are other differences between the photorealists and ‘traditional’ realists which should be obvious, but I regularly hear people talk about photorealism, like it’s how Michelangelo painted. To clarify, Renaissance painters mostly painted things that never existed, such as gods and mythical figures. On top of creating imaginary scenes, the artists rarely worked from life. Some of the greatest painters of all time, like Michelangelo and Raphael, are notorious for making up muscles in their figures. Caravaggio may have been one of the few painters to work from life and he is often called the first modernist.

Much like the Abstract Expressionism, the point of photorealism is not to trick you into thinking that you’re looking at 3-dimensional space (like the classical renaissance realist), but to demonstrate the limit of the medium itself. Photo-realism also challenges the ideological root of art movements in a postmodern fashion, instead of painting transcendence, like the transcendence found in Abstract expressionism, the photorealist paints a bus stop, instead of using color to express emotion, the photo-realist paints the mundane, instead of creating an angelic scene, the photorealist paints life. Photorealism is the synthesis of photography and painting, as a reaction to Abstract Expressionism. I think it’s comical how art historians forget to mention that the Photorealist movement revolutionized art education, and how the photorealist movement occurred after Abstract Expressionism. Which fundamentally questions whether or not Abstract Art was truly the “End of Art”.


[1] Gustavson, Todd. In Camera: A History of Photography from Daguerreotype to Digital, 124. 2nd ed. Vol. 1. New York: Sterling Innovation, 2009. pg. 129

[2] IBID,… pg. 146

[3] Arnason, H. Harvard. History of Modern Art: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1968.

[4] Gustavson, Todd. In Camera: A History of Photography from Daguerreotype to Digital, 124. 2nd ed. Vol. 1. New York: Sterling Innovation, 2009. pg. 322

[5] “The Human Eye Specifications – 576MP!” : Open Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review. April 1, 2010. Accessed November 13, 2014. http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/2791860.

Nick_Walters_Oil_Painting_Contemporary_Portrait

55 Tips for the Emerging Artist

What tips do you have for aspiring artists? What are some things that anyone can do to hone their artistic abilities? This is a collection of tips that I’ve picked up over the years.

  • Always use spell check.

 

  • Volunteer for organizations because you care about their mission, not because it benefits you.

 

  • Avoid politically correct people. (Probably the single best piece of advice for artists and non-artists alike.)

 

  • Never explain yourself.

 

  • If you create something that requires you to explain yourself, now or later, then you probably shouldn’t do it.

 

  • Buy a book on figure drawing – it’s the only book you’ll ever need.

 

  • Find a medium that you enjoy, and keep with it until you’ve mastered it.

 

  • Singn up for a lot of mentorships, internships, and residencies under different masters, they will teach you the most.

 

  • Always carry a camera with you and take tons of pictures. Delete all the bad ones. This will help you develop an eye for composition.

 

  • After you take a bunch of photographs, ask yourself, “who would hang this photo in their house?”. This will teach you how to develop an emotional connection with the viewer.

 

  • If you’re a painter, do your under paintings in an “alla prima” fashion and use a limited palette. This simplifies your process so you can focus on the things that matter most, like composition and form.

 

  • Paint what you’re passionate about.

 

  • When you’re no longer “in the mood” stop painting.

 

  • Your best work will come from life.

 

  • Only copy to learn, your style will develop all on its own.

 

  • Play Chess.

 

  • Youtube your questions.

 

  • Always be in the middle of a book.

 

  • Try to avoid television except for documentaries.

 

 

  • Take a business course.

 

  • Things that are too good to be true, generally are.

 

  • Only paint studies.

 

  • Learn to cook, there are simple recipes online.

 

  • Creative people need more sleep, so get plenty.

 

  • Go on walks, they help you think.

 

  • Plants are a great way to develop compassion, so get some living potted plants and take care of them. Your emotional intelligence will generally be more important than any other type of skill you will learn.

 

  • Never stop learning.

 

  • Visit Museums often.

 

  • Stay in touch with your parents even if you don’t get along.

 

  • Remember this quote “Professionals have professional habits”.

 

  • Listen to Classical music. If you are unable to appreciate it at least as much as contemporary music, then you probably lack the sensitivity to develop into an artist of any real depth.
Original_Oil_Painting_Contemporary_Modern_Art_elephant

How to Paint Like the Old Masters in 4 Steps

Make an Outline, use the construction method or draw from life. Then fill in the lights and darks, pretending the brush is a roller, ignoring the details. Try to avoid middle tones. The sketching phase should be completed with an ugly dark color. Finally, it’s all about the details.

How to paint like the masters Step 1

How to paint like the Master’s Step 1

Step 1:

Begin each painting with a basic sketch. Think of everything as a shape, either light or dark. Try to avoid middle tones. The sketching phase should be completed with an ugly dark color. Traditionally you’d mix one. I prefer to use a burnt umber or a burnt sienna. The purpose of the toned background is so your eyes can more easily see the proper values in relation to the background.

How to paint like the masters Step 2

How to paint like the Master’s Step 2

Step 2:

Master Painter Anders Zorn used a limited palette made up of Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red, White, and Black, called the Zorn Palette. Using the Zorn Palette, I fill in the basic shapes with a generic base color. Believe it or not, most of the color gamut can be reproduced with these 4 colors. One can complete a painting with this palette. I prefer to use the Zorn Palette to work through most of my painting. Like stages 1 through 3. This will dramatically simplify your process. One of my biggest problems was using too many colors too early on, and this can make a painting feel daunting.

How to paint like the masters Step 4

How to paint like the Master’s Step 3

Step 3:

Once I have a basic outline, I begin working on the proper colors. I generally shy away from black at this stage and switch to Van Dyke brown (Anders Zorn just keeps on using black). I mix in all sorts of colors to get the proper tones. Some great skin tone whites are Flake White(middle tones), Misty Blue(dark tones), and Ivory White(Bright tones). Using these three whites will help you make more realistic looking skin tones.

How to paint like the masters Step 3

How to paint like the Master’s Step 4

Step 4:

Finally, it’s all about working on the details. This stage can be as long as you’d like. Usually, this is where I have the most fun painting.


A video of the entire process is below.

Surreal Self Portrait

On Rationality

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. – Aristotle

Thought is not black and white. What I see in the world is a bunch of people all doing what they think is the right thing to do, or the good thing to do, but simultaneously causing each other’s suffering. “There is no act of human-caused-evil committed without the act of rationality.”

People often say that I define rationality wrong but never take the time to look it up. Rationality is one of the most diverse philosophical thoughts. Rationality has many definitions: “Rationality is the quality or state of being reasonable, based on facts or reason. Rationality implies the conformity of one’s beliefs with one’s reasons to believe, or of one’s actions with one’s reasons for action.”

Rationality is relative. It is both singular and plural. From a group perspective, it relies on the relativity between multiple reasons to practice something. Group rationality, or the type of rationality used by a jury, is relative to what the general population thinks about something, it represents what an average person would think or do, thus it’s constantly changing between time periods. A rational person in 1650 is not the same thing as a rational person in 2010. Rationality is limited by geography too. A rational person in Saudi Arabia is not the same type of rational person in the United States. Rationality is relative in group terms, and subjective in singular terms. Group rationality can be defined as a mean, or a wisdom of the crowds kind of logic, and irrationality can be defined in direct contrast to group rationality, and this contradiction defines the principle of a justice system. So a criminal is irrational by direct comparison to group rationality, but rational in terms of singular rationality, one’s own conformity to one’s own actions and reasons for those actions – every person has a reason for doing the things that they do, serial killers often have “triggers”. Rationality does not equate to empiricism or ontology. From the world’s perspective, the world is mostly religious, and it is therefore rational to be religious from a group perspective.

The law is a form of good, I think most people can agree that Justice is a good thing. Justice is fundamentally retribution for what is “a-historically” evil, sometimes using the same form of what was committed as a form of punishment. Capital punishment, is the act of group rationality dictating that an evil act, murder, is an acceptable form of punishment. Crime and punishment exist as rational broken mirrors. For example, a person would get mad if they were cheated on. A wife cheats on her husband, the husband also cheats on said wife, reciprocation is how rational people deal with being hurt. Good and evil exist in the same context, and often, evil is committed out of the act of doing good. A burglar robs a bank to feed his family, which is a “good” thing to do when one has no other choices. Democracy and peace are arguably good, and are often the cause of international conflict.

The thesis of Stephen Diamonds book, a psychological analysis of 2,000 prison inmates, “Anger, Madness, and the Didamonic”, proposes that there is no such things as “senseless violence”. People are rational in their own mind, and many think that they are doing “good”. The person who runs the sweatshop often refers to what they do as an act of good, because they’re supplying jobs. Very few people think that they’re ‘evil’. Everyone is the misunderstood hero in their own personal journey.

Many types of wrongdoing can be attributed to right doing, the perfect and most obvious example is religious conflict or war. In the 16th century the colonialists conquered Africa to “Civilize the Primitive”, showing their different religious views and different ways of life as justifications for their expensive wars. During the 21st century the United States went to war in the Middle East to spread “Freedom and Democracy”, showing their different religious views and different ways of life as justifications for their expensive wars.

Humanity doesn’t really change, humanity changes the words it uses.

To view life from one perspective is to lose thoughts like these, and even though people mostly don’t read what I write, and many people absolutely hate what I write, I feel like it’s my duty to humanity to provide new and interesting perspectives without being asked to.

-You’re welcome.

Redline Monumental Exhibit

My School Field Trip to Redline

This essay is my critique on a class field trip that I took to Redline while earning my Bachelors in Fine Arts (BFA) in the Spring of 2016 and my encounter with the artist Daisy Patton. Before we begin, let me tell you a few things about myself. This will make sense later when I really get into the hard-hitting critique of the patriarchy. I’m not exactly the most masculine person around, by masculine I mean I don’t watch sports, I’ve run into issues in the past because of my voice, my feminine qualities, and sometimes my haircut can be ridiculous, which comes with being an art major. As far as the patriarchy goes, masculinity is dependent on being aggressive. A man’s worth is dependent on how much money he makes, and what he does for a living. According to the “survival of the fittest” mentality, social darwinism gone wrong; the richest man is obviously the smartest, manliest, and most successful, therefore he must have worked the “hardest”. Masculinity is also very American and laissez-faire, where the best are rewarded and the worst are punished, it’s a self-fulfilling superstructure that reinforces itself and feeds the patriarchal argument that the reason women are paid less than men is because they are legitimately less skilled. As an art major, those majoring in masculine fields, especially the more “patriarchal” majors like business and engineering, where the male to female ratio is skewed, liked to ask me “what are you going to do when you’re done with art school?”. Most men go to college thinking that they’re going to be rich, and many actively tell people that they’re going to be rich and therefore you should be nice to them.

Initially, I attended CSU with a fully paid scholarship to their Civil Engineering program. The program was filled with overtly church-going-do-gooders who believed in traditional (patriarchal) everything. After a few years at CSU, I dropped out of school and changed my major. I discovered the complete opposite demographic at MSU’s Art College. I attended Art School with almost an entirely female audience, and many of the guys were gay. Yet people consistently represented in the professional art world are straight white males. In both scenarios above, the Social Darwinist aspect is self-fulfilling; if art school is filled with females, then why are successful artists mostly white males? It’s a question that implies the answer. One could argue straight up sexism, where people prefer men over women and judge them based off of their sex. I also know that anecdotal evidence is not exactly evidence, and my personal experiences may not be used empirically. Sometimes I go to art shows and ask the curators “where are the female artists?” There are plenty of professional level art shows that are supposed to represent a contemporary style which do not include female artists at all, and I know for a fact that there are many amazing female artists out there.

So in the spring of 2016, I visited the Redline exhibit, “Monumental”. Postmodernism is the act of creating something merely for the sake of existing, it offers nothing new or exciting to the audience, and it’s often shrouded by such elitism that the viewer has to read the artist statement to understand the artwork. In my opinion, if art needs to be explained it’s already lost. The purpose of art is expression, and far too often art is lost in the lack of expression.

Kitsch is high taste for people with no taste. Kitsch is consumerism, it could be an appropriation of a monument or famous works of art which become trinkets sold in gift shops. Kitsch is postmodernism itself, it’s an un-ironic appropriation of famous works of art. One Redline artist’s re-interpretation of the Washington Monument fits this bill. Another made a house out of cardboard. Another Artist supposedly printed off thousands of pictures of every tree in Colorado as a statement. As one can see, Novelty items are not necessarily found in a gift shop. As I was walking through this exhibit, I noticed that someone was following me around as I explained my opinions on the exhibit, like she was listening in to every ‘critique’ that I openly gave to my classmates.

When my professor arrived, she took us into a studio space, where I discovered that the person following me around was actually Daisy Patton. Daisy Patton began her presentation by discussing an artist’s “reputation” like it’s a threat. All a person has in the “art world” is their reputation and “word travels quick”. Word travels quickly to whom in what context? Is everywhere filled with gossip? There is some validity to keeping one’s reputation intact, but it’s also a way for the elite to push people around whom they don’t agree with. This blog post will most likely harm my reputation, but I’m sharing it anyways. My goal isn’t to be mean, one could easily replace Daisy Patton’s artwork with any number of artists, male or female. My purpose is simply to help people look at something in a way that they may not have looked at it before, and of course, my critiques don’t apply to everyone.

Daisy Patton

Daisy Patton

Daisy Patton’s artwork defines pastiche, pastiche is a word associated with postmodernism. It means humorless parody. One of her inspirations was Andy Warhol. Daisy Patton’s artwork is eerily similar to Andy Warhol’s artwork and his stereotypical ultra famous screen prints which only represent the smallest portion of his body of work but somehow make it into artists mind’s as a haphazard way to discuss consumerism while simultaneously putting little to no effort into execution. Her artwork was not funny, it wasn’t intended to be funny. Novelty and Nostalgia are two words that I can associate with Patton’s artwork. She takes nostalgic photographs of women throughout history, prints them out, then smears colors on top of them. This process is supposed to highlight neglected women throughout history in a feminist fashion.

Patton also works with youth. I don’t know how many times people pretend that they’re doing good in the community when they’re really concerned about their public image. “Working with youth” has become a bad cliche, the equivalent of “raising awareness”, a lazy and easy way to pretend that one is “helping”. A person can get good PR without having to put any legitimate labor into it.

Patton shared with my school group that she was published in Fresh Paint Magazine. She also told my class about that one time that she shared a blog about her artwork written by the “Jealous Curator” onto Reddit, and the redditors told her that she “could not paint eyes”. She told the class “I obviously can paint eyes”, in which I raised my hand and replied with, “how is it obvious, you have one painting in your studio which suggests that you can paint, but the eyes are closed, and it’s not included in your body of work, how does this suggest that you can paint anything at all when none of these are actually paintings, especially since you say that they’re photographs?” Her eyes rolled back and she was visibly not amused, she did not appreciate my feedback. One of my classmates called me a troll. On relapse, Patton’s “Reconstructed Reunions” does include some nice realistic paintings which suggest that she can paint eyes, it just wasn’t obvious at the time.

Let’s solve the artistic debacle in relations to the hierarchy of the artforms. Art inherently cannot serve a utility, therefore if it serves any kind of utility, it becomes a lower art form. Thus knitting and quilting, which can be used to keep one warm, are a lesser art form than painting. And painting, which serves no utility, but serves more utility in terms of a practical decoration than say performance art, is a lesser art form than performance art, the problem with performance art is that it has a tendency to be “novel”.

Patton provided an example where she claims that a man got a residency that she was after, even though she had an MFA and he had a BFA, at which point I raised my hand and asked, “does a degree even matter?” I do not enjoy the premise of defacing other people’s artwork without even seeing it, and implying that someone out there is excelling in life simply because they’re a man and you’re a woman(or vice versa). This is a textbook example of the “straw man argument”, a logical fallacy. Daisy Patton was the definition of a cliche. Utilizing a pure ideology to further her own interests, she turns everything into a pity party.

Daisy Patton

Daisy Patton – Knitting Series

What are gendered career paths? Liberal arts degrees are nicknamed “MRS” in the South, pronounced “Em Ar Es”, as if getting one implies that your career choice is “housewife”. Men get money-making degrees and women get liberal arts degrees, this is cultural. A male nurse is a bad joke, and a female fireman is also a bad joke. Gendered personality types, men are aggressive and confident, women are passive and submissive. A gender is a performative act that is reinforced throughout a person’s life, it’s a multi-party system, not just men oppressing women; women participate and propagate the system too. I don’t know how many people, mothers and fathers, who have told me that it’s not okay to cry. (A lot like slut-shaming, or wearing makeup, or dressing “girly”).

Daisy Patton is an embodiment of a cliche housewife, she has a liberal arts degree(MRS), stays at home and knits (she has a whole series devoted to knitting), she mentioned that she doesn’t work and that her husband provides everything for her. There is very little empowered or feminist about her, she does not break the boundaries as a feminist artist. I don’t know how many feminist artists are out there who still wear makeup, go to church, and stay at home knitting, then say that they’re oppressed when they’re performing the traditional female gender role and fueling the problem. Culturally yes, someone told them, or they told themselves, that it was okay to be a housewife. They blame all their failures on sex, instead of the cultural implications that come with enacting a female gender role.

Let’s rephrase this. The conservative man, one who believes in hard work equating to success, who applies Social Darwinism to everyday life and makes arguments that the best and brightest are the only ones who make it to the top is incapable of acknowledging that success may be based on luck. This superstructure feeds the conservative, driving him mad. Instead of acknowledging his own failures, he perverts his guilt and victimizes a group of people to blame his failures on. The conservative man, incapable of acknowledging his own failures, blames all of his failures on the immigrant laborer.

This is where it gets ugly, gender equality is not about sex, it’s not about genitalia, and when I hear someone use the argument he was a man she was a woman I cringe. Wage inequality is not about sex, but it is often explained using sex, in the same way that a racist justifies their racism. Did you know that 44% of all prisoners are black? Wouldn’t this imply that African Americans are more violent than everyday Americans? Or is this a logical fallacy, a false causation argument? The major cause of crime is poverty – not race, but poverty is often caused by racism. There’s also the cycle of poverty, which states that 99% of people will die in the same class that they’re born in. Poverty also prevents young men and women from being able to afford lawyers, and thus they end up in prison more often than their fiscally capable counterparts. Poverty is inherited. The former argument, “he was a man and she was a woman”, is a textbook example of the Freudian obsession with the penis (we all know that Freud disliked women right?). When Americans discuss Hillary Clinton, they often bring up her husband’s perversions, which implies that Americans today are daydreaming about Bill Clinton’s penis and defining a woman based on her husband’s dick. The focus on the sex of a person is not indicative of gender, genitalia does not define traditional gender roles. Judith Butler states that gender is performative, and this is the point, just because a man has a penis and a woman has a vagina, does not mean that either are following their traditional patriarchal gender roles in society.

Gender inequality is cultural. It happens through repetitive conditioning throughout someone’s life. Did you know that in nearly every culture on earth men cannot cry? Some believe that it’s impossible for men to cry? Gender roles apply to both sexes. It is a well-known fact that women have been taken advantage of for the past few thousand years. The very idea of marriage and virginity share their roots in the patriarchal oppression. A woman’s virginity was only important to a man as a way to transfer property to the man’s true firstborn heir, without questioning whose kid is whose. Women became property because of the ability to reproduce, and the importance of virginity was propagated by the idea of identifying the true heir when there weren’t any blood tests. Thus a woman’s virginity is “sacred”. The patriarchy has survived for millennia, and the focus on virginity and still survives today, except we call it slut shaming. I have a bad joke for you. “What’s another word for feminist interpretive dance?….. Stripping”. Fundamentally, feminism is about women’s empowerment and sexual liberation, a feminist who slut shames and attempts to control female reproductive rights, is not a feminist at all.

Imagine an evil corporate businessman, the kind who believes in reducing costs to increase profits, the go-to example for this would be a fast food chain like McDonald’s. Now imagine a world where women get paid less than men, right out of the tube, why would any business person not hire women? She can do the same job, work the same hours, and is equally qualified, PLUS she’ll work for less? Now let’s go back to the conservative who blames immigrants for his failures. Immigrants come from a different country, they don’t speak the language, and they’re desperate for work, therefore immigrants are willing to work for less money. The single mom is in a similar situation, she has a kid to take care of and doesn’t have time to look for a higher paying job or to negotiate, she’s willing to take whatever job she can get. I can think of a perfect example where both the single mom and the immigrant are both victimized because of their willingness to get paid less. It’s called fast food. 1/4th of the employees hired at minimum wage jobs are mothers.[1] An estimated 29% of laborers working at low wage jobs are single parents.[2] Another study found that nearly 20 percent of restaurant cooks and 30 percent of dishwashers are undocumented immigrants.[3] A fully functioning and barely regulated capitalist state results in wage inequality, but it’s not because of sex, it’s not because men intentionally pay women less than men, it’s because of the willingness to get paid. Single moms don’t have very many options and are therefore willing to work for less, they are the favored employee that a “for profit” business would hire. Gender inequality is not a man being chosen over a woman because he has a penis and she has a vagina, inequality is a cultural tradition reinforced by the everyday movements throughout one’s life. I don’t know how many wives that I’ve worked with, who are perfectly okay with accepting half the pay that they should be getting, simply because their husbands provide for them. Often these wives are uber feminists themselves. The cultural implications of wage inequality are not only related to one’s inability to aggressively pursue a wage, but it’s definitely a factor. Research shows that women endure a societal backlash whenever they ask for a raise, so they’re used to simply being offered one.[4][5]

When a male artist is chosen over a female artist, it’s not because he has a penis and she has a vagina; get your head out of the gutter and quit thinking about dicks all day. According to MacArthur grant winner and feminist art critic Linda Nochlin, it’s a waste of time to try and find a female renaissance master because the patriarchy would not let women study the nude. (Artemisia Gentileschi studied her own naked body). Women were not allowed to be in the same room as naked people way back when unless they were prostitutes. One might wonder, why is the nude important? Well, the human body is the most difficult thing for another human to draw, when one draws an animal, there is a lot of room to make mistakes because we are not animals ourselves, when one draws a human, the slightest imperfection is noticed even by the untrained eye. Humans can easily recognize other humans. Developing your artistic skill set is widely dependent on studying the human figure. Historically the institution has changed, but gender roles have not. Society has changed but the cultural implications of working from the nude have not. Therefore, the objectification of women by the young straight male artist, as offensive as it may sound, may actually help to further his artistic career. Working from the nude helps artists to develop the skillset necessary to further their craft, which could explain why even today, straight male artists, while the minority, are commonly seen within the professional art scene.

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Katy Perry - California Gurls ft. Snoop Dogg

Katy Perry, Banksy, and Postmodernism.

There is so much elitism in the art world that I jokingly tried to argue that Katy Perry was a postmodern performance artist to some artist friends only to be confronted with eye-rolls.

Katy Perry is a pop singer known for “California Gurls”. Her stylistic choices may look and sound like a generic pop band, but there is actually a lot to think about here. She spends hours refining her craft. She spends a fortune creating her music videos. Her brand is so successful that she’s even played the halftime show at a super bowl. It would be wrong to state that Katy Perry is not a serious artist. In Katy Perry’s music video for “California Gurls” we enter a world so different that we are bombarded with visual sensations that create both a memorable and unique experience. Baudrillard and Jameson argue that Postmodernism is best expressed through Novelty and Nostalgia. Is Katy Perry an embodiment of Postmodernism due to her consistent inclusion of novelty and nostalgia. This begs the question – Is Katy Perry a postmodern artist?

Postmodernism is the technical and theoretical rejection of traditional norms and genres. A pop musician focuses on the performance and rejects the idea of utilizing instruments to create music in the same way that a performance artist isn’t creating a tangible object. Theoretically, a postmodernist rejects the ideology behind a larger movement. Katy Perry’s “I kissed a girl and I liked it”, questions sexual identity and the idea of gender roles.

Banksy - Dismaland

Banksy – Dismaland

Banksy’s Dismaland, was a simulacrum of Disneyland, an experience where one is bombarded with ironic and sarcastic interpretations of western society. Postmodernism effects every aspect of life including the aspects of architecture and music. Katy Perry is the musical equivalent of contemporary artist Damien Hirst or Banksy whose visual scenery takes the audience into another world. 

Continuing on this strain of thought, Juxtapoz and Hyperallergic publish art that exists within the novelty context. Don’t believe me? Look at the headlines one can find by a simple observation.“The many challenges of dining with Animals, “A look inside toilet paper Vol. II,” or how about this mile long wooden xylophone that plays Bach when a ball is rolled down it? Postmodern art is a kitschy mix of nostalgic symbols and ideas, aimed at questioning the very logic or basis of those ideas, often as humorless parodies. Which is exactly what we find in parts of Katy Perry’s brand.

PHOTO_20151021_181333

Big Museums and Fine art Galleries aren’t immune to Novelty either. In September 2015, the Center for Visual Arts displayed contemporary Chinese art which was a post-modern imitation of the West. The traditional idea of Chinese Art; stereotypical watercolor buddhist paintings re-interpreted. Many artists payed homage to Western historical figures but with a traditional Chinese stylistic twist. The Artist Jin Sha reinterpreted “American Gothic”.PHOTO_20151021_181054 Can anyone argue the lack of novelty here? It’s American Gothic, except without heads!

The Art on display was a nostalgic representation of the previous socioeconomic dominating power – the West – and the West’s effect on the rest of the World, synthesized with the West’s expectations from those artists; i.e. Chinese artists still have to use Caligraphy and watercolor in order to be considered genuine artists by western scholars. I wonder if the art on display at the CVA truly represented contemporary Chinese artists, or if it could be deemed an example of Orientalism.

There’s nothing wrong with postmodern art or Novelty, it’s only wrong for these very same “institutions” to think that they’re better than others. Just ask yourself, is this novelty any different than that novelty?


Citations

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Origami Birds Oil Painting

l’bizarre pour l’bizarre – Art for Quirks Sake

Modernism arrived when Manet painted “Olympia.” He critiqued representational art and the aristocracy’s way of life. He used the very same nudes that he was critiquing to present his case.[1] Postmodernism arrived with Duchamp’s Urinal, he playfully challenged the significance of art at its core. If one were to simply put a urinal into an art gallery, does it become art?[2] Postmodernism arrived through the scope of humorless parody. Postmodernism exists between novelty and nostalgia, past and present. The artist aims to create something which simply hasn’t existed before.[3] 

When I watch TV shows like The Bates Motel, a TV show based on the famous thriller Psycho, by Alfred Hitchcock. I see a Hitchcock film without Hitchcock. It’s almost as if all authenticity from the original Psycho was removed and replaced by an eerie sense of fandom that both critiques the original, with its exclusion of nearly everything from the original, and simultaneously pays homage to the original by its inclusion of fan lore scattered throughout the series.[4] The Bates Motel is a simulacrum that includes both novelty and nostalgia.

It appears that Postmodernism exists for l’bizarre pour l’bizarre, or “Quirk for Quirk’s sake.”  Postmodernism usually includes a niche, such as being made entirely out recycled materials, or a specific type of food, or having some odd out of this world application, like performance art where one sits in a chair and stares at strangers. There are artists for every medium, some whom make aquatic sculptures out of plastic cups, and others whom make portraits out of Cheetos. Postmodernism also pays homage to the previous era of thinking. Imitators of Abstract Expressionism create an eerie type of fandom where every scribble one creates becomes a work of significance. Sometimes the nostalgia is a bit more obvious; often characters from pop-culture and famous historical figures make their appearances in Contemporary art. Banksy’s artwork often includes pop culture icons, which exist as both novelty and nostalgia. I’m not sure where my art fits in this spectrum.

Why is this relevant? What has happened to our culture today? Where are we going? We’ve entered the realm of endless imitations. It’s no longer about creating something new it’s about creating something old and adding some novelty to it. But, I am not one to claim that all art has been painted(therefore postmodernism?), as this would be the equivalent of saying that every song has been written.


[3]Jean Baudrillard, “The Precession of Simulacra,” (New York: New Museum of Contemporary Art, 1984). (Blackboard). 9. Frederic Jameson, “Postmodernism and Consumer Society” In The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture, Ed. Hal Foster, (Port Townsend, WA: Bay Area Press. 1983). 111-125.

[4]The 100 Greatest Movies of All Time. New York: Entertainment Weekly Books, 1999. McNamara, Mary (March 18, 2013). “Review: ‘Bates Motel’ a twisty, moody modern prequel to Psycho’.”. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 19, 2012.

Is Jurassic Park a Feminist Film?

Is Jurassic Park a Feminist Film?

First off: Jurassic Park is a wonderfully entertaining series, I’ve watched it many times. Film is a reflection of culture, and culture is largely patriarchal. Bad is another thought altogether. I had a professor argue that Picasso and Pollock were not good painters because they were womanizers, I’m not sure if the two are related. Lars Von Trier makes fantastic films, he’s even been awarded “misogynist of the year” for his hyper-conservative religious-themed movies. In this blog, what I’m doing is posing an argument, and of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion. I think it’s interesting to note that the melting pot we live in today includes all sorts of subjects which people don’t want to talk about, or even think about. The following entry is based on the first movie in the “Jurassic Park” series, it lightly makes references to the book, but the book is not the focus of this piece. Hopefully, you enjoy. Thank you.

Jurassic Park is the ultimate Hollywood franchise. It took a theme which was formerly marketed through educational institutions as a form of entertainment for children and turned it into a creature feature, a literal monster. It presents the Zeitgeist of genetic technology as a corporate form of entertainment. It allegorically makes fun of the Hollywood industry through clever lines hidden throughout the series. The lawyer in the first Jurassic Park makes references to coupon day, merchandising, and theme park rides. Which is exactly what the Hollywood franchise has done by creating theme park rides in Orlando Florida, and selling official Jurassic Park(™) merchandise at your local toy store. Claire, the female lead in Jurassic World, makes references how the theme parks audience wants to see bigger and scarier Dinosaurs, so the fictional scientists invent one; which becomes the basis for Jurassic World’s plot. Allegorically, the Hollywood franchise Jurassic Park discovered that it’s real-life audience wanted to see bigger and scarier dinosaurs. As the film series progresses Hollywood participates in inventing or even exaggerating Dinosaurs. For example, Velociraptors are half the size they are in the Jurassic Park series. The Diloposaurus in Jurassic Park 3 was exaggerated from being a fish-eating dinosaur to a larger and more intimidating version of the T-Rex. Jurassic Park is a fun analogy of corporate Hollywood itself. If they ever need more money they can figuratively invent a new dinosaur just like the scientists in their movies. Hollywood movies, in general, are notorious for their focus on conservative values and objectified female roles. The first movie of the Jurassic Park series accidentally contradicts the traditional patriarchal film structure.

Most movies are written by men, shot by men, and created by men. In this way, the film serves as a sort of a male fantasy being re-enacted in front of our eyes. When we are discussing filmmakers and their intent, we must note that the intent of the artist is not important, one can create something and have it interpreted an entirely different way. Georgia O’Keefe painted her flowers with the intent to portray something which was “small and overlooked”, but the critics interpreted her flowers as sexual orophices. This is also the beauty of psychoanalysis, the fantasy is subconscious, it’s reflected by the authors’ world views. A movie has a plot, and characters, and dialogue, that all based on the Authors environment. They are symbolic representations of the psyche portrayed in a visible form. Movies are a lot like dreams. Where things that couldn’t happen do happen. Often the characters overcome impossible obstacles and heroically save the damsel in an explosion, or they kill 100 thugs to save their lover. We all have dreams, male and female. What do movies tell us about ourselves? It’s interesting to note how society has developed this form of entertainment as a subconscious reflection of themselves, a reflection of a societies belief system(s), of its pleasures and desires, its wishes, the things that are troubling a society at a given historical time period. Film offers a glimpse into what we think about ourselves. A successful film reverberates within the society that produced it. Movies, even the ones based in reality such as biographical films, are psychological role-play. One is pretending to be someone else, fantasizing about being someone else. Movies are anything but reality, they’re dreams. Proof of the fantasy lies in the scopophilic gaze. In Laura Mulvey‘s influential essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema[1] she expands on the concept arguing that women in cinema are typically depicted in a passive role that provides visual pleasure through scopophilia; the act of deriving pleasure from looking.[2] Almost every Hollywood movie includes a slow-motion scene of the female lead throwing back her hair, or a camera zoom over her body parts. It is almost as if the audience is like a peeping tom through a window. It’s a figurative window into a unreal universe, like that of a dream or a fantasy.

The female lead’s role in most movies is that of a damsel, or to be punished for her sexual liberation, often as both. The male hero is more often than not attempting to “win” over the damseled female. The redeeming qualities of a female lead tend to be that she ends up with the hero whom chivalrously sacrificed his well being to save her. Through some arduous journey the hero ends up proving his worthiness to said female, and she redemptively ends up with the male hero, which is the case of the Jurassic World. The female lead may exist as a sexually promiscuous character, who, throughout her journey is continually punished for her promiscuity. It’s almost as if the male fantasy does not allow for female sexual liberation. Mulvey asserts: “In their traditional exhibitionist role women are simultaneously looked at and displayed, with their appearance coded for strong visual and erotic impact so that they can be said to connote to-be-looked-at-ness”,[3] and as a result contends that a woman in film is the “bearer of meaning, not maker of meaning.”[4]

Unlike most movies, the first Jurassic Park film which was based on the book written by Michael Crichton, may be one of the few movies that lacks the traditional misogynist qualities. On first glance, Jurassic Park appears to be a feminist movie. Dr. Sattler has a lead role, she’s the maker of meaning, not the bearer of meaning. Jurassic Park lacks the fundamentals of female objectification in movies. There’s only one scene where Dr. Sattler is “connoting to be looked at ness”; the dino poop scene where Dr. Malcolm and Dr. Grant are discussing the idea of marriage. But the last I checked very few people are aroused by fecal matter. The female lead is equal to Dr. Alan Grant, now while she’s outnumbered in the male to female ratio, Dr. Sattler is not there to take off her clothes, and Dr. Grant is not attempting to prove his worthiness as a mate by saving her from damsel situations, Dr. Sattler is not being punished for her sexual liberation, or being punished any more than her male counterparts are. This movie is a male fantasy in a different light.

 Dr. Ian Malcolm, “God creates dinosaurs, god destroys dinosaurs, God creates man, man destroys god, man creates dinosaur”… after a pause Dr. Ellie Sattler states “dinosaurs eat man, woman inherits the earth.”[5] 

We have to keep in mind that Michael Crichton is a notorious conservative, he’s famous for discrediting the Green Movement by challenging the scientific data in its infancy. His famous science fiction Novel “State of Fear”, poses that the global warming debate is fueled by self-interest, eco-activists, and eco-terrorists abusing scientific data in order to fuel a state of fear. Like many of Crichton’s books, “State of Fear” is a fictional work that uses a mix of speculation and real-world data as fundamental storyline devices. It only makes sense that Jurassic Park would follow a similar outline. The plot is heavily influenced by genetic modification, something which is a recent scientific discovery. Crichton aims to question the legitimacy of genetic technology and its application in real life. The movie goes through the process of cloning, how the scientists brought Dinosaurs back to life using mosquito DNA and mixing it with other species. Here is where the theme of Jurassic Park unfolds.

The characters say things like “life will find a way”, they question the act of creation, and whether or not it’s man’s role to play god. The author is playing with the epitome of technology. Jurassic Park is unique in this sense. Jurassic Park represents the American public’s subconscious fear of genetic technology, a fantasy being re-enacted in front of our very eyes. It serves to exemplify our fears where the human interaction and the distortion of the ‘natural’ order of things only results in utter destruction, that we have no idea of what we are getting ourselves into. Jurassic Park also plays with the common idea of corporations as a form of evil, where their intent to monetize everything results in chaos.

The definition of patriarchy is the control over women’s reproductive rights. The dinosaurs are all female, they’re locked up in cages. Their sexual rights are “controlled” by a group of rich males. The movie plays on the anecdotal feminist paradise. The all-female dino island is a literal aberration to God, and as a punishment, man is punished for attempting to control the awe-inspiring power of nature. The unisex form of birth control, which is supposed to prevent the dinosaurs from ever forming their own societies, has been inexplicably replaced by what appears to be the will of God. The audiences castration anxiety literally takes over the traditional conventions of the ‘theme park’.[7] Everyone is eaten alive because they attempted to mess with the ‘natural’ order of things. As Dr. Malcolm puts it, ‘life finds a way’,[6]  and the dinosaurs magically change sexes. Finally, when the ‘phallic’ makes an appearance, the castration anxiety is put to rest.

Towards the end of the movie, Dr. Grant explains how the Dinosaurs have changed sexes. The audience is comforted, no longer in a state of panic by the unnatural island, everything is in the right place, and now the human involvement only intrudes on the ‘natural’ order of things – it’s time for the characters to leave. The dino-society is self-sustaining, the human interaction as impregnator playing God is now unnecessary. The Dinosaurs have moved on from in vitro fertilization to the ‘real’ thing.

Disagree? Name ONE movie that does not include a scopophilic gaze. Leave your reply in the comments.


[1]  Laura Mulvey. “Peeping Tom”. Retrieved August 27, 2010.

[2] Erens, Patricia. “Introduction”, Issues in Feminist Film Criticism. Patricia Erens, ed. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990. pp. xvii.

[3] Erens, P. (1990). Issues in Feminist Film Criticism. Indiana University Press. p. 28. ISBN 9780253319647. Retrieved October 27,2014.

[4] Erens, P. (1990). Issues in Feminist Film Criticism. Indiana University Press. p. 28. ISBN 9780253319647. Retrieved October 27,2014.

[5] Jurassic Park. CIC Video, 1994. Film.

[6] Jurassic Park. CIC Video, 1994. Film.

[7] Schwartz, Bernard J. (1955) The measurement of castration anxiety and anxiety over loss of love. Journal of Personality, 24 204-219.

Jean-Léon Gérôme - The Snake Charmer

Orientalism: Film and Culture

Orientalism: Film and Culture.

Orientalists are famous for their scholarly portrayals of the non-west. According to the Guardian, Jean-Léon Gérôme‘s painting The Snake Charmer is a sleazy imperialist vision of the east. A group of men sit on the ground watching a nude snake charmer, draped with a slithering phallic python, in front of glittering Islamic tiles that make the painting shimmer with blue and silver.” Orientalism is the critique of European’s whom specialize as experts in the non-west. Their stereotypical portrayals of the east are often exaggerated or even fabricated. That’s not to say that there aren’t snake charmers in India, or Pyramids in Egypt. It’s to say that there aren’t as many snake charmers in India, and the ones that exist today likely exist within the realm of tourism. Right next to the Great Pyramids of Egypt, is a multi-lane highway and the city of Cairo, which are conveniently excluded from photos and movies. In the movie Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, it is interesting to note that the battle scenes taking place on the Great Pyramid excludes the city entirely. As displayed in media, art, and popular culture, orientalism is the “Western artistic and scholarly portrayal of the non-West”.[1] 

Timothy Mitchell describes a visit from the Egyptian delegation to the Stockholm Orientalist conference in Paris. “The Egyptian exhibit had been built by the French to represent a street in medieval Cairo, made of houses with overhanging upper stories and a mosque like that of Qaitbay.” Frenchmen were dressed as ‘orientals’, the street was decorated with bazaars, and the French organizers even imported fifty donkeys that the public could ride on. A cafe was decorated as a Mosque, where Frenchmen could watch belly dancers from within. Nothing in Mitchell’s scene was authentic except the donkeys; one does not normally see a belly dancer in a Mosque. 

The perfect example of Orientalism operating in contemporary society is embodied within the Bible itself. The original texts were written in three languages, 300 years after it happened, then translated into other languages, some books were removed, others were mistranslated, deviated, modified and some parts were simply made up.[2] The Roman empire stretched throughout multiple continents; and a religion founded in the ‘orient’ is likely to involve ethnicities other than Anglo-Saxon. Christ is depicted as a hyper sexualized white, blonde haired, blue eyed, bearded male, an embodiment of the Western Canon of Beauty. The bible is often compared to the religions of other continents.[3] The interpretations of the ‘text’ continue to adapt, as to no longer resemble the original ‘mistranslations’.

The Bible talks about false idols as the work of Satan. According to the literal translations of the Bible, other belief systems are the work of the Devil.[7] The misinterpretations of Biblical texts are skewed even further by misinterpretations of the Satanic Bible, and the idea of Satan.  Religion in general is known for its patriarchal misogyny, its inclusion of discrimination, genocide, and hate. Ignoring the literal interpretations of any non-western work is an act of Orientalism, falling under ‘making things up’.

This is an interesting irony, and something that I do not wholeheartedly agree with. I am posing this comparison simply to point out something which is not directly observable. In the complete contradiction to the standard religion. The Satanic Bible preaches progress, it promotes Women’s rights, it supports gay rights, it promotes vegetarianism, and it’s the only religion formally against rape and incest.[8] The Satanic Bible is the complete opposite of the Judaeo-Christian sects. The progressive laws that Americans are making towards women’s rights and gay rights, can be interpreted, literally, as the work of the devil. By this example, the ‘Islam extremists’ are well within their own own beliefs, and the Westboro Baptist Church are well within their own beliefs, and the Satan worshipers are well within their own beliefs, to call America the Devil.

Orientalism is the epistemological distinction made between the orient and the West.[12] Shelina Janmohamed questioned westerners in her piece for Al Jazeera News; what is wrong with the veil?[13] Posing the question, what makes the Western way of life better than the Eastern way of life? Iranian artist, photographer and filmmaker Shirin Neshat was sent to the United States in 1974 to complete her education. She was prevented from returning to Iran for over 20 years due to the 1979 Iranian Revolution.[14] Living in exile, Neshat plays with the Western perspective of the East(Orientalism). Similarly, Neshat’s photographic series titled Women of Allah which portrays veiled women wearing traditional Muslim attire, and written on various parts of their bodies are words written in Farsi. Western spectators would associate the words written on the figures with that from the book of Islam. Calling into question women’s rights and equality across the globe.

Rebellious Silence (1994). B&W RC print & ink, photo by Cynthia Preston. Copyright Shirin Neshat. Courtesy Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels.

B&W RC print & ink, photo by Cynthia Preston.
Copyright Shirin Neshat. Courtesy Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels.

Ironically, the words written on Neshat’s figures are utterly meaningless. “From the beginning I made a decision that this work was not going to be about me or my opinions on the subject. I put myself in a place of asking questions but never answering them. The main question and curiosity, however, was being a woman in Islam.”[15] In Shirin Neshat’s film adaption of Iranian Novelist Shahrnush Parsipur “Women without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran”, Neshat makes it a point to recognize that the United States is partly responsible for the turmoil in Iran.[16][17]

…I found it very timely to revisit history and remind Westerners that the American and British governments were directly responsible for overthrowing a democratic system in Iran. The CIA organized the coup in 1953, which in turn paved the road for the Islamic Revolution in 1979. As far as I know, this is the only film made so far that tries to depict this monumental political moment.[18]

Edward Said defines Orientalism as “a Western style for dominating, restructuring, and having power over the orient”. Orientalism justifies Colonialism directly within its ideology. Colonial powers use a rally cry which aims to ‘civilize the primitive’. In the 16th century, the goal of the Europeans colonialists was to civilize the non-West, usually through the domination and restructuring of the colonized. During the famous Berlin conference of 1914, European powers divided up their African colonies into separate states, literally drawing boundaries through places that were once united, resulting in conflicts that are still taking place in todays African Nations.

The rally cry of today’s imperialists is to spread “democracy and peace”. There is nothing wrong with democracy, personally I believe that democracy is the ultimate form of sovereignty, but it’s not our right to forcefully convert people overseas, nor was it the right for the Europeans to dominate and restructure foreign lands. The rally cries for war haven’t changed, only the way in which they are expressed.

Anyone who teaches, writes about, or researches the orient is practicing Orientalism.[9] On March 22nd 2013, The Washington Post reported that according to North Korean defectors, that North Korea is a leading manufacturer in high quality Meth Amphetamines. In an official statement, the Democratic Republic of North Korea claimed that the story was fabricated.[10] The author of the article, Max Fisher, defended his work by stating that the wording of his article reads there is “good reason to suspect” that N. Korea is a leading supplier of Meth, and therefore he did not make any false statements.[11] The danger of this type of thinking often leads to international conflicts and justifications for intervention.

Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, does exactly what every filmmaker wishes he could do, he kills Hitler. The stylistic choices of Inglourious Basterds, and Django Unchained, express the American’s perspective on their history. Not only are Americans embarrassed of their past, but they are also angry at the previous versions of  themselves.[20][21] The excessive violence in Tarantino films serves to appease the audience; Tarantino doesn’t just kill the villains. He could have easily ended Django Unchained just after Leonardo Dicaprio forces the hero to shake his hand, 45 minutes earlier. Instead the audience is taken through a bloody, vengeful rampage.[22] Tarantino doesn’t just kill Hitler at the end of Inglourious Basterds, he machine guns the top leaders of the Nazi Party, then blows them up in a suicidal rampage.[23] Tarantino and the audience for that matter, take visceral pleasure in the killing of bigoted racists. The audience not only wants to watch the villains die, the audience has to be 100% certain that everyone involved is also in pieces. This is how Americans feel about the Nazi’s. The Jouissance lies in the ‘justly’ fetishization of the death of the Nazis, a sort of infinite justice being served to war criminals who never saw ‘just’ punishment for the war-crimes in which they were convicted of years later.

According to Edward Said, “Orientalism is more particularly valuable as a sign of European-Atlantic power over the orient…”[24] The West is notorious creating false ‘scholarly’ reports, fabricating documents about super weapons, making sure that Westerners are well aware of how badly people are treated nearly everywhere else, fueling a sense of fascism, nationalism, and a permanent state of fear, a rally cry for war. That’s not to say that the Western perspective of the East is completely fabricated. The Orientalist media likes to display human rights abuses as if they aren’t the outlier. The movie American Sniper[25]  tells us something about ourselves. American’s are overseas killing the bad guys who kill women and children, by killing the women and children. The victims in American Sniper are referred to as “savages” in Chris Kyle’s book.[26] This presents the Jouissance of the audience in American Sniper, which lies in the ‘justly’ fetishization of the death of the theoretical ‘terrorist’, a sort of infinite justice being served to ‘war criminals’; for crimes they haven’t committed yet. This is the power of Orientalism. It’s a Western style for dominating, restructuring, and having power over the orient.


[1] Mitchell, Timothy. “Orientalism and the Exhibitionary Order” in In The Art of Art History: A

     Critical Anthology. Ed. Donald Preziosi. 2nd ed. 409-423. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press,

         2009. (Blackboard). 409

[2] Eisler, Riane Tennenhaus. The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future. Cambridge [Mass.: Harper & Row, 1987.

[3] Eisler, Riane Tennenhaus. The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future. Cambridge [Mass.: Harper & Row, 1987.

[4]Eisler, Riane IBID,…

[5] Butler, Judith. “Performative Acts of Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and

         Feminist Theory.” In The Feminism and Visual Culture Reader. Ed. Amelia Jones. 392-402.

         New York: Routledge, 2003. (Blackboard)

[6] Eisler, Riane Tennenhaus. The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future. Cambridge [Mass.: Harper & Row, 1987.

[7] Eisler, Riane IBID,…

[8] Vey, Anton Szandor. The Satanic Bible. New York: Avon Books, 1969.

[9] Said, Edward. “Orientalism.” in Art in Theory 1900-2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas.

         Eds. Charles Harrison and Paul Wood. 2nd ed. 1005-1009. Malden, MA: Blackwell

         Publishing, 2003.

[10]Fisher, Max. “Why I Just Got Called out by North Korean State Media.” Washington Post. March 27, 2013. Accessed March 26, 2015. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/03/27/why-i-just-got-called-out-by-north-korean-state-media/.

[11] Fisher, Max. “Why I Just Got Called out by North Korean State Media.” Washington Post. March 27, 2013. Accessed March 26, 2015. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/03/27/why-i-just-got-called-out-by-north-korean-state-media/.

[12] Said, Edward. “Orientalism.” in Art in Theory 1900-2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas.

         Eds. Charles Harrison and Paul Wood. 2nd ed. 1005-1009. Malden, MA: Blackwell

         Publishing, 2003.

[13] Janmohamed, Shelina. “Calling All Feminists: Get over the Veil Debate, Focus on Real Problems.” Al Jazeera English. September 25, 2013. Accessed March 31, 2015. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/09/calling-all-feminists-get-over-veil-debate-focus-real-problems-201392573343242621.html.

[14] “Guggenheim.” Collection Online. Accessed March 31, 2015. http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/collections/collection-online/artists/bios/1583.

[15] James Rondeau, “Shirin Neshat Rapture,” Focus series brochure, (Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, 1999) first panel.

[16] Parsipur, Shahrnush, Faridoun Farrokh, and Shirin Neshat. Women without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran. 2nd ed. New York: Feminist Press, 2012. 192.

[17] Eleanor, Heartney. “Shirin Neshat: An Interview.” Art in America. June 16, 2009. Accessed March 31, 2015. http://www.artinamericamagazine.com/news-features/magazine/shirin-neshat/.

[18] Eleanor, Heartney. “Shirin Neshat: An Interview.” Art in America. June 16, 2009. Accessed March 31, 2015. http://www.artinamericamagazine.com/news-features/magazine/shirin-neshat/.

[19] Said, Edward. “Orientalism.” in Art in Theory 1900-2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas.

         Eds. Charles Harrison and Paul Wood. 2nd ed. 1005-1009. Malden, MA: Blackwell

         Publishing, 2003.

[20] Inglourious Basterds. Performed by Brad Pitt, Christoph Fisser. 2009. Film.

[21] Django Unchained. Performed by Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio. 2012. Film.

[22] Django Unchained. Performed by Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio. 2012. Film.

[23] Inglourious Basterds. Performed by Brad Pitt, Christoph Fisser. 2009. Film.

[24] Said, Edward. “Orientalism.” in Art in Theory 1900-2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas.

         Eds. Charles Harrison and Paul Wood. 2nd ed. 1005-1009. Malden, MA: Blackwell

         Publishing, 2003.

[25] American Sniper. Performed by Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Kyle Gallner. 2014. Film.

[26] Kyle, Chris, and Scott McEwen. American Sniper: The Autobiography of SEAL Chris Kyle, (USN 1999-2009), the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History. New York: HarperCollins, 2012. 448.