We went to see "Why We Fight", a startling and realistic view of the industrial military complex--and how politics, the president and cabinet, the congress, big business and the new add, the "thinktanks" are driving war and conflict throughout the world--driving US imperialism and capitalism. It is very current and a must for anyone who is confused, angry and lost in the US today. Dead on. Shocking. My daughter cried.
Saw some terrific shows at the Herbert Johnson Museum at Cornell. First off was the work of Willie Cole--an african american artist who uses irons and methods of burning as his lead technique. He burns wood, canvas and kente cloth in a very inspired and decorative way to express servitude and slavery. The work is gorgeous and very bold. He has an enormous chessboard of lawn jockeys modified to express their chess roles (king, queen etc)--also expressing tribal roles (king, queen, shaman etc). Well worth the trip to see.
Also saw a nice show on illustration and book design. Fabulous Ben Shahnprotest serigraph/poster that says Stop across the top with this wonderful ripped shape that becomes a bold and jaggety devil's head. This is really pushing my buttons because the take-away for me from the Fight movie is that so much of this insane crap going on in the government and world is truly beyond our reach. We are not being communicated to...and that our role as US citizens is to stand aside and shut up...and take the dumbed down media, stupid news, obvuscated truth--and smile....and pay the $3.00 a gallon and buy a new big dumb car. We illustrators, designers, communicators must get up off our lazy duffs and at least spend some time in expressing our disgust to begin to move the everyday headset off the big, dumb and stupid (and right wing), unquestioning idiocy before it is too late.
So to that, I am inspired to do some Ben Shahn inspired protest work and challenge each and every one of you to do the same. I don't want this to be the world we hand our children. Our work can make a difference.
Images are by Ben Shahn. Thought you should get a little looksee at what I mean--Aren't they gorgous? simple? and a straight shot?