Context is Queen – Art and Communities

I don’t remember how I felt when Princess Diana died (BBC).  I remember the news riddled with grief I could not feel. I remember days of shock I could not fathom.  I remember a car crash as important to me as a local crash on the state line, and I remember a very beautiful woman all over that coverage whose name I could only place by way of scrolling credits. I don’t remember how I felt, or where I was, or why it was so sad.

9/11 though! I remember 9/11 (CNN).  I remember where I was when I was pulled off the playground early by obviously distracted teachers.  I remember the news broadcast replacing English.  And Math. And History.  I remember a fast-moving clock and those burning towers.  I remember a discussion of what half-staff flags meant and I remember the frequently disappearing children of armed forces officers getting picked up before I myself left the school around noon.  I cried heavy tears.  A few of my classmates lost a parent.

IMG_0594
Samantha Logan. Copy of Artist Unknown, 2014

The impact of 9/11 has defined much of my political and economic opinions.  It defined a presidency, a war in the middle east, and an economic crisis.  One of my three most impacted art pieces (right) I posted on this blog earlier  was a direct critique on the war in Iraq (“Art Appreciation”).  Looking at that piece brings that feeling back.  That connection I felt to Andrew, the short buzz-cut kid whose mother came to pick him up and who did not return to class for two weeks. A painting brings back those feelings, and the community I was a solid part of in that moment.

My experiences of 9/11 and that of Princess Diana, were very, very different situations.  Both were devastating and defined a decade.  But my response to each represents a profound difference in what it means to be a part of a community in its context. Most profoundly, it exemplifies Arts’ place in community discourse.

The Cindy Sherman Clown Series I discussed last week in “how to get art” were inspired by the 9/11 attacks (Logan & Baker).  They were about taking the raw emotions felt by America and placing them on the faces of a few clowns in a career permitted to show those emotions.  Those clowns have cut across time.

62456acef6d6e28c541098de18d322d0
Sherman, Cindy.  2003, “Untitled #424”

One could easily apply “untitled #424” to the death of Princess Diana with the right context.  They could imagine a travesty in a local gay bar in Florida, or an attack on parliament in London (Cherney Et. Al., & . Dewan & Moorhouse).

That said, I would like to reflectively underscore the purpose of my previous few blogs:  Community is required to understand art, but art, provides a most valuable service, to communities and their networks by gluing them together.  In art and in writing feelings are royal, but context is queen.  It is in the presence of context that the art of Cindy Sherman, becomes vital and important to any community looking desperately to find that visceral connection between and with others.

 

Work Cited (Read More):

P.S:  My heart goes out to the victims of the London attack earlier today.  Attacks like these, and the media on the news that it represents brings about these same feelings – they always have,  and it is always a tearing feeling to know that emotion is raw and new for the families involved.  To learn more an up to date report is provided here (Dewan & Moorhouse).

Work Cited:

Baker, Kenneth. “Walker Art Center.” Cindy Sherman: Interview with a Chameleon — Magazine — Walker Art Center. Walker Art, Nov. 2012. Web. 22 Mar. 2017. <http://www.walkerart.org/magazine/2012/cindy-sherman-walker-art-center&gt;.

“BBC ON THIS DAY | 31 | 1997: Princess Diana dies in Paris crash.” BBC News. BBC, 31 Aug. 1997. Web. 21 Mar. 2017. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/august/31/newsid_2510000/2510615.stm&gt;.

Cherney, Elyssa, and Christal Hayes. “As Orlando mourns families await word on victims.” OrlandoSentinel.com. Orlando Sentinel, 13 June 2016. Web. 22 Mar. 2017. <http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/pulse-orlando-nightclub-shooting/os-orlando-shooting-pulse-nightclub-20160612-story.html&gt;.

“CNN Sept. 11, 2001 8:48 am – 9:29 am : CNN : Free Streaming.” CNN – Internet Archive. CNN, 11 Sept. 2001. Web. 22 Mar. 2017. <https://archive.org/details/cnn200109110848-0929&gt;.

Dewan, Angela, and Looren Said-Moorhouse. “London attack: Four killed in British Parliament carnage.” CNN. Cable News Network, 23 Mar. 2017. Web. 23 Mar. 2017. <http://edition.cnn.com/2017/03/22/europe/uk-parliament-firearms-incident/index.html&gt;.

Logan, Samantha V. “Art Appreciation.” A Polymath’s Guide to Communities. Self Published, 07 Mar. 2017. Web. 22 Mar. 2017. <https://samanthavlogan.wordpress.com/2015/10/18/art-appreciation/&gt;.

Logan, Samantha V. “How to “Get” Art: Visual Rhetoric.” A Polymath’s Guide to Communities. Self Published, 15 Mar. 2017. Web. 22 Mar. 2017. <https://samanthavlogan.wordpress.com/2017/03/16/how-to-get-art/&gt;.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s