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Blog Entries tagged 'women'

Little Bee: Killing me softly with her song.

“Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is no new road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.”

 - D.H. Lawrence (taken from Chris Cleave's site.)

Trust me. Buy it. 

April 11th, 2009

The Headscarf--Revisioned

I really love the way this discussion about the hijab is continuing to evolve in the midst of The Obama Transition.

From Huff Post:

As always, the nexus of the clash between the West and Islam is the role of women. The Turkish sociologist Nilufer Golë has put her finger somewhat provocatively on precisely what secularists fear might be taken away, but also on what Muslim women are gaining.

"In contrast with the West," she has written, "where the public sphere was first formed by the bourgeoisie and excluded the working class and women, in the Muslim context of modernity women have been the makers of public space. In the Muslim context, the existence of democratic public space depends on the social encounter between the sexes and on the eroticization of the public sphere."

The wearing of the headscarf in universities -- which the AKP sought to allow -- is the flash point of the conflict. To be sure, the headscarf issue signals changing private and public distinctions through the re-entry of religion into the public arena of modern Turkey. But since headscarf proponents argue that it will enhance the opportunities of women in higher education, it also serves as a critique of the idea that only secularism equals modernity.

"Women proponents of the headscarf distance themselves from secular models of feminist emancipation," Gole argues, "but they also seek autonomy from male interpretations of Islamic precepts. They want access to secular education so they can follow new paths in life that don't conform to traditional gender roles, yet they also seek to fashion a new pious self. They are searching for ways to become Muslim and modern at the same time, transforming both."

In short, the established meaning of Islamic veiling is undergoing a radical transformation -- from a symbol of Muslim female submission and seclusion in the private sphere to a badge of public, assertive Muslim womanhood. For Gole, this sign of stigma and inferiority is in the process of being inverted into a sign of empowerment and prestige.

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April 7th, 2009

Soul Sister Number One: Danielle Laporte

Inspiring.

April 5th, 2009

Stripping Your Way to Success, from the Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal

Great interview about I gave about strippers in blockbuster films reduced to one line mid-way. But I'm not complaining, it's a great article.

By Lauren Schuker

On Sunday night, actress Marisa Tomei could take home an Academy Award for her portrayal of a kind-hearted stripper in the critically acclaimed film "The Wrestler." In a tradition that dates as far back as the Oscar show itself, Ms. Tomei is the latest actress to win Hollywood acclaim for playing a character with a job in the sex industry, such as a striptease artist or streetwalker.

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March 7th, 2009

In Love with A. Lincoln, by Maira Kalman

"The occasion is piled high with difficulty. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country." --A. Lincoln, 1862

From the lovely Maira Kalman's lovely ode In Love with A. Lincoln

February 28th, 2009

Monographs, from Readerville

Hey--here's a nice bunch of sentences I strung together on Readerville, one of my favorite literary sites.

Monographs

In the life I didn’t choose, I am a photographer and installation artist. I make striking objects that live in a space beyond words. In the life I chose, I write books about houses and people and feelings, but I reach for my Yashica Mat camera to capture that which cannot be transcribed. I photograph my son like Sally Mann captured her kids, running wild in the nude. I try to photograph myself like Lorna Simpson would, in a white dress, from behind, with one hand pouring water from a pewter pitcher and the other pouring water from a plastic jug. I dream of building a life-sized southern shack like the ones I used to pass on the side of the road in Georgia, when I was a little girl, driving to the family cemetery.

I’m no longer surprised when I open a box that’s been taped shut for years, and find an artist’s monograph on top. A few books down, I’ll find catalogs from shows that were up at MOMA when I was an intern. I was sixteen then, sitting in front of Mark Rothko’s paintings for hours. I’ve tried to give these books away, to sell them, anything to keep from carrying them to another apartment, another country, but I can’t. I need them. 

Ana Mendieta: Earth Body
How to describe Ana Mendieta? She was a Cuban-American artist who made kick-ass, sensual, outrageously smart and seductive work. I love the Silueta series--Mendieta paints her body to blend into/become various pieces of earth. She is a tree, a body of lava scorching the earth, dirt in an open grave with flowers sprouting from her skin.

Her performance pieces are brave: she walks to the wall and slides her bare hands down it, leaving two red smears. She stops, walks away, and we’re looking: it’s a vagina, it’s a gash, it’s Ana’s mark on the art world, her X in the history of art.

Artwork by Shirin Neshat
When I came back to the states after living in a Muslim country, Shirin Neshat’s work explained everything to me: the power of the feminine in Islamic culture; the powerlessness of the feminine in Islamic culture. The hopelessness of the idea of “Islamic culture.” The way faith and art and desire come together to form something like a drug for the human soul. Beloved, a photograph of mother and son, mother covered in hijab, son held close to the breast, is heart stopping. The baby sits in the folds of the hijab. And to the left of the mother and child, the Muslim pieta, there is a gun.

Seydou Keita
I don’t remember where I first saw Keita’s portraits, or heard about the man who made photographs in a small studio in Bamako, Mali, for decades before being “discovered” by Western collectors. I do know that I wanted to buy his work the second I saw it. His work captures so much about Africa and modernity and style and colonialism and independence and youth and art and vibrancy, I can barely stand to talk about it. I bought two large prints when I sold my first book. He died a few years later.

Yayoi Kusama: Love Forever
Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama makes her art at a studio a few blocks from the mental hospital in which she has lived, by choice, since the early 1970s. “If it were not for art, I would have killed myself a long time ago,” Kusama has said, and I understand. Her work is feminine, sprawling, heroic, psychedelic, minimalist, absurd and fecund. She works in polka dots, giant nets and huge pumpkins. Yayoi visits conventional reality, but doesn’t live there.

The Art of Bill Viola
Man on fire. Man drenched in water. Man shifting through time, space and the elements, on a thin video screen, with sound. A man comes in and out of being before our very eyes. Genius. I love BV.

I could go on and on. Bill Eggleston, Gauguin, Paul Strand, Hiroshi Sugimoto: Seascapes! Odd shelf after odd shelf. 

To Readerville

 

February 23rd, 2009

What She Said.

From the New York Times:
 
Questions for Dambisa Moyo

The Anti-Bono

Interview by Deborah Solomon

Published: February 19, 2009

Q: As a native of Zambia with advanced degrees in public policy and economics from Harvard and Oxford, you are about to publish an attack on Western aid to Africa and its recent glamorization by celebrities. ‘‘Dead Aid,’’ as your book is called, is particularly hard on rock stars. Have you met Bono?

I have, yes, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last year. It was at a party to raise money for Africans, and there were no Africans in the room, except for me.

What do you think of him?

I’ll make a general comment about this whole dependence on “celebrities.” I object to this situation as it is right now where they have inadvertently or manipulatively become the spokespeople for the African continent.

You argue in your book that Western aid to Africa has not only perpetuated poverty but also worsened it, and you are perhaps the first African to request in book form that all development aid be halted within five years.

Think about it this way — China has 1.3 billion people, only 300 million of whom live like us, if you will, with Western living standards. There are a billion Chinese who are living in substandard conditions. Do you know anybody who feels sorry for China? Nobody.

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February 22nd, 2009

I miss Ana Mendieta

I miss Ana Mendieta.

I miss Ana Mendieta

February 16th, 2009

Woman: The Ballad of John and Yoko

Yoko's love for John and John's love for Yoko was the heart at the center of their own personal peace movement. Both artists, they influenced each other, creating an alchemical effect bigger than either one could achieve on their own. From my perspective, theirs was a true partnership-- transgressive and transcendent and transformative, a love story for all time.

 

I stumbled upon these videos while reading Cara at Curvature's fascinating  feminist analysis of Yoko.

Double Fantasy

January 11th, 2009

Santi White, for Interview Magazine

August 4th, 2008

August 4th, 2008