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Djamel Ameziane, Shipwreck, 2011, watercolor
Ode to the Sea: Art from Guantánamo Bay
President’s Gallery, John Jay College for Criminal Justice
860 Eleventh Avenue
New York, NY 10019
On view: October 2, 2017 - January 26, 2018
An art exhibition at John Jay College, on view since early October, has recently provoked new policies for artworks created by detainees at Guantanamo Bay. According to reports, the Pentagon and the Department of Defense have stated that all art created by detainees will become the property of the US government, that it may no longer be removed from the prison even upon a detainee’s release. Initially, it was suggested that the art would be incinerated, but the Pentagon has seemingly changed its tune, presumably after receiving push-back, and it may "archive" the art instead. The National Coalition Against Censorship has issued a statement that condemns the new policy, identifying it as a violation of the public’s right to" fully participate in the political conversation around Guantanamo".
Freemuse has issued their own statement here.
Read and sign the petition here.
Previous newsgrist coverage of Gitmo:
February 23, 2007
Guantánamo Mon Amour
June 12, 2006
Death In Gitmo
Muhammed Ansi, Untitled (Hands Holding Flowers Through Bars), 2016, paper, pigment
L: John Greyson is a filmmaker and professor at York University in Toronto.
R: Tarek Loubani is an emergency doctor from London, Ontario.
Aggregated links at The Globe & Mail
Justin Podur's blog
For Letter Writing, see example.
Email addresses to send letters:
The Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs: email@example.com
Canadian Embassy in Egypt: firstname.lastname@example.org
Egyptian Embassy in Canada: Egyptemb@sympatico.ca
Egyptian Embassy in the US: email@example.com
via The Toronto Star:
The fate of two Canadian men who were arrested in Egypt remains unknown amidst growing concern from family and friends of Tarek Loubani and John Greyson.
The fate of two Canadian men who were arrested in strife-torn Egypt remains unknown amidst growing concern from family and friends.
Tarek Loubani, an emergency room doctor from London, Ont., and John Greyson, a filmmaker and professor at York University, were arrested in Cairo Friday, according to Justin Podur, a mutual friend of both men.
At around 4 p.m., which is approximately 10 p.m. in Cairo, Loubani called Podur to tell him he and Greyson were being arrested.
“He basically said ‘We’re being arrested by Egyptian police,’” he told the Star, adding that the phone call was very brief. “I don’t know where they were arrested and I don’t know where they are now.”
Podur, a professor at the faculty of environmental studies at York University, says Loubani was on his way to Gaza as part of an ongoing collaboration between the University of Western Ontario and Al-Shifa Hospital. Greyson was tagging along as a filmmaker to do some exploratory work.
“Their plan was to travel from Egypt to Gaza,” he said. “They were in Cairo and the crossing was closed from what I understand so they stayed an extra day in Cairo and that’s when they were arrested. I haven’t heard from them since.”
Podur immediately contacted the Canadian government for help but has not received any updates on their status.
“We’ve got no idea of their condition or where they are right now.”
Caitlin Workman, a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs, said they are aware of the arrest of a Canadian in Egypt.
“The embassy in Cairo is in contact with local authorities and we are prepared to provide consular assistance,” she said. She was unable to provide any additional details.
Hundreds of people have been killed in Egypt in the past week amidst clashes between supporters of ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi and security forces. Toronto resident Amr Kassam was shot dead while attending a protest in the Egyptian city of Alexandria on Friday. He was visiting Egypt with his wife Asmaa Hussein and their baby daughter.
Here's to Aaron Swartz.
An all-too-brief compendium:
RIP, Aaron Swartz
Cory Doctorow at 4:53 am Sat, Jan 12
Internet Activist, a Creator of RSS, Is Dead at 26, Apparently a Suicide
By JOHN SCHWARTZ, January 12, 2013
Lessig Blog, v2
Prosecutor as bully
12 January 2013
Remembering Aaron Swartz's Ethically Engaged Internet Art Collaboration
by Ben Davis, January 15, 2013
The Tech (MIT)
Aaron Swartz found dead Friday
Internet legend faced copyright-related legal issues before death
By Anne Cai and Deborah Chen, January 16, 2013
Aaron Swartz’s Suicide Triggers Response from Top U.S. Lawmakers
By Sam GustinJan. 16, 2013
2600 radio tribute to Aaron Swartz
Cory Doctorow at 8:49 am Fri, Jan 18
Internet Freedom Day, Watch Aaron Swartz Explain How SOPA Was Stopped
by Mike Masnick, Fri, Jan 18th 2013
Image via The End of Bling.
As a friend of mine (who shall remain unnamed)
has been saying for at least a decade, (and has just reminded me in an
email, in response to Ben Davis's piece):
"The art boom correlates directly to the Bush tax cuts. Why did it take soooo long for people to figure that out? Clearly, for the upper middle class, who used to be the collector class for the vast majority of artists, the artisanal lifestyle thing has long since taken over from art, as far as investment and interest goes. But I do think an art market crash that effects the top echelons, like Hirst et al, which I believe is immanent, and which will correlate directly with the end of the Bush tax cuts (see fiscal cliff negotiations), would allow the 'middle arts' to come back to life. This is not just important for those diehard artists who have embraced the end-run despite having no sales for years, but for art and culture in general which has been damaged so brutally by the past decades of growth for the 1%. It turns out that they are not our friends, even though some would have us believe so."
"Damaged so brutally" is right.
You probably don’t want to read another article on art and money. I don’t really want to write one. But then again, I don’t really want to read another article about how humans are destroying the planet. But it's a fact that they are, and until it is not, I am happy to see such coverage, when it appears.
What are the two great and indisputable trends in art of the recent past? The first is for artworks to approach, more and more, the condition of pop culture. The scholar Johanna Drucker has dubbed this “complicit aesthetics.” More art-celebrity team-ups of all sorts clog our mental space, and there are more and more massive art installations billed essentially as theme park attractions.
The other unavoidable recent trend is the craze for Art as an Asset Class (or AaaAC, as I prefer to call it).
Well, when you stop to think for one second, it is plain that these two trends run in opposite directions, held together in our minds only because the indispensable condition of both is the presence of vast amounts of money — either the money to create multi-million-dollar maximalist environments, or the money to gamble spectacularly at the auctions. But this is money spent to very different ends.
For art to function as an effective investment vehicle, it needs to increase in value steadily over a long period of time — decades. On the other hand, pop culture is by definition short-term culture, constantly changing and overwriting itself, the subject of explosive interest one second, a half-remembered curiosity the next. Mediating this tension is not impossible, but at a certain point, there is going to be some kind of breakdown.
Some such reckoning seems already to be happening in the case of Damien Hirst, whose recent works have disappointed when they hit the auction block — a fact which seems to stem from this very tension. “I think Hirst was a very good artist at the beginning,” Georgina Adam said, “but he has been a fabricator of luxury goods for a long time now.” While Hirst-ean theatrics may in the short term delight nouveau riche scenesters looking for crushingly obvious symbols of sophistication, it turns out that wedding your work to the conventions of mass fashion — which must of necessity constantly revolve — is not a great strategy for producing investment grade art.
If I were someone interested in contemporary art as an investment, nothing would chill me more than the fact that fashion brands are so obsessed with hooking themselves in to contemporary art. AaaAC.
When you hear talk of a “bubble,” it seems mainly to mean that commentators don't particularly like the art that is getting the most attention. Still, you must admit that there is a lot of frothiness in the art market, a fact discernible from the ever-growing number of cack-handed schemes to profit off of the art boom.
Quick show of hands: Who thinks the starfucking joke art of Francesco Vezzoli is one for the ages? Anyone? Well, if so, there is a French art exchange that will let you invest in “shares” of his work…
Nevertheless, we should be precise about what makes a bubble a bubble. Just because house prices are rising fast doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a “housing bubble.” It’s hard to say what a “normal” house price is, but there are various factors that you can look at, among them the average family income in an area and the relative cost of renting. If prices soar way above all such possible rational measures, then you are likely in a bubble.
So, what is the underlying constant that determines “normal” art prices? In the artist Andrea Fraser’s great text, “L'1%, C'Est Moi,” she quotes a study by three economists who attempted to find an answer to just this question. They found that
a one percentage point increase in the share of total income earned by the top 0.1 percent triggers an increase in art prices of about 14 percent… It is indeed the money of the wealthy that drives art prices. This implies that we can expect art booms whenever income inequality rises quickly.