December 4, 2014

"Two hours after its creation, passersby destroyed an art installment reacting to the event at Ferguson..."

"... which was made by two UW students at the George L. Mosse Humanities Building Tuesday evening."
The piece featured a black hooded sweatshirt hung upside-down from a walkway on the building with the words, “Black be nimble, black be quick, black be dead white magic trick,” written on the sidewalk in dark-colored duct tape....

“The piece isn’t just about Ferguson... It’s about a long discourse in the history of the disposing of black bodies, and it’s important. We wanted to put this on campus because there’s conversations around this topic, and we think that it’s necessary.”
The story — in the student newspaper — doesn't explain the destruction of the artwork. I think it could easily have been perceived as hostile to black people and may very well have been removed by someone who saw it not as an artwork in support of racial harmony but as racist graffiti accompanied by a lynching effigy.

73 comments:

rhhardin said...

Ars brevis.

Matthew Sablan said...

That picture looks like random graffiti, not an art installment to me.

Matthew Sablan said...

They had permission from the school though, and Campus Security knew it was there. You'd think they'd have, you know, acted like they were putting up a provocative art display and tried to protect it.

MadisonMan said...

THAT took them two weeks!!??

mccullough said...

Looks more like electrical tape than duct tape. Also, since it was sidewalk art, how could it not have been "destroyed." Were people not supposed to walk on it?

lgv said...

Maybe a member of the janitorial staff didn't get the message that it was a piece of art. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference.

Or, some white frat boys who rape women all the time and belong to Young Republicans, tore it down while hurling racist comments at bystanders. That's got to be the most likely answer.

traditionalguy said...

Universities need something to emote over in Art. They picked the issue du jour which is skin colors. Good decision, IMO.

Too bad that cannot be auctioned off for big bucks like a Warhol some day.

Nonapod said...

If you're going to put deliberately provocative art in a public place you probably shouldn't be surprised if it's vandalized or destroyed.

surfed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tank said...

Destruction as performance art?

Shanna said...

If you're going to put deliberately provocative art

"art"

That seriously looks like something the klan would put out. Creepy.

James Pawlak said...

The proper "art work" would have the critter hung by the neck with some such sign as:"Armed Looter /The Committee Of Public Safety"

Matthew Sablan said...

Standard Matt-ism for the day: Art doesn't have to be good.

mikee said...

What are the odds that on the University of Wisconsin campus a conservative ever even saw the display, let alone a conservative who would also vandalize another person's property? I'd say just about as close to absolutely zero as possible.

What are the odds that a leftist student misunderstood the display because of their prior indoctrination into triggers, code words, Rethuglicans, etc., and used the standard leftist tool of violent censorship as their "ends-justified means" to promote their own leftist viewpoint?

YoungHegelian said...

This isn't the first time, in times of racial strife, that a satirical work of art meant to support the black cause has not been welcomed.

Gahrie said...

The "destruction" of the "art installment" was performance art.

MayBee said...

Who does it serve for black people to think white people want to kill them?

Lem said...

It took two hours to destroy the art work?

It took almost 9 minutes for someone to eat left over sushi left at a sidewalk stand.

The art work was probably subsidized, so everything about it took longer.

Big Mike said...

Or maybe the honkies are starting to fight back. On Wisconsin!

Danno said...

How long did they expect tape to stick to a pedestrian-traveled cold sidewalk in Wisconsin this time of year? Two hours sounds about right!

mikeski said...

What are the odds that a leftist student misunderstood the display because of their prior indoctrination into triggers, code words, Rethuglicans, etc., and used the standard leftist tool of violent censorship as their "ends-justified means" to promote their own leftist viewpoint?

Yep. I love the smell of Left-On-Left Crime in the morning.

Unknown said...

“Black be nimble, black be quick, black be dead, killed by another brother, blame it on whitey, social justice magic trick"

There, fixed it for you.

JAORE said...

"Jackson is a fourth-year student and Katelansky is a second-year graduate student." Call it their joint 10th year of college level art education. Two weeks effort for this....

There is a large difference between edgy and schlock radical racism. I do not think their names need to go on the old data base of artists to look for in the future.

Fernandinande said...

about a long discourse in the history of the disposing of black bodies,

Same way one would dispose of white bodies...?

...and it’s important

No it's not. Create some junk, pretend someone trashed it, get in the news.

Jon Burack said...

Whatever the reasons for the destruction (I agree it could have been either side), I am glad it was destroyed. It was ugly and simple-minded in either its racism or anti-racism. Having known George Mosse, my bet is, were he here, he'd lean back, tap his pipe, and laugh at the whole idiotic thing.

My guess is the destruction came from the left, not the right. It is the left that fails utterly these days to appreciate or tolerate or even comprehend the very notion of irony in anything.

Skeptical Voter said...

Or someone could have seen it as trash rather than artwork, and in the spirit of good citizenship cleaned it up.

SteveR said...

In my mind "Art" should be created in private (more or less-think Van Gogh) not in public. Performance Art is BS, even graffiti is art done surreptitiously when done right. Otherwise its yelling "look at me", it should be discovered not thrown in the way to be tripped on.

Freeman Hunt said...

I would have thought it was hostile. The wording is too stupid to be recognizable as art.

MayBee said...

It is either hostile to black people or white people.

tim in vermont said...

It was created to incite race loathing, race othering, race hatred. Good riddance to it.

tim in vermont said...

Or someone could have seen it as trash rather than artwork, and in the spirit of good citizenship cleaned it up.

There was a scene in some movie where they were shooting in Canada and they trashed an alley for the shot, broke for lunch, came back to shoot, and it had been cleaned up.

EDH said...

Hell yeas, hostile in appearance. I'm expecting Dirty Harry to walk in and look at this latest hostage note from Scorpio.

See, this kind of ambiguity in perception reflects the lack of self awareness that these young, whitey-guilt types will have to experience for themselves. So convinced they are pure of heart among their lesser caucasian peers, they cannot perceive how somebody else could read them or their actions another way.

Maybe they won't be cops, but I wouldn't be surprised if in their future attempts to "help the downtrodden" they will have to explain at some point, "not me, I'm one of the good ones".

sparrow said...

No loss, what nonsense people call art. Only a lefty could be so intentionally irrational.

FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sparrow said...

I'm more offended that people call this kind of thing "art" than by the racial insult. Even though the loss of art to politics and nihilism is old news, I still miss the pursuit of beauty as an ideal.

MRG said...

In other UW-Madison art news, all of the graffiti on Bascom Hill's newly constructed stairs & sidewalks urging students to 'Vote for Burke' is still there.

n.n said...

sparrow:

Lowered expectations are an appeal to raising self-esteem. Unfortunately, self-esteem unbacked by achievement engenders entitlement and corruption. It creates a perverse incentive for regression.

Oh, well. It functions as an extended but short-lived safety blanket, and is, apparently, in demand. Personally, I can acknowledge and appreciate beauty in people and things without suffering a degraded ego.

Anyway, beauty, function, even life are archaic ideals. At least in a popular culture defined by progressive morality and obsessed with instant gratification.

Drago said...

If your "art" is indistinguishable from trash, perhaps you should reconsider whether or not what you've created is "art".

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1956922_1956921_1956916,00.html

John said...

Matthew:

Random graffiti IS art. Don't you know? Our betters have been telling us this since the 60's.

Well, maybe not our betters but people who think they are our betters.

John Henry

Rocketeer said...

I would have thought it was hostile. The wording is too stupid to be recognizable as art.

Art, yes. But "art?" Well, let me just say, as a graduate of a state university art school, that stupid working is pretty standard for "art."

traditionalguy said...

The best way for Obama to finish us off now after he has sabotaged our military, our energy system, our dollar and our border itself is to go back and undo the one thing we used him to accomplish which was racial reconciliation between cousins.

Obama wants a race war started now as a coup du grace. The fear of white police making Pearl Harbor sneak attacks on black men is just the thing. Louis Farrakhan is ready to go. Half black men like Obama and Farrakhan are the ones who want to off their cousins the worst.

"Remember Pearl Harbor" was more than a slogan. it was a deep resolve that lead to obliterating the Japanese Army and Navy.

sparrow said...

n.n.
Beauty is a timeless ideal , so when our culture rejects it as archaic then that convicts the culture, not the ideal.

Self esteem is just the old lie of vanity in PC packaging.

-Peder said...

It's a shame that UW will miss out on the racial healing that would have come from all of the positive conversations that would have inspired.

harrogate said...

"In my mind 'Art' should be created in private (more or less-think Van Gogh) not in public. Performance Art is BS, even graffiti is art done surreptitiously when done right. Otherwise its yelling 'look at me,' it should be discovered not thrown in the way to be tripped on."

I am so glad SteveR the renowned art critic has finally come along after all these years to set everyone straight. Not only the installments and other public pieces created that were once considered great, have been undone by his mighty thought processes. But we also now know that theater, dance, pantomime, acrobatics, live music, and a whole host of other things are "just B.S."

harrogate said...

The Sistine Chapel, fortunately, does not yell "look at me!" It's just sort of humbly there.

Sigivald said...

"It’s about a long discourse in the history of the disposing of black bodies"

...

What the hell does that even mean?

SteveR said...

Well harrogate as a well established idiot, you did not notice I spoke only for myself and never purported to be an art critic. And I certainly could not care less what you think. About anything.

Michael K said...

"Who does it serve for black people to think white people want to kill them?"

Al Sharpton and Joe Biden ?

madAsHell said...

Who does it serve for black people to think white people want to kill them?

The snitch-that-got-rich, Al Sharpton!!

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...


Fuck that slanderous art piece of shit. Glad someone destroyed it.

Free speech ends where slander begins. In this case, slandering an entire Race.

Pure garbage.

tim in vermont said...

Well, pantomime is BS...

Ann Althouse said...

"The Sistine Chapel, fortunately, does not yell "look at me!" It's just sort of humbly there."

Humbly? It's totally in-your-face (once you enter the room at least). And let's remember that it dates back to an authoritarian era of coercive religion. I don't see what's supposed to be humble about it. It's grandiose as hell.

Ann Althouse said...

I'm thinking that the students' artwork was more of a performance that included the viewer participation -- not only conversation but puzzlement, outrage, and destruction.

I don't think they considered that it might make some students feel threatened or endangered or excluded.

In my experience, protesters seem to have blinders on about the different ways their message could be perceived. I'm thinking in particular about the 2011 Wisconsin protests.

Browndog said...

You caught us!

signed,

WASP republican conservative tea-party capitalists, who's every waking moment is dedicated to keeping the black art down!

harrogate said...

I was , um, making the same point about Sistine Chapel that you just made.

garage mahal said...

Conservatives think this art display is about them?

lemondog said...

Katelansky said her inspiration for creating the piece stemmed from a class in which not one student knew of the 1955 lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till.

“From there I kind of just broke, and I've been making this type of work ever since,” she said.


Although I am sympathetic to their general feelings, it is performance but not very good 'art' calculated to provoke a destructive reaction as part of the performance. I suppose that makes it a success.

Yin-yang

Sistine Chapel Interactive 360 degrees

Ann Althouse said...

"I was , um, making the same point about Sistine Chapel that you just made."

Oh, no! You were being sarcastic about the Sistine Chapel. I love that. You're sure to get into Heaven now.

harrogate said...

"Oh, no! You were being sarcastic about the Sistine Chapel. I love that. You're sure to get into Heaven now."

Heh. I guess that train (the heaven-bound one) left the station a long time ago. But in truth I do love the Sistine Chapel, very much.

It's the sort iof proudly ignorant art criticism that SteveR belched, and with which some others appear happily in conversation here, that I was really making fun of. "Art" by definition is all about "look at me!" If you don't see or appreciate that, you ought to have the good practical (think Engineering!!!!) sense to avoid talking about it at all.

The "think Van Gogh" line was pretty funny though.

jaed said...

This artwork strikes me as trolling.

Ten to one these two people were thinking that - as ambiguous and offensive as the doggerel and display was - some SJW student would destroy it as "racist", and they could subsequently blame the destruction on Conservatives, Whites, or whatever desired Hated Group they might choose.

Todd Grimson said...

Catchy.

pm317 said...

The senior officer at the scene in the latest NYC black man's death was an AA female officer!

SteveR said...

harrogate you're a pompous ass. Bashing me while acting like some intellectual sophisticate. Yet you obviously didn't get my original point and rather than let it slide, felt compelled to chime in snarkily. La de freakin da, harrogate has some artsy fartsy opinion about the Sistine Chapel. Who in the Hell (where you seem to expect to go) doesn't?

chickelit said...

It's more taunt than art.

It reminded me of something "The Riddler" might have left for Batman.

harrogate said...

It's contempt for performance art that SteveR expressed . To point out that such contempt is based in ignorance is some version of snobbery in his "view." What he doesn't seem to understand is that it is he who is being snobbish.

Revenant said...

My first reaction to seeing the words was "what's a dead white magic trick?"

Proper punctuation is important.

SteveR said...

To start with harrogate, you might consider sarcasm when you evaluate a comment, but given your previously expressed opinions on here, I realize I shouldn't expect much.

cubanbob said...

There is Art and Artist and bullshit and bullshit artists. Sometimes they blur but not in this case. It's all in the eye (or nose) of the beholder

Anonymous said...

I'm shocked to find you cretins just don't get this piece of performance art, pumping with the life-blood of social justice and the intersectionality of modern awareness-raised conscious agency and redistribution of the body in time and space towards a just future of beige space justice, cosmic law and pure creativity.

As a wise former crackhead at the NY times once said: this is truly the dance of the low-sloping foreheads.

***This may well have been someone's final exam for Art Justice, or Creative Historiographic Expression In Mass Movements.

Unknown said...

Ann:

I don't think they considered that it might make [blacks, or on their behalf, self-righteous SJW prigs-but I repeat myself] feel threatened or endangered or excluded.

FIFY

Gahrie said...

And let's remember that it dates back to an authoritarian era of coercive religion

We are still living in an authoritarian era of coercive religions, it is just now the coercive religions are secularism and Islam instead of Christianity.

Gahrie said...

"Who does it serve for black people to think white people want to kill them?"

Democratic and Progressive politicians.

Drago said...

harrogate: "It's contempt for performance art that SteveR expressed."

But, but, but there is no such thing as "objective truth", thus whatever SteveR expressed is his "truth" which the left has been telling us for decades is just as relevant as any other "truths" and should be valued as such.