Saturday, April 27, 2013

Untitled (Portrait of Ross in LA)

Felix Gonzalex-Torres was an American visual artist who helped bring awareness of the struggles that homosexual people must endure because of their sexuality difference.. Originally from Cuba. Gonzalrz-Torres spent time in Madrid before attending art school in Puerto Rico.
In particular to raising awareness, Gonzalez-Torres produced this interactive piece known as Untitled (Portrait of Ross in LA) This is an interactive piece because it consists of a pile of candy lying in a corner in which viewers are encouraged to take a piece. After further analyses Untitled became known as the most effective way of acknowledging the spread of HIV/AIDS. This was accomplished through the symbolism of the candy. The net weight of the candy is 175 pounds which correlates to the weight of Ross Laycock. Ross Laycock was Gonzalez-Torres's parter who died in 1991 due to an AIDS related illness. So in the manner, the candy itself represents Ross Laycock. The interactive aspect of the display symbolizes HIV/AIDS on two accounts. First, HIV/AIDS causes the body to deteriorate and sufferers begin to lose a substantial amount of weight. This is displayed by the viewer taking a pice of candy and the pile getting smaller and smaller. The spreading of HIV/AIDS is represented by the viewer eating the candy. HIV/AIDS easily transferred to new hosts and by the person ingesting the candy is symbolic of them contracting HIV/AIDS themselves. Bringing the viewer into the work proved to be a powerful technique in which they further experienced the message Gonzalez-Torres in delivering with his Untitled (Portrait of Ross in LA). 
Sadly, Gonzalez-Torres had other friends that died of HIV/AIDS related illnesses and in 1996, he himself did too. 
Also see:
http://www.poortastemag.com/candy-says-death-and-life-in-felix-gonzalez-torres/

Fred Wilson: Metalwork

Fred Wilson was born in the Bronx, New York in 1954 and still lives in the area producing works. Although Wilson has institutional training he has commented that he no longer enjoys producing works of his own per say, but gathering materials that exist in the world and arranging them together as he sees fit.
With his work Metalwork Wilson adds more of an awe and shock experience to the viewer. He displays a depiction of items that signify our history. The items he displays are fine silverware and then sitting in the middle of them is a black tarnished set of shackles. The fine silverware is meant represent the finer things in life, our accomplishments, and our progression throughout history. However, the shackels that lie amongst the silverware is meant to remind us that these finer things did not come without a price. He is referencing slavery. Slavery is still a sore issue in our society in which we tend to parallel the Germany persona of the Holocaust, in which we would rather act like it never happen.
 This was the main focus in my earlier blog that discussed Anselm Kifer's Heath of the Brandenburg March. So in the same sense, Wilson is making the viewer acknowledge what we as a society had allowed in the past. Even though we have progressed with many advancements, we should know that there it came and coming with a cost and struggle. 

I have not personally seen this display, however I have experienced the emotion that Wilson wants the viewer to feel. I vacationed with family and friends in Jamaica a couple of years ago where we visited the Montego Bay area. During our stay, we decided to take the White Which of Rose Hall plantation. Concisely, Annie Palmer was dubbed "white which" by slaves on the plantation for she is rumored to had killed several husbands. The mansion has been well kept and we got to go inside where we were able to see beautiful 18th century furniture, cloth wallpaper, and many unique decorations we have never been exposed to. Then, without much warning, we were brought down to the dungeon wehere slaves were punished and even killed. The awe factor we had lead to silence, so much that people even stopped taking pictures. I believe this is this feeling is what Wilson was aiming for, a sudden realization of cruelties amongst something beautiful. 


Street Art

Street art is a controversial area in the art world. Some people view it more as graffiti than art, artists are arrested, artists are fined, and there work is continuously being covered up. However, I believe there is  distinction between graffiti and street art. I view graffiti as works of gangs tagging random places that are not visually stimulating. Street art may be a tag or a scene of some sort, but is very visually stimulating. Street art is a form of art where the artist use the world as their canvas.
This particular piece is done be the artist known ass "Swoon". She is an American street artist who has institutional training (though many do not) and has created works of art in the streets around the world. 
The work above was done by the artist known as "Banksy" who is from England and has also produced works around the world.

These artist are among the most known in the street art area of art, however, no matter where you are in the world you can surely find works of art in the streets. It is a mere tragedy that these works are normally only around for short periods of time. They are either painting over by governing bodies or painted over by competing artists. This is a core characteristic of street art. It is a competition as well a fight against "the man". Their art may be covered up, but they often reproduce their works in different locations for others to be able to view.
Some artists, such as Banksy, depict political issues with there work that brings the viewer to what may really be going on. A popular political work was done by Shepard Fairey that entails President Barck Obama. 
His Hope poster spread like wildfire through the 2008 campaign selling many accross the nation and even used in some political adds. This validates street art as a true practice of art and not just graffiti. 

Commonly in rural Texas we can experience street art via trains. Trains cars are often tagged mostly with names or gangs, but are very well done. It is amazing what this people can do mainly with a spray can. The art on the train cars can severely decrease the impatience of waiting at the tracks for the train to cross. 


Sherrie Levine's version of the Fountain

Sherrie Levine is an American appropriation artist. An appropriation artist is an artist that takes already established works of art and re-uses them with slight alteration. Many question the field as being actual art for they are basically copying other artist's works. I believe that is a gray area. I do not think it is art because I have grown up using turnitin.com and living by the Aggie code of honor "an aggie does not lie, cheat, or steal." In a way, appropriation art is copyright infringement for even paraphrasing somebody's literature work requires citation. However... appropriation art still provokes an artist's statement, and I believe that statements are a critical aspect of art.

In the case of Sherrie Levine, one of her main concepts or statement is the lack of female representation in art history. One of her most famous pieces is her Fountain, a recreation of Marcel Duchamp's.
Sherrie Levine's version                                         vs.                                 Marcel Duchamp's version

Marcel Duchamp created his work that had a statement that he could take anything, put his signature on it, and call it art. This was a monumental act in the art world for Duchamp criticized artist's who produce less the par works. However, it had a reverse effect and empowered artist to have the ability over critics to say what art is. Levine's version has the obvious alteration of being gold. This could be interpreted as, given the same respect and opportunity, women could have been just as influential, if not more, the Marcel Duchamp's Fountain. It is also a different type of urinal, referencing the different genders. Another interpretation could be that her recreating the Fountain (male urinal() and painting it gold is a symbolic mockery, as putting the male figure in the art realm on a pedestal. 

Neo-Expressionism

Anselm Kiefer is a German Neo-expressionist painter that was born towards the end of WWII and became known for calling out his country for what they had done.
First of all Neo-Expressionism entails work that entails a rejection of traditional standards, an ambivalent emotional tone reflected in urban life and values, lack of pictorial idealization, intense color blending, and the presentation of inner disturbance, tension, alienation, and ambiguity. 
The people in German society remain ashamed of the actions taken by Adolf Hitler that has left them with a battered reputation. German citizens often choose to overlook and act as the events did not happen. This is where Kiefer gets his inspiration and transfers his emotional reaction onto canvas. Kiefer was upset and obsessed with reminding the German people of what happen and what they had done. This is fortolled in his work Heath of the Brandenburg March. 
The Brandenburg March was a Nazi rally in Berlin in 1933. In the rally people marched for the support of Hitler. Here, Kiefer is acknowledging that the war is over due to the empty road. However, he is still reminding the people that it should still be fresh in the mind. He says this by giving them the scene of the road, the road that is still intact, as should their shame should be. 

Untitled (portrait of Ross in L.A.) by Felix-Gonzalez-Torres (1991)


As a candy lover, a very happy feeling arouses when one sees 175 pounds of candy. Moreover, it is even encouraging to take from the pile.



Nevertheless, behind every piece there is a meaning. This time around it is the initial body weight of partner, and artist Ross Laycock whom died to AIDS complications in 1991.

Ross Laycock


Personally, my first thought was that this is really disturbing, and so cruel, but I understood that the meaning the work was misinterpreted. People with HIV that develops to AIDS goes through severe weight loss and they end up to nothing near death.

Our artist at hand is sending the image of love and loss, where he encourages people to take a piece of candy. I interpret it as if he is putting the sole of Laycock in the viewer’s perception. It is like transferring his soul to other, and letting his spirit live.

Many conspiracies is revolved around the notion of AIDS, and why there isn’t any potential cure yet, and I would say that there is a potential cure out there, but it is probably being promoted as too expensive or too rigid.

Not only is the artist bringing his companion into the light, but also he is creating social awareness among people to tell them what is going on the world.

Please see this letter from Felix-Gonzalez-Torres to Ross Laycock

SOURCES:

Malcolm X and the slaughterhouse by Sue Coe (1985)


Our artist at hand has developed numerous interests during her life that involved injustice of both animals and humans. She is a very critical artist that constantly advocated social awareness through her art.



The social conditions we live in are hidden behind the media, and we are unaware to be fully knowledgeable about what is going on around us. Sue Coe has an unstoppable method of creating that spark for closure about the environment; with a specific emphasis on animals.

Throughout her career she is bringing social awareness around how we treat animal in the slaughterhouse, and not to mention how they are treated in general before and after death.

She gives the animal a speaking voice, a soul that extracts through her art. In this specific painting, Malcolm X, is incorporated. Personally, I think it is a wide open space for interpretation.

Malcolm X was a civil rights activist for humans, or more specifically for African Americans during his time (not to mention the continuity of hatred today), but our artist, Sue  Coe, is trying to MAYBE trying to emphasize the strong political message that is missing when it comes to animals through the hardship and pain of Malcolm X. 

Just like Malcolm X was assassinated and just like his aftereffect sweeps the world today, we are dealing with the same issue in regards to the animals that we see getting killed every day. A lot of it is pure waste and animal cruelty, and in general, I think it is the message that our artist is trying to convey. 

Please explore link #2 to see the graphic calculator that counts dead animals since the moment you enter the website. Moreover, I will include a recent work of Sue Coe that will imply her concern of where we are taking the world to. An End.

Sold by Sue Coe (2010)




SOURCES:

Lightning Field

Walter de Maria has done many environmental/land art pieces and the focus of this is specifically his work Lightning Field. 
Environmental/land art was a sculptural movement where the artist mainly incorporates the landscape or elements into their final piece. The Lightning Field is located in a remote rural are in western New Mexico that allows for optimal viewing and high frequency of lightning strikes. The field consists of 400 polished stainless steal poles in a one mile by one kilometer grid. The poles average 20'7.5" in height and are placed 220 feet apart from each other. As many know, the electrical currents in lightning are attracted to the highest point and metal. What is unique about this work is that the poles are of the same height and same distance apart from one another forcing the natural elements into a sort of chance as to where they strike. This means that as a viewer, you would never see the same display for it is forever changing. 
This landscape sculpture struck my eye because I am quite fond of storms. Growing up in a rural setting my family would often gather on the front porch and watch as storms rolled in. With a town that did not offer much entertainment lightning served as our own personal light show. 
Here, is a link that will take you to a website that explains when, where and visiting hours. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Move to Minimalsim

Minimalism is an art movement in which the artist wanted the viewer to acknowledge their works as what they were. They wanted the viewer to not have any connection with any personal past experience or training. Simply  the artists was to present there art as it is, without interpretation. This was a huge movement considering that art previously was often dissected with psychological techniques in order to determine the meaning, who the artist is, who the viewer is, the title, the sitter, and further analyses. Minimalism is the bare essential of art, it is what it is.

Donald Judd was a pioneer in the movement, especially with his work Untitled. Judd even incorporates the title, or lack there of, into the minimalist persona. By leaving the piece untitled it takes any attempt to relate the work to the title away from the viewer. The piece, Untitled, as seen to the right is of ten aluminum boxes lodged into the wall. And that is it. Or at least that is what Judd intended with his minimalism. However, that is not what critics and viewers found. The movement enraged the art realm for they felt it took away from the experience, so they began to break open Untitled. Lets experience typical analysis of the work: "Ten boxes, ten shiny golden boxes, symmetry, all lined up, lined up to look like a ladder, a ladder that is going where? gold, shiny, escalated higher and higher, God? This piece is in reference to religion." So as you can see, as long as there is some sort of stimuli, people will ponder its meaning and the effort put into it.

Psych breakdown:  It hardly our fault though. As humans we categorize any information we process into alike scenes, scenarios, or information. So when we contact new stimuli we experience what is known as the spreading activation theory. This entails schemas in our brains to become active and to start firing information of things relating to stimuli so that we can understand it and possibly add it to our schema. An example would be if I say think of a doctor, you more than like also thinking of things associated with a doctor such as, a nurse, hospital, surgical gloves, ect.


What does this mean for Donald Judd and the Minimalist movement? Well, for Donald Judd I'm sure it does not mean too much for he is the artist and he can dictate however he feels about his work. However, for the movement, it takes away the conceptual experience. The concept will be there (and we can acknowledge and learn about it), but as humans and our primitive categorizing brains, we will always try and find meaning in nothing.

I believe Ana Mendieta had a lot to say and a lot to give to people. Looking at her work, it looked like she was saying everything she could in her art, but that she didn't get it all out or that people didn't understand fully what she was trying to say.
 
This is her Blood Sign #2 that we saw in class and learned that when she did these, she would cut herself and slap her hands on the wall. Then she would slowly drop to the floor like someone would if they had been injured and were trying to support yourself against the wall and were slowly getting more weak and falling to the ground.
At Galerie LeLong, a retrospective to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Ana Mendieta's death. Above, a still from her 1974 Super 8 film 'Untitled (Blood Sign #1).'
This is Mendieta's Blood Sign #1 that she made around 1974. The last picture in this sequence looks to read, "There is a devil inside me." Mendieta's works often carry with them lots of feelings of violence and hatred either for herself or for someone else that she's met or maybe not. Her works also bring attention to the violence that women often face in society that they are subjected to either by the man in their lives or by society as a whole, and Mandieta, being a female who was attmepting to make it in the world of art, I'm sure, had an extraordinarily hard time being subjected to violence before she was finally shoved out of her 34th floor apartment window and died at the hands of her husband.
 
 
These are some of her untitled self-portraits with her face covered in blood. This one she made in 1973 and it appears that she has her own blood flowing down her face and staining her white shirt as she looks to weak from enduring the violence that she can't even hold her head up for this picture.
 
 
This is Facial Hair Transplant made in 1972. She took facial hair from one of her fellow male artists and attached it to her own face. I think this is commenting on the power that males had in society and continue to hold today in society and how much they are looked up to and held as the standard for everybody, even women. Women will never be as strong as men. Is this Mandieta showing that she desires not to be a man per se, but to have the power and the rights and not to be discriminated against as a woman, especially in the arts.
 
 
This is her Untitled (Glass on Body Imprints-Face). To me, this is speaking of the way women's faces and bodies are picked apart and distorted by society and how they are looked at under a microscope and picked apart with a fine-toothed comb. To me, she is bringing the focus on the ridiculous ways that women are seen in society and were seen in society and how much attention is put on the beauty and good looks of women and how their value is found only in that and in the man she is with. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Guerilla Girls

The Guerrilla Girls are well-known for their presence at art exhibits or art museums who do not feature any female artists. They protest that fact by wearing guerrilla masks and standing outside museums or art galleries to bring to people's attention that there are woman artists who are important and whose work is just as important and relevant to people's lives as men artists whose work most museums show. In the above picture called The Advantages of being a Woman Artist,they playfully and with a kind of humor, tell all of the "advantages" of being a woman artist that are very much sarcastic to the woman who really takes the time to look and to think about them.
This is a picture of one of their posters that is talking about how absurd it is that women are used often in the arts for the beauty of their bodies, but are forgotten about after that. There were and are very few women artists who are featured in the more famous museums. This is ridiculous getting the facts that so many women are used as models for male painters and male artists, but when female artists paint their own pictures or use male models in their works, it is not seen kindly by public and by critics.
 
 
This is a link to the Guerrilla Girls website that talks about their tours and events that are upcoming.
I learned that they not only wear guerrilla masks to hide their identity, but they also take on the names of dead woman artists and such to really emphasize the discrimination and racism that has been the norm and continues to be more normal than not in today's society, especially in the arts.
 
This is Aphra Behn who was the first professional English author who later became a spy in the Dutch Wars. She became known and respected for her ability and courage not to be under the thumb of any man and not to be bothered by the fact that she was a woman and didn't let that stop her from becoming something that she wanted to be and doing with her life what she wanted to do with it.
 
This is Coco Chanel, a very famous designer even today who is part of the Guerrilla Girls' inspiration for their cause. Coco Chanel wasn't wealthy enough to buy trendy clothing in her time, like many women who were not married, so she decided to make her own and has since become a wealthy designer.  She used sport jackets and ties of men during her time to make her own clothing and to design women's clothing that she made.
 
We all know Audrey Hepburn as an actress in some of our parents' favorite movies like Breakfast at Tiffany's and  Wait Until Dark. But few of us know that she faced many hardships throughout her life that she had to overcome to become this famous and inspirational person who has made such an imact in the lives of he Guerrilla Girls and helped to give them material for their tours that help to inspire other girls to become all that they can and not let being a woman keep them from pushing through the discrimination and being a successful person all by themselves.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Domestic Violence is Still Fashionable


Blood Sign #2 by Ana Mandieta 


Ana Mandieta was a Cuban artist known for her amazing performance art and “sculptural earth body works of the 70’s.” Her works are extremely feminist and personal, where the themes of her work would be about “violence against the female body, sacrifice, and crime.”[1]  She once said: "The turning point in art was in 1972, when I realized that my paintings were not real enough for what I want the image to convey and by real I mean I wanted my images to have power, to be magic." Unfortunately, Mandieta died young because she fell from a 34th floor of an apt building in Greenwich Village 8 months after marrying the minimalist sculptor Carl Andre. He fought to remove all the charges related to her death.
In 1982, Mandieta created Body Tracks, which is a series of long markings created with her own hands, forearms, and blood. There is so much going on, in the long strokes of blood being dragged down all the way to the floor. When she did Blood Sign #2, she would cut herself, and slap her human paint brushes against the wall. That’s intense! She would slowly drop to the floor, as if she was just wounded trying to support her body with the little strength that she has, slowly getting weaker, and finally drops to the floor; this creates a sense of despair, powerless, oppressed, etc. Through her performance art, Mandieta wants to bring attention to the violence women are subjected to within the patriarchal society.


The technique of applying the paint to the paper is similar to the French artist, Yves Klein, who used the women covered in his signature IKB monochrome-blue color, and created imprints of their bodies by pressing themselves against the canvas. The theme that Mandieta was trying to convey through her art also parallels with the feminist performance artists such as Karen Finley, who used the body as the medium for expression of the woman’s journey.[2]  Ultimately, I am reminded by shock advertisements that are shown throughout the world, where they rely on the photographs ability to arouse emotion and shock potential audience. Unfortunately, instead of spreading awareness of violence against women, they are sensitizing us from the ordeal. They are making it out to be a usual thing, while still trying to promote their products. Brands such as Dolce Gabbana, Calvin Klein, and many others exhibit themes of rape, violence against women, and provocative and controversial images to sell jeans, clothes, alcohol, and other material goods etc. Society has come to the point where violence against women is made fashionable; we can beat women or be beat, while still looking cool.
“Gorgeous women have been visually beaten and burned, bashed and slashed in service to fashion, art, and commerce—each of which seem to take cultural precedence over women’s health, well-being, and personal and political agency.” - Karrin Anderson (Bag News)
Here are some advertisements that I am referring to.



There is some hope in society though! Some organizations create ad campaigns which are aimed to bring awareness to domestic violence. The national Indian ad campaign against domestic violence, Bell Bajao (Ring the Bell), has been selected as one of the six films in the 2010 Cannes Film Festival Speak Out Against Domestic Violence Short Film Contest.[3] Others such as Amnesty International create advertisements to reflect on society’s views toward the subject.



SOURCES

Fire vs. Water


Bill Viola's “The Crossing”

Known to be as one of today’s leading American video artist, Bill Viola, creates not just amazing videotapes, but entire installations that showcase an object, video images, and recorded sound. Viola uses video as a medium to explore the phenomena of sense perception as an avenue to self-knowledge. “His works focus on universal human experiences, such as birth, death, the unfolding of consciousness, and have roots in Eastern and Western art as well as spiritual traditions, including Zen Buddhism, Islamic Sufism, and Christian mysticism.” His videos communicate to a diverse set of audience that will allow them to experience that work in their own personal way.
In his work of art titled The Crossing, the installment consist of 2 huge video screens depicting a man being consumed by elements of nature (fire and water). In the first one, violent flames are rising up the man’s body until his body is completely covered, and on the other, a water falls heavily from above the figure until he disappears in the flood. Towards the end of both videos, the man has disappeared, and a few sparks of flames and drops of water are left to remind us of what has taken place; “a cycle of purification, renewal, and destruction.”[1] Among one of his influences regarding this work, Viola is greatly inspired by the thirteenth-century Persian poet Rumi. Rumi’s writing includes the following, which Viola took as inspiration for The Crossing “You have seen the kettle of thought boiling over, now consider the fire.” [1]  If you’re curious of seeing the process of the making of Viola’s The Crossing, click here.

A specific literary text that I am reminded of is the Alan Moore’s graphic novel, “V for Vendetta.” The graphic novel is set up in a post-nuclear war in the United Kingdom taking place in 80s to 90s. The main character, V, is a mysterious masked anarchist who works to destroy the totalitarian government, profoundly affecting the people he encounters. V takes in Evey Hammond in his secret underground lair, where she then confides in him for protection, and then when he sacrifices himself at the end, she finishes what he had started.  

When V blows up Larkhill Resettlement Camp—“one of many concentration camps where political prisoners, homosexuals, Black people, Jews, Muslims, Indians and Pakistanis are exterminated and were subjects to medical experimentation, which involved artificially-designed hormone injection[2]—he is then steps out of the fire during his escape.  When Evey’s removal of fear, implemented by V in a mock-concentration camp, she is transformed into a new person within the rain. Both scenes, either within the fire with V, or water with Evey, show the moment of the characters transformation not just physically, but psychologically as well. I was not able to find the comic strips of the scenes but I did find pictures and videos. Please enjoy.



Sources
                History of Modern Art by Arnason
                http://www.billviola.com/biograph.htm               




Falsely Lynched

Abram smith and Thomas Ship (Lynched)

Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, lynched in Marion, Indiana, on August 7, 1930. Detail of photograph by Lawrence H. Beitler.

   The picture above shows two young men, Thomas Ship (18) and Abram Smith (19 ), being lynched in August 7, 1930. The 2 boys, including James Cameron (16 years old), were accused of shooting a white man, Claude Deeter, and  raping a white teenager, Mary Ball. Word got out that that a hanging was planned, and around 10 to 15 thousand people came to town to witness the event. According to America’s Black Holocaust Museum, Thomas was the first to come out, get beat, and hanged him from the window bars. They then brought out Abe, where the mob beat him down, dragged him down the street to the large trees around the courthouse. They eventually stabbed him, and broke his arms so he wouldn't escape the rope he was in. The lynching party then brought Tommy’s lifeless body from the jail window and hung it next to Abe’s. This is where Photographer Laurence Beitler was called in to take a formal portrait of the dead boys and crowd.
   
   Towards the end, the crowd called for Cameron. Cameron was badly beaten and dragged from the jail to the square. The lynching party stood him up between the two hanging corpses and placed a noose around his neck. Suddenly a voice rang out, “Take this boy back. He had nothing to do with any raping or killing,” and suddenly, the crowd calmed down, and Cameron stumbled back to jail where he was sneaked out of town to another jail for safekeeping. Jimmy Cameron spent a year in jail awaiting trial. At his trial, Mary Ball finally testified that she had not been raped after all. The all-white jury believed Cameron’s story. 

   This picture is very controversial for the fact that it shows two young boys lynched, with a huge crowd around them.  The event where lynching takes place becomes a community affair, and institutionalization the violence against the black society. Around 1866, there was a rise in lynchings; between 1882 and 1951, 4,730 people were lynched: 3,437 black and 1,293 white. A story that I comes to mind when reading about this situation is Pauline Hopkin’s short story “As the Lord Lives, He is One of Our Mother’s Children.”
                      
   Known to be the “Dean of African American Women writers,” Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins used her literary abilities to address social, racial, and economic themes that reflected on society during her time period. In “As the Lord Lives, He is One of Our Mother’s Children,” published in Colored American Magazine in November 1903, Hopkins wanted to focus on the increase in lynching occurring in the South after the end of the Reconstruction era in 1876. Through the power of religion the story invokes racial uplift, and Hopkins wanted to reveal the ugliness of lynching, “what the anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells called the “country’s national crime. 

   The short story looks through the perspective of a white Christian minister, Rev. Septimus Stevens who takes in a runaway prisoner, Gentleman Jim. Jim, concealing his identity as George Stone, had been accused of murder, and had escaped from jail when his friend was being lynched by the citizen’s committee. Rev. Stevens had thought to believe that George Stone was a penniless Colorado man hunting for work, but months after he had took him in, a reward flyer for the investigation of “Gentlemen Jim” had led to the revealing of George Stone’s true identity. Jim and his partner, Jones, were two college men that had built a successful business together. Jealousy, sparked by the success of their business, led the “leading men of the town” to run them out of town into the woods. That is where they met Mason, “a fighting man” (248), who wanted trouble with everyone.  He woke up dead one morning, “upon the claim” of Jim and Jones, and were falsely charged for murder. Despite the lies that Stone had told Rev. Stevens, the Rev. had let him stay till the danger cleared so he can move on to a safer place. Later that fall, the Rev. had been saved by Jim, by sacrificing his life for him and his child. Towards the end of the story, Rev. Stevens gives the “greatest sermon of his life.” Through the repetition of the title, “as the lord lives, he is one of our mother’s children,” the Reverend preaches that race becomes something that needs to be forgiven, removed in terms of Christianity. It does not matter what is the color of your skin, because we are all god’s children. Hopkins used religion to develop sympathy for the black community, and create the messages of equality.
    
Other literary text involving lynching is Claude McKay’s poems “If we Must Die” an “The Lynching.”

If We Must Die by Claude McKay                   

If we must die—let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursed lot.
If we must die—oh, let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
Oh, Kinsmen!  We must meet the common foe;
Though far outnumbered, let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we'll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

THE LYNCHING by  Claude McKay (1890-1948)

IS spirit is smoke ascended to high heaven.
His father, by the cruelest way of pain,
Had bidden him to his bosom once again;
The awful sin remained still unforgiven.
All night a bright and solitary star
(Perchance the one that ever guided him,
Yet gave him up at last to Fate's wild whim)
Hugh pitifully o'er the swinging char.
Day dawned, and soon the mixed crowds came to view
The ghastly body swaying in the sun:
The women thronged to look, but never a one
Showed sorrow in her eyes of steely blue;
And little lads, lynchers that were to be,
Danced round the dreadful thing in fiendish glee.

Teeth and Blood

Damien Hirst “For The Love of God”
             Everyone has a different way of expressing themselves; Damien Hirst just does it with real teeth and tons of diamonds, which is pretty awesome. His unique work of art, “For the Love of God,” consist of 8,601 diamonds. This is just mind blowing. Hirst was inspired by the Comic book character, Tharg the Mighty, from the Comic book series 2,000 A.D. Tharg was a powerful god like figure who controlled the universe, and also had a mind stone in his forehead which you can also see in Hirst’s sculpture. The title given to the work of art was taken from a phrase he commonly heard from his mother throughout his life; “For the love of God, what are you going to do next?”
Most of the art work that Hirst has done has been revolved around the subject of death. The fact that it is covered by diamonds, diamonds, and more diamonds, makes we reflect on the controversy on blood diamonds which, according to Wikipedia, means a diamond mined in a war zone and sold to finance an insurgency, invading army's war efforts, or a warlord's activity. It’s funny, or not really, that this sculpture was conceived of a large amount of deaths. In pop culture you are able to see how blood diamonds are played out to be; the book Diamonds in the Shadow by Caroline B. Cooney involves a refugee family smuggling blood diamonds into the United States from Africa.
Whenever I see this sculpture, I am automatically reminded of the traditional Hispanic celebration of “El Dia De Los Muertos,” or Day of the Dead. When looking at the materials he used to make this (THEM TEETH), I am then reminded by the artist Phil Hansen, and his huge portrait of Kim Jong Il, MADE OF HIS OWN BLOOD. Made of 500ml of his own blood on over 6,000 bandages, you will be AMAZED.