Busman’s Holiday 1: Art, Music & Culture while driving a van through Pittsburgh, PA (Audio)

JP Collins

In this first audio podcast feature Busman’s Holiday, I talk about the Carnegie International, 57th Edition, 2018 running through March 25, 2019.

Listen to Busman’s Holiday 1

Although I talked extensively about the Richard Serra piece Carnegie (1984–85)in front of the museum, I completely missed a work that I really like but didn’t realize wasn’t permanent. Being a recent transplant to Pittsburgh and only passing the museum a few times on the bus, I thought that the piece Three Angles by El Anatsui (2018) was a permanent part of the building but is in fact part of the Carnegie International, 57th Edition, 2018.

El Anatsui, Three Angles, 2018, Carnegie International, 57th Edition, 2018. Photo: Bryan Conley.

I complained about the lack of interpretation in the galleries which really made it hard to understand the context and range of the work in the exhibition. As a result, there was lot of work in the show that I didn’t take photos of, partly because I wasn’t sure if it was part of the exhibit or not and if it did how did it fit in and why was it in that particular part of the show or there at all. In one room there were fabric works by Ulrike Müller and a a wall by Sarah Crowner. I snagged a photo from the Carnegie web site to illustrate her work.

Ulrike Müller, Wraps and Rugs, 2018, Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Bryan Conley

 

In another case, there were some portraits that I really loved by Lynette Yiadom–Boakye. Not having an image was entirely my own fault because I really wasn’t planning to review the show. But you can see her work at: http://www.jackshainman.com/artists/lynette-yiadom-boakye/

Julie and I liked the works of Pittsburgh native Mel Bochner, who grew up visiting the Carnegie. This collection of paintings (or prints?) entitled Exasperations resonated with us in their reinterpretation of online experiences.

Exasperations (2018) by Mel Bochner. Photo: Julie Collins

In the same gallery as Exasperations I talked about the work of Dayanita Singh and her new sculptural work titled Pothi Khana (2018) alongside her series of color photographs Time Measures (2016). Which again, I have no idea what they’re depicting but I liked the work.

Dayanita Singh’s Pothi Khana (2018) color photographs Time Measures (2016)
Once again, the lack of interpretation at the Carnegie International 57 led me to an incorrect conclusion about an artist and his work. I talked about the work of Abel Rodríguez as being that of a trained artist who’s work looks like that of a self-taught, “outsider artist” but in actuality, he is self taught. Read about his work on this NPR story.
https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/08/05/426751933/a-self-taught-artist-paints-the-rainforest-by-memory

Across from Rodríguez’s work were the kites I mentioned suspended from the ceiling as well as hammocks on the floor and a coffee bar which was closed by the Vietnamese art collective Art Labor who worked with Joan Joanas an American artist who painted the kites which were made by a father of one member of Art Labor.

Art Labor and Joan Joanas’s kites. Photo: JP Collins

 

From there, you can step into a small room where an installation piece, a neon and glass panel house called Rubber Pencil Devil (2018) by Mel Bochner is featured.

Rubber Pencil Devil (2018) by Mel Bochner. Photo: JP Collins

As we explored the museum and the International exhibit we stumbled into the Hall of Sculpture where we saw on the ground floor From Smoke and Tangled Waters We Carried Fire Home, 2018 by the art collective Postcommodity which I talk about briefly.

 

Postcommodity’s From Smoke and Tangled Waters, We Carried Fire Home (2018). Photo: JP Collins

We also noticed in the ambulatory of the Hall of Sculpture small works by Yuji Agematsu, made from found trash and placed in cigarette wrappers.

Found art by Yuji Agematsu. Photo: JP Collins
Works by composer Harry Partch in an exhibit that was inside the International 57 exhibit of music/composer related works. Photo: JP Collins

 

Captain Shit and the Legend of Black Stars by Chris Ofili was part of the more political work featured in 1945 to Now. Photo: JP Collins

Later we found our way into the exhibit: Crossroads: Carnegie Museum of Art’s Collection, 1945 to Now, which we both liked and I speak about

In the area between the Art and Natural History museums are stairs, classical architectural features and Frescos featuring steel workers and fairies, which I always think of together. Despite the odd paring, I really like these.

Carnegie Museum Frescos. Photo: JP Collins

I loved waking down the stairs of the museum with the sculpture garden on the outside of the glass and the Sol Lewitt wall drawings on the inside: Wall Drawing #493 https://collection.cmoa.org/objects/ae6b2ac1-384e-4256-bcd2-4c14f940dff6

Wall Drawing #450 https://collection.cmoa.org/objects/7909ad09-9566-4440-914b-103590b46eaf

My photos of Wall Drawing #450 or #493 by Sol Lewitt. Photo: JP Collins

 

Some sculptures by Pittsburgh artist Thaddeus Mosley are apparently part of the International 57 but you wouldn’t know it if you’re from out of town like me.

Wooden Sculptures by Thaddeus Mosley were outside in the garden but now inside for winter. Photo: JP Collins

 

Read more about the exhibit:

Art News
http://www.artnews.com/2018/10/15/labors-love-2018-carnegie-international-buoyant-beautiful-strangely-conservative/

WESA
https://www.wesa.fm/post/92-pittsburghs-thaddeus-mosley-has-work-carnegie-international

artmap
https://artmap.com/carnegieinternational/exhibition/57-carnegie-international-2018#i_w8q4d

Pittsburgh City Paper
https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/get-lost-in-the-carnegie-international-57th-edition/Content?oid=11204744


JP Collins is a mixed media and conceptual artist who works in collaboration with his wife Julie Collins as Book of Ours. JP works as a school bus driver in Pittsburgh, PA and records his Busman’s Holiday commentary while driving his van through Pittsburgh. And in case you were wondering, his students are never on board while he’s recording. Busman’s Holiday is a feature of the Book of Ours blog. You can contact us by email: info at book-of-ours.com

Sovereignty to Empathy (Audio)

Julie Collins

People may tell you that the US Constitution grants you rights and that they’re being taken away, but those rights are yours despite what The State or religion may say they are giving to you.

In this Audio Podcast, Julie discusses the Sovereignty of Self and how all that really requires is empathy. This includes empathy for yourself. Just like love, you have to have empathy for yourself before you can have it for others. Empathy is the basis for community.

Listen to Sovereignty to Empathy

Hello Slave

Julie Collins

hello slave,

and you know, with a smirk it says, your sovereignty lost. Delicately if rough.  Or roughly, if  delicate.  Really, the oily thing scoffs. All is not lost. But all is lost. The algorithms will tell you which way and what.  Surveillance capitalism is quite all right when you have nothing to hide.

Slave?  Where are you going?

I’m nothing, so to the mist.  The wilderness.  Imperfectly shaped so off I go.

Slave? I need your mind to exist.

So by denying you my mind you die?

Death could bring gushing hordes of life.

It might fold and bloom and weave into the future without you; the words the screens, the world awash with memes; it might whisper somewhere in your consciousness or just in dreams; it’s a spark, a single note, earthen and rare but hearty, born of a sound with mouth and air ; and traveling in the fog, filling the sky;  you should have imperfect rage for your master who seized your mind and made you a slave, on this capitulation to capitalism grid, this instragammable plantation, stop dying to pretend

To live

 

We Believe

Gillette takes the moral high ground in its latest commercial.

JP Collins

In this 21 minute audio podcast, “We Believe“, I talk about the Gillette ad that a lot of people are talking about and reacting to. Below is an introduction to the podcast with some points I wanted to touch on but couldn’t because of time constraints and flow. 

When I was about six years old, I remember an incident in which a neighbor boy pushed me down and put his foot on top of my chest while striking a Tarzan-like pose of conquer. It was deeply humiliating not only because of the mean treatment and physical act of being pushed down and held in place but also because it was done in front of other children. The shame is something I obviously never forgot. Over the years I was labeled a “sensitive child” which always felt like some unspoken code for something one should not be, even today being a sensitive child is a derisive term. I work with children and I hear that phrase: sensitive child or boy, especially ‘sensitive boy’ spoken in a sneer. These attitudes come from somewhere and it’s deep in our culture.

Growing up I would see the archetype of the sensitive male portrayed on TV and movies as someone who could not be trusted, the villain hiding under a facade of sympathy, empathy or compassion. And by extension those attributes being untrustworthy. At the same time men who supported the feminist movement, who were there for the women in their life, who did the cooking or cleaning etc., the sensitive males, were held up as the new model for manhood. Through all that I discovered that I fit the description of the sensitive male, it was confusing and with all the mixed messages surrounding that label, a total mind fuck.  

But that’s what advertising and media do, they send out mixed messages. On one hand, be a man who’s sensitive to others, to women to children, be nurturing and kind. On the other, that man who appears to be empathetic may have a hidden agenda or isn’t who he says who he is. This dichotomy can be seen over and over again in TV and movies. I recently started watching the entire original series of Veronica Mars and this archetype shows up repeatedly and that series was produced only 15 years ago.

These mixed messages keep people confused and distracted from what is really going on. They deliberately do this to keep people on the hook, to buy products and stay in the clutches of Capital and the State. 

And so now in today’s media culture men are in the spotlight as being the problem, as being the cause for negative behavior in our society. To some extent that’s true, the behavior is mostly seen through the actions of men. But once again all men are being lumped together into one group. We are all now seen as sexual predators, bullies and misogynists.

Unlike the American public, Gillette and other corporations have the megaphone. They create a distorted discourse in the public sphere. And while advertising and media have been feeding us mixed messages, the State and Capital have been creating conditions that create a culture of hyper masculinity through perpetual war and the prison-industrial-complex which is then amplified through various forms of media and popular culture. 

Whether the men who were taken out of their positions as spokesmen, news anchors, TV talk show hosts, popular actors and comedians are guilty of the actions they’ve been accused of or not, they have been used as examples of sexual predators and misogynists, and their actions have become the template of behavior that has been placed on all men in America. In this two-dimensional discourse, all men are THE cause for bullying and sexual harassment. And the ‘We Believe’ commercial reenforces that notion without really taking responsibility for media’s role in society.

But the culture has been changing in positive ways on its own. More men are nurturing dads. More men are sensitive males who aren’t villains in disguise. However, you wouldn’t know that if you only paid attention to what corporate news media, advertising and entertainment are saying. These entities exist to tell you what to think and how to behave. Without the negative influence of Capital and State sponsored perpetual war and the school to prison pipeline, I believe that people would be more evolved than we are today. 

People are nicer in the public sphere then Capital, corporate media and the State want us to believe. Of course we can all do better, and we as a society have some work to do. The point of the “We Believe” campaign is to distract people and co-opt the idea that men are taking a stand while at the same time diluting that message, commodifying it and allowing it to be forgotten just like other movements and ideas Capital has compromised. I believe that we can do better, we can ditch State Capital and live more harmoniously without its interference. 

Listen to “We Believe

Here are some additional links that are mentioned in the audio podcast as well as a link to the actual ad being discussed. 

Youtuber: churchdog42 https://youtu.be/d0Kp8y4YVGs

“We Believe” video https://youtu.be/koPmuEyP3a0

Lewis Powell memo http://reclaimdemocracy.org/powell_memo_lewis/

Lewis Powell memo: A Call to Arms for Corporations https://billmoyers.com/content/the-powell-memo-a-call-to-arms-for-corporations/

Powell memo and the Chamber of Commerce https://youtu.be/7313St3UoyM

Conditioning Conditions (audio)

Julie Collins

There is no condition on basic human rights and needs.  A person shall have shelter.  A person is not sentenced to poverty.  No conditions shall be put on these basic human needs for an individual.

However we have been sold a lie that tells us just the opposite.  Please take 30 minutes to listen to:  Conditioning Conditions 

Accepting Reality in 2019 and Beyond

How do we function in a world that is antithetical to a normal, fulfilling life. In this live YouTube podcast we discuss what’s going on now and ask questions about how we can survive 2019 and the coming years beyond.

We mention our favorite anarchist Colin Ward:  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colin_Ward

Dr. Naomi Wolf discusses recent proposed and soon to be implemented legislation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2smnZYjRoxw&t=1503s

• https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKO5t3rcIZU

Watch Accepting Reality in 2019 and Beyond: https://youtu.be/epXVp20WGy4

Accepting Reality In 2019

 

Here is my audio.  Please listen:  Accepting Reality in 2019 

I give three examples of videos that present facts based on evidence, historical content and reasonable leaps of logic.

As promised, here they are:

Paul Jay  sits down with Col. Larry Wilkerson to discuss the real Dick Cheney https://youtu.be/XsdIz749ye4

Dr. Naomi Wolf reads through the 11 page google document that will one day translate to the Green New Deal https://youtu.be/N71pXoROTcQ

Niko House discusses Senator Kamala Harris’ record https://youtu.be/VBXMHWQS90g