An Activism of Affirmation
An Xiao Mina
From #BlackLivesMatter to Hong Kong’s #UmbrellaMovement, the Internet helps activists inform, inspire, and organize around important issues, writes An Xiao Mina. But art and creative expression can play a special role within social-change movements as well: “They can help transform the Internet into a space for affirmation, self-worth, and emotional healing as well.”
Tania Bruguera: Artivism and Repression in Cuba
Leaving her Havana home on May 24 after a 100-hour public reading of The Origins of Totalitarianism, Tania Bruguera was intercepted by police—again. After releasing a white dove and throwing Hannah Arendt’s book into the sky, she was driven off in what Cuban curator Gerardo Mosquera calls “a unique case in art history: a street performance that was completed in response to its very repression.”
Why the Hell Ornette Went All Up In Eden
“It’s hard to think of any musician whose sonic convictions have been so personally liberating for themselves and so determined to liberate others,” writes Greg Tate of Ornette Coleman, who passed away June 11. “His music did all the things jazz was supposed to do, but in ways that made everybody else, from Coltrane to Cage, sound like they were too fixed, ordered, calibrated and two-dimensional.”
Taylor Renee Aldridge and Jessica Lynne
When a white, male critic wrote that African-American artist Alma Thomas’s art echoes “the special middle-ground pleasures of domestic life,” ARTS.BLACK’s founders had a question: How might this assessment look if written by a Black art critic? Reflecting on their site’s mission, Taylor Aldridge and Jessica Lynne discuss the power of the digital in countering dominant critical narratives.
Light and Freedom: William Klein’s Pop Politics
Of his first film, a study of illuminated advertising signs in New York City, William Klein remarked, “I think it’s the first Pop film.” Critic and curator Ed Halter examines the Pop resonances in Klein’s work, from the beauty and the “brain-washing” quality of Times Square signage in Broadway by Light (1958) to the politically charged Vietnam-era satire Mr. Freedom.
Further Speculation on Digital Arts Media’s Future(s)
Between technology’s continuous advance and an ever-narrowing digital divide, the future of online cultural publishing is hazier than ever. How will we be reading and writing about art 10 years from now? We posed this questions to array of critics, cultural producers, and journalists—from critic Brian Droitcour to podcast producer Tyler Green, museum technologist Koven Smith to curator Willa Köerner.
Archi-tourism is a web community waiting for its own digital address, writes Alexandra Lange. She longs for a dream site—“Archimaps, Designtrip, whatever”—to map her architectural explorations using smartphone photos. A sense of immediacy, essential to Instagram’s appeal, transforms old structures into new discoveries. The trick: how to keep that contagious energy as you make snaps into an archive.
In a time of digital hyperacceleration and an ever-shifting technocultural landscape, we encounter an influx of trends, microgenres, and fads. But how do we talk about music when so much of what we listen to now feels so transitory and historically inconsequential? Marvin Lin, editor-in-chief of Tiny Mix Tapes, explores our critical voice in the face of such expiring aesthetics.
Towards a New Digital Landscape
With dismal representation by women and people of color in tech and art fields, it’s time to imagine a new landscape of digital art, one that’s as diverse and equitable as possible, writes Black Contemporary Art founder Kimberly Drew. In hopes of sparking conversation about representation, erasure, and the future of digital art, she highlights—in their own words—18 artists shaping this new terrain.