For the past twenty-four hours or so, I’ve been struggling to write about the situation here in Baltimore. I’ve tried doing my job—reviewing art shows—but even attempting to view politically informed projects in Baltimore through the lens of recent events felt strangely inappropriate. Like many bewildered Baltimoreans, any coherent thoughts I’ve attempted to compile have been quickly drowned out and scattered by the sounds of sirens and countless low-flying helicopters.
We’ve been glued to CNN today watching the clashes between the Baltimore Police Department and residents of Baltimore who’re protesting the death of Freddie Gray. We made this GIF out of a video Baltimore musician Madi Shapiro shot at demonstrations in the heart of the city; protesters burned a police officer’s hat on the tracks of the city’s light-rail line. It’s a powerful image coming out of a city that’s currently coping with widespread unrest following decades of tense relations between the city’s residents and police force.
Paddy’s visit to the Whitney Museum of American Art’s new building prompted a discussion about what makes a good splatter painting; in her slideshow, there’s a so-so drip-and-pour piece by Jackson Pollock. Trying to understand what makes a Pollock a Pollock has prompted any number of artists to try out his technique (for reference, see the Saatchi Art “Inspired by Jackson Pollock” collection). Count Yoshi Sodeoka among them. Though none of his Pollock GIFs look or feel exactly like a Pollock, there’s still that goal of unabated movement, of which a GIF can capture better, and perhaps more so, than a strip of paint.
Yesterday one of our office conversations focused on whether there were any contemporary artists who reuse online imagery, but without altering them. Voila, a loading GIF by Addie Wagenknecht.