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.
I’m an art critic; I don’t often get asked about how I’m working toward revolution. Looking around the city’s museums and galleries, it’s hard to figure out how optically pleasant paintings enact social change. Outside the galleries, there’s activist groups like Occupy Museums or W.A.G.E. that nod to revolution by targeting institutions. Either way, the focus remains on art and art institutions, which can leave the soul feeling empty.