The Aesthetics of Empire: Neoclassical Art and White Supremacy

“I went to see great works of art before barbarians who cannot even recognize great works of art destroy them.” B. Frank Earnest, spokesman for the Virginia chapter of Sons of Confederate Veterans, speaking about Confederate statues in Richmond on NPR’s Code Switch podcast, August 23rd, 2017.   In the fight to contend with the…

On the need to claim (physical) QTBIPoC spaces

This text comes out of the University of California Humanities Research Institute residential group on “Queer of Color Formations and Translocal Spaces in Europe” (though the regions we work on also include the US, South Africa, India, and the Caribbean). The fellowship allowed eight of us to spend ten weeks together at UC Irvine in…

Like Piss in Motion: Race, Gender, and Filtration Systems in the work of Candice Lin

In Paris and in the Middle Ages sewage—human and non-human waste—was routinely dumped onto unpaved streets before working its way to the River Seine, from which people drank directly. Throughout the nineteenth century, sanitation extended far beyond Parisian urban development, into colonial governance, and serves today as a tool for imperial control. Pleating health, sanitation,…

The Rage: Some Closing Comments on “Open Casket”

  Emmett Till is dead. I don’t know why he can’t just stay dead. – Roy Bryant   This is what our dying looks like. – Jericho Brown   What can one say, in response to Dana Schutz’s Open Casket? To say even this, out loud, would sound, without further inquiry, like a reference to…

Dear Ancestors*

1. Currently you are beloved, apoliticized, or, capitalized. We think of one of your names headlining Hirschorn’s gentrification project, your name invoked as a shield against his. No mention in the headlines of your anti-fascist activism, your writing against the artist bourgeois, vulnerable education systems. It is as if you existed solely, in your own…

Dear Colleagues: Dead or Alive*

1. Despite my disdain for predictability and repetitiveness, I have found myself starting all correspondences with friends and loved ones with the same greeting: I hope you are surrounded with lots of love and support amidst fascism! Although I am aware that no amount of love or support may protect one from fascism, I find…