"Extremists rewrite history. Realists accept the past and work to change the future"
Sometimes its impossible for me not to allow my views and deeply held beliefs to come out in my sculptures even when I don't have any plans for doing so.
Tonight an article by a right wing extremist claiming there was no evidence for Michelangelo being gay, threw me into a rage. It is so easy these days for extremists to rewrite history to suit their own agenda. It makes me sick to the heart.
Of course without even consciously realizing it I'd placed my anger at extremism into my current sculpture. For those not aware, the current work is a 6 foot miniature New Orleans cemetery, complete with tombs, crypts and headstone and most labeled with names, deaths, etc.
I've been trying to mix the names up a bit. Using authentic Louisiana surnames on some, generic names on others and names of significance or mystery to make people look closely.
So long story short, before even realizing WHY I was doing it, I'd chosen the names of the four extremists that horrify me the most and added the names to 4 crypts along with a pentagram above each just to really be a bastard. Then I stopped and realized I'd been so mad about the earlier articles that I'd translated directly to the sculpture.
So I questioned whether I should stop and not use the names (and no I'm not going to tell you who they are because I want you to at least pay attention to the photo work when it comes out even if you can't ever see the actual sculpture). I really soul searched this for a few moments. But then I decided that I as an artist and an activist am always preaching to others that they should place their beliefs in their work, so why would I remove something that did the same? Mind you the face-plate for each is only about a half inch in size, so its not like its glaring out at everyone and taking away from the work. In fact I doubt anyone would even take notice if I hadn't written this damned blog entry.
But you know, I pride myself on hidden meanings and subtle workings in my art and this particular piece is filled with them. These four small names will just be a part of the whole.
But the greater discussion of how art and activism relate to each other is still out there. I notice that while I write about it often, most artists remain pretty silent on it. In fact its almost taboo in some circles of the art community. I've talked before about activists creating art that is still beautiful and abstract but makes a direct statement. Beauty and activism CAN go hand and hand.
As an artist, what is your view? You know mine, but what do others think? Share it here, or if you prefer to remain anonymous, email me and tell me your thoughts! firstname.lastname@example.org