Standing Back to Think
“There is nothing wrong with standing back and thinking. To paraphrase several sages: 'Nobody can think and hit someone at the same time.'” — Susan Sontag in, Regarding the Pain of Others
Please remember to complete your student evaluation!!!
All course work due on Wednesday, May 9!!
Hilja Keading, The Bonkers Devotional, 2010.










subjecthood = the condition or state of being a subject
"It's in the act of having to do things that you don't want to that you learn something about moving past the self. Past the ego." - bell hooks
Wangechi Mutu, Family Tree, 2012.
Mixed-media collage on paper, 16.25 x 12.25 inches.











Wangechi Mutu, A Shady Promise, 2006. Mixed media on Mylar.












"Wangechi Mutu observes, 'Females carry the marks, language and nuances of their culture more than the male. Anything that is desired or despised is always placed on the female body.' Piecing together magazine imagery with painted surfaces and found materials, Mutu’s collages explore the split nature of cultural identity, referencing colonial history, fashion and contemporary African politics. In Adult Female Sexual Organs, Mutu uses a Victorian medical diagram as a base: an archetype of biased anthropology and sexual repression. The head is a caricatured mask – made of packing tape, its material makes reference to bandages, migration, and cheap ‘quick-fix’ solutions. Mutu portrays the inner and outer ideals of self with physical attributes clipped from lifestyle magazines: the woman’s face being a racial distortion, her mind occupied by a prototypical white model. Drawing from the aesthetics of traditional African crafts, Mutu engages in her own form of story telling; her works document the contemporary myth-making of endangered cultural heritage." - Merrily Kerr, Wangechi Mutu's Extreme Makeovers
Wangechi Mutu, Ectopic Pregnancy from the Adult Female Sexual Organs series, 2006.












"Having applied a mixture of honey and oil on his body, within minutes Zhang Huan was covered with insects crawling over his naked body. Sitting still, the artist showed neither reaction to the smell, nor any sign of irritability at the moving insects on his skin.

Like 12 M2, numerous performances link to the artist's personal experience. The public toilet did indeed exist, and was only one aspect of the poor neighbourhood in Beijing's east village. For Zhang Huan, performing in situations he encountered earlier, living through them again, but in even worse conditions, seems to have had a purifying effect. Performance becomes therapy, enabling him to transcend the extreme conditions to which he exposes his body." - Olivia Sand

Zhang Huan, 12 M2, 1994.
Performance, detail showing artist covered in honey, fish oil, and flies.











"For his first exhibition at White Cube in 2009, Zhang Huan created an installation and series of paintings based on a renowned survivor of the recent earthquake in the Sichuan Province of China, a pig that lived, trapped, for 49 days after the quake, surviving on rainwater, rotten wood and a small amount of foraged feed. His survival was hailed as a miracle and he was given the name ‘Zhu Gangqiang’ (‘Cast – Iron – Pig’). According to Buddhist scripture, 49 days is the amount of time that a soul remains on earth between death and transmigration. The pig’s fortitude resonated with Zhang Huan, who drew broad parallels with his own narrative as both outsider and survivor, while the drive to persevere and retain hope, even under extreme pressure, recalls the spirit of Zhang in his early performance art. Using incense ash from Buddhist temples as his medium, he created a series of paintings on linen honouring Zhu Gangqiang. along with a number of vanitas paintings featuring skulls. Both groups of work celebrate the fleeting, sometimes heroic, nature of existence and the quiet, inevitability of the life cycle."
- White Cube
Zhang Huan, Zhu Gangqiang No. 9, 2009. Incense ash on linen, 43 5/16 x 59 1/16 in.




















Zackary Drucker and Amos Mac, Distance is Where the Heart is, Home is Where You Hang Your Heart, 2011.










Zackary Drucker and Amos Mac, Distance is Where the Heart is, Home is Where You Hang Your Heart, 2011.











Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst, from the "Relationship" series, 2008 – 2013.











Olga Koumoundouros, Notorious Possesion, 2012.











Andrea Bowers, #sweetjane, 2014.











Andrea Bowers, #sweetjane, 2014.












Andrea Bowers, #sweetjane, 2014.












Andrea Bowers, One Big Union, 2012.
Marker on found cardboard, 157 x 105 in.











Andrea Bowers, Wall of Letters: Necessary Reminders from the Past for a Future of Choice #7 (detail), 2006.











Myths of Rape (2012), 2012, performance by Audrey Chan and Elana Mann at the LA Art Show, a reinterpretation of Leslie Labowitz-Starus’ In Mourning and Rage (1977), part of Suzanne Lacy’s Three Weeks in May (1977).
Leslie Labowitz-Starus, In Mourning and Rage, 1977.












Elana Mann, Ass on the Street, 2009.
Elana Mann, Learning to Live with the All of It, 2016.











“The pigeons, arriving by thousands, alighted everywhere, one above another, until solid masses were formed on the branches all round. Here and there the perches gave way under the weight with a crash, and, falling to the ground, destroyed hundreds of the birds beneath.” - John James Audubon, while traveling through Kentucky
Walton Ford, Falling Bough, 2002.
Watercolor, gouache, and pencil and ink on paper
60 1/2 x 119 1/2 inches.









Elana Mann, Donald Trumpet, as seen in the Assonaut Armory exhibition at Commonwealth & Council, 2016.