To The Victor the Spoils, Washington, DC

 

Victors are being sworn in today in Washington, DC.

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The Arms of Sir Hugh Wake over a royal Fatimid inscription, marble.  1150, Ascalon, Israel.

The museum notes that this piece of marble had first commemorated the building of a tower as part of defences against the Crusaders during the reign of the Fatimid caliph Al-Zafir (1149-1154).  The triumphant Sir Hugh Wake had a mason superimpose his own coat of arms and a smaller one whose owner has not been identified.

 

There is to be a ‘peaceful hand-over of power’ between parties in the United States.

 

 

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Language is Not Transparent, chalk on paint and wall, 1970.  Mel Bochner, American, born 1940.  Los Angeles County Museum of Art, on display at the National Gallery  in 2016.

The National Gallery notes that in this work, contributed by the artist to the last ‘Language’ exhibition organized by the art entrepreneur and patron, Virginia Dwan, the artist is asserting that even the most ‘conceptual’ work is a material thing and not simply a linguistic proposition detached from a physical object. 

 

It used to be said that you can have your own opinions but you cannot have your own facts.

Now more and more facts have value only to the extent that they can spin universes of opinions usually to manipulative ends.  Those opinions are ‘alternative’ facts.  Which are, of course, lies.

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There is no Finished World, 1942, oil on canvas.  Andre Masson, 1896-1987, French. Baltimore Museum of Art.

 

The transfer of power between parties is its transfer within the oligarchy which rules us.  A  very wealthy consortium whose members vie with each other for power, spending vast amounts of money, and pretending to us that this is all about our interest, the interest of those of us not in that consortium.

 

The novelty this year is that an unexpected member of our oligarchy has gained power. 

A political neophyte.  A man never elected to any political office. A man who does not know what the Washington consensus is and would not care.  A man whose life has been dedicated to obtaining great wealth by any means necessary. 

Very great wealth being an essential component of the American Dream.  A man who makes great wealth here is a hero of the people.

 

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Details of There is no Finished World, 1942, oil on canvas.  Andre Masson, 1896-1987, French. Baltimore Museum of Art.

The museum notes that the painter escaped from France to the United States in 1941.  He said that he recognized that he  it was his duty not to “conceal the disquietude” of his epoch.  He used myths and provided a key to them.

 

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As we know, we live in a democracy of laws because we have as its base a socio-economic compromise.  Break this compromise and the democracy of laws splinters.

We have been in splinters for a while. Years and years. More and more of us.  In the world at large.

 

More and more people are not able to afford to live.  More and more are calling for a reversal of the established liberal policies:  free movement of goods and people in a borderless world.  And more and more are trashing the liberal practices which have been so slowly adopted across centuries of battle and with rising socio-economic security:  the primacy and freedom of the individual and the toleration of different faiths.

 

Without a fair socio-economic compromise, seen to be just, all bets are off on how much longer we will be at sea and how rough the sea will be and how many more of us will go down. 

All bets are off.

 

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Standing While All Around Are Sinking, 1977, etching and aquatint.  Roger Brown, 1941-1997, American.  The National Gallery, Washington, DC

 

  

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Double America, 2012, neon and paint.  Glenn Ligon, born 1960, American.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

 

 

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Poster in the NY Metro, 2015

 

 

Frailty and Failing, 2010, smoke carbon from candle over graphite.  Diane Victor, born 1964, South Africa.  Baltimore Museum of Art.

The artist made a series of portraits of a missing child and of men incarcerated in South Africa.  She used a medium, carbon deposits from the smoke of a candle, as fragile as her subjects.  Carbon deposits cannot be permanently fixed to the paper because they would disappear.

 


La lutta continua

 

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 Rally on January 16, 2017, Martin Luther King’s commemoration day, in front of Mother Bethel American Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, the first independent Black denomination in the United States, 6th and Lombard, Philadelphia.

 

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In November 2016, Patrick Toomey, Republican, won a critical US Senate race in Pennsylvania.  In January, 2017, the senator voted for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (‘Obamacare’) without an immediate replacement.

 

 

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Rally on January 16, 2017, Martin Luther King’s commemoration day, in front of Mother Bethel American Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, the first independent Black denomination in the United States, 6th and Lombard, Philadelphia.

The rally surrounded a statue of its founder and first minister, the educator and activist, Richard Allen, born a slave in Delaware 1760, died a free man 1831 in Philadelphia.

 

 

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Orator at the Wall, 1945, oil on canvas.  Jean Dubuffet, 1901-1985, French.  Baltimore Museum of Art

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By Any Means Necessary (After Malcom X), 2008, acrylic and book pages on canvas.  Tim Rollins, born 1965, American working with K.O.S. founded in NY City in 1982.  Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, DC.

Since 1981,  the artist has worked in the South Bronx with a constantly changing group of teens to create politically charged art – sculptures, drawings, paintings – which responds to influential texts.

 

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An estimated 500,000+  people at the Women’s March, The Mall, Washington, DC. January 21, 2017. Chang Lee photo for the New York Times

 

 

 

 

 

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