Monday, September 29, 2008

Puerto Rican Studies Association Conference

I will be unplugging from the blogosphere for the next week as I attend the PRSA Conference in San Juan. I'll be back next week with news from the conference and more.

Peace.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Head of Skate: The Sarah Palin Movie


Matt Damon and my worst nightmare come to life...

*tip of the fitted to Guanabee

Move Over Daddy Yankee, Make Way for the Obamistas



Podemos con Obama, is a will.i.am inspired musical video directed by Yerba Buena's Andres Levin urging Latinos from all walks of life to vote for Obama this coming November.

The video features reggaetoneros Don Omar and Julio Voltio along side a cast of Latino/a heavy hitters including: Alejandro Sanz, Paulina Rubio, John Leguizamo, Jessica Alba, Kate del Castillo, Cucu Diamantes (Yerba Buena), Pedro Martinez (Yerba Buena), Andres Levin (Yerba Buena), George Lopez, Luis Guzman, Lila Downs, Lin Manuel Miranda, Frankie Needles, Huey Dunbar, Nydia Caro, Ivonne Caro Caro, Brazilian Girls, Carlos Marín and family, Carola Gonzalez, Viva Nativa, Jose Alberti.

Lets see McCain pull that off...

*tip of the fitted to Lossip

The Kumbia Queers @ Nacotheque this Saturday!

My favorite queers will be performing live at Nacotheque this weekend. If you don't know the Kumbia Queers they are an amazing all female tropipunk band formed in Argentina in 2006.
From the Nacotheque site:
While fooling with their instruments and lyrics, they began playing covers of songs they knew by heart, adding the cumbia punch and twisting the lyrics into divine lesbian poetry filled with irony, love clichés and a lot of humour. La isla con chicas (from La isla bonita by Madonna), Kumbia dark (from Love Song by The Cure), and other classics started being reborn into a tropipunk queer latin sound. Six covers and three original tropipunk songs became Kumbia Nena!, which has been released in Argentina and Mexico under their independent label Horario Invertido. The girls are becoming a hit in Argentina and are planning their second tour across Mexico after Montreal. Their live shows have generated expectation for the love and passion they share with the audience from the stage. Their music is highly critical through an ironic melody, building the perfect scene for an eternal and memorable night of freedom, laughter, dance, and most probably love. The girls, punk-rockers by heart and nature, continue their personal projects and present them the night before and previously to their main appearance. Their variety enriches the outcast and wonderful experience that they represent.

For more information about the Kumbia Queers check out: myspace.com/laskumbiaqueers
For more information on Nacotheque events check out: nacotheque.com


Here's some videos...see you @ Fontanas...




Thursday, September 25, 2008

Kat DeLuna Poses for KING

The Bronx native isn't letting that whole national anthem debacle hold her down. Check her out in this month's King Magazine.

Lindsay Lohan & Sam Ronson Sitting in a Tree

video

Lindsay Lohan finally said what everybody knew. Last night on Loveline, she said that her and DJ Samantha Ronson are a couple and have been going out "A very long time." I'm sure keeping that ridiculously obvious relationship a secret must have been hard for LiLo.

Source: Defamer

Monday, September 22, 2008

Pavlov's Racist Dogs

A new blog Stop Dog Whistle Racism! is tracking coded racism in the election. Check out their statement and definition of Dog Whistle Racism:
Dog-Whistle Racism is political campaigning or policy-making that uses coded words and themes to appeal to conscious or subconscious racist concepts and frames. For example, the concepts ‘welfare queen,’ ’states’ rights,’ ‘Islamic terrorist,’ ‘uppity,’ 'thug,' 'tough on crime,' and ‘illegal alien’ all activate racist concepts that that have already been planted in the public consciousness and now are being activated by purposeful or accidental campaign activities, media coverage, public policy and cultural traditions. So, what’s dog whistle racism? It’s pure political theater to push buttons to win elections and policies. We’re here to identify, expose and respond to it. Join us.
The site does an excellent job reporting on lefty and right politics, overall its pretty balanced coverage of racial discourse about the election. Please Check out the site Stop Dog Whistle Racisim!


Poncea Pokemones, Poncea!

Last week The New York Times reported on the Chilean youth parties known as Poncea Parties (a.k.a. lets make out and dry hump on the dance floor parties). The New York Times is surprisingly late uncovering the Poncea Parties. Even the less cool Newsweek covered the Poncea phenomenon in March! Come on NY Times, step up your journalistic game!

There has been a lot of recent American media coverage about the about this Chilean youth subculture and their (often public) sexual exploration (despite the NY Times' late discovery). Drawing inspiration from anime, the young Chileans refer to themselves as "Pokemones" and don piercings and flat ironed asymmetrical haircuts. Mostly the American coverage is scandalized to the point of careless reporting.

While the sexual repression of the Pinnochet dictatorship is mentioned in passing as a cause for this sexual awakening and experimentation, the focus seems to be on the perceived sexual deviance of the youth. They are not monogamous, same-sex hook-ups are commonplace, and they are actively breaking down the boundaries between public and private that dictate sexual normativity. I think the American media coverage through coded language is pointing the finger at stereotypical beliefs about Latin American licentiousness and queerness (and please believe they threw in the fact that the kids were grinding to reggaeton) as reasons for the youth's "bad behavior." Cast into a national phenomenon, the media has ignored important issues of race and class in participation in the poncea parties. For instance, who has the ability, economically and otherwise, to actually partake in these activities? Whose bodies aren't policed and survailed? Even if its deemed naughty by the mainstream, it is still dictated by issues of access so not acknowledging that is careless journalism.

Also, by isolating this particular issue of "deviant" youth sex to a Chilean context the American media doesn't have to face the fact that similar sexual activity happens regularly in schools and suburbs across the U.S. (remember the whole oral sex bracelets a few years ago?). By focusing on youth sexuality and the need for effective sexual education "over there," we excuse ourselves from doing the work around youth sexuality and education that needs to happen here.

I'm not condoning 14 year-olds giving each other blowjobs on bus benches in Santiago (because that just seems unsanitary), but I am advocating for a more complex analysis of the issues behind these parties. I'm looking for more than "Chile's disaffected 'Pokemones' don't care much about politics. They're too busy having sex." It's just not that simple so stop the simplistic journalism.

*tip of the fitted cap to Guanabee

Friday, September 19, 2008

Party Like a BaRock Star

Check out Mims new video featuring Jr. Reid "BaRock Star." Hip hop is heavy hitting for Obama, hopeful folks will actually go out and vote.


The Cool Kids - Delivery Man



The Cool Kids Do the Right Thing in their new video.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

FunkMaster Flex Responds to R.Kelly Interview: "You Need Help!"



R.Kelly gave his first post-trial interview on BET two-nights ago. The man made no sense and said some really disturbing things. For instance this line...
Well, you know, I'm not going to let this affect my gift … I've said no matter what, I'm not going to let this make me run under a rock and not do my job. You know, I'm no different from a fireman. You got to run into a fire no matter how big the blaze is.
Now if you peed on an underage girl in a homemade porno would you really compare yourself to a fireman? There is just no need for his foolishness and I'm not the only one who thinks so. FunkMaster Flex released this scathing video reaction to Kells interview. Flex accepts responsibility for making R. Kelly feel like he can do a Clinton and ask what we mean by "Teenager". Check out the clip...



What do you all think about Kell's interview and Flex's response. Did Flex go too far or is he on point?

Tim Wise's "This is Your Nation on White Privilege"

Critical whiteness scholar Tim Wise recently wrote the brilliant "This is Your Nation on White Privilege" which is currently making its way around the internet. Wise does a great job exploring the blatant racism that is permeating every aspect of the 2008 Presidential Elections. As a person of color in Higher Ed, I really appreciated this point...
White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.
Read "This is Your Nation on White Privilege" here

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Puerto Rican Hipsterism: "Na De Na"



I love the graphics and atmosphere of this video. What I love about it is the aesthetic of fun and dorky-ness that shatters the construction of reggaeton as solamente musica gangsta. Maybe day-glo and skinny jeans ain't such a bad thing.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

“Quedate Callao!”



Reggaetonero
SieteNueve has released a tiraera pa Daddy Yankee due to his endorsement of John McCain. The song called "Quedate Callao" asks how much money Daddy Yankee got to sell his people out and lead them into war over "gasolina." The chorus say "Mejor quedate callao si vas a hablar por los otros" (roughly:"it's better that you stay quiet if you're going to speak for us").

The hook uses a line from a voting campaign that Daddy Yankee was part of in January 2008 called "Voto o Quedate Callao" which translates to vote or shut up, or vote or be quiet.



Raquel Rivera, has written about the campaign and what it says to try and get the youth vote, so I urge people to look at her take over at Reggaetonica.

I think that SieteNueve's track is great and points to alot of the political reasons why people are bugging outover Daddy Yankee's endorsement of McCain. What I think is interesting is the use of the slogan "Voto o Quedate Callao" that Daddy helped popularize now being used to silence his (non) vote. The whole voto or quedate callao campaign basically said if you're not going to vote, or in this case you can't vote because of neocolonial law, then you have no right to voice your opinion. I think it is interesting and telling that SieteNueve's video ends with him saying "I endorse Don Pedro Albizu Campos," alluding to the fact the Daddy Yankee has no business voting for Obama or McCain, because the issue is still Puerto Rican independence and neither candidate is going to provide that.

*tip of the fitted cap to Angry Brown Butch and Vivir Latino

Speaking of Political Air Force Ones...



Fat Joe has his own pair of "Si Se Puede" Obama A1s.

If you all have seen political A1s as art or as accessory please send along some flicks.

Fat Joe to Daddy Yankee, "Debate!"

In response to Fat Joe's allegations of selling out Daddy Yankee stands by his decision to endorse John McCain.

Daddy Yankee told the New York Post:

McCain is the kind of man whose promises you can actually believe in. I’ll support him till the end. I don’t care who I piss off. This is about my ideals, not about making friends. Senator McCain is the kind of man whose promises you can actually believe in.” Yo soy un amigo de McCain hasta la muerte.”

Fat Joe of course could not just let DY just explain his political choice without a fight. Joey Crack has now officially challenged El Cangri to a political debate (I would actually pay good money to see something like that go down). According to Joe,"If he debates me about politics he’ll never talk another word about a politician for the rest of his life."

Damn.

DY isn't taking the bait though, in an interview with MTV News when asked about Fat Joe's challenge he said:

Look, I’m not a politician. I am a man with ideals, and I think that el Senador McCain is the best candidate. I asked el senador point-blank about whether or not he will seriously help Puerto Rico and our veterans here, and he said, ‘Yes. You endorse me, and I will do it.’ I believe he will back up his word.

Whether you agree with El Cangri or not, por lo meno he's a man of his word.

*Tip of the fitted cap to Blogamole

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tina Fey as Sarah Palin on SNL

Equus. Go see it.

Peter Shaffer's celebrated and controversial play Equus has come to Broadway's Broadhurst Theater. The show is currently in previews and officially opens on September 25th for a limited engagement through February 8 2009. I just saw it this Saturday and urge you to see it and not just so that you can get a glimpse at a naked Daniel Radcliffe. There was definitely a contingient of young ladies and gentlemen who shelled out a hefty sum to see Daniel Radcliffe in the buff, but be forewarned the security is no joke. If you're going to be a gawker and try and snap a picture be prepared to get tackled and have your camera confiscated.

No doubt most people have heard that Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame is playing the lead, a disturbed young man who blinds six horses in a fit of misguided religious and sexual frustration. No doubt most people have also heard that he runs around naked as the day he was born for a good two minutes. I was expecting Equus to be little more than a spectical, but it was actually quite good.

Quick plot summary: Radcliffe plays Alan Strang a 17 year old stable hand who is court ordered to see a psychiatrist after blinding six horses with a hot pick. The entirely of the play revolves around Alan's reconstruction of the events that led up to the blinding. Through his sessions with Dr. Dysart we learn that Alan has constructed a theology that revolves around horses, the god figure being "Equus" (the Latin for horse). Alan's religious worship of horses becomes sexual and interrups his sexual experience with a female character. His feeling of impotance, confusion, and shame is what drives him to the disturbing act of violence against the horses.

At times the play felt dated (it was originally written in 1973 and is very loosely based on an actual case of a 17-year old blinding horses in London), but overall I think there were very powerful moments in the play. I also felt that Equus asks the audience a lot of provoking and difficult questions. The play had some very interesting things to say around issues of secularism and religiosity, but I was really struck by the way that the play troubled the relationship between humans and animals, particularly around issues of hierarchy and intimacy. I kept thinking about the work Donna J. Haraway is doing in the area of "posthumanities" around interspecies companionship and encounters. While Equus presents a troubling extreme, the question is still provacative in terms of the kinds of non-normative relationships that develop between humans and animals.

Get tickets. Go.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Battle of the Political Air Force One's

Last year Puerto Rican artist Miguel Luciano created a pair of Nike Air Force Ones with the image of Filiberto Ojeda Rios, head of the Puerto Rican Indepencence group Los Macheteros.




Filiberto was murded by the FBI in his home. Miguel Luciano's piece wanted to explore the way that Filiberto had been commodified as a slain revolutionary (similar to the way that Che is commodified on t-shirts) and created these sneakers. The sneakers garnered some mixed feelings (check out Raquel Z. Rivera's amazing piece about the tensions these sneakers bring up at Reggaetonica and here).

Well now the battle of the political A1's on!

Artist Jimm Lasser recently opened his exhibition in New York, with Obama as the theme of the exhibit. "The Obama Force One" is one of the most interesting pieces in the show, with graphics of Obama engraved onto the sole.



What do you all think? Interesting comments on the commidification of "leaders" or just plain commodity?

Kanye West "Love Lockdown" Studio Version

Thankfully, the studio version of "Love Lockdown," which Kanye performed at the VMA has auto-tune via the t-pain machine. Kanye put the studio version on his blog and you can access it here. But what's good with the hook? On the VMA's he damn near screamed the hook and dispite it being off tune it was still powerful, on the studio version it gets lost in the beat. Although the heartbeat backbeat is great. What do you all think? Hit or miss?

New Disney Movie: Hockey Mom for President!



I have never heard Matt Damon sound so smart but the man clearly has more sense than the RNC. He's right, I feel like the coverage on Palin is totally like some Mighty Ducks underdog story arc. I never thought I would say this but perhaps we need to all step back for a moment and listen to Matt Damon's wisdom.

*tip of the fitted cap to Guanabee

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Latin Jazz Stamp

In honor of "Hispanic Heritage Month" the postal service released a stamp celebrating Latin Jazz

With the issuance of the Latin Jazz stamp, the United States Postal Service® celebrates the rich musical heritage of the United States of America. The stamp features a bold, graphic design by San Francisco–based artist and Latin jazz fan Michael Bartalos of San Francisco, California. The design conveys the multicultural aspects of the music, its percussive and improvisational nature, and its rhythmic complexity.


Whatever, I'm gonna be waiting on that Arturo Sandoval or Tito Puente stamp, not some cartoon.

Kanye West "Love Lockdown" @ the VMAs


Michael Moore's Slacker Uprising

"This is being done entirely as a gift to my fans. The only return any of us are hoping for is the largest turnout of young voters ever at the polls in November." – Michael Moore

Slacker Uprising documents Moore's 62-city tour of key swing states during the 2004 presidential election, when he tried to convince young non-voters to give voting a shot. He got in trouble for giving out ramen noodles to college kids and accused of bribery by the Republican Party.



Michael Moore’s latest documentary to be available for free download on September 23.

Source: Slacker Uprising

Monday, September 8, 2008

Calle 13's Tr3sPass Tour

Get your tickets for the MTV Tr3s “Tr3sPass” Tour with Calle 13 f/Kinky.

The concert will be promoting the boricua duos latest cd “Los De Atras Vienen Conmigo, which is set to drop on Oct. 7th.

The tour kicks off in NYC, but is hitting a few other major cities as well. Check out the dates and locations...

Oct. 9- Nokia Theatre New York, NY
Oct. 11 - La Covacha Miami, FL
Oct. 30 - Volcan Chicago, IL
Oct. 31- Warehouse Houston, TX
Nov. 14 - Regency Ballroom San Franscisco, CA
Nov. 15 - Club Nokia Los Angeles, CA

Tickets are available through ticketmaster and selling out quick. I have my tickets, do you?

Friday, September 5, 2008

McCain's VP Pick : Palin and the Politica and Privilege of White Woman'hood/ Mommy'Hood

by Maegan "la Mamita Mala" Ortiz, originally published at Vivir Latino

Last night, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin accepted the nomination to the vice-presidency at the Republican National Convention.

Originally the buzz about Palin, focused on her having a vagina. Her presence was analyzed as a calculated McCain strategy to lure disgruntled, hard core Hillary Clinton supporters.

Then the shift went internal, to her uterus, her identity as a mother to five, the youngest with some form of developmental delay, and a 17 year old daughter, unmarried and pregnant.

So what does this Palin parranda of information and analysis mean to mamis of color, Latina mamis like me? Not surprisingly, nada.


Sarah Palin wants to put herself out there as "every woman". She wants to be seen as “just your average hockey mom”, and other mommies see themselves and their reality reflected through Palin, except, mamis of color, that is.

The talk returns to mommy wars, not mami wars, because the entire conversation excludes Latinas and other moms of color. We are not even soldiers. Even for so called progressive white feminist, the war is fought by them and maybe, if mamis like me are lucky, we'll reap some benefit. When I was a pregnant teenager, in a Latin American country where abortion was and still is illegal(Chile), there was no opting out of pregnancy or working. Which is why the debate of how Palin could go back to work after having a baby with special needs or how a pregnant unmarried teenage daughter is being used, feels like a sideshow with little significance in reality. The politics of choice is being raised, with the emergence of a woman who is anti-choice, even in cases of rape or incest and with no talk of how for women of color, choice goes beyond an abortion and means the very right to have children (forget 5!) Imaginate if Michelle Obama had five children? Imaginate if one of the Obama children were older and pregnant? Imagine the hate and stereotypes that would be unleashed? Oh wait, I don't have to imagine, as a single mami of color, I live it. Palin's large brood isn't seen as a strain on the system. They are a beautiful portrait of an "American" family making every other family, families like mine, ugly.

And let's talk about the perceived double standard, that if a man had five children no one would be making a big deal of it, that men are held to a different standard, as stated in the video above. Claro if you take race out of the picture, it's easy to follow along, pero if Obama was the father to five instead of two children, you don't think the media and politicos would be making all sorts of references to black men and their hyper-sexuality? Or black men and responsibility? I hear no one telling Palin's husband to put on a damn condom.

Just as many of women of color couldn't get behind Clinton and her campaign because of racist attacks on Barack Obama, attacks that asked women of color to choose a candidate based not on a complex and painful history and reality, but rather because of perceived shared genitalia. Palin positions herself as continuing Clinton's struggle, as continuing the struggle set forth by Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to run as a vice-presidential candidate. Let's not forget that Ferraro called Obama "lucky" for being black. Is Palin then lucky for having five children, like my abuela did before being forcibly sterilized? You wanna talk about Palin's uterus or the uterus of her daughter? I want to talk about my abuela's uterus, how it's power was deemed dangerous because of it's power to bear brown Spanish speaking babies, my uterus and it's abortions, miscarriages, and pregnancies, violations upon it, the uterus of an immigrant woman being viewed as a weapon in a culture war and the need to put those immigrant women in chains as they push babies from them and the need the U.S. government has to separate mamis and babies and deport and dispose.

My uterus and my head is tired.

Sources of info and Ire/ The NYT, The Kitchen Table, Jack and Jill Politics, Culture Kitchen

Friday Swagger

Listen to the new T.I. single "Swagger Like Us" featuring Kanye West, Jay-z, and Lil Wayne. Its like the hip-hop superfriends over a M.I.A. sample. My favorite line is Jay-Z saying he can't wear skinny jeans because his knots won't fit. Good choice steering clear of those skinny jeans Jay.

Enjoy your weekend mi gente!

video

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Trig Palin and the Burden of Burden

I have been troubled recently by the discourse around Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin's four-month-old son Trig. Trig was born with Down Syndrome, and because of that Trig is quickly becoming political fodder. Trig is being used as a reason why Palin should run by the right and shouldn't run by the left.

According to pro-life christian conservatives Palin's decision to keep Trig "despite his condition" will reinvigorate the pro-life movement and add credibility to Palin's emphasis on family values. In a story from On Faith at the WashingtonPost.com Timothy Shriver argues that:

With the introduction of Governor Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) onto the national political scene, one thing is for sure: the pro-life/pro-choice divide is sure to become a significant issue in the coming election. We already know that John McCain is pro-life while Obama is pro-choice but there's a new factor: Trig Paxson Van Palin, the infant son of the governor, who has Down syndrome. Trig could be a game changer.

[...]

Such a candidate is bound to invigorate the pro-life movement. But if they respond in their usual Supreme Court-focused, judgmental fashion, it won't bring us any closer to reducing abortion in the United States. It hasn't yet, and there's no reason to think it will now. In the abortion debate, the law has proved a wholly ineffective strategy for promoting life.

What works?

Sarah Palin was not coerced into having Trig, she chose to have him. Therein lies the possibility of the moment.

Trig could be a high-profile example of how wonderful it can be to choose life, even in adversity, even when the conditions aren't perfect. After all, the conditions are never perfect, but the promise of a newborn baby is that God's love is. Somehow, despite everything, love is triumphant. The message: Love life. Choose life.


The other discourse surrounding Trig is whether he will prevent his mother from performing her duties as VP. Commentators (I'm thinking of a particular comment made on CNN) have wondered aloud how the mother of a child with down syndrome could do anything else other than raise that child (I think the reporter in question said a child with down syndrome is "an awful lot of work").

Although these are competing political discourses they both reinforce the hegemony of ableist normativity. Trig is rendered little more than a political pawn in these discussions and rarely is he discussed as a full human subject with all the dignity and rights that should be accorded to him as such. Trig is predictably reduced to the specter of the disabled burden (on society and on his mother). The idea that Trig could prevent his mother from gaining one of the most powerful positions in the country subjects Trig to others feelings of blame and resentment based on the idea that disabled individuals are inherently burdensome and completely incapable. It is never a question of how much attention and time infants in general demand, it is always a question of the demands that a disabled child places on a family. Trig remains only identifiable and conceptualized by his disability.

The pro-life argument also relies on the trope of the disabled as burden in order highlight Palin's moral superiority and thus her fitness for office. The argument acknowledges the trope of the disabled child as as burden and likens it to the biblical burden of the cross. Palin's choice is accorded an almost Christlike currency as she was aware of the burden but ultimately decides to do what was "moral."

I don't necessarily have any thoughts to conclude this besides saying this shit is messed up in on a lot of levels. Not only is it straight-up ablest, but its also an extremely sexist argument. If Palin's husband was running would he be subject to the same questions about his time and dedication to Trig? I also wonder if and how race fits into this. I haven't been able to concretely think about it and I'd be interested if anyone has any thoughts on the racial politics of how ableism is being deployed.

Ultimately, I am anxious to see if and how (dis)ability activists take up this discourse around Sarah and Trig Palin. Let me know your reactions and thoughts.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I Love Betty La Fea

I was on Guanabee this morning and was fascinated by a clip of a new "Betty La Fea" spin off "I ♥ Betty La Fea" a Filipino version of the popular Colombian telenovela.

Here are some teasers...

video

video

video

The show premiers September 8th on ABS-CBN and confirms our suspicion that Betty La Fea is indeed taking over the world.

The Reggaeton Newlyweds

Reggaetonero Don Omar and his wife Jackie Guerrido are in talks with an undisclosed television network to produce a reality show about their lives. Hopefully the show won't break them up like Nick and Jessica.

Source: Blogamole

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Andres Serrano's "Shit"

My favorite controversial Latino artist has outdone himself this time. His new show "Shit" opens at the Yvon Lambert gallery this Thursday, September 4th.

from the Yvon Lambert press release for "Shit":

Serrano’s work focuses on universal themes such as bodily fluids, religion, sex and death. In this new series he continues his investigation of bodily functions through color photographs of excrement produced by a motley of animals. The photographs are formally constructed and demonstrate Serrano’s considerable technical skill while analyzing subject matter that might make some viewers squeamish. The artist treats the feces to his familiar bright psychedelic backgrounds and titles that demonstrate his keen sense of humour. The photographs are simultaneously repellent and fascinating, allowing the viewer to inspect the manure without the deterrent of odor or other sensual aggravation.

Although the theme is considered taboo, excrement has a discernable documentation in the history of art. In 1961 Piero Manzoni’s unveiled his “Merda d’Artista” metal cans that supposedly contained the artist’s stool, priced according to weight. Karen Finley smeared herself with symbolic feces and even Andy Warhol was quoted in the National Review saying that he would like to market his own excrement as jewelry (he felt it was merely a matter of tasteful packaging).

Serrano does nonetheless confront the topic more directly than most. We recoil from his larger than life images of human and animal waste (an evolutionary and biological response to the diseases that are the consequence of bad sanitation. We are programmed to know this refuse is dangerous to handle or ingest). Once the viewer recovers from the initial shock of the images, they are left to curiously study this eccentric body of work. Who could have imagined that animals produce such an array of textures, shapes and color? Serrano gives us a selection of “shits” that he dubs Good Shit, Bad Shit, Bull Shit, Hieronymous Bosch shit, Romantic shit and Deep shit, humorous, insightful and often literal titles which further illustrate Serrano’s provocative point of view.

I would expect nothing less from the man who shook up the art world in 1987 with Piss Christ, an image of a plastic crucifix submerged in the artist's own urine. That photograph along with some of Robert Mapplethorp's s&m photos became fodder for the conservative right who wanted de-fund the NEA. Although his work is extremely controversial (his Klansman series comes to mind), Serrano has long been a beacon of artistic integrity and freedom (not to mention that he is a hell of a photographer).

The exhibition will open with a reception for the artist on September 4th from 6 to 8pm, and be on view from September 4th through October 4th, 2008. If you can't make it to the opening he'll be signing copies of the exhibition catalogue on Friday, September 5th from 3pm-5pm.

Andres Serrano: Shit
Yvon Lambert New York
550 W 21st St
New York, NY 10011
(212) 242-3611

For more information:
Yvon Lambert New York
Vulture
: ‘Piss Christ’ Photographer Andres Serrano Craps Out Some New Art
Village Voice: Andres Serrano's "Shit" Show

Junot Diaz @ Union Sq. Barnes & Noble September 4th

If you're in the city make sure to check out Junot Diaz's appearance at Barnes and Noble at Union Square this Thursday, September 4th. Diaz will be reading from his Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao.

Junot Diaz: Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao
September 04, 2008 @7:00 PM
Barnes & Noble Union Square
33 East 17th Street
212-253-0810