Monday, September 28, 2009

Yinka Shonibare M.B.E.

I FINALLY made it over to the Brooklyn Museum to check out one of my favorite artists of all time- Yinka Shonibare M.B.E. First of all let me say he is baller. Secondly let me say his sense of humor is my favorite. Thirdly let me say my piece:
He plays with race in a way that is really interesting, and really intend the full use of the word play. Most of the time when an artist makes work about race, it centers around their personal story of being black, Asian, Indian, whatever- which I find really boring. I find art about one's personal experience (self portraits for example) at best trying because usually the artist has not given us, the viewers, enough information to access the work. We remain on the outside, and the artist sits atop his/her throne of superiority. Furthermore the work is often focused on an already exhausted idea. LOOK! Poor, starving Indian prostitutes and their kids in photographs! LOOK! Hip hop superstars living in their excessive excess! LOOK! The environment is crumbling and this bird won't make it through the next decade!

I'M BORED! Not to say I'm nihilistic, because I think all these things are incredibly important (not that I ever talk about it on the blog, but I'm a huge environmentalist) and I care about them like woah. Its just- lets talk about these things, lets have an open dialogue, lets make change, make it happen. Or perhaps art is a way to positively affect our global issues also, I just don't appreciate it as art. Kapesche? Yet, I digress...
So Yinka, darling, he makes this really interesting art, that is kinda almost about race, but also not at all. He's interested in the work on so many levels besides just the race card. Its a wholeistic view.
Let's take some Dutch wax fabric, lets take these Victorian era costumes, lets take the heads off these mannequins, I'm gonna be in these photos as a tribute to Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray, I'm going to make these characters perform sexually deviant acts, and I'm going to hide some kids inside of other rooms in the museum.

You're going to be completely absorbed by this video where real people (with heads) are dancing around in these amazing Dutch wax outfits. I'm going to have fun, you're going to have fun. We're going to have fun all together. "These famous intellectuals in my pieces are going to have fun." He knows what he's referencing but that doesn't' mean I have to know what he's referencing to have a great time with his work, not just great as in "I like to have fun" but as in hey, that stimulated my brainz; or hey, I feel inspired to make something when I get home; or hey, DANCE PARTY! Needless to say, it was a breath of fresh air. Olafur, I still love you, but Yinka is joining your ranks. Watch yer back!

No comments: