OMG!!! I FORGET PEOPLE DON’T KNOW THIS!
Yes, all those aloof, “pure” white statues from Ancient Greece?
They actually looked like this:
Vinzenz Brinkmann, much to the apparent chagrin of Westerners everywhere, used ultraviolet light to reveal the original paint schemes of these statues that the millennia had washed away.
And to underscore the Chromophobia?
I always love seeing this fact pop up. Yeah, what we thought was the ancients just being really cool and aesthetic was actually the gaudy colors fading away over time. It’s like when people think that old houses were built better than they are now, when it’s really just that the shitty houses all fell down already.
Ummmm but the problem is not so much that they weren’t being “cool and aesthetic”; it’s that this entire western concept of aesthetics is built on a mistake.
fittingly, I was just reading this:
The Parthenon marbles Elgin took to Britain do consist of marble, but a darkly pitted Greek marble rather than the smooth, snowy white variety more common in Italy. Here lay an aesthetic problem: whiteness versus color. The alarming history of European marble “cleaning” includes a chapter on this statuary describing a drive to make ancient Greek art white that nearly destroyed the art itself. In the 1930s workers in the British Museum were directed to remove the dark patina with metal tools on the mistaken assumption that their proper color should be white. Such a “cleaning” seriously damaged the Parthenon marbles, prompting an inquiry by the museum’s standing committee that halted the work.
—Nell Irvin Painter, The History of White People, page 63
It’s particularly obnoxious given the claims by so many British people that the marbles had to be removed to Britain in order to protect them.
The bold: People should really know about that, too.
And yes, it is connected with this article about Chromophobia and colonialism
which is also connected to the Reformation.
Especially if you think about (at least in an American context) the way that Catholicism has been, to a large degree, racialized. And how the Catholic Mass and other traditions came to be associated with licentiousness and was condemned for its use of decoration (aside form legitimate gripes with corruption).
see also: Calvinist Iconoclasm:
In the summer of 1566, spurred on by the sermons of Calvinist preachers, zealous mobs descended on churches in the Netherlands, intent on ridding them entirely of their imagery. Many churches were literally white-washed.
All of these things are connected.
reblogging for someone who recently asked about this.
Someone also asked about over-cleaning or modifications made to various Greek and roman works in European Possession.
In 2005, I began school as a hopeful illustration major at the Maryland Institute College of Art. I was once of very few students of color in a school populated by upper-middle class white students located in the heart of a poor Black city. I encountered racism at every turn, especially in my illustration class in particular. There was one student who was regularly bringing in racist caricatures of people of color and calling it art. When I tried to speak to the professor about it, she had a hard time understanding the racist nature of the illustrations. When I spelled it out for her, she replied, “I see what you’re saying, but I really feel it’s a kind of ‘benign racism.’ I mean, it’s not like he’s part of a hate group or something.”
I realized that as a woman of color in an institution that refused to see racism (and it’s inherently non-benign nature) I would be fighting an exhausting uphill battle all four years I had planned to spend there.
I went to the Office of Multicultural and International Student Affairs to speak to their the school’s one staff member assigned to deal with “race issues.” She seemed extremely confused by my presence in her office, perhaps because she thought I was white. She talked over me as a tried to tell my story, repeated everything I said back to me in a dubious tone, and could not understand why I was so upset by racism. When I finally explained that my dad was black and my mom was white, something seemed to click for her. Her response? To suggest I check out a Black Student Union meeting. “We have students from Africa, Venezuela, we even have one student that’s just like you!” I left her office in tears.
The only person that helped me deal with racism at MICA was the person whose job it was to convince me not to leave. He didn’t try to convince me to stay, he didn’t even make me recount my experience of racism at MICA as justification for why I wanted to leave. He just let me go. That was the biggest favor any one could have given me at the time, not having to explain racism to one more person on my way out.
Since leaving MICA, I have transferred and completed my BA in Ethnic Studies. I have had the privilege of graduating from an institution where I did not have to explain racism, and was surrounded by other politically astute students and faculty of color, who accepted me and my stories without question.
But as I begin to re-enter art-making spaces, I am remembering that the arts can be a hostile place for women of color, and queer women of color in particular. If you want to talk about racism, transphobia, or anything of substance, it will be an uphill battle. People will tell you it won’t sell, it’s a “niche” market, that people want art to entertain them, not challenge them. It is these kinds of messages that make it so women of color in the arts become disheartened and give up, and their stories don’t get heard. I think this is why it is all the more important that I pursue my dreams of becoming a political queer woman of color film-maker, so that our stories will no longer be suppressed, and that non-queer, non-female, non-people of color audiences can start to understand what it is we go through.
What is interesting, is that the Frida Kahlo venerated by American feminists is a very different Frida Kahlo to the one people learn about in Mexico, in the Chicano community. In her country, she is recognized as an important artist and a key figure in revolutionary politics of early 20th century Mexico. Her communist affiliations are made very clear. Her relationship with Trotsky is underscored. All her political activities with Diego Rivera are constantly emphasized. The connection between her art and her politics is always made. When Chicana artists became interested in Frida Kahlo in the ‘70s and started organizing homages, they made the connection between her artistic project and theirs because they too were searching for an aesthetic compliment to a political view that was radical and emancipatory. But when the Euro-American feminists latch onto Frida Kahlo in the early ‘80s and when the American mainstream caught on to her, she was transformed into a figure of suffering. I am very critical of that form of appropriation.
Coco Fusco on her Amerindians piece from 1992 with Guillermo Gómez-Peña (via mayalikeskafka)
This Sunday, down at TheExchange Minneapolis come and get yr nails done! All proceeds go directly to our girl. Check the event page out for some fabulous examples of the nail art!
please pass this around even if you cannot go.
Folks are asking: What’s next? How can we help CeCe? www.supportcece.wordpress.com Below are some solid ways to help CeCe while she serves her time in prison. Please spread the word, post and re-post. Don’t let the world forget about her, don’t let her be just another news story you read about once. She’s a human being who needs her community, she needs to know she’s still loved.
*Write letters & send books to CeCe in prison to show her yr love. https://www.facebook.com/notes/freecece-mcdonald/cece-admitted-to-st-cloud-send-her-mail-today/288290337933203
*Write letters to the editor asking them to write responsible articles about CeCe’s case. We NEED to keep her story in the news.
*Write yr own articles and blog post, post, re-post, forward, spread her story far and wide.
*Start a CeCe Support Committee in yr area! http://supportcece.wordpress.com/get-involved/start-a-support-committee/
*Organize a contingent in yr local PRIDE Parade to carry signs of support and hand out flyers telling folks about her case.
*Organize a fundraiser for CeCe. It cost a lot to survive in prison. She needs money for commissary, phone calls, writing materials and to fund trips for her family and supporters to visit her. She is also being forced to pay for her attackers funeral! Let’s not let her start her new life in debt to the state.
*Donate directly to her. This is a link to the only official CeCe McDonald donation site. (Or you can go to her website & there’s a link there. www.supportcece.wordpress.com) https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_flow&SESSION=gyKH7WOoXPQWY58xoiixnUSfWU_e9_2o2I7bV4HbKOl__WRfyimqkoUlC6i&dispatch=5885d80a13c0db1f8e263663d3faee8d195a86f1d217942f7415cf1b2a661693
if the facebook link to the page about writing letters & sending books does not work, here are links to those pages on the wordpress blog:
[WARNING: the front page of the wordpress blog (www.supportcece.wordpress.com) has talk of racist/transmisogynist physical violence & slurs, as well as talk of abuse by police and the prison industrial complex.]