Walking Mural, 1972
Currently being exhibited at Nottingham Contemporary is the exciting new exhibition about Asco, a group of performance artists based in Los Angeles in the early 1970s.
Asco (1972–1987) began as a tight-knit core group of artists from East Los Angeles composed of Harry Gamboa Jr., Gronk, Willie Herrón, and Patssi Valdez. Taking their name from the forceful Spanish word for disgust and nausea, Asco used performance, public art, and multimedia to respond to social and political turbulence in Los Angeles and beyond.
They emerged from the Chicano civil rights movement of the late 60s and early 70s, which fought labour exploitation, the Vietnam draft, police brutality, and other forms of discrimination and deprivation.
Their work had a low budget look reflecting their circumstances – Gronk called it aesthetics of poverty. In the 70s, a Chicano artist was expected to paint murals – the Chicano Movement borrowed from the Mexican political mural tradition of the early 20th century. While sharing the Movement’s opposition to racial discrimination, Asco were also determined to free themselves from the straightjacket of muralism. They sometimes did this by parodying it. Examples of this include the pieces Walking Mural and Instant Mural which were outrageous street performances rather than paintings on walls.
Asco’s performances in and around East LA resembled scenes from movies that were never made – or fashion shoots, or promotional images of rock bands. They called some of these No Movies. Made in the shadow of Hollywood, yet in a community ghettoised from the wider metropolis, Harry Gamboa Jr’s photographs of Asco’s performances anticipate the staged photography of Cindy Sherman, Jeff Walls and other major figures in postmodern art working with photography. The imagery they used was linked to fantasy and fiction, Asco retained a dangerous political edge. Their actions were made without notice or permission in a public sphere fraught with political tension and police curfews. Some were made at sites where a violent incident had taken place the previous day – the site of a gang conflict or the fatal shooting of demonstrators by the Los Angeles Police Department.
This exhibition builds on Asco’s acclaimed retrospective, Elite of the Obscure, at Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Williams College Museum of Art in 2011-12, curated by Rita Gonzalez and Ondine Chavoya. It will later travel to de Appel in Amsterdam and CAPC in Bordeaux.
The exhibition will run until the 5th of January. Find out more here
Regeneración 2, no. 4, 1974 – 75, p.31, drawing by Patssi Valdez. Courtesy of the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Library
A fascinating two day symposium to accompany the exhibition discussing the meaning of disgust across a range of practices, including art, literature, film and popular culture, activism, spatial practice and performance, from the twentieth century to the present day took place in November which can be watched on Youtube below. Taking part in the exhibition included Sang Bleu 6 contributor Dominic Johnson, Elizabeth Boa; Wayne Burrows; C. Ondine Chavoya; Harriet Curtis; Kirsten Forkert; Craig Fisher; Andrés David Montenegro Rosero; Marie Thompson and Myfanwyn Ryan.
Alexei Kirillovich Kuznetsov was born on February 13th 1845 in Kherson in a family of merchants. After a primary education the district school, Kuznetsov graduated from the Moscow Commercial College. He then went on to study at the Petrovsky Agricultural and Forestry Academy.
After taking part in the riots of “Nechayev” case in January 1870 Kuznetsov was arrested and imprisoned in the Peter and Paul Fortress, and in July 1871 he was sentenced for “participation in an illegal community which aim was to change the existing government system of Russia.” Also Alexei Kirillovich was one of the suspects in the murder of student I.I. Ivanov. The most interesting fact of this is that this brutal murder committed in 1869 by a secret revolutionary society called “Narodnaya Rasprava” (“Народная Расправа” or “People’s Reprisal”) headed by Sergey Nechayev became the basis for Fyodor Dostoyevsky novel “Demons” which brought him the reputation of a progressive mind.
Kuznetsov was convicted and sentenced to deprivation of all property rights, with a deportation on a penal servitude in the fortress for ten years, and a permanent exile in Siberia. In June 1873, he arrived at the Kara river.
After serving six years in the Kara hard labor, he was allowed to settle in Nerchinsk, where he started his enlightenment activities.
Besides local history, geographical studies and museum works, Alexei Kirillovich was highly interested in photography.
Here are some pictures taken by him in the camp near the Russian-Chinese border, which illustrate the prisoners and hard labor life in the Far East of Russia.
On these pictures we can see two types of stigmatizings of the time:
1. According to the “Penal Code” of 1845 it was necessary to put the letter “К” on the forehead, the letter “А” on the right cheek, while on the left – the letter “Т” (first three letters of “каторжник” which means “convict”). Stigmatizing was an action directed to the prisoners sentenced to penal servitude. This human branding followed the flogging, also performed publicly by the executioner.
2. By the Ukase of 21 July 1845 it was provided for each escaped convict to put on his right arm below the elbow, and a shoulder blade the stigmas with the letters “СБ” or “СК” (acronyms for “СсыльноБеглый”, “СсыльноКаторжный” which both indicate a convict’s attempt to escape) and for each new escape, the new stigma should be placed right down on the arm and a shoulder blade.
In 1905, Kuznetsov appears again in the fire of the revolutionary events. He was one of the leaders of the so-called “Chita Republic” dictatory, and belonged to the Esers (members of Socialist Revolutionary Party) . A drumhead court martial sentenced him to death by hanging, which unexpectedly (by the request of the Russian Geographical Society) was replaced by a ten-year hard labor. He served these days in Akatuy katorga. In 1908, sick and feeble Kuznetsov was sent to an exile in Yakutia, where he eventually opened his third local history museum.
In 1913, he received the permission to return to Chita, where he continued his artistic and scientific researches.
Alexei Kirillovich Kuznetsov died in 1928 in Moscow, leaving 11 photographic albums and imposing mineralogical and archaeological collections.
Christian Ferretti’s Grillz – Interview Magazine
An ancient Chinese word has made a recent resurgence across the world thanks to the increasingly open nature of communication of internet users. The word, tuhao, whose most appropriate English parallel would be a kind of “nouveu niche‘ (ironically itself adopted), is being utilized to characterize an extreme monetary decadence to the detriment of social sophistication – tacky glamour.
In a society driven by a complex network of social standards and cultural conventions, the word accumulated negative connotations up to its fading in the 30s, where it came to reflect an aggressive dominance by those in power. Now, coming to mean the acquisition of wealth within one’s own generation, or faster, tied to an implication of coming from poverty or at least a lower social position, the word is being used as a means of cultural sabotage by those less affluent who have used the internet as a platform to incite a kind of linguistic ammunition.
Kim Kardashian in CR Fashion Book
The resurgence apparently originates through the Chinese speaking video gamers who re-appropriated the word in the context of their virtual world to describe how characters in games are rewarded with ‘bling’, projecting onto the word a specific and widely negative representation of the actions of the newly wealthy class.
Now used on average 1 million times a day across social media, having had such a huge impact that the word’s inclusion in next year’s release of the Oxford English Dictionary is being discussed, its widespread use opens up a wider discussion, not just about language, but the future of culture. This almost instant global communication allowing for the development of a shared culture as a result of our knowledge surpassing our individual means, and when these cultural influences have the ability to infiltrate every societal level in any given locality.
Gold tuhao iphone
Throughout history, geometry has been employed symbolically in religious architecture to cause spiritual effect. Sacred Geometry, specifically the circle and the square, was used prevalently in Italian High Renaissance architecture to designate a house of God. Yet attempts by the architects of the era to build churches in pure sacred form were thwarted by the functional requirements of the church. What would have been the spiritual effect of these places of worship, and was the church intentionally curtailing the power a sacred geometrical space could wield?
Italian architect Donato Bramante (1444-1514), Papal Architect for Pope Julius II, is known to have shared many ideas about geometry and construction with Leonardo DaVinci while both were working in Milan at the end of the 15th century. Both men were highly influenced by ancient Greece and Rome, specifically the writer Vitruvius, prescriber of proportion, and the work of Leon Battista Alberti, a writer and architect who preceded Bramante and Leonardo.
Leonardo’s drawing of the Vitruvian Man demonstrates the Greek sacred mathematical influence while illustrating the Christian ideal of man created in the image of God. The Vitruvian Man was the diagram, instructing builders of religious architecture that the ideal sacred form was to be a circle or square. Thus through its architectural form, a building became the house of God. This diagram however, has no real mention of the experiential effect of a worshipper praying inside of that building.
Bramante’s buildings in Milan show Vitruvian influence, especially in plan. The use of sacred geometry is not pure; instead composites of circles and squares overlap to form the church plans. The spatial conglomeration of the composite creates its own effect, but it is surely not the same as it would be if it were pure sacred geometry.
The sacred diagram is exemplified in Bramante’s Tempietto, a commemorative martyrium in the courtyard of The Church of San Pietro in Montorio in Rome, from approximately 1502. The Tempietto is perfectly circular in plan and the proportions of the dome in elevation hold both the sacred square and circle. The Tempietto is the purest example of sacred geometry of the High Renaissance, even though it is only a small commemorative structure, not a church, diminishing the potential spiritual effect.
Bramante additionally designed a spiral connecting stair for the Pope on Vatican grounds in 1512. The stair plan is arranged in the same sacred circle as the Tempietto, but the elevation is pulled into a helix. Traveling that many stories alone via a tightly enclosed, spirally ramp would seemingly promote meditative contemplation. Could the circumambulatory journey cause a God connection for the user and how related to Bramante’s use of the pure sacred circular form is that effect?
Bramante and Julius II began to design the reconstruction of St. Peter’s Basilica in sacred symmetry. The square plan considers how processions had become an integral part of Catholic worship at the time, the form of the Basilica divides into quadrants separated by four processional naves to form a Greek Cross in plan. The central meeting point of the naves forms a circle, where a dome would have enclosed and elevated the space. This plan is as egalitarian as it is sacred, yet the processional requirement of the church, like in the Basilica being replaced, demanded more focus on the Pope-led ceremony. With the addition of an axial nave to the design long after Bramante’s death in the end of the 16th century, the reconstruction of St. Peter’s Basilica exists today as yet another composite.
Here the power of church’s influence, masked in the pragmatism of a ritual, conflicted with the Basilica becoming a veritable expression of God, according to the Vitruvian diagram. Had the Basilica been rebuilt with non-composite sacred geometry, the architecture could have focused less on the Papal ceremony and more on the individual God connection through the pure form. The final non-sacred arrangement of the Basilica surfaces deep questions about whether or not there is holistic energy embodied within pure geometry that would affect the individual spiritually. Yet this would mean an end to the requirement of the Pope’s leadership in order to spiritually connect to God, perhaps even questioning whether a Basilica, sacred in geometry or not, was even required for prayer.
List of Figures
Figure 01: Spatial organization and pilaster location according to Serlio’s Plan of the Tempietto. Brusci, Arnaldo. Bramante. Thames and Hudson, London 1973. Page 241.
Figure 02: The Circular Temple According to Vitruvius. + Temple of Tivoli. Vitruvius. Ten Books on Architecture.
Figure 03: Alberti, Leon Battista. San Sebastiano Church, Mantua. Plans. 1460.
Figure 04: MS 2037 folio 5. Leonardo da Vinci. Codex Ashburnham.
Figure 05: Bramante’s proposed site plans for the Tempietto. Brusci, Arnaldo. Bramante. Thames and Hudson, London 1973. Page 238.
Figure 06: Tempietto Plan and Elevation Diagram. Fletcher, Rachel. www.infinitemeasure.com.
Figure 07: Paul Marie Letarouilly: cross sections and plans of Bramante’s spiral staircase, in Le Vatican et la basilique de Saint-Pierre de Rome, Paris 1882, II.
Figure 08: Sketch for the urban planning of St. Peter’s, attributed to Bramante (Firenze, Uffizi, Arch. 104) and project development of the urban planning of St. Peters, attributed to perhaps Bramante and Peruzzi (Upperville, USA, coll. Mellon.).
Figure 09: Plan Drawing of four architect’s projects for St. Peter’s Basilica: (A) Bramante, 1506; (B) Peruzzi, ca. 1520; (C) Antonio da Sangallo the Younger; (D) Michaelangelo, 1546.
Figure 10: St. Peter’s Dome from Bramante’s design (S. Serlio, Lib. III, c. 66r-v).
Today marks the passing since ManWoman’s death a year ago. To commemorate this November the 13th has been declared ‘Reclaim the Swastika Day’. A Facebook event for this occasion has described today as:
‘A worldwide event on the first anniversary of ManWoman’s passing – the 13th of November 2013 – to spread knowledge and appreciation of the gentle swastika.
Open shops and give away tattoos, scars and/or brandings of Swastikas for free and use this opportunity to educate people about the origins and true meaning of the Swastika.
For artist and people who like to join this event please confirm here in which way you want to participate
Please note that “Learn to love the Swastika” is a group compiled of tattooists, body modifiers, designers, writers and Swastika educators. There is absolutely no religion or worship involved – only cultural awareness. ‘
Alex Binnie will be hand poking swastika’s in memory of ManWoman from 12pm at Into You in London tomorrow where you can find out more information here.
All images have been taken from the Facebook event page which have been added by various Facebook members from about the world. You can join the event here where you can find out about other events to commemorate this day from all around the world.
I’ve known for a while that my aunt, Marcia Tucker, was extremely active in theorizing tattoos in the 1970s. I (obviously) wasn’t alive then, but I remember her showing me some of her tattoos when I was little: a snake coiled around an egg on her ankle and a vine wrapped around her torso, to name two. I recently happened upon a bunch of tattoo slides from 1975, all shot by my dad, Warren Silverman, of Marcia hanging out in tattoo shops with a bunch of close-ups of eagle chest pieces, dragons cascading down backs and legs, and tons of archival flash. I’m hoping to delve more fully into the family archives soon, but until then, here is a scan of an article Marcia wrote for Artforum in 1981 about the state of tattooing. Some lines feel a bit dated 35 years later, but the publication of a piece of tattooing in a “fine art” magazine, looking back, seems very prescient. Some mainstream publications are only now beginning to catch on…
Jack W. Groves was born in 1925 of British descent. During the late 1940s and early 1950s, Groves visited Apia, Samoa, creating an extensive collection of drawings depicting tattoos he had seen on the Samoan population
Now part of the British Museum’s collection, Groves’s drawings offer a unique insight mid 20th century tattoo practices in Samoa. The British Museum’s online collection holds 56 examples of Groves’s drawings, primarily illustrations of tribal tattooing on Samoan men (of the 56 drawings, only 2 are of women’s tattoos). One interesting feature worth noting is the appearance of distinctly Western motifs, which are in one instance applied alongside traditional tribal tattoos.
For more images and information see the British Museum’s online collection here.
“Drawing; image of a Samoan tattoo. 1940s-1950s.Pigment ink.”
“Drawing; three views of a section of Tafao’s leg, from the front, back and side, showing tattoos. May 1949. Pigment ink and watercolour.”
“Drawing; image of a section of the top half of a female leg and female genitals, showing tattoos. May 1951.Graphite.”
“Drawing; image of a male torso and legs; from the front, and from the back showing tattoos. January 1952. Pigment ink and watercolour.”
“Drawing; image of eighteen Samoan tattoos. 1940s-1950s. Pigment ink.”