|2016 Art & Race Series|
January - October 2016
∞ mile in partnership with the University of Michigan Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design
2015 Art & Gentrification Series Conclusion + 2016 Art & Race Series Introduction
This, along with the increase of race-related police brutality throughout U.S. cities, along with an increasing loss of basic civil and human rights6 for many, sets the stage for what seems like a logical next step for infinite mile’s next series. Meanwhile, student protests at universities across the United States caused some universities to rename schools7 and dismantle monuments8 that partly commemorated the country’s racist history. Hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants face unjust immigration systems. With the current issues brought to the foray, art and race seemed the most relevant and critical topic for series number two.
Although not the only example of cultural appropriation, swagger-jacking is specific to the aesthetics of Detroit. The series hopes to look critically at the various forms of cultural appropriation.
For others, race is a given in every aspect of life and constituted by the biopolitical19. At some points, the lines between races blurs, causing the image of race to appear anything but permanent. This series seeks to show the changing faces of race.
More than answers, this series seeks to give nuance through a diversity of perspectives and understandings to the conversation with art and race continuing to change.
∞ mile and the University of Michigan Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design have partnered to publish a series of articles about art and race that will appear in the January - September issues of ∞ mile. The series invites a diverse group of contributors from multiple disciplines and locations to write on the subject, with specific attention paid to the role of art. The series organizers provided topic prompts and questions to invited writers but gave the writers autonomy to write on what they felt relevant. The articles could discuss art and race within and beyond Detroit.
1 In December 2014.
2 Aguilar, Louis and Christine MacDonald. “Detroit’s white population up after decades of decline”. The Detroit News. 17 September 2015.
3 I.e. private foundation grants; corporate relocations to Detroit; non-profit corporations such as Midtown Detroit Inc. and Downtown Detroit Partnership; for-profit financial institutions such as Quicken Loans, Rock Ventures and J. P. Morgan Chase; real-estate companies such as Olympia Development; and millions of U.S. Federal dollars for blight removal (Detroit received $50 million in December 2014, $21.2 million in October 2015 and $3.7 million in November 2015 from the U.S. Departmen of the Treasury's Hardest Hit Fund).
4 See Model D’s panel discussion at Carr Center in December 2011.
5 See "Gentrification Leaves Black Residents Behind" by Kimberly Hayes Taylor, 1 November 2015.
6 E.g. the killing of unarmed African Americans such as Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and Freddie Gray and the start of the Black Lives Matter movement.
7 Brait. “Princeton students demand removal of Woodrow Wilson’s name from buildings”. The Guardian. 23 November 2015.
8 Rosen. “University of Texas at Austin Moves Confederate Statue”. The New York Times. 30 August 2015.
9 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak writes: “[g]lobalization is achieved by the imposition of the same system of exchange everywhere. It is not too fanciful to say that, in the gridwork of electronic capital, we achieve something that resembles that abstract ball covered in latitudes and longitudes, cut by virtual lines--once the equator and the tropics, now drawn increasingly by other requirements--imperatives?--of Geographical Information Systems. The globe is on our computers. No one lives there; and we think that we can aim to control globality. The planet is in the species of alterity, belonging to another system; and yet we inhabit it on loan. It is not really amenable to a neat contrast with the globe. I cannot say “on the other hand.” (Spivak. “Imperative to Re-imagine the Planet” from An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization. 2012: p. 338).
10 “During the Great Leap Forward in the late 1950s, the Chinese Communist Party had a slogan: “Every county must have its museum, every commune its exhibition hall.” In 2002, the Chinese government rededicated itself to that ideal, when the State Administration of Cultural Heritage announced that the country would build one thousand museums by 2015. As improbably ambitious as that pronouncement might seem, it was in fact accomplished far ahead of schedule. By 2013, the country had already built almost fifteen hundred museums… And the building has continued apace… The CCP inherited just twenty-five public museums when it founded the People’s Republic in 1949.” (Wong. “Arresting Development: Winne Wong on China’s museum boom”. Artforum. November 2015 [Volume 54: No. 3]: p. 123).
11 Numerous Occupy Wall Street protests occupied the Guggenheim calling for better treatment of workers, rights to organize, a fund to settle all recruitment debts and a living wage (Sutton. “May Day Occupation at Guggenheim Closes Museum #GuggOccupied”. Hyperallergic. 1 May 2015). See also Batty and Carrick’s "In Abu Dhabi, they call it Happiness Island. But for the migrant workers, it is a place of misery" (The Guardian on 21 December 2015).
12 American Association of Museums. “The Museum Workforce in the United States (2009): A Data Snapshot from the American Association of Museums”. November 2011.
13 American Association of Museums. “Demographic Transformation and the Future of Museums”. 2010.
14 Now American Alliance of Museums.
15 Khan. “Set Strait”. infinite mile. issue 01: December 2013.
16 For example, in Lansing, Michigan: “district officials say cutting [art teachers ie art specialists] specialists was tough but necessary. The district’s enrollment is dwindling. State funding is down. And a lot of Lansing kids come from low-income families, making it tough to get big donations from the parent community....National arts groups use Lansing as example of what not to do. There are, however, plenty of educators and arts advocates who strenuously argue that these cuts are directly hurting the kids” (Wells. “After cutting arts teachers, schools adjust to new normal in Lansing”. Michigan Radio.org. 27 January 2014. Accessed 4 January 2016).
17 A roundtable with Helen Molesworth, Mike Essl, Jory Rabinovitz, Lee Relvas, Amanda Ross-Ho, Victoria Sobel, Frances Stark, A. L. Steiner and Charlie White with an introduction by Sarah Lehrer-Grawer discusses the cultural and economic divide between university administrators, students and faculty in “Class Dismissed: a Roundtable on Art School, USC, and Cooper Union” (Artforum, October 2015).
18 Al-Tawil. “Narrative Construction, Race and the Authentic Detroit”. infinite mile. Issue 14: February 2015.
19 In an interview with Jacques Rancière by Eric Alliez in March 2000, Rancière discusses the differences between biopolitics, a term he theorizes as synonymous with policing, and politics, a term he theorizes as the paradoxical relation between two different distributions of the sensible. Rancière writes: “[i]n Foucault’s ‘biopolitics’, the body in question is the body as object of power and, therefore, it is localized in the police distribution of bodies and their aggregations… It does not help to say that he used the terms biopolitics and biopower interchangeably, the point is that his conception of politics is constructed around the question of power, that he was never drawn theoretically to the question of political subjectivation” (Rancière. Dissensus: On Politics and Aesthetics. 2010: p. 93).
20 “Ethnic groups in Metro-Detroit”. Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_groups_in_Metro_Detroit. Accessed 9 January 2016.
21 Professional golfer Tiger Woods once said he is not just an African American, but, instead “Cabinasian”, “a portmanteau Caucasian, black, Indian and Asian”, on the Oprah Winfrey Show
("Woods stars on Oprah, says he's 'Cablinasian'". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Associated Press. April 23, 1997).
22 As an official measure of race in the United States, the Census’ classification of race has evolved quite significantly from the first census in 1790, which asked the number of White males, White females, other free persons, and slaves in the household. In 1850, the selection of color was designated as White, Black or Mulatto. After the Civil War, the 1870 census included White, Black, Mulatto, Chinese (which represented all East Asians) and Indian (Native American). Previously, Native Americans were potentially counted as other free persons, Mulatto, sometimes written in as “Ind.” The Census did not count “Indians not taxed” who were living on reservations or on frontier lands, “wild.” “Indians and the Census 1790 - 2010” Native Heritage Project. 14 May 2013. Accessed 9 January 2016. http://nativeheritageproject.com/2013/05/14/indians-and-the-census-1790-2010/
23 Wihad Al-Tawil writes:
Identity through art is no stranger to my personal experience as an Arab American. In the 1970s, my parents were involved in an artistic revolution in Baghdad, driven in part by the yearning for identity through the Mesopotamian cultural tradition of progress. After the first Gulf War, many Iraqis (and other Arabs) like my parents were displaced, either seeking refuge in America or stripped of the option to return to their homelands. This wave of Arabs to Detroit in the 1990s produced a community of displaced artists who, decades prior, revolutionized artistic expression during a cultural renaissance in Baghdad, and now, were grieving the potential loss of identity and the destruction of the world they had fought so hard to preserve. My father and many like him mourned Baghdad through art. Imagined landscapes mixed with purely Arab cultural cues filled every canvas. As a result, I understood art as the unequivocal reflection of self—and in turn, identity. For additional information read Sarah Cwiek’s “What explains Michigan’s large Arab-American community?” (Michigan Public Radio. 9 July 2014).
24 Sample Census Form D-61A. U.S. Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/dmd/www/pdf/d61a.pdf
Aguilar, Louis and Christine MacDonald. “Detroit’s white population up after decades of decline”. The Detroit News. 17 September 2015. http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/detroit-city/
Al-Tawil. “Narrative Construction, Race and the Authentic Detroit”. infinite mile. Issue 14: February 2015. http://infinitemiledetroit.com/
Ali, Syed. “Fast Gentrifying Neighborhoods, Slow Gentrifying Schools”. infinite mile. Issue 17: May 2015. http://infinitemiledetroit.com/Fast_gentrifying_
American Association of Museums. “Demographic Transformation and the Future of Museums”. 2010. Accessed 1 January 2016. http://www.aam-us.org/docs/center-for-the-future-of-museums/demotransaam2010.pdf
Arts Education Partnership. “State of the States 2015 Arts Education Policy Summary”. March 2015. http://www.aep-arts.org/wp-content/uploads/State-of-the-States-2015.pdf
Batty, David and Glenn Carrick. "In Abu Dhabi, they call it Happiness Island. But for the migrant workers, it is a place of misery". The Guardian. 1 December 2015. Accessed 1 January 2016. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/22/abu-dhabi-happiness-island-misery
Brait, Ellen. “Princeton students demand removal of Woodrow Wilson’s name from buildings”. The Guardian. 23 November 2015. http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/nov/23/princeton-woodrow-wilson-racism-students-remove-name
Cwiek, Sarah. “What explains Michigan’s large Arab-American community?” Michigan Public Radio. 9 July 2014. Accessed 1 January 2016. http://michiganradio.org/post/what-explains-michigans-large-arab-american-community#stream/0
Essle, Mike, Helen Molesworth, Jory Rabinovitz, Lee Relvas, Amanda Ross-Ho, Victoria Sobel, Frances Stark, A. L. Steiner and Charlie White (roundtable) with an introduction by Sarah Lehrer-Grawer. “Class Dismissed: a Roundtable on Art School, USC, and Cooper Union”. Artforum. October 2015. https://artforum.com/inprint/issue=201508&id=54967
Interboro Partners (project team: Tobias Armborst, Daniel D’Oca, Georgeen Theodore and Riley Gold) “Bill and The Metal Mill in Loopholeville: Scenarios for Industrial Development in Greenpoint / Williamsburg”. infinite mile. Issue 17: May 2015. http://infinitemiledetroit.com/Bill_and_The_Metal_Mill_in_Loopholeville,
Jacques, Panis. Lecture to the University of Michigan College of Engineering Center for Entrepreneurship. 13 March 2015.
Jestes, Roberta. “Indians and the Census 1790-2010”. Native Heritage Project. 14 May 2013. Accessed 1 January 2016. http://nativeheritageproject.com/2013/05/
Khan, Osman. “Set Strait”. infinite mile. Issue 01: December 2013. http://www.infinitemiledetroit.com/Set_Strait.html
Modrak, Rebekah. “Bougie Crap: Art, Design and Gentrification”. infinite mile. Issue 14: February 2015. http://infinitemiledetroit.com/Bougie_Crap_
Panel discussion on 14 December 2011 at the Carr Cultural Arts Center featuring speakers Kurt Metzger, Noah Stephens, Megan Elliott, Burney Johnson, Malik Goodwin, Larry Mongo, Lori Robinson and Lottie Spady and moderated by Jeff Wattrick. “Model D Speaker Series: Gentrification”. Model D. 29 November 2011. http://www.modeldmedia.com/features/gentrification1111.aspx
Rancière, Jacques. Dissensus: On Politics and Aesthetics. Edited and Translated by Steven Corcoran. Continuum: London and New York. 2010: p. 93
Rosen, Kenneth. “University of Texas at Austin Moves Confederate Statue”. The New York Times. 30 August 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/31/us/texas-university-moves-confederate-statue.html
Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. “Imperative to Re-imagine the Planet” from An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization. Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA and London, England. 2012: p. 338.
Sutton, Benjamin,. “May Day Occupation at Guggenheim Closes Museum #GuggOccupied”. Hyperallergic. 1 May 2015. Accessed 1 January 2016. http://hyperallergic.com/203794/breaking-may
Taylor, Kimberly Hayes. “Gentrification of Detroit Leaves Black-Owned Businesses Behind”. NBC News. 1 November 2015. Accessed 1 January 2016. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/gentrification-detroit-leaves-black-residents-behind-n412476
Wells, Kate. “After cutting arts teachers, schools adjust to new normal in Lansing”. Michigan Radio.org. 27 January 2014. Accessed 1/4/2016. http://michiganradio.org/post/after-cutting-arts-teachers-schools-adjust-new-normal-lansing#stream/0
Wong, Winnie. “Arresting Development: Winne Wong on China’s museum boom”. Artforum. November 2015 (Volume 54: No. 3): p. 123.
"Woods stars on Oprah, says he's 'Cablinasian'". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Associated Press. 23 April 1997. http://web.archive.org/web/20071212010355/