“Jennifer’s Butt” by Frances Negrón-Muntaner

Jennifer Lopez, Photo: Getty Images Frances Negrón-Muntaner talks about the way both Selena’s and Jennifer Lopez’s rear ends are viewed by fellow audiences under circumstances that feared the racialized body before popular culture decided that a massive gluteus was cinematically desirable.[1] Latin-American teenagers perceived the uncanny doubling of Selena and Jennifer Lopez as tethered to… Continue reading “Jennifer’s Butt” by Frances Negrón-Muntaner

The trouble with digitizing archives

Home occupied by General Lawton during his official residence in the islands: Malate, Manila—1899, Philippine Photographs Digital Archive, Special Collections Research Center, University of Michigan. There are several methods to organize documents. One of them asks what a document means; whether it is true, authentic or forged; whether it can be understood as a trace… Continue reading The trouble with digitizing archives

Professor Salamanca and the prospect of American Studies in the Philippines

Bonifacio Salamanca's profile in American Studies International. One of the articles I unearthed while researching for my literature review last semester was Professor Bonifacio Salamanca’s article on the attempt to institute a Department of American Studies at the University of the Philippines. Salamanca received his Ph.D. in American Studies in the early 1950s from Yale… Continue reading Professor Salamanca and the prospect of American Studies in the Philippines

Keywords: Visual and Archive

Taylor, John R. M. (Rodgers Meigs), Compilation of Philippine insurgent records by United States. Bureau of Insular Affairs (Washington: US Gov't Print off, 1903). In her book “Artful Science,” Barbara Maria Stafford, Professor of Art History at the University of Chicago, examines entertainment and educational materials to see how the visual component changed in the… Continue reading Keywords: Visual and Archive

Bauhaus in the Boondocks: Ideas for an Epilogue

Albers teaching a class at Yale in 1956 Or stuff that won't make the cut in my MFA Research Project at the School of Visual Arts in NYC I intend to follow some leads from Jacques Rancière’s Politics and Aesthetics (Verso, 2003) and his more specifically art critical Aisthesis: Scenes from the Aesthetic Regime of… Continue reading Bauhaus in the Boondocks: Ideas for an Epilogue

Resistant Spectatorship

Eva Noblezada as Kim, a 17-year old Vietnamese orphan, sings a wedding song for Chris, an American G.I. played by Alistair Brammer in the 2014 recording of the West end production Miss Saigon. Manthia Diawara’s critique of black characters in D.W. Griffin’s Birth of a Nation and Eddie Murphy’s cop movies serves as a template… Continue reading Resistant Spectatorship

Burke’s Sublime and the Beautiful

Edmund Burke's contrast of the beautiful and the sublime had some political consequences. In the short article below, I make an argument for the particular political importance of the aesthetic quality called "beauty," despite its devaluation in art criticism in the last several decades. A philosophical enquiry into the origin of our ideas of the… Continue reading Burke’s Sublime and the Beautiful

Indonesian Palaeography, A History of writing in Indonesia from the beginnings to 1500 AD

JG de Casparis, Indonesian Palaeography, A History of writing in Indonesia from the beginnings to c. AD 1500, Handbuch der Orientalistik, dritte Abteilung, vierter Band, erste Lieferung, Brill, Leiden-Kôln, 1975; 96 p., 10 plates. In '60s and '70s, several orientalists, mostly from Germanic countries, have undertaken, led by the senior leadership of Professor B. Spuler… Continue reading Indonesian Palaeography, A History of writing in Indonesia from the beginnings to 1500 AD

Sudden Death (Alvaro Enrigue, 2016)

A duel between Caravaggio and Quevedo, or how a tennis match connects worlds. Sudden Death by Álvaro Enrigue, Natasha Wimmer (Translator), Hardcover, 272 pages, Published February 9th 2016 by Riverhead Books (first published November 2013) Since when did people actually play tennis? And since when have tennis shoes been around, today the most socially acceptable and most… Continue reading Sudden Death (Alvaro Enrigue, 2016)

David Medalla (1938-2020)

David Medalla with a Cloud Canyons work at Cornwall Gardens, London, 1964. Image copyright Clay Parry, England & Co, London. Peripatetic Filipino artist David Medalla, a pioneer of kinetic sculpture and participatory art performance, died in Manila on Monday, December 28. He was 82. He developed an early reputation as a poet and wünderkind during… Continue reading David Medalla (1938-2020)

The Outsider Speaking for the Other

            A serial reading of Andre Breton, Sigmund Freud, Frantz Fanon, Rosalind Krauss and Hal Foster, might give the impression of a direct intellectual lineage. That’s not what I’m going to do here. I’d like to think of this as a commentary from the sidelines; of what would have been possible had these thinkers sat… Continue reading The Outsider Speaking for the Other

Three Painters from Bandung

Tondi Hasibuan Overly rigid attempts at comparisons to Picasso do not do justice to Tondi Hasibuan’s incredibly multifaceted work. The stylistic caesuras are too abrupt. Forms reminiscent of Picasso’s late period pieces are given a new lease on life with reinventions from the fund of the artists imagination. A Fine Arts Professor, Tondi Hasibuan’s ambivalent… Continue reading Three Painters from Bandung

A Thread out of the Labyrinth

According to an Athenian version of the Myth of Ariadne, when Minos attacked Athens after his son was killed, the Athenians negotiated for terms. They were required to sacrifice seven young men and seven maidens to the Minotaur every seven or nine years. One year, the sacrificial party included Theseus, the son of King Aegeus,… Continue reading A Thread out of the Labyrinth

The Myth of a Degree Zero Moment

Degree Zero: Drawing at Midcentury Photo: MoMA Degree Zero at MoMA provides counterpoints to the understanding of drawing’s role in post-war art. Gathering 75 works, made between 1948 and 1966, from Louise Bourgeois, Yayoi Kusama, Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollock, Alfredo Volpi, and many others, as well as recent acquisitions by artists such as Uche Okeke,… Continue reading The Myth of a Degree Zero Moment

The Tormented Square

Kazimir Malevich, Black Square, 1913. Kazimir Malevich was clear in his intentions to discover the “zero point” of painting; that is, painting that does not represent life outside its surface. He wanted to completely abandon depicting reality and instead invent a new world of shapes and forms. In his 1927 book The Non-Objective World, he… Continue reading The Tormented Square

Notable Lectures on Zoom

Le Massacre de Scio ("The Chios massacre") a painting (1824) by Eugène Delacroix depicting the massacre of Greeks on the island of Chios by Ottoman troops during the Greek War of Independence in 1822. Indonesia's Genocide: New Perspectives 55 Years On hosted by New York Southeast Asia Network, Oct 7, 2020, 8 PM EST I treat the study of… Continue reading Notable Lectures on Zoom

The Metamorphosis of Narcissus as a Great Artist

on Karl Ove Knausgaard's profile of Anselm Kiefer Anselm Kiefer in front of his work ‘Ages of the World’ (2014) I first saw Anselm Kiefer’s artwork as an art student in Berlin nine years ago. It was the same fighter plane made from sheets of lead described by Karl Ove Knaussgard in his New York… Continue reading The Metamorphosis of Narcissus as a Great Artist

Social Documents

Dorothea Lange, Outtake of "Human erosion in California" (Migrant Mother), 1936, International Center of Photography, NY A question of authenticity links the cases presented by Nicole Fleetwood, Leigh Raiford, and Sally Stein. They all compare and contrast photographers against their subject or with other photographers to emphasize the power of documentary interventions and mishaps in… Continue reading Social Documents

Hooded Trauma

On the offensive figures of Philip Guston The decision by four major museums to delay the retrospective of painter Philip Guston has generated renewed interest in his controversial life. Perhaps because he is still often ranked with American abstract expressionist painters that many were flustered when museum directors deemed his images unfit for public consumption,… Continue reading Hooded Trauma

Pushing against the roof of the world: ruangrupa’s prospects for documenta fifteen

President Sukarno, the first leader of Indonesia after it became a republic in 1945, inspects his troops. (Photo by Hulton-Deutsch/Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis via Getty Images) My latest article about ruangrupa on Third Text:http://thirdtext.org/cristobal-ruangrupa "A concern in many texts of Indonesian mythology is the need to raise the sky. This appears in myths from elsewhere, too, but… Continue reading Pushing against the roof of the world: ruangrupa’s prospects for documenta fifteen

The Manila Syndrome

Filipino labor importation and US Cold War Diplomacy Men wait on pier 40 to board the ship that will take them to Alaska. April 27, 1939. Courtesy Fred and Dorothy Cordova, National Pinoy Archive, Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) Copyright (c) reserved. A month after New York went into COVID-19 lockdown, one of my… Continue reading The Manila Syndrome

Visual Sovereignty and the Counter-archive

The dominance of official photography and the silencing effect of public history on indigenous groups have led First Peoples movements to establish “counter-archives'' presenting their visual sovereignty. Amy Lonetree recounts a powerful encounter with images taken by Charles Van Schaickof of her ancestors just a few short years after what she describes as, “the darkest,… Continue reading Visual Sovereignty and the Counter-archive

Notes on not publishing a book from a really extremist ultra-leftist

Guy Debord's Biography in 45 Notes Guy Louis Debord (/dəˈbɔːr/; French: [gi dəbɔʁ]; 28 December 1931 – 30 November 1994) Think of how your book would look if you published a book. If it looks anything like any other book, do not publish that book.If by some reason you think of a book that has… Continue reading Notes on not publishing a book from a really extremist ultra-leftist