HUMANITIES

ARTICLE | The #MeToo Moment: Art Inspired by the Reckoning

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The first known feminist-art program in the United States was established in the fall of 1970 at the California Institute of the Arts. Judy Chicago (artist and educator) formed the art collective known as “Womanhouse” because, as she put it, “women artists were simply not taken seriously.”

Two decades later, the Guerrilla Girls forced attention to the fine art world’s gender and racial disparity with their gorilla masks and guerrilla-style stunts. (“Guerrilla Girls’ definition of a hypocrite?” read one poster. “An art collector who buys white male art at benefits for liberal causes, but never buys art by women or artists of color.”)

From Picasso’s Guernica — observed as a cry against the atrocities of the Spanish War — to the graffiti of the Arab Spring, social movements and injustice have long inspired art of all forms. The #MeToo Moment is no exception.

Explore works inspired by the #MeToo movement here.

SOURCE: The New York Times



ARTICLE | How the #MeToo Movement Helped Make New Charges Against Jeffrey Epstein Possible

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Federal prosecutors unveiled sex-trafficking charges against wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein on Monday (July 8, 2019), revisiting years-old allegations. But their announcement was quickly followed by questions about why prosecutors (led by then-U.S. Attorney, former-Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta) had treated Epstein leniently in the past and why it had taken so long to meaningfully target allegations of sexual misconduct that were long an open secret.

Victims’ advocates and legal experts say the #MeToo movement in the past two years has fueled cultural change, putting pressure on prosecutors to take action and creating public support for the sexual misconduct cases they pursue.

“While the charged conduct is from a number of years ago, it is still profoundly important to the many alleged victims, now young women,” Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said at a press conference announcing the charges on Monday. “They deserve their day in court, and we are proud to be standing up for them by bringing this indictment.”

Berman declined to comment on what led his office to revisit the allegations now, but he said prosecutors were “assisted by some excellent investigative journalism” — an apparent reference to a November 2018 story by the Miami Herald that found 80 women who said they were sexually abused by Epstein from 2001 to 2006. It sparked a public outcry over Epstein’s lenient 2007 plea deal from Florida prosecutors, who allowed the billionaire to avoid federal criminal charges, plead guilty to state charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution, register as a sex offender and serve 13 months in jail while being allowed to work in his office six days per week… more.

SOURCE: TIME



ARTICLE | New Jeffrey Epstein case: A crucial test of #MeToo's staying power

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The surprise arrest of billionaire Jeffrey Epstein on Saturday — and the revival of a decade-old case against him for sex trafficking — is a big story in its own right. That's both because of Epstein's own unbelievably sleazy profile, but also because it's possible that other men who have been shielded from justice may be exposed for participating in the sexual abuse of minors. But the social implications may be even larger.

The Epstein case is a real test over whether the #MeToo movement, an explosive period in which thousands of women stepped forward with stories of sexual harassment and abuse, was just a flash in the pan. Will we see long-term changes in how our society deals with powerful men who commit sexual abuse with little or fear of consequences? Or are we moving back toward business as usual and sweeping such things under the rug?

Read more here.

SOURCE: Salon



INTERVIEW | Alyssa Milano on the #MeToo movement: 'We're not going to stand for it any more'

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It was like any other day for Alyssa Milano, the American activist and actor, until she started getting ready for bed. While reading a flurry of articles about Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual assaults, her phone went off.

It was her friend Charles Clymer, who sent her a screenshot. It read: “Suggested by a friend: if all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”

“I thought, you know what? This is an amazing way to get some idea of the magnitude of how big this problem is,” said Milano over the phone from Los Angeles. “It was also a way to get the focus off these horrible men and to put the focus back on the victims and survivors.”

Milano added a sentence to her friend’s message before posting it on Twitter: “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted, write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.”

And she sent it out.

Read more here.

SOURCE: The Guardian



ARTICLE | The Woman Who Created #MeToo Long Before Hashtags

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In 1997, Tarana Burke sat across from a 13-year-old girl who had been sexually abused. The young girl was explaining her experience, and it left Ms. Burke speechless. That moment is where the Me Too campaign was born.

“I didn’t have a response or a way to help her in that moment, and I couldn’t even say ‘me too,’ ” Ms. Burke said.

“It really bothered me, and it sat in my spirit for a long time,” she added.

Ten years after that conversation, Ms. Burke created Just Be Inc., a nonprofit organization that helps victims of sexual harassment and assault. She sought out the resources that she had not found readily available to her 10 years before and committed herself to being there for people who had been abused.

And she gave her movement a name: Me Too.

On October 15, 2017, those two words burst into the spotlight of social media with #metoo, a hashtag promoted by the actress Alyssa Milano. Amid the firestorm that ignited, some women of color noted pointedly that the longtime effort by Ms. Burke, who is black, had not received support over the years from prominent white feminists… more.

SOURCE: The New York Times



BIOGRAPHY | Robert Schenkkan

Robert Schenkkan is a Pulitzer-prize winning, Tony Award-winning, Writer's Guild Award-winning, three-time Emmy nominated writer of Stage, Television, and Film. He is the author of fourteen original full-length plays (including WICA’s production of The Kentucky Cycle in 2010), two musicals, and a collection of one-act plays. He co-wrote the feature film, Hacksaw Ridge (six Academy Award nominations) and The Quiet American, and his television credits include: All the Way, The Pacific, The Andromeda Strain, and Spartacus.

Learn more about Robert Schenkkan here.

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ARTICLE | How Mark Rothko Unlocked the Emotional Power of Color

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“The name Mark Rothko is synonymous with sensitive canvases that feature arrangements of rectangular panes in vivid hues. The artist was a skilled colorist. The great joy of experiencing his paintings is looking at how the colors, shapes, and backgrounds interact with one another, particularly around the edges. The soft, brushy borders that surround his color fields create one mood, while the sharper, straighter lines of the central forms elicit another. Alternate juxtapositions of similar or divergent tones—shades of deep blue against dark purple or bright red against brown—elicit disparate emotional responses. In employing a signature structure, Rothko found infinite variation.

Untitled (Red, Orange) , 1968

Untitled (Red, Orange), 1968

Despite his devotion to this modern, abstract mode, Rothko derived significant inspiration from ancient, medieval, and Renaissance art and architecture. An erudite researcher, the artist transformed his scholarly understanding of art history into pared-down paintings. If they can at first feel opaque to the viewer searching for reference points, Rothko didn’t mind. “My pictures are indeed façades (as they have been called),” he once said. “Sometimes I open one door and one window or two doors and two windows. I do this only through shrewdness. There is more power in telling little than in telling all.” That mystery and complexity have given him one of the most enduring and esteemed reputations in 20th-century art…” more

SOURCE: Artsy


ESSAY | Progress from the Past: The Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain

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“Britain’s nineteenth-century Arts and Crafts movement had a curious relationship with Victorian notions of social advancement. Whereas proponents of the Industrial Revolution encouraged mechanization and new technology, people in the Arts and Crafts movement looked back to the Middle Ages. Both camps firmly believed in progress—the improvement or even perfectibility of the human condition—yet one group looked to the future while the other favored a return to the past.

Arts and Crafts advocates opposed industrialization and factory-made goods on aesthetic and moral grounds: mass production dehumanized workers, and the cheapness of low-quality decorative items encouraged people to decorate their homes with excessive ornamentation. Ironically, although Prince Albert wanted the Great Exhibition to encourage beautiful design, several of the event’s own organizers publicly decried poor examples of design throughout the exhibition. Morris idealized medieval craftsmen, who made their products by hand, and medieval art, which expressed profoundly Christian themes in beautifully designed furniture, textiles, and architecture…” more.

SOURCE: Interweave


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KEY IDEAS | The Arts & Crafts Movement

The founders of the Arts & Crafts Movement were some of the first major critics of the Industrial Revolution. Disenchanted with the impersonal, mechanized direction of society in the 19th century, they sought to return to a simpler, more fulfilling way of living. The movement is admired for its use of high quality materials and for its emphasis on utility in design. The Arts & Crafts emerged in the United Kingdom around 1860, at roughly the same time as the closely related Aesthetic Movement, but the spread of the Arts & Crafts across the Atlantic to the United States in the 1890s, enabled it to last longer - at least into the 1920s. Although the movement did not adopt its common name until 1887, in these two countries the Arts & Crafts existed in many variations, and inspired similar contemporaneous groups of artists and reformers in Europe and North America, including Art Nouveau, the Wiener Werkstatte, the Prairie School, and many others. The faith in the ability of art to reshape society exerted a powerful influence on its many successor movements in all branches of the arts.

KEY IDEAS

The Arts & Crafts movement existed under its specific name in the United Kingdom and the United States, and these two strands are often distinguished from each other by their respective attitudes towards industrialization: in Britain, Arts & Crafts artists and designers tended to be either negative or ambivalent towards the role of the machine in the creative process, while Americans tended to embrace the machine more readily.

The practitioners of the movement strongly believed that the connection forged between the artist and his work through handcraft was the key to producing both human fulfillment and beautiful items that would be useful on an everyday basis; as a result, Arts & Crafts artists are largely associated with the vast range of the decorative arts and architecture as opposed to the "high" arts of painting and sculpture.

The Arts & Crafts aesthetic varied greatly depending on the media and location involved, but it was influenced most prominently by both the imagery of nature and the forms of medieval art, particularly the Gothic style, which enjoyed a revival in Europe and North America during the mid-19th century.

Learn more about The Arts & Crafts movement here.

SOURCE: The Art Story


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ESSAY | William Morris, His Politics

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“William Morris was deeply disturbed by the inequities and income disparities he observed in Victorian society. In 1883, he joined the Social Democratic Federation, the first official socialist party established in England. Like many in the movement, Morris struggled to define his vision amid the many competing views on the ideal organization of society. He advocated radical revolution and change through government reform at different times in his life.

With Eleanor Marx, the daughter of Karl Marx, and other prominent party members, Morris formed the breakaway Socialist League in 1884. Ultimately frustrated by ideological differences between anarchists and reformist party members and exhausted from his relentless schedule, he abandoned all organized political activity in the early 1890s.

Morris's enduring contribution to the cause of social equality was largely educational. He financed, edited, and wrote for the Socialist League's monthly publication, Commonweal, and was a popular speaker at party meetings and on street corners where he explained the merits of socialism. Even after resigning his Socialist League membership, Morris continued to champion socialist ideals in his writings and endeavors…” more.

SOURCE: University of Maryland


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