February 2, 2007 at the Hirshhorn, DC Artists Brown and Charlton discuss their work. The discussion centers around black culture in the U.S. and the usage of this culture and its stereotypes in both Iona and Zoe's work and by the Japanese culture. This speaks to a larger area of aetheticsizing a race or a culture. Sampling and appropriation within their work were other topics that relied heavily on their definitions of both.
The artists were both elequent and rational as ill-prepared questions and statements were brought up. And I was personally impressed with the ability of both artists to position themselves in authoritive roles. This is not to say they are not authorities, but in a way that they take ownership of the subject matter of which they tell us their work is constructed from and emoting its ultimate content leave me very little room to question them at all.
This is not a criticism only an observation. I am, however, left with questions only as an afterthought. In Iona's work, she depicts Japanese people weearing black-face and other 'clack culture,' stereotypical clothes, hair, etc. Is she taking the side of 'it is wrong to aesthetisize a culture' because she has done the same to Japanese culture in her work? Is the difference between appropriation and sampling even relevant when the definitions that were given relate only to citability and ownership? Does it matter where that line is drawn or is this a tool to take more ownership by pointing out that you are not appropriating, you have recontextualized and made the content yours.
Overall, this was an exciting discussion that brought up many questions, what I feel as relevant questions in art today. The Hirshhorn will be having discussions in this format every Friday and recommend attending.