Yep, the title says it all. Another artist out to get publicity. Although Yazmany Arboleda is American his parents are from Colombia and as such his latest exhibition entitled “The Assassination of Barack Obama” and “The Assassination of Hillary Clinton” has made the front page of El Tiempo newspaper, the most widely read newspaper in Colombia .
Unfortunately the exhibition is in New York so I have not seen it. However, it has had its title censored by the NYC police. Now, I hate it when artists overtly look for publicity – even though I know it is very necessary in order to stand out form the many competitors – and by using this title Arboleda is very well aware about the stir it would cause. However I hate it even more when there is such over-reaction to a simple title of an exhibition. Arboleda will probably go back to obscurity once the exhibition ends – but the acts of the police will not.
Does the title of the work stimulate some nutcase to go out and realize the act defined? Perhaps – but they would probably need a little more provocation than that to give them a motive. But what we do see is that the US is no longer the country it once was. Land of the free – home of the brave? Hardly.
- So, free speech is no longer tolerated.
- If you wish to go to visit the US, even though you don`t need a visa, you must register for pre-clearance via internet prior to traveling.
- The US has floating prisons ships – old fashioned hulks.
- It has resorted to illegal torture of its own citizens and others.
- It is one of the few countries in the modern world to sill embrace the death penalty.
- Obama has claimed as one of his political aims to embrace protectionism and as such he is not in favor of signing the free trade agreement with Colombia . . . . and there are a huge number of similar signs that I could mention that America is no longer what it is still perceived by many to be. Ans I think that`s sad.
America – The New China?
So, what has this to do with art and art in Colombia?
America is changing and since abstract expresionism was born it has been a leader in the arts fields. Where were Russia and China in the arts during this period? Absolutely nowhere. And this is most probably what will happen to Art in America if it continues on its path to becoming the new China just as rapidly a s China becomes the New America.
As one of Colombias`s closest neighbours we will probably find that opportunities for Colombian artists to go to the US and present their work will probably either simply diminish or not be worth their while. Many top Colombian artists like Manzur, Grau and Negret made their name in Colombia via their exhibitions in the US.
Colombian artists will now have to start looking for more serious venues I imagine – one that will not be censored. France, the UK . . . . heck, maybe I should include China and Russia as new potential venues where Colombian artists can develop their careers – because it sure looks like the US will no longer hold much value in the world arts scene.
So, to sum up. Even though I am a fan of what Arboleda has done with his exhibition title, art is leading the way in exposing the major forces of change that will soon make America an art wasteland. And a pity that is too.
Video created of newsflash when first exhibition was closed down:
I would normally put up a link to the artists site, but since I think he was looking more to create a controversy than a real artistic project – in this case – I`ll let you do the search if you are interested!
* Here`s a link to the story as reported by the New York Times => LINK