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Banksy's Exhibit: A Plea for Sanity by a Comedian Artist

Backup of photo of Banksy's exhibit.

It's Time to Talk About the Elephant in the Room

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: September 14, 2006
Latest Update: September 17, 2006

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Topic of the Week:

Creating a Focal Thing: Breaking Denial

There was an uproar over Banksy's painting the elephant. But the elephant was hired from a company that supplies elephants for movies. She's used to makeup, as one of the owners said. I care about elephants, too. But ti wasn't a toxic paint, and the elephant's not going to be sent to run free in Thailand anymore anyway. Elephants' work in Thailand has been taken over by machines. No more wilderness for them; no more jobs for them. Let's worry more about how we make whole groups of creatures obsolete in a flash, with no concern for what happens to them.

I like Banksy's putting the live elephant in the living room, and I like his painting her to match the wallpaper. Did you know that Frank Lloyd Wright used to design dresses for the wives to wear in the homes he designed and built? Yeah, think about it. And they're concerned about setting the elephants free.

What Banksy did here was to creat a "focal thing." Yeah, the phrase, "an elephant in the room" for something everyone is pretending not to notice, is kind of hackneyed, but that elephant makes his point rather well.

Sunday, we stood in line for over an hour in 92 degree weather to see that elephant. Most of her pink paint had worn off, and I would have set the stage a little differently (will probably draw my version for you), but she really did make the point. My husband found her the favorite part of the show, particularly when she turned slightly to face us, her still-pink trunk off slightly to the side, and looked at us with the sweetest look I've ever seen an elephant give. Yeah, I gotta paint that for you.

I'll add lots more on all this in the next day or so. Meanwhile here are the web sites where you can find Banksy and Fairey's work. Remember that they're punk rock kids. Don't send young children to see the sites without supervision. You'll find some pretty hairy things there. But I'm proud that so many of our young people are at least thinking deeply on many of these issues. No, not all of us adults are hypocritical, and yes, there's lots of staging in this art, but I think that Banksy and Fairey may just have come up with a way to match the conservative and corporate sound bites through imagery. I hope so. I'm planning to follow their lead. jeanne

Added Monday, September 18, 2006:

But I guess I won't paint an elephant unless it's with child-safe face paint. I'm sorry I was so out of tune with all this folderol over elephant painting. The articles this morning on the Internet keep referring to this "frivolous" use of animals. So could somebody tell me why it's OK then to put little pink and blue ribbons in tiny dogs' hair? So "frivo lous" is abuse? Well, Bush and Cheney are badgering Congress to permit torture of humans? And we're this concerned when the paint was non-toxic and the owners saw nothing harmful n it to their elephant? Does anybody else wonder if our priorities are just a tad screwed up? What about Darfur? What about genocide? And a dozen of "news" articles on a guerilla artist's frivolous treatment of an elephant to get thousands of people to pay attentiion to the serious issues we are treating like elephants in a living room.

"Banksy's exhibit, titled Barely Legal, drew a host of visitors over the weekend, including actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

"A card handed out at the opening on Friday read: "There's an elephant in the room. There's a problem we never talk about."

"The statement went on to discuss traagic social issues in world today.."

From Banksy's painted elephant riles animal activists Last Updated Mon, 18 Sep 2006 12:02:28 EDT. CBC Arts. Consulted Monday, September 18, 2006.

The card, passed out at the exhibit was about the size of the image card here. I had to make the print larger for clarity. jeanne

Card passed out at Barely Legal, Banksy exhibit in L.A. - with respect to the elephant in the living room. Message on card passed out at Barely Legal, Banksy exhibit in L.A. - with respect to the elephant in the living room.

And there's more:

"Guerilla artist Banksy has struck again, this time placing a life-size figure of a Guantanamo Bay detainee at Disneyland in California.

"The hooded figure, a blow-up doll wearing the detention centre's orange coveralls, sat inside the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride for about 90 minutes on the weekend before it was removed.

"A spokesperson for the British artist said the stunt's aim was to underline the plight of terror suspects being held at the controversial detention centre in Cuba, run by the American government.

"Amnesty International has called the centre a "human rights scandal."

"Banksy, who has managed to keep his identity under wraps, is known for his subversive stunts, including ones in which he put fake works of art in well-known galleries in London, New York and Paris. . . . "

From >Prankster artist places Guantanamo detainee figure at Disneyland ride Last Updated Mon, 11 Sep 2006 17:08:28 EDT. CBC Arts. Consulted on September 18, 2006, as I set up a "google alert" to keep track of all the stories on Tai, the elephant.

Illustrative Images:

Banksy's Bomb Hugger
Kinda brings to mind the Fish/Bomb card, hmmm? jeanne

Banksy's Version of Today's Landscape.

Fairey's visual comment on Guantanamo
Fairey's visual comment on Guantanamo

. Banksy's visual comment on torture.

Banksy's Index on His Site Click on Banksy's name to go to index for site.

  • Banksy on Guantanamo Bay

    Stencil Graffiti. Includes Banksy, who is based in the U.K.. The rat they're talking about is one of Banksy's icons:

    Banksy's rat
    Rat with Brush

    from Banksy's web site. This rat was in sculpture form at the Los Angeles Exhibit, Barely Legal, on Sunday, September 17, 2006, at about the size this guy is on my monitor. which is, I think aa 19" diagonal. I had trouble seeing it on the Time, Art of the Street site, so I thought I'd better upload one for you. jeanne

  • Art of the Street Stencil Graffiti. Includes Shepard Fairey, who is based in L.A..

    NEWS, Announcements, and

    Current Events Discussion Topics:

    Visual Sociology

    • Beginning of jeanne's Public Art Series: Arnold the Red:

      Arnold the Red 001

      Arnold the Red 001

      Arnold the Red 001

      Arnold the Red 002

      Arnold the Red 001

      Arnold the Red Project Brochure Cover

    • This Can't Be Love

      By Carl Zimmer. New York Times, Tuesday, September 5, 2006, at p. D1. Backup Here's an example of how science, like every other authority, must keep searching, keep thinking, remain open to new information. The scientists thought the praying mantis ate her mate because she needed the food to produce her young. The late Dr. Jay Gould of Harvard, pointed out that we try to hard to explain everything by evolution; maybe the male mantis doesn't altruistically offer himself for food as a way to insuring the survival of his species; maybe the female is very near-sighted and mistakes the poor male for prey.(ibid, at. p. D1). Read the article. It's a tad gruesome, but I've highlighted sections that remind us of our need to keep an open mind about, well, about almost everything. jeanne

      Backup copy of phot of praying mantis and mate by Catherine Chalmers, in NYT, September 5, 2006, Science Times section, p. D1.
      Photo by Catherine Chalmers

      A Leap of Faith
      Risking all, the male jumps onto the female's back.

      I know this is a gruesome topic. There's the female praying mantis, praying for a male to reproduce here species, or for dinner? And there he is landed on top of her, risking his life. But the photographs, taken together, say something beautiful in the apparent harmony of the two mantises, in the gesture of their forelegs, which to us symbolizes prayer, in the delicacy and soft coloring of their bodies. Albert Borgmann, a philosopher of technology, I think would suggest that it is in moments like this that we are able to see the "focality," the "spirituality" of nature and reality that show us the path toward building our lives around that beauty and sprituality, and using technology to support such lives of living and loving. (Hans Achterhuis, ed. American Philosophy of Technology: The Empirical Turn, Indiana University Press, Bloomington. 2001. ISBN: 0-253-21449-1 (paper). Chapter 1: Albert Borgmann: Technology and the Character of Everyday Life, by Pieter Tijmes, pp. 11-36.)

      Albert Borgmann Regents Professor of Philosophy, University of Montana.

      I started playing with the colors. But I'm not sure where this is going. They're beginning to remind me of dancers. Maybe that was what attracted me at first. Try playing withthe photo yourself.

      jeanne playing with colors and shape. dance invitatiion

      Compare to the dance invitatiion that came this week:

    SquiggleA Range of Sources on Global Info

    Left/Right Perspectives - Cursor - New York Times - The National Review
    Arts and Letters Daily - The Economist - The Sierra Club - The Guardian
    Wall Street Journal - The Weekly Standard - The Nation - The Cato Institute (Libertarian)
    BBC NEWS | Americas
    - truthout - Museum of Tolerance, Los Angeles
    Los Angeles Times - Chicago Tribune - La Opinion - The Washington Post
    Cursor's Al Jazeera Archive - Ha'aretz - Palestine Monitor - Palestine Report
    The American Prospect

    Memorandum, Political Web - Diggs - College Network of New York Times - New York Times Learning Network

    The American Enterprise Institute

    Indymedia - Mother Jones - BBC News - New Profile - KPFK Progressive Radio
    Progressive Sociologists Network Environmental Working Group - Mirror of Justice

    Theory, Policy, Practice of a Career by jeanne and Susan.
    Digital Dissertations, with abstracts online. Has search mechanism with keywords, author, etc.
    Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
    Online articles.
    Evangelical Philosophical Society
    The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)

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