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Archive for March 17th, 2005

“Economic Values”

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Beuys_economic_values_1From the current Joseph Beuys exhibit at the Tate Modern. This one is "Wirtschaftswerte" or "Economic Values."

From the museum’s website on this piece:

Economic Values 1980

Metal shelves are stacked with packets of foodstuffs and other basic products purchased in the former German Democratic Republic.
Over time the packaging has deteriorated, and the food has disintegrated. On the walls are a group of nineteenth-century paintings from the Tate’s Collection, their dates loosely corresponding to the
period of Karl Marx’s life (1818-1883). Each time the installation  is displayed the paintings are different as they are drawn from the host museum’s own collection. Beuys requested that they should be presented in gold frames as an expression of bourgeois taste. They provide a deliberately provocative contrast to the humble
products on the shelves.

Not only have the products on the shelves changed physically over
time, the political, social and economic context in which Economic Values was created has also altered. When Beuys made the work,
Communism was a major political force and the Berlin Wall divided East and West Germany. These goods from the East were the products
   of an anti-capitalist economy, and for Beuys, represented a simplicity and authenticity that reminded him of his childhood. According to  Beuys, the inner needs of a human being should be met first through the ‘production of spiritual goods’ in the form of ideas, art, and education, rather than in commodities. ‘We do not need all that we are meant to buy today to satisfy profit-based private capitalism,’ he said.

The deterioration of this sculpture over time was something Beuys intended. Indeed he welcomed change in his materials, linking it to the process of regeneration and change he believed society needed to undergo. ‘My sculpture is not fixed and finished. Processes
continue in most of them: chemical reactions, fermentations, colour
           changes, decay, drying up. Everything is in a state of change.’


I love the part about the old paintings from each museum’s own collection. Terrific.

Written by adswithoutproducts

March 17, 2005 at 10:21 pm

Posted in Art

Chavez Next?

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Take a look at this very thorough post at Critical Montages on Venezuela, Chavez, and the gathering clouds of US intervention. (Found via Charlotte Street…)

The piece is centered on this ominous little number that I had missed in the FT this week:

Senior US administration officials are working on a policy to "contain"
Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan president, and what they allege is his
drive to "subvert" Latin America’s least stable states.

strategy aimed at fencing in the government of the world’s
fifth-largest oil exporter is being prepared at the request of
President George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state,
senior US officials say. The move signals a renewed interest by the
administration in a region that has been relatively neglected in recent

Roger Pardo-Maurer, deputy assistant secretary for
western hemisphere affairs at the US Department of Defense, said the
Venezuela policy was being developed because Mr Chávez was employing a
"hyena strategy" in the region.

"Chávez is a problem because he
is clearly using his oil money and influence to introduce his
conflictive style into the politics of other countries," Mr
Pardo-Maurer said in an interview with the Financial Times.

"He’s picking on the countries whose social fabric is the weakest," he added. "In some cases it’s downright subversion."

Chávez, whose government has enjoyed bumper export revenues during his
six years in office thanks to high oil prices, has denied that he is
aiding insurgent groups in countries such as Bolivia, Colombia and
Peru. But a tougher stance from the US appears to be in the offing, a
move that is likely to worsen strained bilateral relations.

policy shift in Washington, which a US military officer said is at an
early stage but is centred on the goal of "containment", could also
have implications for the world oil market.

Mr Chávez has
threatened to suspend oil shipments to the US if it attempts to oust
him. He and Fidel Castro, the Cuban president, have alleged, without
offering proof, that the Bush administration was plotting to
assassinate the Venezuelan leader, an allegation that US officials have
dismissed as "wild".

Suggestions that Mr Chávez backs subversive
groups surface frequently, although so far also with scant evidence.
Colombian officials close to President Alvaro Uribe say Venezuela is
giving sanctuary to Colombian guerrillas, deemed "terrorists" by the US
and Europe.

US officials say Mr Chávez financed Evo Morales, the
Bolivian indigenous leader whose followers last week unsuccessfully
tried to force President Carlos Mesa’s resignation. In Peru allegations
emerged suggesting that Mr Chávez financed a rogue army officer who
tried to incite a rebellion against President Alejandro Toledo in

Mr Chávez has dismissed such claims as fabrications
designed to undermine his attempts to foster greater political and
economic integration in Latin America.

Mr Pardo-Maurer said
Washington has run out of patience: "We have reached the end of the
road of the current approach." (Andy Webb-Vidal, "Bush Orders Policy to
‘Contain’ Chávez," March 13, 2005)

I really hope that if this one comes to a head, I won’t be having the same conversations that I had with left-interventionist friends as I did in the run up to Iraq… Seems ridiculous now to think that it could go the same way, but the world’s gone funny somehow…

Hard not to see Latin America as the last best hope nowadays. The Bush administration’s attention only ratifies that sense, no?

Written by adswithoutproducts

March 17, 2005 at 9:55 pm

Posted in Politics

Scenes from the Cultural Revolution

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HorowitzmaoSeems appropriate enough that I put this up: Scenes from the Cultural Revolution.

Written by adswithoutproducts

March 17, 2005 at 3:54 pm

Posted in academia