Non-linear History: Manhattan’s Slave Market

20150706-063910.jpgMuch of my art is rooted in non-linear histories. This report then, is apt for this site. Here, finally, a spotlight is being shone on the North’s part in slavery. A historical marker in New York City’s Wall Street area now helps to tell the tale.

“Slavery was introduced to Manhattan in 1626. By the mid-18th century approximately one in five people living in New York City was enslaved and almost half of Manhattan households included at least one slave.” It adds that although slavery was abolished by New York State in 1827, it wasn’t until 1841 that all enslaved people were freed due to enduring rights for non-resident slave owners.”
Text and image of plaque below, excerpted from Hyperallergic.

Detail of the plaque remembering the Wall Street Slave Market

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The State of the World: Money and Art Markets

limited access open space
Limited access open space, La Honda Creek, CA (Sept 2012)

A Different Kind of Perspective

I have been an art lover and creator for as long as I can remember. And I’ve been engaged with history, looking at it from all different perspectives for quite some time now.  But art history, art criticism and their effect on the art market? I can take them or leave them. They grab me pretty much the same way my Fidelity Money Market home page grabs me.

To get to my Fidelity account page, I first have to get past the “World Markets” page. Maybe I can change that but I’m not exactly invested in figuring out how to change my home page anymore than I’m interested in figuring out what the Facebook people are up to on my Facebook page.

The World Markets Today, 5/18/13

At the very top of  Fidelity’s world markets list is the United States. No surprise there, though it may be a great surprise to China. I hear we owe them the shirts off our backs. The number ascribed to the United States’ finances on the world markets stage today is 1667.47. What does that mean? Is that the Dow Jones Industrial average? If so, what does it mean? Also linked to the United States (listed immediately below the country’s name) is this: +17.00 (+1.03%). I just want to look at the balance in my little checking account! First though, I need to navigate past this world markets list. Every once in a while I stop and look. Today I look and I wonder.

Down on the list, a little after the United States, comes two Latin American countries, Chile and Mexico. Mexico, at number four, has the number 2742.94 ascribed to it. Is that bad or good? I know that isn’t better than the United States’ world market listing: Although Mexico has 2,742.94 listed next to it, underneath it the numbers read +2.20 (+0.08%).  (The United States’ numbers are +17.00 (+1.03%.)) Listed at number four as it is, it cannot be better than numbers one, two and three – the United States, Canada and Chile – on the list.

Why These Fourteen Countries?

The two Latin American countries on this world markets list are higher up than the Olde World country, Spain, to which they owe their “genesis.” Countries like the one I’m from will never show up on this market exchange. It’s not simply because we are small or that we are New World countries. If that were the case, New Zealand and Singapore wouldn’t be on this list. But they are.

Fourteen countries in all, are on the world markets list. Does the world then, consist of  only these fourteen? Do other places not matter, not exist? Does money in places like India, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, and Australia, behemoths because of their land mass, not exist?

The most (only?) obscure country on this list is New Zealand. Those of us from the “Third World” must be somewhere on the periphery or totally non-existent. Am I a figment of my own imagination? Are Jamaica, Africa, India, Portugal, and Scotland non-existent? All these places go into making up who I am. So forgive me when I say, “Meh!,” to the world of art history and criticism. They are pretty much like this list of fourteen world markets countries, absurd. The same is true for overpriced art works. (See yesterday’s reblogged article on this issue.) And so, I look askance as I create and define my own art and space in this world.

(The countries listed in order from 1-14 on the world markets list are: USA, Canada, Chile, Mexico, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kindgom, China, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, and Singapore. If one were to buy into what is being said about today’s financial markets, shouldn’t China be the one at the top? Go figure.)

Reblogged — Buying Barnett Newman’s Art on Faith

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Today’s elite art buyers deluded into investing tens of millions on the Emperor’s new canvas.Newman-and-karabekian Blue painting with one white stripe fetches over 43 million at Sotheby’s auction. I’ve been to a Barnett Newman exhibition, stood in person before the canvases and patiently took in the subtle permutations of color and form, along with other museum goers, and probably appreciated them better than most. I’ve even done work in a similar vein, such as my “Composition with Bars of Soap“. However, I had a litmus test of art that somehow eludes the top buyer connoisseurs and aficionados. As an art student, I felt that a lot of my classmates weren’t really being honest with themselves when they said their favorite artist was someone like Kasimir Malevich, who painted the infamous “Suprematist Composition” – a white square on a white canvas.

When I’d pressed for why someone…

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