Paris Hilton’s entire career was a performance art piece that all at once defined, critiqued and predicted modern culture. Whether by design or not, her work set the template for: -The downfall and comeback of Britney Spears -The spread of social media -The meteoric rise of High School Musical -The selfie -Lady Gaga’s first two album cycles -Meme culture -The Cubs winning the World Series -KPop -Silicon Valley -The Kardashians’ very existence -The Trump Administration -Globalism -Blue Ivy Carter -The Marvel Cinematic Universe …the list goes on. Whether you like it or not, Paris Hilton is the beginning, middle and end of everything you know about culture. That’s hot.

Originally posted by jadiore

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“Narcissus Garden” by Yayoi Kusama (1966)

Yayoi Kusama, a Japanese artist and writer, created the “garden” in 1966 which was then shown in the 33rd Venice Biennale. The installation holds 1,500 metallic balls that reflect and distort the landscape around them as well as the person who views them. During the opening week, Kusama placed two signs at the installation. The first sign read “NARCISSUS GARDEN, KUSAMA” while the other said “YOUR NARCISSISM FOR SALE”. While wearing a gold kimono and emphasizing her “otherness” of being an artist from Japan making an entrance into the American art scene she acted as a street peddler and went around selling the balls to anyone willing to buy them for $2. She also distributed flyers with complimentary remarks about her work from Herbert Read, an art critic and co-founder of the Institute of Contemporary Arts  The Biennale officials eventually stepped in and put and end to her “side-business” but the installation remained. 

The recreation of Narcissus Garden via commissions and re-installations in various other places has killed its original intention of criticizing the narcissism that Kusama was addressing in a post-WWII America. While the installation was originally made as an interactive performance between the artist and the viewer, the installation and mirror balls themselves are put into high value and are now regarded as decorations with hefty price tags and worth.

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Free Digital Art Publications!

Art publications are expensive to produce and difficult to update. Because of this, the Getty Foundation has worked with a handful of collaborators such as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Walker Art Center, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to help solve this problem. Check out the list of completely free publications below. 

Living Collections Catalogue: On Performativity from the Walker Art Center.

The Rauschenberg Research Project from San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Monet Paintings and Drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago from the Art Institute of Chicago.

Renoir Paintings and Drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago from the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Camden Town Group in Context from the Tate.

The World of the Japanese Illustrated Book from the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

Southeast Asian Art at LACMA from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century from the National Gallery of Art.

Chinese Painting & Calligraphy from the Seattle Art Museum.

Interview: Abby Ramsay

Today we’re joined by Abby Ramsay. Abby is a phenomenal model and actress in LA. She uses her art to raise awareness of issues close to her heart. Her Instagram has recently blown up a bit after she gave an interview about social media. Abby is a fellow ace feminist, which is always awesome to see. She’s incredibly passionate, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, I am an actress and model out in LA. I show off my work mostly through Instagram. Just creating these images and stories, whether they be moving or still, really gives me this outlet to express my thoughts, feelings, and ideals that I can’t always put into words.  

I like to use my art to bring attention to topics like asexuality, body positivity, feminism, and mental illness as those are all things that are close to me.

I also like combining them. Everything I do is done with the mindset of “just because I am asexual does not mean I am not sexy or desirable.” but also “Just because I am viewed as sexy or desirable does not mean I can’t be asexual.”

What inspires you?

Just the idea that I can use what I love to help people. The industry that I am in has the potential to have your voice be heard by many people all over the world. If I have the opportunity to use my platform to change it for the better then I want to do it.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I have been acting since I was about 5 years old. Granted at the time the only reason I was in these musicals was because I was a really good singer at a young age, but they fed my love of storytelling. I would create plays at home and act them out for my parents, and it really blossomed into a passion by middle school. I fought long and hard with my parents (especially my mom) to let me try to get an agent, and they eventually gave in. I was a freshman in High School (2012 I believe) when I was signed with a small agency, and they sent me on my first few jobs. I was in love!

The agency also dealt with modeling, so the first photoshoot I ever did was with them. I was really shy in front of the camera at first. I had dealt with a lot of body positivity issues in the past, but the longer I was in front of the camera the more I enjoyed it. I actually felt really comfortable with myself.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

Hmmmm. I guess I like to keep things natural. I have never been an over the top character actor (I mean it’s fun, but I have my preferences) so I usually try to take scenes to a more organic place. I do the same thing with my modeling. I always try to get a few pictures that represent me. There’s this idea that when you are modeling you can never smile and you always have to be sultry, but when I am working and talking to the photographer I like to smile and laugh and just be myself. Those end up being some of the best pictures.

I also do this hand on head leaning back pose a LOT. My friends give me a hard time about it haha. But it’s like my signature pose now I guess.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It is not going to be easy, but with hard work, dedication, and a little bit of luck you can make your art your life.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I usually just say I am asexual, but for me that means that I don’t find people sexually attractive, and I am just not interested in sex. I’m not sex repulsed and I am aesthetically and romantically attracted to people, but I would much rather kiss and cuddle than have sex.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

There have been a couple instances. When you have your work online, you usually get some not so pleasant remarks from people. You get people who want to “fix you” you which is the one that bothers me the most.

But even outside the internet, I have had some encounters that have been less than ideal. I had a teacher at my college basically say that I was too pretty to be asexual and that it would be a waste. I know she didn’t mean it the way it came out, but it’s one of the reasons we need more visibility.

I also had a fellow acting student come to the conclusion that she did not like me because she thought asexuality was stupid. I never quite understood the logic behind that.

And it’s also hard, especially in acting, because Hollywood is so sexed up that there is just this assumption that every character interaction is because they want to bone.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

OK, the idea that “you just haven’t found the right person yet” or “you won’t know unless you try” pisses me off. I have gotten both and my general response to that is “you could give me a cheap piece of raw fish or a $200 piece of raw fish, it doesn’t chance that fact that I don’t like raw fish.” and “I have never been shot before, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t enjoy that either.”

There is also the idea that if you have a mental illness or if you have been in an abusive relationship or raped that your asexuality is just a byproduct. You know, whether it is or isn’t that shouldn’t make their identity any less legitimate.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

You are not broken. I promise you. Your feelings are completely normal. You are a valid part of the LGBTQIA community, and though we may be a smaller group, we are full of love, no matter where we fall on the spectrum. Just be yourself.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

My Instagram is abbysworldsastage.

Thank you, Abby, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

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Can choreography be performed in the form of an exhibition?

Sunday is the last day to see Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s answer, as the dancers of Rosas Dance Company continue their five-day performance of De Keersmaeker’s “Work/Travail/Arbeid” in our Marron Atrium. More info at mo.ma/atdk

[Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. Work/Travail/Arbeid. 2015. Installation view, The Museum of Modern Art, March 29, 2017. © 2017 Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. Photos by Julieta Cervantes and Anne Van Aerschot]