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Lesson Plans


MoMA Staff on Strike Fwd: WOID #IV-14.


From: Maahmaah
Date: Tue May 23 2000 - 08:01:31 PDT

  • Next message: Sarah Lohrius: "Re: I need websites with proof that art more than once a week is beneficial to students!!!"

    FYI.

    Any artists/teachers out there in NY? How is this affecting the city?


    attached mail follows:



    [Editor's note: for those who would like to have their own opinion about
    the art on view, there will be a support rally in front of MoMA on
    Thursday, May 25, 4:00-6:00 pm]

    MoMA Staff on Strike
    53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.
    Closing date not available.

    Good political art, like the better part of politics, does not come easy.
    The easy part in either case is the slide into old ruts. In politics there
    are pre-scripted forms of activism that borrow from the past without
    addressing the present. In art there is the whole area of "aesthetic
    socialism," the belief that art can somehow substitute for the nuts and
    bolts of organizing. The present strike at MoMA is a real strike, with
    real, painful issues and very little of the "aesthetic" about it.
    Unfortunately, but perhaps inevitably, the signage and writing styles are
    predictable. It's a case of the dog wagging the tail.

    The Professional and Administrativive Staff Association (PASTA - UAW Local
    2110) of the Museum of Modern Art has been on strike for a month or so.
    The picket line in front of the Museum is hemmed in by Giuliani-style
    police barricades. The fifteen-foot high inflatable rat is across the
    street, in front of the Store Annex. The flyers are on yellow and green
    paper - you were expecting puce? The strikers have put together a series
    of posters, with reproductions of artworks and ironic captions. Magritte's
    Eye painting has a dollar bill at its center, with the caption "Clouded
    Vision." A copy of Picasso is headlined: "Modern Art, Ancient Wages." My
    favorite is the photograph of a Gaston Lachaise woman from behind,
    headlined: "Hey, MoMA! Nice Assets." It's the kind of blue-collar
    bluntness that usually terrifies art workers, and its adoption by these
    same workers suggests a genuine solidarity of class and gender.

    My favorite poster, though, is the simple black on white statement quoting
    Agnes Gund, Museum President, as wanting "the Modern to be in the
    forefront of salaries." It's simple, it's informative, and it's the kind
    of word art that a Larry Weiner or a Joseph Kosuth should be proud to
    provide. Come to think of it this poster suggests a whole strategy of
    "detournement," a clever redirection of the usual, pointless statement a
    la Jenny Holzer: "IN A DREAM YOU SAW A WAY TO EARN A DECENT SALARY WITH
    ADEQUATE HEALTH CARE , NO LAYOFFS AND GOOD FAITH BARGAINING ON THE PART OF
    MANAGEMENT AND YOU WERE FILLED WITH JOY." Snappy, uh?

    ***************************************************************************

    Paul Werner, New York City
    http://pages.nyu.edu/~ptw1
         WOID: a journal of visual language in New York, including reviews,
    listings and resources.

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