1. Milo Miore, “The Birth of a Painting”

    What if Jackson Pollock created his action paintings using his penis instead of his paintbrush? What if  Carolee Schneemann’s “Interior Scroll” performance took place outside of the Frieze tent? What if an artist physically birthed out a work of art? It might look something like performance artist Milo Miroe’s, “The ‘PlopEgg’ Painting Performance #1 - A Birth of a Picture.” 

    The performance starts with a nude woman standing elevated above a black white canvas with a cloth raised around her waist as she inserts an egg into her vagina. Similar to the natural creation of life, she pushes the paint filled eggs out of her birthing canal. The egg filled with paint would “plop” and break onto the white canvas releasing a vibrant color. Repeating this step multiple times and then folding the canvas in half, using a squeegee to make it even, the finishing piece results in an abstract painting that loosely resembles the shape of a uterus.

    There are clear feminist overtones in the work that can be seen as “the symbolic strength of the casual and the creative power of the femininity.” It reminds me of Marina Abravomic’s video art work “Art is beautiful, Artist should be beautiful” where the famed performance artist brutally brushed her hair and face as a statement of a female artist’s angst in fitting into a vanity driven culture and male dominated art world. Miroe’s piece also brings to mind Carolee Schneemann’s  “Interior Scroll,” where the artist stood before an audience and pulled out a scroll from her vagina that talked about a negative encounter Schneemann had with a male critic over her artwork. Yet, while “The ‘PlopEgg’ Painting Performance” is a strong display of femininity, its overall interpretation is more of a universal message of the creation of contemporary art and the artists attachment to it. 

    Taking into consideration the place this performance was held, Art Cologne one of the most prominent art fairs in the world, we see an instant play of opposites between the personal act of creating artwork as an artist and the very public selling and consumption of art. While there are some collectors of contemporary art that truly support and strive to comprehend the artist they collect, there are some who simply see contemporary art as an investment to buy and flip for exorbitant amounts. Yet, seeing how personal the act of creating a piece of art can be for artists like Miroe, it seems as if artists who enter into the contemporary art trade are basically prostituting themselves, giving their bodies, thoughts and emotions to someone who can honestly care less and splitting their money with their pimps better known as art dealers. I’ve always found typical art fairs a bit unsettling. Seeing so many wonderful works of contemporary art in one space from galleries around the world is an amazing and exhilarating experience. Yet seeing the either overly eager to the verge of desperate or extremely bored and disinterested look of gallery attendants at the fairs makes the experience of taking in the artworks troubling and uncomfortable. While artist may enjoy commercial success rapidly like Lucien Smith, they also find hesitancy in being thrusted up the ranks of the market so quickly especially if their works seem to be snatched up by “art flippers” or used for more cultural capital and clout amongst prominent families.  I feel like “The Birth of a Painting” by Milo Miroe is such an interesting and captivating work that speaks volumes in the place it was presented for this reason. On the artist’s website, they mention that this is just the first of this performance to be performed around the world. I’m praying that the next stop is Art Basel Miami. 

    xx,

    Z.

     
     
  2. Miley Cyrus in “Tongue Tied”

    Miley Cyrus plays the role of a sex symbol, fishnet stockings, Playboy bunny collar and all, in this film by Quieten Jones.

    “It should be a clear as ink that Miley Cyrus is no former Disney Kid,” says Adult magazine’s founding editor Sarah Nicole Prikett who put together this video. “60 years after Walt Disney himself collaborated with Salvador Dali that his phantasmagorical dreams of goofy innocence and erotically charged surrealism have been reanimated.”

    Like Dali’s experiments in video art, Jones utilizes film to show her strong aesthetic style. Miley covers herself in black paint and appears fragmented into geometrical shapes. This is probably best I’ve ever seen the “Wrecking Ball” songstress and her infamous tongue. Maybe she can play this in the background at her concerts as she twerks around the stage.

    xx,

    Z.

     
     
  3. Drake has a whole new set of people to be angry at for blurring the lines between art and hip hop. Wu-Tang Clan has recently announced their new album which will include 31 songs recorded over the course of six years. However, instead of being released commercially on a label, the group has decided to only make one copy that is currently being housed in a hand-carved, silver box that’s in Marrakech, Morrocco created by contemporary artist Yahya. The album will then go on it’s own tour at different museums and festivals around the world (the Tate has apparently been brought up) where guests can listen to the 126-minute album in a tightly secured area to make sure it doesn’t leak (Drake can testify to how much leaked albums can hurt sales).
    The main reason why Wu-Tang has decided to produce their new album in this way is truly admirable and may change the dialogue of contemporary art and hip-hop music forever:
    “…The creative output of today’s artists such as The RZA, Kanye West or Dr. Dre, in not valued equally to that of artists like Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst or Jean-Michel Basquiat…Offering [the album] as a commissioned commodity and allowing it to take a similar trajectory from creation to exhibition to sale, as any other contemporary art piece, we hope to inspire and intensify urgent debates about the future of music…and provoke questions about the value and perception of music as a work of art in today’s world.”
    You think Jay would be a likely bidder on this contemporary art piece or nah?

     
     
  4. The Erotic As Power & Beyonce

    I know girls love Beyonce and in the past I would have argued you down about how much I was not one of those girls, but I must admit I was impressed by her latest album. It felt mature but real, relatable, not kitsch and expectable, but more ‘I’m-grown-I-do-what-I-want,’ and that is something anyone can stand behind. While there was much hype around how she released a secret album with 14 music videos out of seemingly thin air, I was more interested in the debate, specifically in the Black feminist community, that developed after the release of the album. After watching a Huffington Post video where multiple prominent Black feminist discussed Beyonce as a brand and as a feminist, I took away one important thing: that while Beyonce’s idea of feminism may be limited to a TED Talk quote, her position in pop culture allows for a broader discussion on what it means to be a black woman today.
    While black feminism is vast in scope, the idea of a pleasure principle in black feminism is something that is not widely explored. In researching further, I found a profound essay by Audre Lorde called “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power” that truly discussed the role of the erotic in today’s society and as a means of true power for black women. While I can write on and on about it and how much it along with “The Secret” probably changed how I approach my life, I’ll summarize it in saying that when the power of the erotic is expressed in everything we do from in the bedroom, to dancing, to building a bookcase, it brings true joy and true fulfillment into our lives and the world as a whole. I’ve always seen Beyonce as the symbol of Black women in America and seeing that this is the most overtly sexual album that Beyonce has done, I decided to pair a remix of “Partition” by Luminas with excerpts of Audre Lorde’s “The Erotic as Power.” For by pairing a second wave Black feminist voice to a contemporary African american female pop icon seamlessly, it becomes evident that the two voices together don’t stand in contempt, but rather pure harmony with one another.
    The images I selected all coming from Beyonce’s visual album are put together to form a lose creation story. Inspired by Botticelli’s, “The Birth of Venus,” I wanted to make a dark, euphoric vision of a contemporary goddess of Love being born of sea foam. Since in some myths Eros has be said to been birthed simultaneously alongside/from Venus, I used images of the Beyonce as the Virgin Mary superimposed over images of Beyonce’s most suggestive poses to show how Love, Desire, and Passion coincide with one another. I think that Beyonce, on the surface, appears to have it all: an empire, a husband she loves, and a beautiful daughter. I’m sure the pure passion and power of eroticism displayed in this video piece and in everything that Beyonce does might be how she got it.
    I loved every minute of the research and making of this piece and I hope you do as well. Luminas’ remix to “Partition” can be found here on my Soundcloud. The link to Audre Lorde’s reading of “The Erotic as Power” can be found here. Enjoy!


    xx,

    Zenia


    “I just wanna be the girl you like…the kind of girl you like.”

     
     
  5. First and foremost, I’m a 90’s baby. I remember baby bottle pops, Spice Girl stickers, my Barbie Jeep and BET Uncut fondly. Back then, music videos were at their peak. Intricate plot lines, gorgeous female leads, and the best music around made them simply unforgettable. R Kelly and Mr. Biggs always had the same story where Kelly steals Mr. Biggs super hot and super too young for him girl, and TLC always managed to bring crazy, sexy and cool to every set. While Ciara has to do a strip tease in nearly every video to get noticed, all Chili, T-Boz and Left Eye had to do was throw on some silk pajamas, let their incredible abs show, do some catchy dance moves (like the one at 1:44) and they made a classic. So here’s a mashup of two of my favorite music vids from back in the day set to an amazing remix of TLC’s “Creep” I found on Kaytranada’s Soundcloud that I reposted on to mine at soundcloud.com/zeniaaaa. Hope you enjoy and remember, especially as we get nearer to Valentine’s Day, don’t mess around with anyone’s affection and if you must creep around for attention, just keep it on the down low.

    xx,

    Z.

     
     
  6. When I first heard that Kanye was with Kim I was ECSTATIC! In my mind, I’m an unofficial member of the Kardashian clan so any good news is great news and any news that includes one of my favorite rappers of all time is even better. So when I head Kanye had a new album coming out I thought, “omg he’s gonna make an entire I love Kim K album this is so dope!” I started with “New Slaves” and when I heard Kanye say “spend everything on Alexander McQueen” (apparently he said “Alexander Wang” found that out about two week in to editing), I instantly thought “let’s make a Kanye and Alexander McQueen video!” I remember walking around the eerie but fantastic Alexander McQueen exhibit some summers ago, and I thought back to some of the runway films they were projected throughout the space. “Perfect, I found the footage of these wonderful models in these wonderful clothes, now to find happy Yeezus love songs to edit them to!”
    But, instead of cliche love songs, I heard more songs about the lost of love, the melancholy of anger residue that love can leave behind when a relationship fails. I heard Kanye scream “we could’ve been somebody” in “Blood on the Leaves,” and Kid Cudi sing with all his heart “if you love me so much then why you let me go?” and Kanye reply “maybe its cuz she’s in to Leo’s and I was in to trios…” in “Guilt”. At that point, I knew my project was gonna take a turn. Editing a mix of the ebbs and flows of lost love to some tracks off Yeezus took me no time (check that out at https://soundcloud.com/zeniaaaa/blood-on-the-leaves-yeezus). Editing the visuals were a bit harder. Alexander McQueen loved depicting tormented women, he liked shock value because he insisted an audience that is numb to true feeling and emotion, naive to the world they insist we all live in, and jaded to anything of true substance that they (the fashion world) doesn’t create, see the world differently. His runway shows didn’t just feature pretty models in pretty clothes, they were statements. The women Alexander McQueen dressed are strong, they are bold, they have feelings and they have emotions.
    Seeing a woman apparently drown in the video projected before Alexander McQueen’s last runway show entitled “Plato’s Atlantis” most likely shocked the audience, but while listening to my Yeezus mix made me think of how one can seemingly drown in love. The running around and the tortured dance scenes that comprised McQueen’s “Deliverance” reminded me of how the once fun of a relationship can turn into the mundane, the sadistic, or the tragic. Yet, the lone 3D projection of Kate Moss that starts “Bound 2” in this video mix will forever make me think about the one who got away. The “Joan of the Arc” footage of a women standing around a ring of fire with a very Yeezus-eqsue headpiece reminds me that no matter what happens, rise from the ashes and stand alone if you must, as long as you remember to stand. After finishing this project, I understood what Kanye meant when he said he was really a fine artist and he just makes soundscapes, and wearable art is something that doesn’t even begin to describe the creations of the late Alexander McQueen. This mashup of genius along with Final Cut Pro helped me craft what I consider video art and I hope you enjoy!

    xx,

    Z.