Category Archives: EVENTS

The Quantum Leap of the Critic into the Third

Was it merely an accident that the trademark for this historic event has Marilyn above a diptych of Adam & Eve? Marilyn’s split identity — of the celebratory champagne blonde Marilyn Monroe & the brooding brunette Norma Jean — was that of the American Love Goddess resurrecting the pre-patriarchal Venus, with her two faces of the Morning & Evening Star.

The self-reflective event examining the role of the critic taking place in Museo Nacional de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid was meant to happen in Spain.

I am sharing my optimistic perspective of a quantum shift in the art world based on five events getting considerable media dipoverage in the last 12 months.

The glorious structure of the museum itself was a proclamation of Spain’s official passage into a modernism when it opened in 1992.

The view from the external glass elevator of Reina Sofia.
Yet, strangely the modernism set against the tradition of Spanish art in the Prado where I was immersed in art history while standing before Dutch and Spanish masterworks during my junior year abroad.Spanish gatekeepers — such as Juan Manuel Boner Director Instituto Cervantes Juan Manuel Boner, collector Javier B. Martin and Pablo Jimenez Burillo, Director de la area de Cultura de la Fundacion Cultural Mapfire — holding the institutional keys of the post Franco epoch, appeared in full force to ask self-reflective questions about their own hegemonic rule…

Spanish heavyweight Jose Maria Juarranz de la Fuente (art historian, editor and gallerist) attempts to answer “What are the critical limits? Who criticises the critic?” While sitting beside Tomas Parades, President of AECA Spain.

…But where were the movers and shakers of “la movida” which made Spain politically and culturally one of the most liberated and exciting places in Europe? I learned this in Argentina in 1984, which was attempting to emulate the Spanish freedom in breaking out of their military dictatorship with a transgender aesthetic I struggled to capture as literature in my first novel, Champagne Tango.

I decided to begin my Spanish paper from a subjective view, of my teenage experience with the late night transgender scene revealed in Madrid’s hot spot — le Drugstore in 1978. A decade later, this 360 perspective progressed to my meeting the Spanish auteur Pedro Almavador on the occasion of presenting his first film, the black comedy, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Mujeres al borde de in ataque nervios) at UCLA that would propel him to the global stage upon winning the 1988 Oscar for Best Foreign Film. I remember Pedro telling the audience that he was so involved in his creative process that he never thought about the reaction.

Pedro Almavador was the first artist I heard referencing the Third. It was a flippant response to a didactic question from the audience that provided three speculative ideas regarding Almadovar’s aesthetic strategy. While I can’t remember what the question was, his response still resonates: “All three!”

He got that right! Transgender is the Third which is why I recreate the word as construction/deconstruction: Trans/Gender sourced in a crucial and hidden icon unearthed in a formerly Turkish village, the oldest in Cyprus…

The LADY Of LEMBA is an ancient artifact expressing a bisexual deity that evolved into the Cypriot Love Goddess, KYPRIS, that continues to be repressed by the pro-Hellenism of Cyprus’ archeology, dominated by the Greeks. This is the subject of the new text by Dr Streitfeld, “The Aphrodite Coverup” by Dr. Streitfeld (pictured with responder Jesus Pedro Lorente of AECA Spain).My paper reflects the two decade journey of delivering the Aquarian cosmology of January 23, 1997 into the cultural institutions…ultimately “Reina Sofia” reflecting my new identity as “female philosopher” ruled by the love of wisdom, the meaning of the Greek term.
The certificate for the successful delivery of my paper, “The Hermeneutics of New Modernism: Hermes’ Trans/Gender Third”.

Surely this was an impulse of a new modernism sourced in the Aquarian transgender icon that we see in the Almavador film, yet where was such an aesthetic to be found in a Spanish art dominated by past masters: Picasso, Dali, Goya and El Greco?

Could the problem be — not in the art — but the critical reception by the gatekeepers torn between upholding the Spanish legacy of art and the art intent on smashing that tradition?

Carpe deim!

I seized the moment through the gap of the Third state of critical self-reflection to declare two progenitors of the hermeneutics of a New Modernism, the timing at 11:11

With the coding in the clock (the 11:11 timing reflecting the galactic center as the state of death/rebirth & therefore the final death of postmodernism & the cynical performative impulse to diminish the authentic rebirth of value), Mark Kostabi’s painting — experienced by this author in the “flesh” for the first time in a studio visit during a recent trip to New York City — can now be appreciated as the progenitor of the universal expression of the hieros gamos by way of intertwined faceless, genitalia free yet gendered forms.

Ümit İnatçı has created a visual language inspired by the ancient transgender non-binary icons unearthed on his native island of Cyprus.

Among the great deal of self-reflection on the two and a half days of panels with collectors, institutional directors and even critics, along with papers addressing the topic of criticism in crisis and renewal, there was a representative from the U.K. AICA who neatly summed up the problem of criticism in the last fifty years as that of Conceptualism!

J.J. Charlesworth of Art Review Magazine delivering “La burocratizacion del jucio: cincuenta anos de la crisis de la critica” (pictured with responder Jesus Pedro Lorente of AECA SPAIN) tracing the demise of criticism to Conceptual Art. The conceptualist practice of artists becoming their own curator/critic by way of creating self- contextualising art born not out of process but rather a mental concept. This, he said, was epitomised by the Text/image artists insistent in having the first and last word in the art itself.

A lone contribution that actually depicted art renovation in bricks and mortar was by the architect representing the Spanish innovations in the field.

Maria F. Carrascal Perez (Universidad de Sevilla) revealed the reality behind the myths of artists transforming the devastated urban landscape in New York City and highlights such efforts in her town of Sevilla, forestalled by the crisis of 2008.
Nathalia Lavigne (Universidad de São Paulo) exposed a new form of art delivery without narrative via “Cindy Sherman en el instagram: una reception critica en la era de instagramismo”.

Criticism and poetry frequently blend in the Spanish language.

The integration of poet and critic erupting at the Congress Internacional was captured by “Crisis de expresion”. This short video of Alfonso Gonzalez-Calero Gonzalez (Investigacion y Arte) depicts inner/ outer reflections of the critic flaneur expressed in a feminine voice.

The ghosts of the critical giants of the 20th century were summoned…

Ignacio Asenjo Fernandez’s “Complejidad de las practicals artisticas contemplementarios” analyzed the historical role of the critic as that of interpretation, participation, mediation, diffusion and incarnation.
Dissemination through the culture is a matter of the quantum physics of potential futures.

Then there was the demonstration of the bounty of living a life in arts: the sheer pleasure of being a critic who collects poets and artists as amistades along with works of art.

Maria Jaio Fernando (pictured wit AECA Presidente Tomas Paredes) shared her memories and interpretations of artistic expression blending with poetry in her native Portugal.

The two and a half days of reflection and discussion coming to a close, a 12:30 Roundtable on Saturday was devoted to critics: “Necessita la critica renovacion?”

Blanca Garcia Vega (Catedratica Ha de Arte, Universidad de Valladolid) is moderator for the final panel with AECA Spain critics Jose Luis Martinez Meseguer, Alfonzo de la Torre, Carmen Pollares and Maria Victoria Otero, speaking.
Blanca Garcia Vega in red follows AECA SPAIN President Tomas Paredes reading (above) the letter sent by Lisbeth Rebollo, President of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) on the importance of the event with a closing proclamation of how remarkably little Spanish artists acceded to the world stage in the 21st century, thereby leaving bare the task of the Spanish critic.

This set the stage for an authentic renewal of art criticism, in Spain and across the globe.

Now, finally we may be able to appreciate such erotically charged art as this:

Rodin’s interpretation of the hieros gamos through his highly erotic rendition of the pieta at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.

Or this…

Victor Vasarely “The Birth of Art” at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza transforms the cube into the hexagon, thereby resolving the dispute between Wolfgang Pauli and Carl Jung regarding the structure of the hieros gamos.

Lisa Paul Streitfeld, a member of AICA since 2000, is a roving critic and media philosopher.

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THE SUMMER OF LOVE U.S.A.

Following a tense week in which cops killed blacks and blacks killed cops, Devon Bray’s “The Law” went viral. It also has staying power; not only does the video beautifully capture the mood of a unique EVENT spreading across the hinterland, but his art speaks on multiple levels…

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CLICK HERE: Bray Films presents “Black Lives Matter – All Lives Matter Wichita Kansas Police Cookout Event”

…the law as protectors of order in society…

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…and the universal law of karma: honor your neighbor and they will honor you.

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What this means in a tense moment: if a cop recognizes your face, and you recognize his, there is more potential for creative CONVERSION into the THIRD rather than the destruction of warring opposites.

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Devon Bray is a multimedia artist commited to the principle that change begins at home, in the human heart. He demonstrates this both in his stunning talent and his commitment as a youth councilor.

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Bray has a new message as a means of reconciling the warring opposition: “I like to say #AllLivesMatter rather than #BlackLivesMatter. We have to stop complaining and pointing fingers and change the way we think and feel about each other. Love Conquers All.”

The filmmaker’s signature is imbedded in his images: “Love Peace and Unity – No more killing on both sides.” He explains how this creative prototype for an EVENT sweeping America got started and will continue:

The BLM activists were gonna protest on Sunday, but the Wichita police chief sat down with them. Everyone agreed to come together for a community cookout and Q & A. I filmed the event and created a song and video in 24 hours. When I released it, it went viral. We called it the 1st step to progress and plan on keeping it going, getting bigger and better. We are endeavoring to show the world how it’s supposed to be done.

Dr. Lisa Paul Streitfeld is a philosopher and critic based in Berlin and New York City.

All images copyright the artist Devon Bray and published with his permission.