Week 7: Worlds in Collision

This week, we will be talking about The Agenda for the 1990s, a symposium that was later compiled in the book Worlds in Collision. Its mission questions were the following: 1. Where are we? 2. What are we celebrating? 3. What are the issues that the art and artist of color face in the 1990s?

We are lucky enough to have a draft copy of a Worlds in Collision Study Guide that Carlos intended to have published as a companion piece to the text. We will be discussing several questions from the guide in class, but you can also begin to think through them now. If you would like to respond to one or more of the following questions from the guide (click images to enlarge), please do so in the comments! {Just FYI, here‘s some background on David Hammons, who Kellie Jones discusses and who is brought up in question 2}



We will be having a brief class visit tomorrow from Dewey Crumpler, a fantastic artist, fellow SFAI professor, and a close friend of Carlos. He will be speaking about his own work and of “multicultural art” as they were debating it in the late 1980s and 1990s. Here is a link to an interview of Dewey by Carlos Villa for Villa’s Rehistoricizing the Time of Abstract Expressionism project. You might want to click on these links to learn more about Dewey’s work before he comes speak with us tomorrow, in case you have questions for him!

4 thoughts on “Week 7: Worlds in Collision

  1. This article talks about the Bay Area and a philosophical/ historical mind set. what is being celebrated is that we have reached acceptance of otherness in many different forms. However there is still along way to go and it seems like there will always be. The issues that the art and artist of color face in the 1990s is racism and viewers not knowing what to think of artwork or being judgmental because of race. Or the problems with classifying, categorizing, or labeling artists or artwork. Question four takes about the criticism of “other looking” and it falls short because it has a discriminatory language attached to it. Question eight states that Kellie Jones quotes Howardena Pindell in talking about a “new language,” I do think that the term attitude would be more appropriate because that word paired with a type of artwork illustrates a different mood rather then a whole new language.


  2. On the sheet you gave us in class one of the questions…

    #5 artists are isolated people and I think that is true in a way because they have chosen a different path than most. The way their brain works is very different than most as well and they just want to express themselves in the only way they know how. many times the only way artists can express something is through their art. Much like how villa became himself through the making of his art.

    #8 talked about the importance of titles and how they can work to the artists advantage or intention. They can explicitly go with your works content or be about it or they can have a deeper meaning that is not easily deciphered with the content of the art. It is all up to the artist.


  3. The statement “we must evolve a new language which empowers us and does not cause us to participate in our own disenfranchisement”, is accurate as is, although I think the concept “attitude” would be quite correct unto itselft separately.

    What is language other than a system of symbols by which we construct meaning for the world? The arts are threads of the larger fabric that is culture which is part of an even larger context, society. It is important to develop a language of liberation separate from merely an “attitude” because an attitude in and of itself is not a restructuring of society. We can change the way we feel about oppression, but unless we change the way we dialogue in and with the world we are unable to construct new meanings or new realities. The famed astro physicist, Neil Degrasse Tyson talks about how one cannot think about something for which they have no words; in order for new concepts to be cognizable new words must be added to our minds. For example, computer, laser, radio, and google are all words that didn’t exist a hundred years ago. How can our liberation – and the democratization of curation that would coincide it – come into existence if it remains unspeakable? We need to develop our critical literacy of the world.

    Herein lies the importance of art and dialogue, and dialogue about art, as a vehicle for the co-construction of new language, new thinking, new attitudes, and better realities. For me, these concepts are at the crux of where we want the art world to be. We are the artists, dialogue is the brush, art is the medium, and the new language we spawn is the miniscus layering over the past to create brighter futures.

    Ben J.


  4. #1, what is the second principle of Kwanzaa? Why is this appropriate for this particular part of the Kellie Jones’ address?

    The second principal of Kwanzaa as Kellie Jones says it is “self determination, by which we define ourselves and speak for ourselves instead of being defined and spoken for by others.” This is appropriate for Jones’ address because she was speaking about Cultural Nationalism and how, especially in African Americans, people of color were able to define themselves while within American life, a society that can be held responsible (partly if not completely) for making people of color to assimilate into white culture and to exude whiteness, thus stripping them of practicing their original culture, and in result, the later generation won’t have the opportunity to learn about their roots at an early age. Jones even makes a note relative to Kwanzaa by saying that “Third World art is not monolithic,” showing that Third World artists do not simply base their art through a general idea of a race, something that Orientalists are guilty of doing. So through recognizing our individuality even as a person within a community, which is part of another community, which is part of a large, general, ethnic community, we are able to discover and determine ourselves and our identity.

    – Terence.


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