Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Graphically Conscious at the Carnegie International

Drawn by friends and curiosity, the Graphic Conscience traveled to Pittsburgh this past week to see the 55th Carnegie International before it closed. I found most of this international exhibition a disappointment and example of lazy curating, as the show was basically the same as a window cruise through Chelsea. The theme, "Life on Mars," did not appear to be anything that any of the artists included were considering. There was redemption, however, as I was introduced to the work of Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander.

Neuenschwander's piece, I Wish Your Wish, is encountered by visitors just as they pay their admission to the Carnegie Museum. It is based on a tradition from the Basilica da Nosso Senhor do Bonhim in Sao Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, in which ribbons are tied around a parishioner's wrist with three knots. With each knot tied, a wish is made, and the ribbons are worn until they fall off, upon which wishes are confirmed upon the wisher. In Neuenschwander's piece, ribbons are screen printed with the wishes of participant-viewers. Each participant viewer is invited to write down a wish of their own, and in return, take a wish-ribbon of some one else and tie it around their wish. Thus creating a cycle of wish making and granting though interactions with viewer-participant/museum parishioners. Collected wishes are then printed onto new ribbons, and the cycle continues.

The wishes vary in content, from the silly to the very desperate. Some the Conscience came across are the following:

I wish my cat could talk.
I wish it was benign.
I wish I hadn't cheated on him.
I wish everyone in the world could be happy and own unicorns.
I wish my life had a soundtrack.
I wish I loved myself.
I wish guns didn't exist.

I was intrigued by both the interactivity of the piece, as well as how it creates small ritual for viewer-participants. Moreover, I was struck with the responsibility that if I had one wish that I knew would come true, what would I wish for? It seemed too selfish to simply wish for my own fortune, if such an opportunity came along, doesn't a Conscience have an obligation to wish for the benefit of humankind?

Surprisingly enough, I did not come across any wishes for world peace, which seems the obvious and most ethical wish. However, my companion did remind me of the X-Files episode in which a genie grants such a wish by erasing humankind from the planet.

The wishes of Neuenschwander's piece are like prayers or ceremonies, only by completing the rite is the wish granted. It was unclear if your wish was granted when your ribbon fell off, or if that granted the printed wish. I Wish Your Wish is more an interactive rite of focusing desire and providing an opportunity to earn deliverance rather that a service that provides a miracle. It was evident that viewer-participants must earn their happily-ever-after, but it is dependent on all viewer-participants following the forms.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

News from the Fund for Women Artists - Golden Globes Continue to Ignore Women Directors

The Golden Globe Award nominations have been announced by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and once again, no women have been nominated in the category of "Best Director."

This year the omission is worse than usual. Danny Boyle was nominated for an award as "Best Director" of "Slumdog Millionaire", but his female co-director, Loveleen Tandan, was not mentioned in the awards list. "Slumdog Millionaire" has been nominated for "Best Picture, Drama", "Best Screenplay", and "Best Score", in addition to "Best Director".

Chicago film critic Jan Lisa Huttner interviewed Danny Boyle as part of her review of "Slumdog Millionaire" for The Fund for Women Artists (see here.) Huttner specifically asked Boyle if Tandan was his co-director, and he said, "Yes, she deserves it! She's a proper director." (See here)

In the 65 year history of the Golden Globe Awards, Barbra Streisand is the only woman to ever win in the Best Director category (for "Yentl" in 1983), and only two other women have ever been nominated - Jane Campion for "The Piano" in 1993, and Sofia Coppola for "Lost in Translation" in 2003. The people nominated for Golden Globe Awards are often nominated for Oscars as well. Only three women have ever been nominated for Oscars in the "Best Director" category and no women have ever won.

We think it is time to give women directors credit where credit is due. We are asking you to please send the letter below to Ms. Chantal Dinnage, the Managing Director of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to let them know that we think Loveleen Tandan should be recognized for her work on "Slumdog Millionaire."

You can cut and paste the letter below and send it to Ms. Dinnage at: info@hfpa.org Please remember to sign the letter before you send it!!

You can send a snail mail to:
Ms. Chantal Dinnage
Managing Director
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association
646 N. Robertson Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069

You can also send a copy to Michael Russell, who has been the publicist for the Golden Globes for the past eleven years: MRussell@MichaelRussellGroup.com
Michael Russell, Publicist
The Michael Russell Group
1601 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 509
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Thanks for your help with this. Please feel free to forward this message or include it in your blogs, Facebook pages, MySpace pages or elsewhere online. The people who make these nominations need to hear from us.

Martha Richards, Executive Director
The Fund for Women Arists

Jan Lisa Huttner, The Hot Pink Pen
The Fund for Women Artists

Dear Ms. Dinnage,

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has nominated Danny Boyle for a Golden Globe award as "Best Director" for his work on "Slumdog Millionaire." Why has the HFPA ignored Boyle's co-director, Loveleen Tandan? Since he acknowledges that she was his co-director, shouldn't she be a co-nominee for the "Best Director" award?

Boyle was recently interviewed by
Chicago film critic Jan Lisa Huttner. She asked him if Loveleen Tandan was his co-director. He replied, "Yes, she deserves it! She's a proper director." (See http://www.womenarts.org/reviews/SlumdogMillionaire.htm#co_director ) Also, according to the Internet Movie Database, Danny Boyle is the director and Loveleen Tandan is the "co-director" of "Slumdog Millionaire." (See http://us.imdb.com/title/tt1010048)

In the 65 year history of the Golden Globe Awards, Barbra Streisand is the only woman to ever win in the "Best Director" category (for "Yentl" in 1983), and only two other women have ever been nominated - Jane Campion for "The Piano" in 1993, and Sofia Coppola for "Lost in Translation" in 2003.

It's time to give women directors credit where credit is due. Please include Loveleen Tandan as a co-nominee in the "Best Director" category for her work on the film "Slumdog Millionaire."

Thank you.

(insert name)