Essay Example on How race and ethnicity is a key Factor








This essay will illustrate how race and ethnicity is a key factor to understanding identity and how artists express this throughout their work and their bodies We understand our bodies through experience and how ones body is seen by others and by society Historically the human body most notably the female form has been idealised and sexualised within the visual arts and the women within the paintings became spectators men act and women appear Berger 2008 Berger recognises that women watch themselves being looked at and that they become the object within a composition of a painting and appear to be looking at the audience rather innocently whilst displaying themselves in a position As time progressed however around the 1960s 1970 s the perception of the role of a woman was cataclysmic in terms of sexuality reproductive rights and within workplace also during this time the analysis of the previously idealised female form had begun to change Feminist artists reclaimed the female body Moma org 2014 and allowed it to be seen in a variety of different ways Adrian Piper is an American artist of mixed heritage and identifies as African American Her work deals with challenging racial stereotyping and xenophobia Rorimer 2004 Adrian Piper because of her lighter skin tone would be assumed white in a social setting which played a crucial role in her work and the awareness of inclusion vs exclusion as she did not want the racial group she identifies with to be ostracised In social experiment Catalysis III 1970

Piper demonstrated this while walking through a department store and crowded street her clothes saturated with sticky wet paint and a Wet Paint sign plastered to her chest Adrian Piper s Catalysis series manage to challenge the relationship between the artist and the audience Singh 2018 whilst testing and merging boundaries between art and her daily life Piper s performances convulse the everyday banality of her environment by bringing forward not just the social issues but the predicament of race and gender The title Catalysis plays on the term used in chemistry of a chemical reaction caused by a catalyst Piper adopts the role of the catalyst as she allows herself to be the object within her performances to be interacted with to be watched and observed as she allows herself to be prominent and become unforgettable In an interview with Lucy Lippard Piper comments that she would psychologically prepare herself for their approach Lippard Piper 1972 Piper seemed aware of the cultural normality that within society that many of your learned experiences have been moulded and determined by your body and the importance it holds towards people and how others perceive it and her work successfully attempts to disrupt the nature of surroundings by unravelling and exposing how this can cause a hindrance to society This performance also brings into question of not knowing whether the liquid on her clothes is dry or not as obtrusive as it may be The innate fear of this and not wanting to seem bizarre it somehow makes people want to touch her Singh 2018 but also calls on the interesting argument of race and gender and questioning at what point is someone seen as white or black or indeterminate Hamm 2016 Eleanora Antinova is a fabricated persona created by Eleanor Antin in which she attempts temporarily becoming black and adopting another profession Smith 2011 she does this by creating a video complied of a short set of films entitled 

The Archives of Modern Art in which she s created a detailed narrative for per persona Eleanora Antinova who is a ballerina based in 1920s when the avant garde was emerging just after the first world war although performed between 1979 1987 The character of Antinova was an African American celebrated ballerina of Diaghilev's Ballet Ruse Eleanor Antin shows her awareness of the white ballets more commonly known as the classical ballets her denunciation of this is shown within the life of Eleanora It seemed to be a common myth that black dancers were unsuited to ballet Vam ac uk n d but dancers like Arthur Mitchel Janet Collins Llanchie Stevenson defied this preconception since it was once assumed that they did not have the body nor the talent to dance it Despite of this there were still black dancers under the term of modern dance like Katherine Dunham who performed in the 1930s and Pearl Primus However these dancers drew influences from the Caribbean and Africa and it was almost unheard of for there to be black ballerinas or if there were they were either lighter in skin tone or not allowed to perform publicly in certain areas due to society at that time and the belief that it should follow the traditional etiquette that ballet had when it first emerged in the early 1600s and by this time most black people were slaves The collection of short films within the videos explore the Nation As life as a ballerina as she gets older Diaghilev passed away and in the centre of the Great Depression and Antin has said that this was one of her favourite performances that she had done Whereas Piper within her work is explicit and socio political both Piper and Antin both confront the idea of race gender and sexuality in entirely different ways they both begin to question the blurred lines between how people are perceived and they both do it without necessarily directly being completely evident they still manage to make their spectators question how they view their surroundings and their opinions on race Unlike Antin or Piper who had shorter performances where they pull and address the social boundaries of race gender sexuality and ethnicity Nikki S Lee s projects question identification ethnicity

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