Poetry News

Response to Jacket2 Conceptual Writing Post Refers to 'Colonial Aesthetics'?

By Harriet Staff

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Earlier this week, we pointed you to Jacket2's soliciting of two cents on Conceptual art and writing--now, at Montevidayo, a communiqué authored by "The Mongrel Coalition" and posted by Lucas de Lima refers to the Jacket2 piece as having a "level of bullshit racism that gets to pass as scholarship." It invokes James Baldwin, Lee Lozano, and others, introduces the term "Gringpo," and issues several points of concern. Most of which: "Conceptual art is not about ideas! How cute of you to fall for their press releases. Why ignore that the vast proportion of conceptual art is made of white men playing phallus games with the accounts of 1% inside museums and subcontracting the poor to build the objects they 'think of.'" More:

6. Gringpo, we get that you listed some POCs and “othered” artists/writers and you think this makes everything you say safe, not racist, etc. TMCAG is letting you know that we’re not like the POC who are grateful for acts of inclusion, and therefore refuse to name your white supremacy, colonial aesthetics. We know that it is very possible for POC writers and artists to be complicit or co-opted in white supremacist, colonial aesthetics. Your listing practices are helpful reminders to Othered artists of how we can be weaponized, distorted and preserved for the wrong purposes. We will take note.

7. TMCAG understands it’s really naive and comfortable and safe to hold onto this modernist notion that conceptualism is about the idea (so what, everything else is about gendered notions of craft, racialized notions of labor? ha!)–we want to know: WHOSE IDEAS, WHY THOSE IDEAS. WHY DO THEY CIRCULATE? WHO DO THEY PRIVILEGE? WHOSE LIVES DO THEY UPLIFT?

8. Self declared conceptual art and writing lives inside museums, in privately held and publicly broadcasted institutional spaces, inside the white house, the walls of investment firms and homes deemed important. This is to say that such objects, such ideas, such mediums have received and continue to receive Empire’s most precious care. Gringpo’s desire to protect that which is in no need of clarification, protection or care–are its politics. The Mongrel Coalition exists to puncture Gringpo’s ethos, its rhetoric, its heart–so that time may exist for ancestral concerns.

Read the full response at Montevidayo.

Originally Published: January 23rd, 2015