There’s a proverb that says a picture is worth a thousand words. The image below is a photo collage of a face in color and B&W with zany features that makes you look twice. I found this image and posted it at my Pinterest site on a board titled Portraits. His mouth is wide-open; his eyes are tight shut. His ears are mismatched and the top of his head is a soft-boiled egg. I call him Egghead. See all the Pinterest portrait pins here.
I create and organize Pinterest pins for projects I design for my collage students at the Pelham Art Center in Pelham, NY. I save pins on boards dedicated to individual modern and contemporary artists as a showcase for their art. I also save pins that highlight specific art genres like the Exquisite Corpse, landscape collage or abstraction. Some pins focus on works in specific colors (red, blue, green) or B&W. See more information about how Pinterest works at the end of this post.
When people re-pin the same image I’ve pinned, I get email with an image they’ve pinned and the board they’ve pinned it to. Every day for the past 8-10 weeks, I’ve gotten emails that say the above Egghead image is being pinned again and again. I wonder why? Is the image about our collective anxiety, anger or fear in the midst of a CoVid 19 pandemic? In the last two weeks we’ve lived with righteous protests in response to the brutal death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN. As the email notices of re-pins continued (the image of the egghead dominated all other repins), I edited the Portrait board to include images by contemporary artists I admire: Jean Michel Basquiat, Romare Bearden, Glen Lignon, Wangechi Mutu and Mickalene Thomas. Now, because of my editing, the Portrait images are more inclusive, the pins are about contemporary art, and the focus is directly or indirectly about protest.
The image above is a portrait by Jean Michel Basquiat (American, 1960-1988), titled the Boxer. Basquiat’s art focused on dichotomies such as wealth versus poverty, integration versus segregation, and inner versus outer experience. Basquiat said: “I don’t think about art when I’m working. I try to think about life.” Read more about the artist’s brief life here.
The image above is a portrait by Romare Bearden (American, 1911-1988) titled Return of the Prodigal Son, offset lithograph, 28 x 26.4 inches (1991). Collection: Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Bearden is recognized as one of the most creative and original visual artists of the 20thcentury. Here’s a link to a short video that shows Bearden talking and working on a collage. The video was produced for the San Francisco MoMA.
The image above, by the artist Glen Lignon (American, b. 1960) is titled Double America 2, and dated 2014. It’s neon installation. Lignon lives and works in New York and is best known for his text-based paintings and works on paper, as well as works in neon, video and installation. Double America 2 delivers a powerful message that is also a portrait for our times. See more Neons by Glen Lignon here.
On June 11, 2020, the NY Times published an interview of Faith Ringgold (American, b. 1930). The image above is a mural-size painting titled American People Series #20: Die, dated 1967. You can see this painting installed in the Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Galleries (Floor 5) at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA, NY) when the museum reopens again in late summer. Ringgold’s career is a showcase for painting the world as it really is – as she sees it and experiences it. Ringgold’s American People Series confronts race relations in the United States in the 1960s. Ringgold has been a fervent civil rights and gender equality activist throughout her career. Read the interview.
Some quotes I want to share:
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. Its not. Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Maya Angelou
There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.
A final quote: Protect your enthusiasm from the negativity of others.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
The image above is a painting titled RAGE (2020), by the contemporary artist Pauline Chernichaw, created in response to the death of George Floyd. Pauline’s practice includes photography and expressive acrylic painting. See her images here.
The androgynous Portrait below is my analog collage made with cut and pasted papers, titled TROUBLE #2, 13×10 inches (2011). The figure stands in a field with text. I intended his expression to be a riddle.
Pinterest was launched in January 2010. It’s an American image sharing and social media platform designed to save information and images on the World Wide Web in the form of pinboards. The pinboards allow people to share images associated with projects, goods, and services, and to visually discover new interests by browsing images others have posted. Think of Pinterest as a web-based bulletin board. Sign up at Pinterest is totally user-friendly. People can “pin” original visuals, as well as bookmark or “pin” images by others who post at Pinterest. When a user saves a visual (image or video) to their Pinterest account, it becomes a Pin.