Monday, August 25, 2014

From sea to shining sea

All 401 of America’s national parks are free today! (Happy 98th birthday, National Park Service. And hi, fellow August baby.) Among my favorites are Yellowstone, Yosemite, Denali, and Sleeping Bear Dunes.

At world's end. Sleeping Bear Dunes, 2008.

And on to a very different aspect of America: Ferguson, Missouri, has been on my mind and in my heart. In addition to joining the conversation online (on Twitter, the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter is a salient one, and, as a springboard, here’s a tweet of mine expressing Asian-American solidarity with the people of Ferguson), fellow Chicagoans can more tangibly help out by participating in a “Youth Sound-Off and Supply Drive: Justice for Mike Brown, Ferguson, and Us All” event this week.

So where does art fall into all of this? We’ve had some fruitful discussions on the role of art before. On the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s blog, Abraham Ritchie writes:

Artworks become objects of emotion, contemplation, and reflection, seen in the songs, poems, and images people are posting to the Web. Some works seem to presage events; others are poignant reminders of how much work we have left to do as citizens and human beings. [...] These artworks do not have the answers to the massive societal problems we face; instead they challenge us to face them, to discuss them, and to work to solve them.

Let’s work together.

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