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Lost Articles #5
by Christina Catherine Martinez

There is no “end” to art. The end of art history can be anticipated only as the end of art historians; maybe it will happen in a freak accident at a wine mixer. I can’t predict these things, I just take them as they come. And so, it is with a moderately heavy heart that I admit defeat against the tide of pamphlets, flyers, posters, handmade literature, “found art” and artifacts of visual culture that has metastasized at an alarming rate since the beginning of the Occupy movement in the Bay Area.

Just as the rise of Mannerism marks the decline of the Italian Renaissance, or the departure of David Duchovny marks the decline of the X-Files, so too, have I been presented with an artifact that heralds the critical mass, the omega of my motley collection of artifacts I have chosen to call Art under some entirely subjective and un-articulated set of criteria tucked away in my brain. On Learning and Social Change: Transcending the Totalitarian Classroom was shoved into my hand by a young protester as I picked my way around the short-lived Occupy Cal encampment on my way to class a few weeks ago. I haven’t opened the 40+ year old book for fear of cracking its immaculate spine. Evidently none of its probably myriad owners over the years have felt the need to crack the spine, either. The title and cover alone are apparently sufficient for getting its message across. It works for me. I’m actually relieved to be able to throw away the growing stack of protest signs I had started to gather as a way of documenting the incendiary political unrest that had become a part of my daily life (including some images of a crucified Ronald McDonald and a discarded “V” mask from the film “V for Vendetta,” copyright Warner Bros. Studios) as I think this book serves as a more efficient (both spatially and conceptually) symbol that I yet feel unqualified to unpack. As T.J. Clark admitted in the preface to his art-writing experiment The Sight of Death—an experiment which had the unfortunate privilege of being completed just before and published just after September 11th, 2001: ”Better by far a splitting–an admission of the ‘political’ and the ‘aesthetic’ as at present the torn halves of a totality to which, however, they do not add up.” Perhaps the gravity of these articles are no good in my hands, and it is time to move on to more innocuous forms of social commentary.

Like fashion.

Christina Catherine Martinez

Posted by Christina Catherine Martinez on 12/19/11

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