The “In Brief” section of our blog provides you with the relevant articles and news that we have been reading.
NY Subway in Official State of Emergency
Governor Andrew Cuomo has allocated $1 billion in state funds to the failing subway system. A competition has been developed, which awards $1 million to whomever can come up with the best plan to fix the city’s failing system. Under a state of emergency, the MTA is able to initiate repair work without having to worry about a bunch of red tape. The system is a century-old, and is the most used rapid transit system in the world however this has never convinced elected officials to invest in the maintenance of the system. After millions of passengers a day, time has taken its toll and experts say that in order to fix the system entirely it would have to go offline. Americans should pay attention to Seoul, South Korea as they are the future of transportation. American transit tends to rely heavily on government subsidies which contributes to the enormous backlog of needed maintenance, while passenger fare pays a more sizable portion of Seoul’s transit. Seoul’s transit costs less and is used more often. One problem in the US is that there is a lack of appreciation for transit, which leads to the government being quick to cut back on subsidies for transportation. The view in the US is that public transportation is for poor people, which is self-defeating. In Seoul, transportation is successful because it is attractive for everyone.
Grand Opening of the Haight Street Art Center
The much anticipated Haight Street Art Center opened July 1st. The Center includes a museum, studio space, and a space for art classes. The first exhibit was “The Art of Consciousness,” featuring psychedelic art from the 1960s.
Simulated Smoke Flag Flies Over Texas
As a homage to the United State’s dependency on oil, conceptual artist John has created the smoke flag installation entitled, “Western Flag.’ The flag marks the site where a geyser well first struck oil in 1901. At the time, the oil pumps on the Spindeltop field expelled more oil than all other pumps in the country combined. The installation was commissioned by a news organization to mark this year’s Earth Day.
Brooklyn Art Space Tackles the School-to-Prison Pipeline
The Brooklyn art space has put together an exhibit actively calling out the school to prison pipeline so common in minority school districts. The exhibit seeks to artistically demonstrate the inequality that is spawned when public school students of color are cycled through a failing education and hugely flawed criminal “justice” system. When black students are suspended at far higher rates than white students, forced to walk through a barrage of police officers and metal detectors on their way to school, and segregated into districts where schools lack even the most basic funding, it makes one wonder if Brown V. Board ever passed at all. Such is the primary point of this exhibit – that despite a supposedly post-racial school system, educational institutions are “still separate, still unequal.”
The Soul of a Nation
London’s Tate Modern is presenting an exhibit called “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power” in order to showcase artworks by black Americans who made art between the years 1963 to 1983. The exhibit portrays a huge variety of influences, mediums, and objectives – all with a goal to demonstrate that a nation’s “soul” can be represented through the artistic representations of those who had the fewest rights. While the exhibit seeks to demonstrate the myriad ways that black artists contributed to social movements over the twenty-year span the exhibit shows, it also seeks to show that there is no one “black experience” or aesthetic style.