Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Censoring Culture

When I was growing up an older family member would often say "what you do not know wont hurt you". This phrase made no sense when I was a child. As I developed into a teenager and adolescent I realized it meant something important. This phrase was the first connection I had with censorship that I can remember. As a child many many many things were hidden and kept from me. One very impacting example is my father being in jail with the thought that no one knew why. From that moment on police officers were really just bullies to me. In the midst of trying to protect me from pain and loneliness a big police hater was in the brewing. Instead of keeping me safe my family members influenced me to not appreciate law enforcement- this is a less severe example. I understood "Initiatives presumably designed to protect children not only frequently violate the rights of adults, they have the potential to actually harm children. Government- funded, "abstinence-only" sex education, for instance, both urges abstinence and bans teachers from distributing information about contraceptive or safe sex" (Mintcheva, 169). This was a jewel to me. Many parents and grandparents believe keeping their children from such information will equally keep them from committing any actions that pertain to that information available. Parents fail to see the other side of the book, the consequence in other words. Since kids are not being informed about safe sex,  there are tons of teen pregnancies. Censoring this information to prevent child porn firdt of all failed because it still exists and it failed twice because now there are two problems instead of just one! There is porn and kids born from that porn!  Sometimes what you do not know WILL HURT BECAUSE YOU DO NOT KNOW.  Prevention is key is you ask me.

¡Mirame! Extra Credit

The art installation ¡Mirame! Represents the work of queer artist, and much of their work is based on identity. The artists were able to share their narratives and have a platform to inspire others. I felt inspired by their work and motivated to pursue a passion in the arts. By having the ability to show different forms of art, audience members engage in dialogue and spark a change in society. This allows individuals to grow and bring awareness on important issues. Living in a heteronormative society, queer artist often deal with a lack of representation and have to learn how to be resilient to the institutions. I would encourage others to participate and be active in their community, only then can we better the conditions for future generations.   

One artwork that stood out to me the most was Alma Lopez’s “Ixta” I was surprised to learn the history behind the Aztec legend, Popocapetl wanted to marry the Princess Ixtaccihuatl but to do so he had to earn his warrior feathers in battle. Upon his triumphant return, he finds that Ixta, believing he had died in battle, killed herself. Grieving, he takes her lifeless body in his arms to the highest mountains in Mexico so that the snowflakes would wake her. But she never wakes up and they both remained frozen, forming the now two famous snow-covered volcanoes in Mexico. Alma reinvents Ixta by using the two princesas that represent the US / Mexico border. This in itself is powerful since many families have been torn and separated from the border due to the laws embedded in society.   

Quarter refection

Winter quarter has not been nice to me, I will confess it has been the toughest quarter yet. Despite my personal issues my classes were not horrible. School offered a little "breather" sometimes... This class in particular gave me some hope. I had not been in an environment like the one in our class since I was a sophomore in high-school and, I had the privilege to take an art class. I never painted or drew though; we made collages with newspapers and magazines and learned about the history of art. This was the first hands-on class I had the pleasure to take. It was my first time dealing with a canvas and I'm glad we had the guidance we received, I would have been completely lost.  The most interesting aspect of this class definitely had to be criticizing art and getting a look at such pristine master pieces.  I feel like this class opened my eyes. It offered me an alternative way of thinking in order to understand other communities better. For example, Sally Mann's Immediate family picture portfolio was an interesting piece for me because I am a mom and I too take pictures of my baby. I do not always think about the dangers my baby's image or he may face once my images are on the web. As a mom I saw nothing wrong with the images- well most of them at least- but as a member of this cruel society- I saw the images and cringed. I cringed because I imagines a scenario where the image could be real because the world is that cruel now-a days. I felt a little disgusted at the thought of a little girl being held by an older man, and I felt a knot on my throat when I saw the little girl that looked as if she had perished in the water. However, I only felt that way at the thought of the scene becoming real. Once I learned the kids were safe, I felt relief. I did understand that our kids and all of our images are at the hands of everyone! Nothing is safe anymore!

WAR by Alex Donis

The art piece by Alex Donis was one I will never forget. Well I honestly believe it will be hard to forget any of the images we saw in class! However, this set stuck to me because I can relate to it to a certain extent. Maybe it is because the goal of this image was to unify the community which is something my community had been working towards since I can remember. I grew up in south central. I had family all over the place- scattered in "hoods" they were not supposed to be in and whatnot. Different colors for instance blue and red definitely meant more than just a color in many communities. The fact that he had the courage to add the members in those colors together was mind blowing. No where on the planet would the two colors want to mix. However, he added kids playing in these colors. This was important because it shows that the ideas are planted in children as they grow, destruction and hat is not something from within. This piece resonated with me because it was then I knew the image in my head of a unified community is not SO far out that it is impossible. What I am trying to say is, if someone else can paint a reality in which everyone gets along it can possibly be done. If I was thinking about this topic sometime in my life, if this artist had this thought with him as he grew up, if you (professor Lopez) decided to show us this image it is probably because it is a possible reality in plenty of people's minds! It is an alternative reality we are afraid to bring to life because we have not seen it before. Mr. Donis offered a very raw image of peace in a gang infested area that we fail to create ourselves. We can then build from there. I loved this image! I agree with it's purpose! This is the kind of art I want my tax money to pay! Oh, and here is an image of an ex gang member (My dad, Mr. Pedro Gomez ) sharing a laugh and a broom with a law enforcement officer.

Chris Ofilis Virgin Mary

Some of the images we saw in class were pretty tough to look at and others were tougher. I personally had a specific dislike for the image of The holy virgin Mary by Chris Ofili. I understand not everyone's representation of the Virgin Mary is going to be the same. I also believe that is true; each persona should be able to determine how their godly woman looks like. My biggest issue with the image was the elephant dung. This was one of those things I would have rather not known. The various images of butts was comical util I found out there was also poop with the image. My thinking process was somewhat like : "wow this person used animal sh*t AND added porn as flies". I personally do not think the poop was necessary. The porn can be justified but I had an issue with that too because the images are not in their natural state either. It is not like the images represent the purity of one's body anyway so, I was offended. Without the poop and porn flies, I would not censor it but, why would any artist associate poop with anyone period? I thought it was insulting to anyone that believes in any virgin.  

Team Presentation: not censor Sistine Chapel

My team is in charge of arguing for NOT censoring Michael-angelo's Sistine chapel. I personally chose this image because I did not understand why it was censored in the first place. I wanted to understand why people would deem such an amazing artwork unholy. I think the reason the people in the whole masterpiece are nude because that is the natural way of the human being. The  nudity was probably purest part of the image. It reminds the viewer that one is pure at some point. It sure reminded me that at some point I could look at a butt and think nothing of it. The sexualized thoughts came with experience and exposure. When artists added garments to cover the genitals I think it changes the tone of the image. With the garments there the viewers are suggested to think using sexualized lenses.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

EC: America Tropical

America Tropical was painted in 1932 by an extremely talented artist, David Alfaro Siqueiros. The painting is full of radical politics and revealed the social discord that existed. When Siqueiros was asked to paint the mural, he was instructed to paint a romanticized image of tropical America as the land of opportunity. However, Siqueiros as a political activist, painted a scene of the Mayan ruins and other intricate details. America Tropical was created soon after the Great Depression and therefore the mural perfectly portrayed the political and social climate. During the 1920’s Los Angeles was being sold to people, but this leisurely lifestyle was only target for the “well-to-do Anglo-Americans,” while the rest faced unemployment, homelessness, etc. The eagle above the Indian, as many have said, represents the oppression of the United States. I think what makes the piece more emotional is the power stance of the eagle, face forward, and wings opened, while the man below is crucified, constrained, eyes closed, and hopeless.This piece addressed the harm of imperialism in a space where it could be loud and heard. The mural was easily accessible, but a fourth of the piece was whitewashed and a few years later the rest of it was completely covered up. Those who deemed the piece “controversial” knew the truth and the wrong, they were at fault. It made them uncomfortable for a reason. I admire Siqueiros for utilizing his art and position to voice and bring light to the obvious that everyone attempted to avoid.

EC:America Tropical Mural Interpretive Center

Last weekend I had the chance to visit the America Mural Interpretive Center where I was able to see David Alfaro's Siqueiros mural. The mural is only open for a limited amount of hours during the day because of the damage the sun can do to the painting. It was interesting to learn about the mural and how it was “censored” for years by being covered with white paint until it was rediscovered again. This is a perfect example of the limitation of an artists artistic expression because he was portraying something that was considered “uncomfortable” for some. After taking this course, I can see this censorship event in a different light and how crucial it is to speak out against these type of situations where our first amendment is being limited. Knowing that this painting is now being conserved is a big sigh of relief since it is such an important part of history that should be remembered and this mural plays a big part of it, not only with the history that the mural itself contains but the mural being “censored” is also just as important.

Censoring Cultures

Ch.14- The Metaphysics of Networks

"There is presumed to be something about the structure of networks that enables forms of resistance to emerge in the face of more centralized power structures." (153)

I choose this quote because it describes the power of networks. The power that individuals can come together through these networks and create protests, gatherings, etc. The idea that networks is not only a positive thing but negative. This quote explains how through the help of structures there comes this impact of resistance towards power; There are always issues in the world that involve "centralized powers." Given the example in the chapter about "Battles of Seattle" how people protested against WTO (World Trade Organization)  which shows a form of resistance amongst these large power structure (government).  This chapter speaks on behalf of the people and the connection of the world growing.  It states how within this large number of networks occurring so are negative events like terrorism, that has to do with networks. It also speaks on protocol and how networks may be managed so that it would not be “confusing.” They want to show how maintaining an open and closed system, as stated on page 157, that it will increase transparency amongst society. It also focuses on what is too much control regarding the state and at the federal level within networks; due to unforeseen circumstances that may heavily impact our nation. What is the best way to prevent these negative outcomes? There is a limit in which the state does need to follow amongst privacy. Furthermore, this topic is debatable regarding the networks in society. We do want to be safe, but how safe can we be with the government overriding our privacy?

Friday, December 15, 2017

Sally Mann's Immediate Family

Sally Mann's Immediate Family
Related image
Sally Mann's work is quite a controversial issue. I mean to my opinion I chose to write this because, my family has baby nudes of myself and they thought no wrong about it, I was their child. I believe that's the creativity the artist is able to claim, that these are her children and she has a right to express herself with her family. An argument that people made was that this series was "child pornography", they believed it was pornography because she depicted her children nude in pictures. I think this isn't a good argument because why would people think that? The photographer is the children's mother. It is all in the eyes of the beholder, so if someone thinks other thoughts well I think that is there personal issue. I do see why individuals may not take the image well, but I think it should be understood that these children are children, they are innocent  and honest. She is not portraying them in any other matter. I feel like the black and white represents that because it shows that they are not yet developed, physically and mentally. Kids are simple beings and do not pay much attention yet and i think she was just admiring that beauty. 

The Last Supper by Renee Cox

 The Last Supper by Renee Cox

Image result for The Last Supper by Renee Cox
I believe Renee Cox's piece of the last supper is interesting. Her perspective and the way she made it to coincide with her identity.  She received a lot of backlash because people assumed she was against the catholic religion because it shows her body nude and replaced the sacred images with people of color. Her reasoning on why she chose to reclaim this image to her identity was to critique the church. She critiqued the church by implementing herself nude, as a critique of the church being dominated by men; She included people of color to interject that the system and hierarchy of the church majority is white. I think that this image is dope, and there are many controversies of images when related to religion. Religion is a touchy subject, but what I believe connects everyone is the belief that there is a higher power. So why not express ourselves, identities, and culture? Renee grew up going to a catholic church, she was taught that Jesus loved everyone equally, so she just wanted to portray that in her image. If Jesus did love everyone equally, then why isn't there representation of everyone, which is what Renee is criticizing. Overall, what stands out to me in this picture is Renee Cox and her posture. Her representation of Jesus. You can tell that in this image she is the attention and that she seeks praise. Which is also important for a society today, to show young women that we too can be powerful  

Salman Rushdie- CH.2. pg 117

"To be free one had to make the presumption of freedom"
Image result for salman rushdie book
      This quote stood out to me because it implies that we must believe we have freedom but with uncertainty, due to the word presumption. One, in the country we live in, we have freedom. But when the cases come about other countries, that is different. Freedom conveys different meanings which is despairing. I believe we should take into accounts other's experiences as too how much they can express themselves, as told here in Salman Rushdie's memoir. In order to be free we must define freedom, but where is that freedom when it needs to be defined? There are many constructs in society that keep us from freedom and freedom of expression. There are different opinions, individuals, face, so many judgement and rules that lead to the impression if we truly are free. It fits with the discussion in the book because it is about censorship. Rushdie did not think that his book would offer these consequences. He believed that with the fact that he was a writer he was able to express himself, and choose what he wrote, that as he states his ".. work would be treated as having been created with integrity."117 Furthermore, I  believe this highlights one of the ideologies and the journey of Joseph Anton and his book. 

EC:La Plaza- Art Exhibit

Mirame!: Expressions of Queer Latinx Art
Going to this exhibit and just going to La Plaza and visiting Plazita Olvera in general was very nostalgic. I really like going to museums and love art plus music! It gives a very home feeling because you don't get that much here at UCLA. Anyway, I really loved the art exhibit and the portrayals the artist had on these significant icons in the latinx community. As I sat down and watched the video being displayed, I noticed one of the individuals in the video was my T.A. from my Chicano 101 class, I don't remember his name. I just love how it portrayed our community and nothing gentrified, it was raw. One of my favorite pieces was Los Hijos de Doña Rita. I grew up with tio's who were gang affiliated so they had the "typical" cholo vibe, very macho. But in this piece it challenges that stereotype, we expect one thing but we get another. Honestly, I just loved the message it conveyed- which for me is anyone can be whom they want to be, regardless of what that individual labels themselves, or doesn't. Just as the title of the event, it says Expressions which is what these pieces are, expressions towards symbolic icons, and giving your own perspective. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Self-Introduction:Daisy Arriaga

Hello, everyone, my name is Daisy Arriaga and I am currently a third year here in UCLA. I am currently majoring in Chicana/o studies and minoring in Education. I was born and raised in south-east Los Angeles. I call the city of Bell Gardens my home and I am extremely excited to take this course this quarter. My future career goal is to be an Elementary school teacher and teach fifth grade. All throughout school I had extremely influential teachers that have inspired me to pursue this career path and hopefully one day I too can inspire and motivate students just like my teachers did to me.
        When I read the article about Kaepernick and the Confederate flag the first thing that came to mind was the current political state we live in today. Over the past 2 years, the United States has been faced with open racism and social movements to prevent the discriminations of suffering minorities.  As a form of resistance NFL 49ers quarterback Kaepernick decided to take a knee during the national anthem. It was through this simple act of kneeling that stirred a form of resistance against the social injustice done to multiple minority groups in the United States. The other article talked about how Confederate statues were being destroyed in the south as a form of standing in solidarity with minorities. However, I believe the best way to get rid of these public statues is not by destroying them but by placing them in a museum so that we do not erase the racist history the United States has experienced but instead create a dialogue of what these statues mean and stand for.Both article, demonstrate the need for social movements that would allow social justice to be done.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Extra Credit: Mirame!: Expressions of Queer Latinx Art

Extra Credit: Mirame!: Expressions of Queer Latinx Art

Last weekend, I went to the exhibition in Downtown and got to enjoy some of the wonderful art pieces that were on display. Upon arrival, I walked in on a Sunday afternoon and there were a lot of people admiring different sections of the exhibit. To the right side, there was Professor Alma Lopez's art works and a few other interesting pieces. In general, my favorite art work was the center photo (3rd from the left) titled El Popo Y El Homie by Hector Silva -- depicting an Indian man caressing another man. Not only was the piece beautifully drawn but it depicts the man wearing the head piece showing the other man affection. He was caressing his head and his facial expression reveals ease and love. The man in his arms is sitting in a gentle, relaxed and somewhat feminine pose with his legs crossed. He seems to not be wearing any clothing, just covered by a blanket or some type of cloth. His facial expression shows happiness, possibly laughter. It is rare to see a drawing of an Indian man not standing "macho" and firm. The photo that made me laugh was the Tapatio bottle with a picture of a woman and edited to say "Tapatia". There was an entire wall with the bottles on shelves from top to bottom. I had never thought about what the Tapatio bottle I have at home would look like feminized and it gave me a better take on what it would be like to relate things reconstruct gender norms mentally.

On a side note -- this was my first time visiting Placito Olivera and it was beautiful! They had male dancers playing the drums and wearing beautiful traditional costumes. They had good food, and beautiful art pieces everywhere. It reminded me somewhat of Tijuana and all of the little shops that align the border. I would definitely go back to relax on a Sunday!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Most Convincing Argument

Immediate Family

"Attack the pedophile, not the photographer"
I feel that this phrase was the final straw on being able to convince me to not censor the photographs. I have had previous experience with child pornography and how human trafficking continues to thrive because of it. Most legislation across the world targets the criminals who draft the victims, I feel if they persecuted the consumer more there would be less of a demand. Those who wish to censor the image because of the nudity do not seem to find the innocence of nudity. For all those images families do with their baby naked in the first months of their lives. The children do not process nudity as a "bad" thing because the world has not corrupted their views of the world. For children, nudity is their natural state and since they're learning the social constructs of society still they will run around naked. For Sally Mann's children who had more space in comparison to those who live in the city, it was very natural for her kids to be naked without having to worry about who views them. Why should art cater to the needs of pedophiles, why are we persecuting the people who interpreting a child's natural state as innocence? Something that also convinced me was how Sally Mann was very transparent with her children explained to them what would be happening with their photos. Her children could have decided not to have their photos published and they felt comfortable in their own bodies, because again as children they have not been corrupted by society's double standard morales Child pornography does not happen with the child's consent, therefore how can we compare both?

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Convincing Argument

Immediate Family by Sally Mann

I felt that one of the most convincing arguments was by the not censor team in the Immediate Family case; the team argued, "Do not attack the photographer, attack the pedophile."
Many times, when the public opposes an artwork, they must be remind about the other issues and factors that contribute to why they are so against it. Society has already shaped people's mind about how they view certain things, thus, sometimes it is hard for them to see that there is a bigger problem than what they are targeting. For example, one may argue that the Immediate Family artwork is child pornography, however, the only reason one may argue that is because they have prior values to why they see this photograph as something else. Also, it is important to hear the artist interest, before making assumptions of something that wasn't there.

Enrique Chagoya Pro Censorship 

Another convincing argument for censorship: to protect and preserve the artwork.

I think everyone in class might be against censorship, on behalf of our team, we all believed that Chagoya's artwork should not be censored for any reason. Censorship has a very negative connotation, it takes away an artist's right to freedom of speech and expression. However, I believe if the art work contains hate speech then that's another story, but if an artwork is offensive then there is no real reason to why to censor the work. When it comes to art, there is always going to be someone who might find the art offensive, however, it is important to understand the art rather than hate it. Therefore, my team and I thought it would be clever to turn censorship into something positive. In a way we agreed with all the statements that the opposing team stated, but instead of using that information against our arguments, we agreed in order to show that pro censoring the art was in the best interest of both the public and artist. All the other teams demonstrated good arguments to why or why not censor an artwork, however, every of those arguments only showed what the public felt and saw. For our team, it was important to show a view that the artist might agree upon.
We felt that our arguments revolved within the artist community: how would they feel if they experienced a hate crime or an attack from someone crazy? It is important to protect beautiful art and artists. Since, the NEA is currently facing a questionable financial future, an artist does not receive enough money to protect the art, thus, the cheapest way to protect their work, is by censoring their work (or keeping it away from the public).
Protecting the art work and preserving it, show that censoring is sometimes in the benefit of the artist and their work, not just the public.

Course Reflection

Throughout the quarter I’ve learned the power of art. Any kind of art has the force to drive a person to a movement, to use their voice, or to share an experience. I have always seen art as a form to express yourself, a new view of seeing the world, or as something beautiful that is displaced on a galleria, museum, or one’s home. Until I took this course, I learned what an artwork can emotionally do to someone or a group of people. As we learned about the Virgin de Guadalupe, I learned the true power of an image. An image of a religious female icon bringing a whole community to their knees to sing her happy birthday. As a political science major, I have gained some skills that can be useful when organizing my people, such as, having my own image or piece of art that will make others believe our one voice. 

For my paintings, I learned how to adapt other aspects from other artist into my own work. I learned hot to blend properly. My self-portrait taught me how I viewed myself; the image I chose of myself was my UCLA ID picture, where I’m smiling. However, in my painting I failed to capture that same smile or happiness. I was very disappointed and frustrated that I was not able to illustrate my smile but maybe that was because I still need to find that happiness I once had before attending school. I think as artist, as Chicanas(os), sometimes we must work twice as hard to get what we want, which unfortunately means less personal time for oneself. Overall this course taught me a lot about artists and their constant struggle to freedom of speech but also in a personal level, it taught me to show more the inner artist I have within myself.

Our Lady of Guadalupe

La Virgin de Guadalupe is a religious icon that emerges on December 12 of 1531 to Saint Juan Diego. She has a similar story as of the Virgin Mary, however, when she appeared to Saint Juan Diego, she demanded a church in her honor at a small town in Mexico.
She has always been a part of my home, as a non-religious Catholic, and someone who has experienced lots of hate, I constantly question the faith I have towards her. There is not a day where my mother does not have a candle for the Virgin de Guadalupe. The more I have learned about her through this class, I have truly appreciate her as art. On December twelve, we go to church and by roses to put them by her frame. My godfather was named after her, we as well buy him roses, now I’m guessing because they share a special date. Everyone in my household has an image or figure that represents Our Lady of Guadalupe, although, half of us, are not religious. I remember visiting her when I was eleven, I thought it was beautiful, lots of flowers and people, all come to receive her blessing. However, even then, and especially now, I have always seen her as a beautiful brown woman.

Art Selected: Enrique Chagoya

The art piece that my team was assigned was Enrique Chagoya’s The Misadventures of the Romantic Cannibals. The artwork consisted of a few printed pages, illustrating cultural and religious figures in a sexual manner. For instance, in the front page shows a figure that others may view as Jesus Christ receiving oral sex, with a caption stating “18 and over.” Thus, Chagoya received lots of backlash by religious groups, in particular, Christians, whom found the printing offensive.
The artwork was displayed in the Colorado Museum, where it was seen by the public and some of those who opposed the art. A woman attacked the printings by breaking the plexiglas that was covering them and injured herself in the process of damaging and destroying Chagoya’s work. Chagoya argued that he did not make Jesus appear in that way, but simply used different symbols. The intention of the artist was to make a statement about the sexual assaults that have occurred within the Church. Although, he seems no harm in sharing the voices of those have suffered by the Church, religious groups have been the number one target in censoring the artwork. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Most Convincing Argument

Last week’s presentations were thought-provoking and full of many solid arguments. One of the strongest teams that initially presented brought up how censoring a work like Sally Mann’s Immediate Family would lead to the normalization of a child’s sexuality. I found that point to be valid and it reinforced my personal stance on why this work shouldn’t be censored on the sole reason that some might interpret it as obscene. Assuming that this work leans more towards child pornography is a reach. Calling the artist a pedophile is a senseless thing to do because her intentions as a photographer don’t even align with pedophilia. The team addressed this issue and brought the point of society’s tendency to blame the victim. She was blamed in the hypothetical situation of what would happen if a pedophile were to be provoked by these images when she shouldn’t be. These were her kids and she was capturing the moments she found adorable. On the surface, the photographs do not seem intentionally sexual so it’s questionable that some might find them to be so suggestive. I thought it was also interesting for the team to address how common it is for parents to capture moments when their kid isn’t wearing clothes and for the family to find it cute.  

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Team Presentation:Enrique Chagoya

Image result for enrique chagoya
Enrique Chagoya's piece is controversial but censoring it(team I was on), I don't think it should be censored. Which is very alarming because it makes it complicated to support the fact that the piece has to be censored. One, there is no nudity in the piece, so why? How do we protect the fact that this obscene piece is controversial? Well, we can say that it is controversial due to the fact that the figures in the piece seemed to resemble political figures which is why this piece created a lot of controversy because it was attacked and destroyed by a woman. In the piece it presents several symbolic figures where people would identify them as per say Jesus or  Mohammed. Which is why there was a resistance towards this piece because people of the religious background thought it was provocative for Jesus to be getting head by another male AND the fact that Jesus' head was on the body of a woman's. To Enrique Chagoya, he knew this piece was already going to be controversial, because in his biography he states that he likes to use pop culture and symbolic icons.Overall, this piece should be censored because it will cause controversy with those of the religious background and solely to protect the piece from getting further damaged. These pieces do take a lot of work and dedication from the artist, it is not fair to put their work on display while potentially putting the art at risk.

La Virgen de Guadalupe

Image result for la virgen de guadalupe
La Virgen de Guadalupe has always been a memorable figure in my life. I grew up catholic but as I grew up I realized my beliefs did not come to par with those of the church. I still go out of respect, but just the way the catholic setting is set up makes me feel, restricted. Even if my beliefs did not correlate with, "my religion" I still believed in La Vrigen de Guadalupe. As a kid,I was confused between The Virgin Mary & La Virgen de Guadalupe  because I always noticed in our church they had different shrines, and I would ask myself why, if they were supposed to be the same person. Other than that my belief in La Virgen de Guadalupe stands. Specifically because I lost my aunt on December 12th, 2003. She was heavily involved in the church in our community and praised La Virgen de Guadalupe. Unfortunately, she was pregnant while she passed and her daughter Rosita Guadalupe passed away as well. It astonishes me until this day that something like this could happen. I believe this is why I hold onto her belief, because it is such a significant role in my life, that why shouldn't I believe?

Virgen de Guadalupe

The month of December is a month full of celebration and great spirit. In my house it feels like Christmas commences far before the last week of the month. In my family we start celebrating December 2nd because it is my father's birthday but as soon as that is out of our systems we are left with ten days to prepare for the next holy celebration. El dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe (December 12) is as important as christmas in my family. I grew up in a catholic home. If my name doesn't remind you, I will.. my middle name is Guadalupe- thats how faithful my family is to the Virgen de Guadalupe. She symbolizes strength, dignity, honesty, hope, health, family, among other valuable ideals. I did not always comprehend why we worshiped her so much but I have always preferred her over the 'male' figure in church. I unintentionally connected her image with my ideal of feminism. I guess I felt like she was a Goddess just as important as christ.  Her image is all over my mom's house and my grandmas houses and now it is in my home as well. Her story may get confusing/ confused but the idea of respect for this mujer poderosa remains and I love that!
 Here I share a precious art peice from prison. 

Most convincing argument

The presentations were all full of random ideas that one alone would not have thought of. This week's presentation offered a new perspective to many things. It is hard to argue about religion and humanity. I believe the most convincing argument goes to the group presenting to NOT censor Virgin & St. Bernard by Alonso Cano. The group arguing for the censoring of the image had me completely convinced with them. I agreed that the breast milk's purpose is to nurture a child not to feed a man. I realized the image was not really sexual but still something about it made me feel icky. However, all changed when the NOT censor team reminded me that breast milk is a holy body fluid- the wine in church represents christ's blood- duh! this was a light bulb moment for me. It was also then I caught the detail about saint Bernard having health issues with his throat; the breast milk was serving as a medicine and maybe even as an ointment. From previous knowledge (not religious) I know moms in remote parts of the world are suggested to feed their new borns exclusively breast milk because the water may be too hard and hurt the baby's throats. This was relevant because the breast milk's healing 'powers' would probably aid the saint far better than simple water would.


Hello there guys, my name is really long. My full name is Maria Cristal Guadalupe Gomez Cruz but feel free to call me Cristal. I am a first generation college student meaning I am the first in my family to attend college. I was actually the first to graduate high school too! I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I like to say I am a true Cali girl, I love the west coast! This is my second year here at UCLA- my dream school because its the university of the city I was born in. I am majoring in Spanish and minoring in Chicano studies. My journey to UCLA  has been rough but I am here. I have a 1 1/2 year old son named Jesse Allen. He is my pride and joy. He is also a leech that lives off of my energy. I am a full time parent and I try to be a full time student. I came across this class almost by accident. It just happened to like this class description a little more than another class I was going to take. I need this class to check off a class requirement for my Chicano studies minor. However, that is not the only reason I decided to stay in this course. I am excited and I am looking forward to learning about the art pieces I have most likely not been exposed to because well they have been censored. I am also hoping to learn to understand the community we are a part of through the diverse artwork.

As for this week's reading assignment:
Adam Harris' "As Support Grows for Ditching Confederate Statues, Some Colleges Begin to Remove Theirs" gives a really good explanation for those who argued to keep the statues, furthermore he offered an even better reason for the statues to be removed. The article touches upon the idea of preserving history through the statues was the main reason majority of the white supremacy groups retaliated and rioted. The reason of the removal of these statues was to show the country has progressed and changed it's beliefs. I think it was ironic for the white supremacists to be so angry at the removal of the statues. I personally believe their point is invalid. We learned that the europeans  wiped out full colonies and not a peep is said about that. In addition, I need to point out the quote "Embracing difference includes creating space where all people feel respected, welcomed, and valued". This quote stood out to me because it is a very unique way of thinking. I realized after reading this that History does not change, it is because we allow change and difference that we are able to progress! This is a change and this too is good! Why can't we just think of it like those Statues' show time is up because they do not bring many viewers- like an old boring history movie.

Most Convincing Argument - Judith Slaying Holofernes by Gentileschi

Artemisia Gentileschi - Judith Beheading Holofernes - WGA8563.jpg

Judith Slaying Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi

The most convincing argument was the argument to not censor this painting. The best argument within the main argument [to not censor] was the argument that this is a painting and not a real image. When taking that into consideration, it makes the beheading more tolerable. Once given more background, one would understand that the act of beheading is common in the early Renaissance, as it is part of the "Power of Women". It is also an episode from the Old Testament, which makes me inclined to not censor it even more. If it is an episode from the bible, it should not be censored.

I really enjoyed listening to both sides of each argument and having both sides "rebuttal". It gave each team a chance to argue the weaknesses of their presentation and it was clearly a fair way to have their presentation judged, not based on bias but on which team had the stronger presentation. Personally, I was assigned to censor a painting that I had originally felt like should not be censored. It was extremely difficult trying to argue why something that I felt like should not have been censored must be censored, but it gave me a different perspective entirely on the portrait.

Most Convincing Arguement

I really enjoyed how as a class, we were able to do a debate and try to argue a side for different paintings, and essentially either censor or uncensor them. This not only adds to the fact that it allows us to explore a perspective were not used to, but also understand why other people wanted to censor certain artworks. The argument I found most convincing was that of the Sistine Chapel, trying to censor the artwork. I feel that throughout their debate they focused a lot on politics, and how the law is tied into these kinds of measures. They used contextual facts and demonstrated multiple cases where similar scenarios had occurred and as a result, were censored because of the power the law has. I do want to mention that the other team did bring up the separation of church and state at the end of the debate, which I feel that if it would’ve been brought up earlier, the uncensoring team could’ve made it hard for the other team to rebuttal. However, the use of past cases and precise articles from the law really pushed me to concede to their main argument. This debate between the two sides for the Sistine Chapel was one of my favorites, being that it dealt with both the church and the state, two subjects that are always clashing.

Most Convincing Argument

The most convincing argument was made by the not to censor  Immediate Family by Sally Mann team. Since this series of photos were of her family and how she found her children to be a source of inspiration, they were able to bring in the brighter side and the strongest arguments. The censor team also had a couple of strong arguments, but it made it seem like everyone was capable of thinking in such a malicious way. The team was able to get their reasoning across in order to truthfully justify why the work of Mann should not be censored, while also including some of their own anecdotes to make it stronger.  

There wasn’t an alternative meaning to her taking pictures of her immediate family. She used her passion and the love she had for her family to capture them in a way that captured their own identities. The team who argued not to censor was able to get across their message and the artist's message. Something of this caliber cannot be censored, especially when it is captured through the eyes of someone who is close to them, someone with no alternative motives or thoughts. Both teams did a great job arguing this piece of work.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Most Convincing Argument

In my opinion, one of the strongest and most memorable arguments made during the presentations was that of the not to censor group of Enrique Chagoya’s The Misadventures of the Romantic Cannibals. The group made the point that there was truly no issues with the artwork until someone saw it as a method to gain political attention. They demonstrated that the artwork had previously been exhibited without backlash. It was not until it was exhibited in a city that was in the middle of elections that the image caused uproar. The group made the point that a politician added fuel to this outrage at the artwork in order to be seen as having the interests of the public in mind and to move his political campaign forward. Along with this verbal explanation of the events, the not to censor group added a slide on their presentation that included a visual timeline of the events. This visual combined with their explanation, in my opinion made for a great argument in their favor. Overall, this argument caused me to question the validity of the censorship of Chagoya’s The Misadventures of the Romantic Cannibals. By demonstrating that someone gained from its censorship, it caused me to believe that there truly was no good reason to censor the artwork. It brought out the feeling of a sort of tyranny and overreach of power by a politician to decide what is wrong and what is right. Moreover, in their timeline they pointed out that it was during this politically driven outrage that Chagoya’s artwork was vandalized and destroyed. This further added to the negative perception of a politically driven effort for censoring the piece. Overall, I believe this argument made a strong case that painted a negative image of censorship, especially at the hands of a politician. Additionally, and most importantly , it made me side with the group and decide that censoring Chagoya was wrong.

Most Convincing Argument

I was very impressed with all the arguments presented last week, for I ended up very torn when it came to voting on the winner each round. The debate that stood out to me the most was over whether or not to censor Judith Slaying Holofernes. The first team brought up excellent points that women empowerment should not consist of man hating. We should try to bridge the gap between genders by uplifting everyone equally, rather than punishing everyone equally. This group had me convinced that the picture was wrong because there are many other ways to empower women than by promoting violence.
However, I believe the not to censor group had the most convincing argument by stating that art is not real. This act of murder did not actually take place, and just because an artist paints something, it does not mean they are promoting other people to act on it. The group brought up the point that art can be a form of emotional expression and the artist painted her gruesome pieces as an act of coping and releasing her anger in a non-violent way. I think all the debates could have been easily put to an end with this type of thinking: that art is not meant to be taken literally and just because certain audiences misunderstand the work does not give it a reason to be censored. Every censor argument seemed to stem from twisting the work into something it was not intended to. Perhaps we should all acknowledge that art is not meant to push secret agenda but rather just a form of expressing oneself which in no way is inherently wrong or harmful.

most convincing argument fall 2017

I really liked the group presentation to not censor the Sistine chapel, for their valid points of, :

  • The constructed perceived knowledge of "nakedness" and how that pivots our demoralization of the artwork to inhibit the need of censorship.
  • The relationship between the biblical allusion to Adam and Eve and how the story of how after they ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge did they become aware of their nudeness. "To have them wear clothing is inconsistent with how the Bible created these persons in the beginning" therefore, having them censored by attaching garments is like advocating for their sin of disobedience. 
    • The argument of, " censorship is equivalent to shame and knowledge"
  • What is natural? This argument allows the viewers to question their perceived intuition of wether nudity is moral or not, and whether or not is should be censored in art, and why or why not?
For these reasons, I feel that this group did a well job in executing their arguments to not censor the Sistine Chapel because they heavily touched upon the social construction of "nudity is bad" and how censoring such would be invalidated because of a moral perception. It really had me question the need to censor art at all.

Most Convincing Argument: Sally Mann-- Not Censored

The argument that had me questioning whether to censor or not censor it was the debate about Sally Mann. That's a tough one. Prior to having the debates, I was unsure whether or not I'd censor the work, but ultimately I leaned toward not censoring it due to the fact that it was consensual and because the images were of immediate family. However, I'd still go back and forth questioning whether it would have been appropriate for a child to be the one to make the decision of whether or not they'd feel comfortable with their mother posting their pictures.

Nonetheless, the debate had strong points to support each side. The team to censor the work went first, and a powerful argument of theirs was that pedophiles could get access to Mann's pictures, disregard  copyright, and photoshop them into porno magazines. The strongest argument made on the other end was that the photos were of immediate family which made it appropriate for the children to be naked and held by their parents (in a non-sexual way of course). In addition, the individuals that argued to not censor "Immediate Family" shared details from their personal life of how their parents took pictures of them nude when they were young. Ultimately, I felt like the team to not censor the work did a slightly better job at formulating a conniving argument so I voted for them even though my belief lies somewhere in the middle.

From my perspective, yes, I find it appropriate that a mother wanted to take pictures of her children in their everyday life, meaning some of the pictures would be nude. However, the issue for me lies in getting the album out to the public where pedophiles can access the images to use for their own satisfaction. Even if the child says "Yes, it is okay to take my picture like this," they shouldn't qualify  to provide consent.

To wrap things up, both teams did a superb--

Most Convincing Argument -Censor Mapplethorpe

It was very insightful to hear arguments from both sides of the censorship issue. One would think it is easier to argue for non censorship since most of us would agree everyone has the right to express themselves freely as long as they don't cause harm. However sometimes it is hard to validate a work outside of artistic expression; since art is not a utilitarian tool but an abstract experience. Im not saying art doesn't have value I just mean its hard to make its abstract value tangible.

I really liked how the Robert Mapplethorpe censor group pointed this out.  Concerning his activist efforts to promote AIDS awareness; his message wasn't clear unless you're "in" on his allusions and that leaves the audience member perplexedly starring at starkly lit pictures of questionable subject matter such as homoerotic S&M scenes without much context. I think his work is pretty amazing and aesthetically bad-ass however I wouldn't be surprised if someone like my mom had a total WTF reaction to it (not that she's a prude or anything). Someone like her would probably not interpret the work the same and she would see it of little value to be displayed in gallery halls. So yeah, I liked Robert Mapplethorpe's censor team argument the most.  

Most convincing argument - To not censor the Sistine Chapel

Last week’s presentations all did a great job at supporting their arguments in regards to censoring or not censoring an art piece. I found that the most convincing argument, however, was the one to not censor Michelangelo’s work in the Sistine Chapel. I enjoyed hearing the team discuss how it is important to not censor the work because it reveals God’s creation of us. They argued that we came into this world naked, therefore it is important for us to know our bodies in order for us to fully understand and accept ourselves. Furthermore, the team used biblical verses to help their arguments against the images being obscene which I found to be ironic because the other team was also using religion and social morals against nudity in their argument. In all the presentations and in outside debates about censoring works, religion always seems to be on the side of those who want to censor. However, this team did a great job at using religion in their defense, stating verses and facts in the bible that I did not know were so open and “progressive.” Although this argument was the most convincing, I would have liked to see the other team discuss the evident white, patriarchal images all throughout the chapel. I feel as though that would have been a great way to argue for censorship because it is not representational of people, especially women, of color.