So this popped up on my twitter feed yesterday. Lordy Loo.
First of all – when will The New York Times take a stand and not use the term “illegal?” For another day, peeps, for another day.
Nevertheless, the artist Tania Bruguera now lives with undocumented people.
Cue the dramatic music.
And she was given around $85,000 for this artistic foray into the outer borough of Queens, NY.
“She has not fallen on hard times. Ms. Bruguera is performing a yearlong art piece meant to improve the image of immigrants and highlight their plight. And she is bringing her high-concept brand of provocation to a low-wattage precinct of taco stands and auto-body shops, where the neighbors have responded with varying degrees of curiosity, amusement and befuddlement.
…Ms. Bruguera (pronounced brew-GAIR-a) has turned the space, a former beauty supply store, into the headquarters for her new advocacy group-cum-art project, Immigrant Movement International, using about $85,000 from Creative Time, a nonprofit arts group, and the Queens Museum of Art.
She seeks to blend politics and art to empower immigrants through English classes, legal help and impromptu performances. She has held workshops to write slogans — like “I am today what your grandparents were yesterday” — that she plans to print on bumper stickers and T-shirts. And she intends to live like her working-class Latino neighbors; she has vowed not to tap her credit cards, personal bank account or assistants in Italy and Cuba.
“I don’t want to hear things in the office — I want to live them,” said Ms. Bruguera, 43, who is from Cuba but spent the last year in Paris. “I want to have the anxiety.”
She added, “Those are things I have to feel on my skin.”
As someone who also identifies as an artist and performer, I’d like to tell Ms. Bruguera that there are some things that you are never going to feel on your skin. No matter how much you may try.
What is it with the incessant need of US-based artists to suck up the experiences of others like a high-end vacuum cleaner?
Privileges of all kinds are powerful and permanent buffers. Lack of privileges of all kinds creates serious vulnerability to being preyed upon in the name of, “Art.”
You either learn those hard lessons as an artist, or you inappropriately appropriate in the name of, “Art.”
“Her roommates, especially an out-of-work Ecuadorean laborer, do not know what to make of her. “I explained to them four times what I’m doing already,” she said. “They don’t get it. They’re not very excited.”
You know what? Ms. Bruguera’s roommates are right on the money.
And by using “they” and “them” when talking about undocumented immigrants, Ms. Bruguera showed me all that I need to know about her as a person, and as an artist.
How telling the image of that first photo of the article – Ms. Bruguera unnecessarily in the center, literally stepping anywhere she pleases.