Honor Fraser Gallery, in Culver City, is in the fortunate position of having an experimental exhibition annex adjacent to their more traditional gallery space. Closing July 9th is a group show entitled COLECTIVA, a “heterogenous” group of nine artists with idiosyncratic methods of approaching artwork, curated by Yoshua Okón and Esthella Provas.
More than anything else, I was struck by the deceptively simple yet visceral and ultimately complex piece, Arma Blanco, by Peruvian artist Daniela Ortiz.
In some ways, the piece’s own description of itself (see above) explains everything – but, there’s a lot more to it than that. While the imagery of the piece is acknowledgedly appropriated – or essentially stolen under the authority of artistic license – the source material was itself stylistically stolen by the FBI from the Black Panther’s talented illustrator Emory Douglas (see images on the leap page), by license of the Federal Government (I guess.) I actually think that the FBI’s illustrator did a pretty good job of capturing the general sensibility of Douglas’ illustrations.
The piece also references today’s life in the age of the internet, where invented inter-cultural libels are hurled by governments and religions with near abandon and political cartoons can incite deadly violence. Arma Blanco distills a very contemporary version of fear and paranoia.
Here are a couple of similar Emory Douglas images, contemporaneous with the FBI forgery.