Jean-Michel Basquiat will be one of the contemporary artists featuring in 30 Americans, at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington DC, October 2011 to February 2012. The show is a survey of thirty important African-American artists from the last thirty years, made of 76 works selected from the Rubell Family Collection.
Basquiat, the iconoclastic, intelligent and provocative David Hammons, and the anxiously and provocatively humorous racial expressionist Robert Colescott represent the older generation in this show, with the paintings of Kehinde Wiley (recently shown at Deitch Projects) and the found object assemblages of Shinique Smith (both of Brooklyn) serving as examples of younger and emerging artists. The show also includes Mickalene Thomas, Kara Walker, Lorna Simpson, and several Chalkboard Drawings and works from the Erasure Series by Gary Simmons.The Corcoran states that “30 Americans focuses on issues of racial, sexual, and historical identity in contemporary culture.”
The 76 works to go on view include paintings, drawings, photographs, videos, and sculptures, including Leonardo Drew’s massive pile of cotton with wax Untitled #25.
This selection was first seen at the Rubell Family Collection in Miami on December 3, 2008, where it ran for almost six months. The show is presently at the North Carolina Museum of Art until September 4th. The Corcoran promises that the display of the works will be revamped for the museum, “organized around the idea of artistic community and legacy, highlighting relationships between artists across generations.”
For instance, the placement highlights how “Jean-Michel Basquiat’s graffiti-based paintings of the urban environment find current form in the work of Mark Bradford and Shinique Smith. “However, to my mind, the painted construction on a door by Pervis Young, also in this collection, is much more reminiscent of Basquiat than either of their constructions.
The Basquiat works included in the previous stops of the tour were the huge expressionist Bird On Money of 1981, the fantastic Crosby Street / Stephen Torten period One Million Yen of 1982 (pictured below), and an Untitled work on wood, called a self portrait from 1982-3.
For more information see http://www.corcoran.org/30americans/index.phpThe Corcoran Gallery of Art is at 500 Seventeenth Street NW, Washington DC, 20006. 30 Americans will open to the public October 1, 2011 and will close in February 2012.
Jean-Michel Basquiat’s One Million
“And now a word from our corporate puppet-masters.”
The Corcoran Gallery publicity makes sure to point out that “The presenting sponsor at the Corcoran Gallery of Art is Altria Group, Inc. Additional support has been provided by Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.” However, it is the policy of this website to provide completely unbalanced counterpoints to such publicity, as seen below:
You may not have heard of the innocuous sounding Altria Group, Inc., but it was previously called “Philip Morris Companies Inc. “ It is a major producer and marketer of tobacco products (which cause approximately 5.4 million deaths a year worldwide), and has been found guilty in the past of, among other things, conspiracy in lying about the health effects of tobacco, suppressing and destroying evidence, and purposely marketing tobacco to young people.
Morgan Stanley is a large Wall Street Bank which received 10 billion in US bailout funds in 2008, announced profits of $1.15 billion in 2009, has payed millions in bonuses to it's executives and poverty wages to its lower level employees, and is accused of illegally ousting families from their homes in foreclosures.
More details below:
Altria Group, Inc is the 100% owner of Philip Morris USA and is one of the world’s largest tobacco companies, controlling about half the tobacco market in the US. Over 440,000 deaths in the U.S. alone are attributable to tobacco (1 in five), making tobacco use the leading cause of preventable death. Philip Morris knew from the early 1950's that its cigarettes were addictive and caused cancer, but denied both consistently and vehemently up until and including the 1999 trial The Estate of Jesse D. Williams (a Marlboro-smoking African-American retired school custodian who died of lung cancer) vs. Philip Morris Incorporated in an Oregon Circuit Court. The jury found that Philip Morris was guilty of common law fraud for its 50 years of lies.
In 2006 U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler found that major cigarette manufacturers, including Philip Morris, had violated the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) for conspiring to confuse public opinion on the health effects of smoking; for suppressing research showing nicotine is addictive; for denying that they manipulated the amount of nicotine in cigarettes to keep people addicted; for publicly denying ( while internally acknowledging) that secondhand cigarette smoke is harmful; for purposely marketing to young people under 21 to recruit "replacement smokers;" and for destroyed documents relevant to litigation.
Philip Morris was “rebranded” as Altria between 2001 and January 2003 in what was seen as an attempt to "re-position" its image in consumers' minds. A 2001 e-mail between Philip Morris Vice Presidents suggested the name change was to “focus attention away from tobacco, and on to compliance, responsibility, philanthropy, environment, etc., all the things we want Altria to be identified with...” Having Altria sponsor African-American art exhibit fits right into this need.
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney is the wealth management arm of huge Wall Street bank Morgan Stanley. Morgan Stanley has a total market capitalization of $40.54 billion and income of $4.5 billion in 2010, and posted a profit of $968 million in the first-quarter of 2011 alone.
Morgan Stanley also owns a large percentage of the Canary Wharf complex in east London, where cleaners were campaigning for a living wage, sick pay and a pension in 2005, when Morgan Stanley’s chief executive got a reported £13 million and the company made $4.49 billion. After Morgan Stanly gave the London Old Vic Theatre £500,000 to sponsor the season, T&G deputy general secretary Jack Dromey said “Morgan Stanley are behaving like the Victorian mill owners. They distribute charity and sponsor the arts at the same time as paying their own workers poverty wages. Morgan Stanley must take responsibility. They should pay their workers a living wage.”
In 1983 (when Basquiat was still painting early work) Morgan Stanley agreed to pay billions after legal actions relating to fraud that was allegedly perpetrated on its retail investors. It then had to pay a $19 million fine to the NYSE in 2005 for alleged regulatory and supervisory lapses. In September, 2007, it settled with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority to pay a $12.5 million fine relating to Morgan Stanley failing to provide information to regulators and claimants, and falsely stating that all the e-mails were permanently lost in the September 11th 2001 attack on the World Trade Centers, despite there being backed up elsewhere. It is currently under a breach of contract lawsuit filed in 2009 by Citigroup Inc.Morgan Stanley was also hit by a racial-bias lawsuit filed on behalf of 1,200 African-American and Latino brokers and broker trainees. The settlement of $16 million was opposed by a minority group of Black ex-employees, who stated they believed Morgan Stanley took this action to avoid addressing the issues of race discrimination.
Morgan Stanley received $10 billion in US taxpayer money in the initial round of TARP loans (the bank bailout of 2008).
Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi exposed an interesting story of how the wives of two Morgan Stanley hot shots, though they had no previous financial experience, set up their own investing initiative and got $220 million in bailout funds.
Convicted Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff told New York magazine from his prison cell that Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Goldman Sachs, and Merrill Lynch all knew all along that he was working the system but did nothing.
More importantly, Morgan Stanley services large numbers of subprime loans with serious delinquencies and foreclosures about twice as high as the industry average, yet did not commit to implement the State Attorneys General suggestions on loan modifications. They have been repeatedly taken to court about their mortgage-related activity.In 2007 the National Community Reinvestment Coalition filed a Civil Rights complaint alleging that Morgan Stanley intentionally discriminated against minorities seeking mortgages in predominantly African-American neighborhoods through “redlining.”
In 2009, a suit brought in New Jersey Federal court alleged that Morgan Stanley and its services routinely brought foreclosure proceedings (at times wrongly ousting families from their homes) without holding the necessary rights as mortgagee or assignee. They also claim the firm disregarded procedural safeguards for borrowers when it bundled home mortgages into securities for resale to other institutions. The plaintiffs lawyer Lawrence Friscia said, "Morgan Stanley suffers from a fundamental institutional breakdown uniformly harming its mortgage borrowers."
Also in 2009, Morgan Stanley paid $102 million to 1000 homeowners and the State of Massachusetts to settle an investigation by the state’s attorney general alleging the firm backed sub-prime loans for homeowners that they should have known were destined to fail.
In March, 2011, The New York Times reported that the U.S. Justice Department is investigating “allegations that a mortgage subsidiary of Morgan Stanley foreclosed on almost two dozen military families from 2006 to 2008 in violation of a longstanding law aimed at preventing such action.”
New York 's attorney general Eric Schneiderman has now called for meetings with Morgan Chase and other major Wall Street banks in the start of an investigation into the packaging of mortgage loans into securities. "The mortgage fraud crisis is devastating working families in every corner of New York State – it's upending our economic recovery upstate and downstate," he said.
Just last month, in the April 29th Make Wall Street Pay rally the bank was one of the big six specifically targeted by the 15,000 demonstrators organized by labor, the NAACP, MoveOn.org, and community organizations faced with housing foreclosure and unemployment. (Along with Morgan Stanley the six are Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo/Wachovia). AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told the crowd "Our message is simple: Big Banks tanked our economy and took our money when they needed a bailout, now they're thumbing their noses at our communities, but making billions in profits. It's time they pay up." Or as the demonstrators chanted, "You got bailed out, we got sold out!"
You can see why Morgan Stanley Smith Barney might be in need of some positive publicity, as generated by the Corcoran. As it happens, one of MSSB’s own services is offering “strategies for both investors and nonprofit institutions to improve their situations through charitable giving.” After all, as they say themselves, such generosity “can also help us financially.”