Thursday, July 24, 2008

Full Text and Video: Obama’s Speech in Berlin

Crowd Awaits Obama's Speech in Berlin

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama (as prepared for delivery)

“A World that Stands as One”

July 24th, 2008

Berlin, Germany

Thank you to the citizens of Berlin and to the people of Germany. Let me thank Chancellor Merkel and Foreign Minister Steinmeier for welcoming me earlier today. Thank you Mayor Wowereit, the Berlin Senate, the police, and most of all thank you for this welcome.

I come to Berlin as so many of my countrymen have come before. Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen – a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world.

I know that I don’t look like the Americans who’ve previously spoken in this great city. The journey that led me here is improbable. My mother was born in the heartland of America, but my father grew up herding goats in Kenya. His father – my grandfather – was a cook, a domestic servant to the British.

At the height of the Cold War, my father decided, like so many others in the forgotten corners of the world, that his yearning – his dream – required the freedom and opportunity promised by the West. And so he wrote letter after letter to universities all across America until somebody, somewhere answered his prayer for a better life.

That is why I’m here. And you are here because you too know that yearning. This city, of all cities, knows the dream of freedom. And you know that the only reason we stand here tonight is because men and women from both of our nations came together to work, and struggle, and sacrifice for that better life.

Obama Speaks in Berlin

Ours is a partnership that truly began sixty years ago this summer, on the day when the first American plane touched down at Templehof.

On that day, much of this continent still lay in ruin. The rubble of this city had yet to be built into a wall. The Soviet shadow had swept across Eastern Europe, while in the West, America, Britain, and France took stock of their losses, and pondered how the world might be remade.

This is where the two sides met. And on the twenty-fourth of June, 1948, the Communists chose to blockade the western part of the city. They cut off food and supplies to more than two million Germans in an effort to extinguish the last flame of freedom in Berlin.

The size of our forces was no match for the much larger Soviet Army. And yet retreat would have allowed Communism to march across Europe. Where the last war had ended, another World War could have easily begun. All that stood in the way was Berlin.

And that’s when the airlift began – when the largest and most unlikely rescue in history brought food and hope to the people of this city.

The odds were stacked against success. In the winter, a heavy fog filled the sky above, and many planes were forced to turn back without dropping off the needed supplies. The streets where we stand were filled with hungry families who had no comfort from the cold.

Children in 1948 West Berlin, isolated by a Soviet blockade, watch as a U.S. plane delivers food to Tempelhof Airport. Over 11 months, U.S. and British aircraft brought in 80 tons of aid, touching down every 90 seconds. (Associated Press)

But in the darkest hours, the people of Berlin kept the flame of hope burning. The people of Berlin refused to give up. And on one fall day, hundreds of thousands of Berliners came here, to the Tiergarten, and heard the city’s mayor implore the world not to give up on freedom. “There is only one possibility,” he said. “For us to stand together united until this battle is won…The people of Berlin have spoken. We have done our duty, and we will keep on doing our duty. People of the world: now do your duty…People of the world, look at Berlin!”

People of the world – look at Berlin!

Look at Berlin, where Germans and Americans learned to work together and trust each other less than three years after facing each other on the field of battle.

Look at Berlin, where the determination of a people met the generosity of the Marshall Plan and created a German miracle; where a victory over tyranny gave rise to NATO, the greatest alliance ever formed to defend our common security.

Look at Berlin, where the bullet holes in the buildings and the somber stones and pillars near the Brandenburg Gate insist that we never forget our common humanity.

People of the world – look at Berlin, where a wall came down, a continent came together, and history proved that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one.

Sixty years after the airlift, we are called upon again. History has led us to a new crossroad, with new promise and new peril.

When you, the German people, tore down that wall – a wall that divided East and West; freedom and tyranny; fear and hope – walls came tumbling down around the world. From Kiev to Cape Town, prison camps were closed, and the doors of democracy were opened. Markets opened too, and the spread of information and technology reduced barriers to opportunity and prosperity. While the 20th century taught us that we share a common destiny, the 21st has revealed a world more intertwined than at any time in human history.

The fall of the Berlin Wall brought new hope. But that very closeness has given rise to new dangers – dangers that cannot be contained within the borders of a country or by the distance of an ocean.

The terrorists of September 11th plotted in Hamburg and trained in Kandahar and Karachi before killing thousands from all over the globe on American soil.

As we speak, cars in Boston and factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic, shrinking coastlines in the Atlantic, and bringing drought to farms from Kansas to Kenya.

Poorly secured nuclear material in the former Soviet Union, or secrets from a scientist in Pakistan could help build a bomb that detonates in Paris. The poppies in Afghanistan become the heroin in Berlin. The poverty and violence in Somalia breeds the terror of tomorrow. The genocide in Darfur shames the conscience of us all.

In this new world, such dangerous currents have swept along faster than our efforts to contain them. That is why we cannot afford to be divided. No one nation, no matter how large or powerful, can defeat such challenges alone. None of us can deny these threats, or escape responsibility in meeting them. Yet, in the absence of Soviet tanks and a terrible wall, it has become easy to forget this truth. And if we’re honest with each other, we know that sometimes, on both sides of the Atlantic, we have drifted apart, and forgotten our shared destiny.

In Europe, the view that America is part of what has gone wrong in our world, rather than a force to help make it right, has become all too common. In America, there are voices that deride and deny the importance of Europe’s role in our security and our future. Both views miss the truth – that Europeans today are bearing new burdens and taking more responsibility in critical parts of the world; and that just as American bases built in the last century still help to defend the security of this continent, so does our country still sacrifice greatly for freedom around the globe.

Yes, there have been differences between America and Europe. No doubt, there will be differences in the future. But the burdens of global citizenship continue to bind us together. A change of leadership in Washington will not lift this burden. In this new century, Americans and Europeans alike will be required to do more – not less. Partnership and cooperation among nations is not a choice; it is the one way, the only way, to protect our common security and advance our common humanity.

That is why the greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us from one another.

The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.

We know they have fallen before. After centuries of strife, the people of Europe have formed a Union of promise and prosperity. Here, at the base of a column built to mark victory in war, we meet in the center of a Europe at peace. Not only have walls come down in Berlin, but they have come down in Belfast, where Protestant and Catholic found a way to live together; in the Balkans, where our Atlantic alliance ended wars and brought savage war criminals to justice; and in South Africa, where the struggle of a courageous people defeated apartheid.

So history reminds us that walls can be torn down. But the task is never easy. True partnership and true progress requires constant work and sustained sacrifice. They require sharing the burdens of development and diplomacy; of progress and peace. They require allies who will listen to each other, learn from each other and, most of all, trust each other.

That is why America cannot turn inward. That is why Europe cannot turn inward. America has no better partner than Europe. Now is the time to build new bridges across the globe as strong as the one that bound us across the Atlantic. Now is the time to join together, through constant cooperation, strong institutions, shared sacrifice, and a global commitment to progress, to meet the challenges of the 21st century. It was this spirit that led airlift planes to appear in the sky above our heads, and people to assemble where we stand today. And this is the moment when our nations – and all nations – must summon that spirit anew.

This is the moment when we must defeat terror and dry up the well of extremism that supports it. This threat is real and we cannot shrink from our responsibility to combat it. If we could create NATO to face down the Soviet Union, we can join in a new and global partnership to dismantle the networks that have struck in Madrid and Amman; in London and Bali; in Washington and New York. If we could win a battle of ideas against the communists, we can stand with the vast majority of Muslims who reject the extremism that leads to hate instead of hope.

This is the moment when we must renew our resolve to rout the terrorists who threaten our security in Afghanistan, and the traffickers who sell drugs on your streets. No one welcomes war. I recognize the enormous difficulties in Afghanistan. But my country and yours have a stake in seeing that NATO’s first mission beyond Europe’s borders is a success. For the people of Afghanistan, and for our shared security, the work must be done. America cannot do this alone. The Afghan people need our troops and your troops; our support and your support to defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda, to develop their economy, and to help them rebuild their nation. We have too much at stake to turn back now.

This is the moment when we must renew the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. The two superpowers that faced each other across the wall of this city came too close too often to destroying all we have built and all that we love. With that wall gone, we need not stand idly by and watch the further spread of the deadly atom. It is time to secure all loose nuclear materials; to stop the spread of nuclear weapons; and to reduce the arsenals from another era. This is the moment to begin the work of seeking the peace of a world without nuclear weapons.

This is the moment when every nation in Europe must have the chance to choose its own tomorrow free from the shadows of yesterday. In this century, we need a strong European Union that deepens the security and prosperity of this continent, while extending a hand abroad. In this century – in this city of all cities – we must reject the Cold War mind-set of the past, and resolve to work with Russia when we can, to stand up for our values when we must, and to seek a partnership that extends across this entire continent.

This is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created, and share its benefits more equitably. Trade has been a cornerstone of our growth and global development. But we will not be able to sustain this growth if it favors the few, and not the many. Together, we must forge trade that truly rewards the work that creates wealth, with meaningful protections for our people and our planet. This is the moment for trade that is free and fair for all.

This is the moment we must help answer the call for a new dawn in the Middle East. My country must stand with yours and with Europe in sending a direct message to Iran that it must abandon its nuclear ambitions. We must support the Lebanese who have marched and bled for democracy, and the Israelis and Palestinians who seek a secure and lasting peace. And despite past differences, this is the moment when the world should support the millions of Iraqis who seek to rebuild their lives, even as we pass responsibility to the Iraqi government and finally bring this war to a close.

This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands. Let us resolve that all nations – including my own – will act with the same seriousness of purpose as has your nation, and reduce the carbon we send into our atmosphere. This is the moment to give our children back their future. This is the moment to stand as one.

And this is the moment when we must give hope to those left behind in a globalized world. We must remember that the Cold War born in this city was not a battle for land or treasure. Sixty years ago, the planes that flew over Berlin did not drop bombs; instead they delivered food, and coal, and candy to grateful children. And in that show of solidarity, those pilots won more than a military victory. They won hearts and minds; love and loyalty and trust – not just from the people in this city, but from all those who heard the story of what they did here.

Now the world will watch and remember what we do here – what we do with this moment. Will we extend our hand to the people in the forgotten corners of this world who yearn for lives marked by dignity and opportunity; by security and justice? Will we lift the child in Bangladesh from poverty, shelter the refugee in Chad, and banish the scourge of AIDS in our time?

Will we stand for the human rights of the dissident in Burma, the blogger in Iran, or the voter in Zimbabwe? Will we give meaning to the words “never again” in Darfur?

Will we acknowledge that there is no more powerful example than the one each of our nations projects to the world? Will we reject torture and stand for the rule of law? Will we welcome immigrants from different lands, and shun discrimination against those who don’t look like us or worship like we do, and keep the promise of equality and opportunity for all of our people?

People of Berlin – people of the world – this is our moment. This is our time.

I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we’ve struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of our people. We’ve made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions.

But I also know how much I love America. I know that for more than two centuries, we have strived – at great cost and great sacrifice – to form a more perfect union; to seek, with other nations, a more hopeful world. Our allegiance has never been to any particular tribe or kingdom – indeed, every language is spoken in our country; every culture has left its imprint on ours; every point of view is expressed in our public squares. What has always united us – what has always driven our people; what drew my father to America’s shores – is a set of ideals that speak to aspirations shared by all people: that we can live free from fear and free from want; that we can speak our minds and assemble with whomever we choose and worship as we please.

These are the aspirations that joined the fates of all nations in this city. These aspirations are bigger than anything that drives us apart. It is because of these aspirations that the airlift began. It is because of these aspirations that all free people – everywhere – became citizens of Berlin. It is in pursuit of these aspirations that a new generation – our generation – must make our mark on the world.

People of Berlin – and people of the world – the scale of our challenge is great. The road ahead will be long. But I come before you to say that we are heirs to a struggle for freedom. We are a people of improbable hope. With an eye toward the future, with resolve in our hearts, let us remember this history, and answer our destiny, and remake the world once again.

Obama in Berlin

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Art and Memory: Obama in Berlin- 24 July 2008

Full Text - Obama's Speech in Berlin:
A World that Stands as One - July 24th, 2008

Barack Obama will speak in Berlin tomorrow at the Tiergarten beneath the Siegessäule . For many of us, Berlin and the towering Siegessäule bring to mind Wim Wenders' films Wings of Desire and the haunting sequel, Faraway, So Close, which opens with the angel Cassiel (Otto Sander) standing on the statue of the Angel of Victory overlooking post-Cold War Berlin. As Wim Wender's site puts it, this angel grows "ever more despondent over his fate as a mere observer of human life, rather than a vital part of it, Cassiel dreams of crossing over to the human world." Many times as the centuries pass, art that was at first created to celebrate fleeting military victories over past or imagined enemies loses its local memory and becomes part of all humanity's memories. Wim Wenders was able to shake the Siegessäule loose from the spectres of Prussian militarism and into the post-Cold War world. Arguably, this Angel of Victory can now be seen as a harbinger of Walter Benjamin's Angel of History:

"This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing in from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such a violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward."
- Walter Benjamin, "Theses on the Philosophy of History," IX

photo- DailyKos

Germany has been able to move on from a past led by a militaristic leader and his tight cabal. Now it is America's turn to move on from our current militaristic leader, his tight cabal and his purported successor. Barack Obama's speech on July 24, 2008 in Berlin will come to be seen as a turning point in the journey away from the memory and grip of war towards the promise of peace and reconciliation.

MBNYC at the DailyKos has a very well written piece on the history of the site and the Siegessäule:

"During the workers revolt of 17. June 1953, an uprising against the Soviet-imposed East German government which was brutally crushed by Soviet tanks, fleeing revolutionaries used the column as a point of orientation in escaping from East Berlin. Partly in consequence, the street the Siegessäule stands on is now named the Street of 17 June. Ironically, Berlin's principal monument to the war dead of the Soviet Union stands on that street, about halfway between the column and the Brandenburg Gate. That monument is built out of red marble salvaged from Hitler's nearby Reich Chancellery, and Obama will be looking in its direction when he speaks. He will also symbolically be answering Ronald Reagan; when the latter spoke at the Brandenburg Gate, he was looking West. Obama will be looking East, in the direction of the Brandenburg Gate, answering and rebutting Reagan, as we prepare to enter a new era in American politics and bury Reagan's malignant legacy."

The Angel of History
Gregg Chadwick
The Angel of History
28.5" x 73" sumi and oil on screen 2006

More at:
Faraway, So Close
MBNYC at the DailyKos

From the soundtrack to Wim Wender's Faraway, So Close.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Long Horizons and Slow Art: Thoughts on Art & Australia as Regina Wilson's Exhibit Opens at Arena 1 Gallery in Santa Monica

by Gregg Chadwick

Regina Wilson, Syaw (fish-net), acrylic on linen 62.99" x 78.74" 

 "You've been looking too closely at pictures. Why don't you swap them for some long horizons?" - Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines 

 Recently Cassiel asked me what my richest visual memory was. It didn't take me long to answer- "Night in the Australian outback - somewhere on the way to Alice Springs from Perth on a desolate dirt road. Above the Southern Cross gleams in a lapis sky as it goes black and up ahead a fire glows in the shell of a burned out Holden automobile. Silhouetted figures flicker and bob like tongues of shadow in front of the orange glow. " "Wow", Cassiel said. "Who were they out in the middle of nowhere? But it wasn't really nowhere was it? Everywhere is somewhere." Caught in my visual reverie, I missed the profound truth my daughter expressed.

 Today as I wandered through the exhibition of Australian artist Regina Wilson's large, glowing acrylic paintings at the Arena 1 Gallery in Santa Monica, I remembered that recent conversation with my daughter and my rich experiences in Australia and with Australian culture. I have crisscrossed the Australian continent in a series of journeys. And I have grown to love the deeply historic and richly vital Aboriginal culture that I first glimpsed on a crisp desert night in the middle of somewhere. Together with her husband, Harold Wilson, Regina Wilson founded the Peppimenarti Community as a permanent settlement for the Ngangikurrungurr people. The community is located in the Daly River Aboriginal Reserve in Northern Australia and is an important dreaming site for the Ngangikurrungurr. Bruce Chatwin in The Songlines explains that "Aboriginal Creation myths tell of the legendary totemic beings who had wandered over the Australian continent in the Dreamtime, singing out the name of everything that crossed their path - birds, animals, plants, rocks, waterholes - and so singing the world into existence." Many of the current paintings by Australian Aboriginal artists use these songlines as inspiration for their paintings. Regina Wilson's work, though rooted in the dream sites of the Ngangikurrungurr people, instead makes use of the layering process inherit in traditional Aboriginal weavings. The Durrmu Arts site explains,"The women of Peppimenarti are traditionally weavers and have transposed their knowledge of fibre and textiles onto the canvas. The results are paintings of intricate, abstract mark-making; some clearly representing syaws (fish-nets) and wupun (basket-weavings) through their layered textures, whilst others resemble fine tapestries."


Regina Wilson at the Peppimenarti (large rock) Community. photo- Peppimenarti Arts 

 Regina Wilson's paintings are lovingly brought into being over time. The fluid paint she lays on her canvases is knit, stroke by stroke, to create an all-over surface that reads as landscape, or map, or fishing net, or even a net of stars. These are paintings that take time to make and time to read. Another Australian, the writer and art critic Robert Hughes spoke to the Royal Academy in London in 2004 and bemoaned the impatience of contemporary industrialized societies: "Drawing brings us into a different, a deeper and more fully experienced relation to the object. A good drawing says: “not so fast, buster”. We have had a gutful of fast art and fast food. What we need more of is slow art: art that holds time as a vase holds water: art that grows out of modes of perception and whose skill and doggedness make you think and feel; art that isn't merely sensational, that doesn't get its message across in 10 seconds, that isn't falsely iconic, that hooks onto something deep-running in our natures. In a word, art that is the very opposite of mass media. For no spiritually authentic art can beat mass media at their own game."


Peppimenarti Community Open Day 2007 ( Peppimenarti Open Day is held every two years - the next one will be in the dry season of 2009) photo- Peppimenarti Arts 

 My friend, the chef and sommelier Nicole Christensen, currently lives in Sydney near her Australian mother and over the years we have had numerous conversations about Australian Aboriginal culture, Robert Hughes, Bruce Chatwin and the place of myth in contemporary societies. Nicole inspired my painting A Dream of Water.


Gregg Chadwick 
A Dream of Water 
48" x 36" Oil on Linen 2002 
Private Collection Sydney, Australia 

 Nicole and I agree with Robert Hughes that what we need is art and food that "holds time as a vase holds water: art that grows out of modes of perception and whose skill and doggedness" makes us think and feel. Regina Wilson's paintings hold time and make us think and feel. Robert Hughes also said that Australian Aboriginal art was the "world’s last great art movement of the 20th century." As we slide along into the 21st century, Robert Hughes' words still might ring true. But I am betting that the inspiration provided by the works of artists such as Regina Wilson will encourage all of us to live lives rich in insight and creativity that will inspire great art movements to come. For my sake at least, I have a new painting to start of a night in the Australian outback - somewhere on the way to Alice Springs from Perth on a desolate dirt road. Above the Southern Cross will gleam in a lapis sky as it goes black and up ahead a fire will glow in the shell of a burned out Holden automobile. Silhouetted figures will flicker and bob like tongues of shadow in front of the orange glow... 

 Regina Wison's exhibition, PULCHRITUDO VAGA, runs from July 17th through August 3rd, 2008. The opening reception will be held on Saturday, July 19, 2008 from 6:30 to 9 pm. 

I will be at the show and my studio (#15) will be open down the hall in the Santa Monica Art Studios complex. Please stop by for conversation and remembrances. 

 Exhibition dates: July 19th – August 3rd, 2008

Gallery hours: Wed-Sat from 12 noon to 6 pm ARENA 1  3026 Airport Avenue, Santa Monica, CA. 90405


Regina Wilson at work - STUDIO: Australian Painters on the Nature of Creativity Photography: R. Ian Lloyd

Monday, July 14, 2008

New SFMOMA Blog: Open Space

Bruce Conner
Burning Bright
1996, Collection SFMOMA

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has a new art blog: Open Space.
The current posts on the recently deceased Bruce Conner are thought provoking. I am intrigued by the account of Conner's fervent disagreement over a proposed retrospective with then director Henry Hopkins:

"Conner’s relationship with SFMOMA was notoriously troubled. As Conner recounted in 1979 (in an interview published in Damage and reprinted in Stiles and Selz, Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art), Henry Hopkins, then the museum’s director, had proposed doing a retrospective of the artist’s work to date. But they couldn’t agree on certain things. Conner wanted to take part in curating his own history, and demanded a role in the conservation of assemblages that he’d originally intended to change over time. He also wanted his show to be free – the museum wanted to charge $2 admission fee – or at least to share in a percentage of the earnings from an increased admission."

More at:
Open Space
Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

$2 Show at i-5 Gallery in Los Angeles

Mat Gleason, publisher of Coagula, has curated a group show in Los Angeles which opens this week. The premise was simple. Each artist was given a $2 bill in US currency and encouraged to create an artistic interaction. My approach was historical. Thomas Jefferson graces the front of the two dollar bill. On the reverse is a depiction of Jefferson and the Continental Congress presenting the Declaration of Independence. I spent part of my childhood in Charlottesville, Virginia and as a kid loved to visit Jefferson's home at Monticello as well as the Jefferson designed campus at the University of Virginia. Before moving to Virginia my family had rendezvoused with my father in Paris as he returned from the Vietnam War. Jefferson's love of Paris and his influence on the French Revolution of 1789 was presented in detail on our tours. I was entranced with this complex figure. And also perplexed. How could a lover of liberty and the author of the Declaration of Independence justify owning slaves? I vaguely remember asking a docent this question on a tour of Monticello. In the 1960's, in the South especially, this question wasn't asked in public by adults much less a little kid. I am still trying to answer that question in my $2 artwork: How could a lover of liberty and the author of the Declaration of Independence justify owning slaves? And how could a lover of liberty and the author of the Declaration of Independence justify having sex and children with one of his slaves - Sally Hemings?


Notes: Seen through Sally’s eyes are the words from the $2 bill- “tender and private.”
To the right of and underneath the pink skinned man the name Hemings and the words “shadow man” are written in script.


Gregg Chadwick
Sally and the Shadow Man
Sumi-e, egg tempera, charcoal, conté, oil and gum arabic on $2 US currency 2008

Notes: The name Sally is written in a script derived from Thomas Jefferson’s own handwritten book which lists all of his slaves. The ghost of Tom Jefferson remains from John Trumball’s Declaration of Independence.

Joseph Ellis, a Ford Foundation Professor of History at Mount Holyoke College and author of American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson, (winner of the 1997 National Book Award), explains Thomas Jefferson’s affair with Sally Hemings in a recent interview in the program Frontline: Jefferson's Blood:

Frontline: For Jefferson, was race a double issue, in a sense? On one level, when he wanted to enjoy or be with Sally as a woman, he could see her as white, and fully human. But when he wanted to deny her human entitlements, he could see her as black. Was there a double convenience involved there?

Ellis: Yes, Jefferson's racial views do give him an ability to have his cake and eat it, too. On the one hand, he can control Sally Hemings, and doesn't have to worry about a relationship that's a truly equitable relationship, back and forth. And yet he can get his physical gratification and satisfactions at the same time.Jefferson is excellent at "having your cake and eating it, too." And he's excellent at then denying inside himself what he's doing. What's impossible to know is what Sally thinks and feels on her side of this relationship at this time.

Frontline: Madison (Sally and Thomas Jefferson’s son) does give some indication . . . about his experience serving in the house.

Ellis: Madison Hemings said that he felt that he was treated as one of the Hemings slaves, and that they were treated in more privileged ways than the other slaves. But he was treated as a slave. He was not treated as a member of Jefferson's family, or in the same way that Jefferson's own grandchildren were treated. And he resented that. He was the age of Jefferson's grandchildren. He's implicitly suggesting that, within the family, Jefferson never acknowledged his paternity.

From Thomas Jefferson's own account on the writing of the Declaration of Independence he explains how the passages banning slavery were deleted:
"The clause too, reprobating the enslaving the inhabitants of Africa, was struck out in complaisance to South Carolina and Georgia, who had never attempted to restrain the importation of slaves, and who on the contrary still wished to continue it. Our northern brethren also I believe felt a little tender under those censures; for tho' their people have very few slaves themselves yet they had been pretty considerable carriers of them to others."

Crane & Company has continually supplied the United States Treasury with its currency paper since 1879. The paper used for US currency is discussed on the website for NOVA: Secrets of Making Money:

"There are no wood fibers or starch in currency paper. Instead, like high quality stationery, currency paper is composed of a special blend of cotton and linen fibers. The strength comes from raw materials continuously refined until the special feel of the currency is achieved. People who handle money on a regular basis, such as bank tellers, can easily determine if a bill is counterfeit by this distinctive feel. The characteristic yellowish-green tint of U.S. currency is another distinctive feature which is, in fact, hard for color photocopiers to accurately match."

2100 N. Main St., #A-9 (in the Atrium at The Brewery), Los Angeles, CA 90031

July 11 - Aug 23, 2008
Reception: Saturday, July 12th 7-10pm
Gallery hours: Fri.-Sat., 12-4pm; & by appointment.
100 artists were given a $2 Bill on which to make their masterpiece - each artwork is priced at $200 as a fundraiser for i-5 gallery. Featuring Ya Ya Chou, Anna Conti, Gregg Chadwick, Dale Dreiling, Carol Es, Mark Hix, Leora Lutz, Michael Salerno, Leigh Salgado, David Trulli, Paige Wery, An Xiao and others.

More at:
Crane & Company
NOVA: Secrets of Making Money
Jefferson's notes on the Declaration
Frontline: Jefferson's Blood
Frontline: Jefferson's Blood - Interview with Joseph Ellis
American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Opening Today at the Julie Nester Gallery: Moving Pictures

Santa Monica artists Gregg Chadwick and Gerard Bourgeois will be exhibiting their artwork at the Julie Nester Gallery in Park City, Utah in the exhibition Moving Pictures.

The Julie Nester Gallery, named by Salt Lake Magazine as "the best gallery in Utah", celebrates its new gallery location with a group exhibition. The inaugural show features new work from each of the gallery's 35 national artists.

Gregg Chadwick
The Sound of Silk (detail) 2008

Greg Marshall in the Park Record writes:

"Since opening in 2004, the Julie Nester Gallery has specialized in contemporary art and represents mid-career and nationally recognized artists. 'We're focusing on bringing art that's never been seen in Utah. The size of the gallery gives art room to breathe', Nester said. The gallery departs from the mountain motif popular in many galleries in Park City. 'I would say it's a different level of sophistication. Some of the work here can be a little more difficult, a little more challenging.' "

Moving Pictures opens Saturday July 5, 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The exhibition runs from July 5th-July 29th, 2008.

(The gallery also will host a champagne and caviar event on Sunday, July 13, as part of the Park City Food and Wine Festival.)

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Rachid Taha Live in Los Angeles on July 12, 2008

Rachid Taha's version of the Clash's Rock el Casbah

Rachid Taha plays live in Los Angeles on July 12, 2008 as part of the free Grand Performances Series at California Plaza. The event starts at 8pm.

(Rachid Taha will also play the next afternoon at Stern Grove in San Francisco)

On 7/13/05 I wrote:

“Unity is a universal message.”
Rachid Taha

Backstage at a Clash concert in the early '80's, the young French-Algerian singer Rachid Taha pressed a demo tape of his own mix of punk, rock and middle eastern music into Joe Strummer's hands. Rachid Taha didn't hear back from the Clash. But shortly after their backstage meeting, the Clash's "Rock the Casbah" made it onto vinyl. The song could have been written by Taha. “I like Joe Strummer. We have the same obsession - freedom,” says Rachid. When he heard of Strummer's recent death, Taha recorded his own version of the Clash song: "Rock el Casbah" as a tribute.

Watching video clips during the first Iraq War, Taha heard the Clash song blared by US troops during the short engagement with Iraqi forces. – “I wanted to show that this is not a war song, but much more a peaceful song.”

Rachid Taha’s "Rock El Casbah", sung in Arabic, is a sly cover of the Clash classic and provides a nice entree into the power, intelligence and humor of his own music. Rachid Taha's stance against racism, hypocrisy and nostalgic ghetto complacency, have earned him a fearsome reputation in France, North Africa and the Arabic world.

A cultural figure with powerful views on racism and injustices in French society, his music reflects these tensions and has, in Brian Eno’s words, an energy and confidence arising out of his belief that music can still change the world.

Says Rachid: “I’m a proletarian, I’m of the people… so I’m protesting. For me the music’s a protest. So all my songs are like this because I wanted to stop making metaphors. I said it’s time to speak out now.”

Medina Memories
Gregg Chadwick
"Medina Memories"
38"x38" oil on linen 1992-2005

Rachid Taha quoted by BBC's 'The World':

"When I hear George Bush, and when I hear Osama bin Laden, I hear two bedouin nomads. The only difference he says, is that one of them is from the desert of Texas and drives an SUV, and the other is from the desert of Saudi Arabia and rides a dromedary." Taha says Bush and bin Laden come from similar well-heeled backgrounds. And both, he says, use a similar fundamentalist rhetoric.

Taha's "Rock el Casbah" is on "Tekitoi" (Who Are You?), Rachid's first album after the September 11 attacks.The title track is sung as a dialogue between a young Frenchman and a young Algerian. They ask each other “Who are you?” This question, Taha says, “is part of the healing process. If you start to recognize that we are the same, then you don’t want to do something bad to someone else.”

Rachid Taha: Barra Barra

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)

"Did you hear the cops finally busted Madam Marie for tellin' fortunes better than they do..."

"Back in the day when I was a fixture on the Asbury Park boardwalk, I'd often stop and talk to Madam Marie as she sat on her folding chair outside the Temple of Knowledge. I'd sit across from her on the metal guard rail bordering the beach, and watched as she led the day trippers into the small back room where she would unlock a few of the mysteries of their future. She always told me mine looked pretty good - she was right. The world has lost enough mystery as it is - we need our fortunetellers. We send our condolences out to her family who've carried on her tradition. Over here on E Street, we will miss her."
--Bruce Springsteen

More at:
Madam Marie
Daniel Wolff's Excellent Book: 4th of July, Asbury Park: A History of the Promised Land