Wandering Eye: The badass art of Okwui Enwezor, cops now say they're afraid to use force, and more

Graham Coreil-Allen almost died recently, City Paper contributor Michael Anthony Farley reports in this Artfcity profile. You may know Coriel-Allen from his transgressive tours of the center city, or his nifty painted crosswalks down by the Bromo Selzer Tower, which CP featured as part of a piece on traffic-slowing guerrilla art. He is a "multidisciplinary artist, activist and resolute pedestrian." In other words, just what Baltimore needs. Coreil-Allen is also a nice guy with tremendous energy and a real talent for design. He is an anarchist, he says, devoted to making the spaces we live in more interesting and less predictable. For a lot of like-minded, well-meaning people, that idea translates directly into a demand for less policing and more tolerance for deviance, as though grinding poverty, rampaging mental illness, drug-blasted leaners, and packs of reckless dirt-bike riders are merely neutral and harmless manifestations of a less uptight, less suburban, and less boring way of life. The Q&A is filled to the brim with pious quotes along this line of thinking. About the riots, he says, "Our neighbors are expressing the pain of economic inequality and seeking justice for victims of state violence by exercising their human rights in public space. I'm still not entirely sure how I, as a white / educated / male-bodied individual, can ethically respond to all this with what I call 'art'; but nevertheless I'm trying." Which is why Coreil-Allen's first quote is so jarring, and so very real. Farley notes that Coriel-Allen was hit by a car on the way to the interview, but still made it. "Actually," Coriel-Allen replies, "I was flipped off my bicycle by a piece of a wood launched across all four lanes of North Avenue by some hopped-up asshole beating a tree in front of the liquor store." (Edward Ericson Jr.)

 

The Nigerian curator/art critic Okwui Enwezor is such a badass, and the art world loves him. The Wall Street Journal published a profile about him last year, mentioning, among his many accomplishments, that as director of Munich's Haus der Kunst, he has "already presented nearly as many major solo shows of black artists as the Museum of Modern Art in New York has in the past 20 years." His curatorial work elsewhere has dealt with globalization and post-colonialism, so it makes sense that he would try to tackle some aspect of these ideas as the director of the visual art sector of arguably the biggest international art fair, the Venice Biennale. His show, "All the World's Futures," features 136 artists from 53 countries and attempts to show the effects and failings of capitalism. That's kind of a huge statement in the lavish production that is the Biennale, and this show is reportedly "an unpleasant experience," and that's precisely why you should find out more about it. (Rebekah Kirkman)

 

In response to a Politico profile on Fraternal Order of Police Executive Director Jim Pasco, libertarian blogger Radley Balko has an interesting post on how officers equate a hesitation to use force with putting their own lives in danger. He even cites a story in The Sun about cops in Baltimore feeling hesitant after people protested police brutality following the death of Freddie Gray. Balko rightly asks: "So because a prosecutor has charged the six cops who illegally arrested a man and gave him a 'rough ride' in the back of a police van that resulted in his death, all Baltimore cops are now afraid to use force? How does this follow?" Officers from across the country keep insisting America is becoming a "war zone," Balko writes, despite the fact "crime, homicides of cops, and assaults on cops have all been in decline for 20 years." (Brandon Weigel)

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