Abject Art in a Terrorized World

Paula Bolduc
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Newspaper photographs present a way of seeing events and of communicating emotions and ideas that have dramatic impact on readers. Inspired by journalists’ photographs, the contents of my paintings have changed to include what I perceive as a uniquely provocative vulnerability of the human body, particularly that of the male body. My work with persons who have the HIV virus or AIDS in the 1990’s marked a turning point for me. Since then and especially since 9/11, I consider my paintings as steps that eventually lead me to civic and moral action on both a global and local level. Representations of on-going gross mutilations of human bodies by war, poverty, and disease are not only disheartening artifacts of an abject aesthetic, but of a growing awareness of what it’s like to be terrorized and to terrorize.

Keeping in mind the recent and ongoing turbulence over the Danish cartoons of Mohammad, the absence of “body bags” or U.S. soldiers’ coffins on the front pages of the newspapers, I ask: what are the questions we should be asking, and how might we frame these questions in a ways that are morally resonant and truly practical?

Keywords: Abject Art and Aesthetics, Terrorism, Civic and Moral Acts
Stream: Arts Agendas, Constructing Art Worlds, Art and Human Rights
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Paula Bolduc

Assistant to the Director of Academic Develoment/English and Writing Instructor, Academic Development and English Department, Salve Regina University
Newport, Rhode Island, USA

Ref: A06P0532