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Amanda Besl's paintings at the "Undertow" at Nichols School's Flickinger Performing Arts Center

Following the “Reagan Revolution” of the 1980s, a politically indigent era reaffirming “family values” and a conservative moral sensibility as a matter of public policy, socialization of the human body in art became a fetishized commodity. Artists such as Robert Mapplethorpe and Andre Serrano, and especially women artists likeKaren Finley and Sally Mann, found their work, performance art, and photography part of a widespread critical assessment promulgating a retrenchment in federal funding for the arts and a general public aversion to art specifically dealing with the human body in an intimate/political context.

Rochester prints and book arts at WNYBAC

The current exhibit at the Western New York Book Arts Center opens with a sobering reflection from former Supreme Court Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis. He stated, sometime around the middle of the last century, “We can either have a democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.” We know how that’s worked out.

Innovative arts program at Southeast Works

I met with Jen Barton, the art activities facilitator at the Southeast Works day habilitation facility in Depew. In a year’s time, Barton has managed almost single-handedly to put in place a comprehensive visual arts program for the structured day program’s developmentally challenged participants, including painting, clay sculpture, and video where before there was little more than dittos and crayons.

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