Artist Nancy Spero dies


This video from the USA is called Art:21 | Nancy Spero.

On October 18, 2009, United States artist Nancy Spero died.

From Wikipedia:

Nancy Spero (August 24, 1926 – October 18, 2009) was an American artist. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, she had long been based in New York City. She was married to and collaborated with artist Leon Golub (1922–2004).

As both artist and activist, Nancy Spero’s career has spanned fifty years. Her continuous engagement with contemporary political, social, and cultural concerns is renowned. She has chronicled wars and apocalyptic violence as well as articulating visions of ecstatic rebirth and the celebratory cycles of life. Her complex network of collective and individual voices was a catalyst for the creation of her figurative lexicon representing women from prehistory to the present in such epic-scale paintings and collage on paper as Torture of Women (1976), Notes in Time on Women (1979) and The First Language (1981). …

Spero and Golub returned to New York in 1964, where the couple remained to live and work. The Vietnam War was raging and the Civil Rights Movement was exploding. Affected by images of the war broadcast nightly on television and the unrest and violence evident in the streets, Spero began her War Series (1966-70). These small gouache and inks on paper, executed rapidly, represented the obscenity and destruction of war. The War Series is among the most sustained and powerful group of works in the genre of history painting that condemns war and its real and lasting consequences.

An activist and early feminist, Spero was a member of the Art Workers Coalition (1968-69), Women Artists in Revolution (1969), and in 1972 she was a founding member of the first women’s cooperative gallery, A.I.R. (Artists in Residence) in SoHo. It was during this period that Spero completed her “Artaud Paintings” (1969-70), finding her artistic “voice” and developing her signature scroll paintings: Codex Artaud (1971-1972). Uniting text and image, printed on long scrolls of paper, glued end-to-end and tacked on the walls of A.I.R., Spero violated the formal presentation, choice of valued medium and scale of framed paintings. Although her collaged and painted scrolls were Homeric in both scope and depth, the artist shunned the grandiose in content as well as style, relying instead on intimacy and immediacy, while also revealing the continuum of shocking political realities underlying enduring myths.

In 1974, Spero chose to focus on themes involving women and their representation in various cultures; her Torture in Chile (1974) and the long scroll, Torture of Women (1976, 20 inches x 125 feet), interweave oral testimonies with images of women throughout history, linking the contemporary governmental brutality of Latin American dictatorships (from Amnesty International reports) with the historical repression of women. Spero re-presented previously obscured women’s histories, cultural mythology, and literary references with her expressive figuration.

HERE WE go again. Another study is out to show how the women’s movement ruined women’s lives: here.

Protest against Bush administration torture enabler


This video from the USA is called Protesters Disrupt John Yoo’s Return to Classroom UC Berkeley Law Boalt Hall 8-16-10.

And this video is Part 2.

From Crooks and Liars in the USA on this video:

October 20, 2009

PBS News Hour

The tenure of Berkeley law professor John Yoo has come under fire amid a backlash over the role he played in the Bush administration, advising on the legalities of now-controversial interrogation tactics used on terror suspects. Spencer Michels reports.

Update May 2011: here.

“Guidebook to False Confessions”: Key Document John Yoo Used to Draft Torture Memo Released. Jason Leopold, Jeffrey Kaye, Truthout: A key document that describes the origins of the Bush administration’s torture program was just released by the Department of Defense under the Freedom of Information Act. The so-called Pre-Laboratory Operating Instructions was a manual used to teach US servicemembers how to withstand torture if captured by an enemy. The document was shared with top Bush administration officials during White House meetings in May of 2002 as they discussed an “alternative interrogation methods” for high-value detainee Abu Zubaydah. Seven of the techniques in the manual ended up in the August 2002 torture memo drafted by former Justice Department attorney John Yoo: here.

Squirrel-sized dinosaur discovered in Colorado, USA


Fruitadens haagarorum

From Discovery News:

Tiny Dinosaur Lived Among Giants

Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News

Oct. 20, 2009 — Though only as big as a squirrel, Fruitadens haagarorum — a recently identified dinosaur from Colorado — coexisted with enormous other species.

With the largest Fruitadens specimens weighing less than two pounds and measuring around 28 inches long, the North American dinosaur comes close to being the world’s smallest, but not quite, according to a new study.

This diminutive dinosaur is, however, now North America’s smallest known dinosaur. The 150-million-year-old creature is also the world’s smallest known ornithischian dinosaur, a group that included horned, duck-billed and armored dinosaurs, along with many other diverse species.

“The smallest known dinosaurs — just slightly smaller than Fruitadens — are from China and they represent some of the closest relatives of birds,” co-author Luis Chiappe told Discovery News.

“(The new dinosaur) may look bird-like because of its size, but in fact it isn’t very closely related to birds or Archaeopteryx (the world’s first known bird),” added Chiappe, who is director of the Natural History Museum’s Dinosaur Institute in Los Angeles.

He and an international team of experts describe the new species in the latest Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The dinosaur’s name was not inspired by edible fruit, but instead by the Fruita Paleontological Area, northwest of Grand Junction, Colo., where its remains were discovered.

Fruits were probably on its menu, however, along with eggs and almost anything else it could get in its mouth.

“The shape of Fruitadens’ teeth suggests it was probably eating both plants and small animals — i.e. insects,” co-author Laura Porro told Discovery News.

She explained that in addition to being an ornithischian dinosaur, it was also a member of a family of dinosaurs called heterodontosaurids, meaning “different-toothed lizards.” The teeth of these dinosaurs, like those of fellow omnivore humans, erupted in different shapes, with some resembling canines, others looking like molars and so on.

Most modern reptiles, such as alligators and iguanas, have more uniform teeth.

Relatives of Fruitadens, which have been found in England, South Africa and other countries, lived when “all continental land masses were connected into a single, giant continent called Pangea,” Chiappe said. Some of these dinosaurs probably then traveled to North America, explaining how the bones of the tiny dinosaur wound up in Colorado.

“Colorado is the place where the rocks containing the fossils of Fruitadens are exposed, but presumably the species lived elsewhere in North America,” he added, mentioning that it would have coexisted with other, much larger dinosaurs, such as Diplodocus and Brachiosaurus.

The presence of such gigantic herbivores may even help to explain why heterodontosaurids shrunk over the years and became omnivores. Not able to compete with the giant sauropods, “heterodontosaurs evolved to become small, ecological generalists. Think modern raccoons,” Porro said.

“Dinosaurs were once thought of as large, lumbering plant or meat eaters,” she added. “We now know there were lots of small dinosaurs about, that some dinosaurs were specialists that ate primarily fish or insects, that different species of plant-eating dinosaurs may have specialized in different types of plants, and that some dinosaurs may have climbed trees or even dug burrows.”

She concluded: “We can now envision the world of the dinosaurs as a much richer, fuller place.”

Visitors to the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles can soon view a display featuring the tiny Fruitadens next to the 70-foot-long dinosaur Mamenchisaurus, which also lived during the Late Jurassic.

Little cavegirl’s rock art


Mammoth painting in Rouffignac cave

By Jennifer Viegas:

Most scholars have assumed that all prehistoric artists were male, but new evidence suggests women and even young girls produced at least some cave drawings, according to a study in the latest Oxford Journal of Archaeology.

The study focused on finger flutings made on the walls and ceiling of Rouffignac Cave in the Dordogne, France.

The flutings — lines drawn with the fingers on soft surfaces — as well as other art in the cave are thought to be 13,000 to 14,000 years old, based on stylistic considerations.

The figures pictured here were likely created by a 5-year old girl. The researchers came to this conclusion based not only on her hand dimensions but also on the height of the places where she had been able to reach.

Cave lions: here. And here.

South Africa: Engraved Ostrich Eggshell Fragments Reveal 60,000-Year-Old Graphic Design Tradition: here.

Southern African Rock Art: here.

An ar­chae­o­log­i­cal site dis­cov­ered three years ago was ap­par­ent­ly a work­shop in which ear­ly hu­mans made, mixed and stored ochre, the ear­li­est form of paint, re­search­ers are re­port­ing: here.