Toilets in Modern ArtWritten by Angelique van Engelen
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The work was inspired by collapse of Soviet Union, which to artists minds demanded an embracing of genre ‘total installation’. This is first work in which Ilya Kabakov encompassed an entire range of personal memories and reproduced them. His toilet shows shabby walls of white lime, covered by obscene graffiti in which toilets without any doors are placed. They epitomize Russian idea of civilisation even more because they were communal, just like ordinary people's residences. People believe that in exile, Ilya Kabakov's work has become more unified and total. Kabakov and his wife created more than 200 installations in a number of different countries. They are concept artists closely associated with Russian NOMA group and steer clear of producing pop art, a strong contemporary art movement in Russia. Kabakov does not want his work to look as if it could be included in an advertisement. He has chosen to focus on ordinary everyday life in an old fashioned effort to chronicle its bleakness. “Too banal and insignificant to be recorded anywhere else, and made taboo not because of their potential political explosiveness, but because of their sheer ordinariness, their all-too-human scale”, as one writer puts it. The Toilet in Corner is now on permanent display in State Hermitage. One Belgian, Jan de Pooter, also more or less a contemporary concept artist, is also driven by urge to document. He has made an inventory of collapsing public urinals of his home town Antwerp. He also made a portable urinal and christened it "pisse-partout". It is a portable device that allows one to have a pee at any place in complete serenity... In creating his ‘urinal art’, De Pooter isn’t first to draw public attention to public conveniences in city. They even derive their official name "Vespassiennes" from Roman emperor Vespacianus who lived in 68 AD. On this ruler’s list levying taxes on public toilets throughout his empire came after building Colloseum, ending Nero's misgovernment and persecuting Jews. When he got complaints about it he used famous words: (pecunia) non olet! Money does not smell. Which was rather a civilized thing for time.
Angelique van Engelen is a freelance writer living in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She writes for www.contentClix.com and also contributes to a blog writing ring http://clixyPlays.blogspot.com
The Fabulous FiftiesWritten by Vicki Clark
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There was a change happening in music. A sound that had its roots in black music and was referred to as "race music" was becoming popular with white teens. Early in 1951 disc jockey, Alan Freed, realized that white teenagers with money to spend were buying records of what had been considered exclusively Negro music a year earlier. By summer of that same year "Moondog Show" premiered from Cleavland. Disc jockey, Alan Freed, was "The Moondog" and played this new music with a "beat". His shows were a phenomenal hit and Alan Freed is credited for naming new music, "Rock 'n Roll" Sam Phillips, a Memphis recording man and enthusiast of black music immediately recognized a special quality in Elvis Presley, who had been influenced by Southern black gospel and blues. On July 5, 1954 at Sun Records Elvis recorded "I'm All Right, Mama" with "Blue Moon of Kentucky" on flip side. Soon after, he was named "Most Up and Coming Hillbilly Artist of The Year". By February of 1955 Bill Haley's version of "Shake Rattle and Roll" had sold 1 million copies, Chuck Berry's "Maybellene" was on charts and then came Little Richard with, "Tutti Frutti". Rock'n Roll was born, and here to stay. Even as parents disapproved of it as "devil music" kids couldn't get enough. The automobile became an American icon during prosperity of 50s. The Ford Thunderbird, Chevrolet sedans and Chrysler station-wagons became symbols of new affluent American society. The nation was suddenly mobile and "Drive-in" became a part of language and culture. Public Works began construction of an extensive highway system like no other time in history and road trips in big-finned cars became a national past-time. The Cold War between world's Super Powers, America and Russia, cast a shadow of fear over Frivolous Fifties. The Atomic and Hydrogen bombs were created and military performed 200 above-ground nuclear tests between 1954 and 1958. There was failure after failure in rocket launching competition between two countries until Russia realized success with it's Sputnik on October 4, 1957. Americans found themselves watching skies and learning to "duck and cover". By latter part of decade Marilyn Monroe had appeared as first centerfold in Hugh Hefner's Playboy magazine and Ed Sullivan had backed down by inviting Elvis to perform, two months after calling him vulgar and exclaiming that he would never appear on his television show. The youth had their own music and Beats, with their hip new language, became forefathers of 60s counter-culture. Profound economic, political, racial and social changes had taken place in a short time. Happy Days? Yes, but complex and evolving too.
Vicki writes original content for her retro website, The Nostalgic Boomer. She is a baby boomer who lives and works as a Legal Assistant in a County Attorney's Office in Arizona and spends her spare time writing poetry, fiction, articles for web content and creating web design.