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November 14, 2005

{     Pink Week     }    

http://www.crowndozen.com/main/archives/upload/2005/11/Pink%20Elephant%20WV%202-thumb.jpg It's quite an easy color to mix; some Titanium White and a dash of alizarin crimson, cadmium red, or rose madder and you've got it. Traditionally associated with the feminine, it evokes different reactions and emotions. Some say it makes them feel pretty, empowered, comfortable and safe. Others associate it with youth, candy, flowers, friendliness, and happiness. While those that disparage it say it makes them feel annoyed, angry, nauseous citing it's evocation of weakness and maudlin sentiment. The color, of course, is pink.
In Nazi Germany pink triangles, often larger than triangles for other crimes, were used to identify men convicted of homosexuality (paragraph 175 of the Reich Penal Code), incest or pedophilia (paragraphs 174 and 176). Later psychologists thought it could be used to induce calming behavior in groups of people if used as paint in a room (This turned out only to have a temporary effect).
Contemporarily it has been appropriated by breast cancer activists and used for ribbons to raise funds and awareness while some factions of the queer community have taken back the Nazi pink triangle to say,"The hatred and prejudice of the past must not be forgotten and must not be repeated." (From thepinktriangle.com) And let's not forget Pink Floyd, Pinky and the Brain, Pink the "M!ssundaztood" pop star, The Pink Panther, John Water's Pink Flamingos, etc., etc.
Enter California based artist Gioia Fonda. Gioia has a simple mission each year at this time: to celebrate the color Pink. It's just as simple as that. Scrap all the symbolism, sexual identity politics, emotional evocation, and meaning. This is a week to celebrate the color "Pink for Pink's Sake." Sound familiar? It should. At the very beginning of the avant-garde and modernism movements artists sought to remove themselves and their work from meaning by "finding a path along which it would be possible to keep culture moving in the midst of ideological confusion and violence" to quote Clement Greenberg (from his famous essay "Avant-Garde and Kitsch").
The confusion and violence at that time were the upheavals brought about by the industrial revolution and later the World Wars. From this arose "Art for Art's Sake", abstraction and non-objective art. Much of the late 19th and 20th Centuries' greatest aesthetic achievements followed from this philosophy in which quoting Greenberg again, "…subject matter or content becomes something to be avoided like the plague."
For Fonda though there is a twist on this lofty philosophical tradition. Each year Gioia turns the Modernist slogan on it's ear during Pink Week by dressing up each day in a different outfit that, utilizing an aesthetic firmly rooted in mid-Twentieth Century kitsch, is pure Pink. On the surface she pleasantly states, "During Pink Week, Pink just means Pink." But look again and with a nudge, nudge and a wink, wink, her embrace and subversion of Modernism is revealed. This is not just about pink. It is a piquant and hilarious postmodern conflation. But not one left only for art school kids who know that Modernism and Kitsch can be like two brawling cats in a bag just before being thrown in the river.
In reducing a celebration of the color Pink to it's root Fonda is performing a non profit art piece which she has found, to quote her website, "[to be]… a great excuse to be festive and neighborly without the fuss, stress and stigma attached to more traditional holidays. It can serve as a common ground, a way to reach out and participate. It can be a joyful reminder to live in the present."
Continuing she states, "Pink week illustrates the endless possibility of forms "art" can take and that art is indeed accessible, affordable and needed by all in our contemporary culture."
Following that line of thought Gioia, for the past several years, has curated an art exhibition. This year it is being held at Cricket Engine Gallery in Oakland, CA. Follow the links below to find out more about the exhibition and Pink Week.
And for heaven's sake, this week above all others wear something pink, eat something pink, think a pink thought, contemplate the way Willem De Kooning used it masterfully with lime in his still bombastic paintings of women from the 50's, watch your favorite episode of The Pink Panther, eat dog poop like Divine did in Pink Flamingos, whatever; just celebrate Pink somehow. But please, attach no significance to it. It's just Pink after all.

     » Pink Week Website
     » Cricket Engine Gallery
     » A template for printing out your own Pink Week badges
     » Invitation Postcard for The Pink Week Show

Comments

I've been humming the tune to "Pink Pickle" ever since reading this....

Posted by: Adam at November 14, 2005 8:24 PM

Is pink cheese available commercially?

Posted by: Aaron at November 15, 2005 12:12 AM
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