Martha Rosler


In the recent years, a Brooklyn-based artist Martha Rosler has instituted a traveling library of her books, a non-traditional exhibition that has culminated from an artistic career that is devoted to radical reading and research practice (Frascina 24). Through the use of the traveling library, Rosler has released a number of books from the privacy of Domus and the interiority of private reading practice. Her work has significantly influenced other filmmakers in the industry. Rosler’s work has also changed over time, thus establishing innovative techniques in the filmmaking industry (Rosler, de Zegher, and Ikon Gallery 88). Martha Rosler was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1943. She completed her BA degree at Brooklyn College in 1965. It is evident that Rosler is an underground artist who has revolutionized combination and application of different media in filmmaking. Martha’s influences on the art of filmmaking remain obvious and continue to evolve over time.

Exploration of Martha Rosler’s Works

Martha Rosler has used a range of mediums, but her most decipherable medium is the use of photo collection and text. Martha has also created video installations and performance art. (Frascina 24). Her work has frequently contrasted domestic lives of women with repression, politics, and internal wars through paying close attention to architectural structures and mass media (Chan and Rosler 22). Martha Rosler’s works have been displayed in numerous Whitney biennials, New York’s MoMA, and London’s institutes of contemporary art. In late 2000, a number of Martha’s reflective works were exhibited across the world. The exhibitions were held in Birmingham, New York, and Vienna. Besides, Rosler’s series of solo exhibitions have also been held in different universities. Some of the Martha Rosler’s earliest video artworks include Semiotics of the Kitchen and Vital Statistics of a citizen among others (Chan and Rosler 27). In the late 1980s, Rosler and a group of displaced persons comprised of artists and city designers planned a mission titled If You Lived Here that largely concentrated on addressing living conditions in metropolitan areas. Over the years, Martha has been honored for her numerous achievements in the field of art (Chan and Rosler 44). In 2005, she was awarded a number of international awards in recognition of her works.

Martha Rosler’s Influence and Innovative Techniques

In the late 1960s, Rosler became famous for her auspicious series known as Bringing the War Home: House Beautiful. Martha compared pictures of a typical homemade decoration and the Vietnam War. She depicted a Vietnamese lady carrying a bleeding child in an untarnished American home (Alberro and Stimson 56). Though she was a recognizable figure, Martha simply diversified roughness of John Heartfield’s photomontages of the thirties with popular dreamlike receptivity of Richard Hamilton’s celebrated collection of musclemen.

However, four decades later, Martha Rosler has turned out to have transformed the outlook of her work. In her work tilted Great Power, she has tried to shift back the clock of her magnificence, primary through remarking her famous series about the Vietnam War (Rosler, de Zegher, and Ikon Gallery 92). She is now inserting images of the model into the Iraq conflict images. Explicitly, there are correlations between Iraq and Vietnam conflicts as depicted by Martha, which are valid art (Alberro and Stimson 67). However, she breaks into unsophisticated reminiscence, which weakens her previous work.

Martha Rosler has included news clippings about the Iraq conflict. Quite a number of her articles originate from credible information sources. Therefore, Rosler is merely clarifying what has already been told. Besides, there is a sense of ego-centrism and pedantic preaching since she fundamentally asserts that though an individual may be much disturbed with present circumstances, such items are usually clipped and put in a binder (Rosler, de Zegher, and Ikon Gallery 112). The show’s press release notes that such aspect forces to make a conscious decision regarding out engagement with work. A sign at the entry point indicates that Rosler will bequeath all efforts and quarter to the antiwar group. Therefore, anyone would perceive this art as good, effective activism that is slightly radical.

In her works, Martha reveals simplicity in mediocre. Nonetheless, many critics, curators, and artists have adored the sixties era, thus transforming the era into a mutilated cult with crippling disease and hippie brand (Rosler, de Zegher, and Ikon Gallery 67). Furthermore, Martha’s work indicates that a generation has been caught in the death twist of Freud and appears unable to avoid the ridiculous ideology that promotes an idea that a revolution is essential. In addition, it is fallaciousness to presume that everything related to America and Europe in 1969. The paradigm change between the right and wrong, good and bad forms a relic without reflecting on the contemporary though artists, curators, and exhibitions ascribe value to the sixties (Rosler, de Zegher, and Ikon Gallery 72).

In her work titled War is always Home, Martha utilizes the collection technique supported by surrealist and later pop artists. However, Rosler’s fundamental concern is not the insensible, formal, or sarcastic. The work is a response to her participation in anti-war campaigns, such photomontages are a reaction to the artists’ frustration with the pictures aired in the media. Rosler’s montages reconnected the two sides of human experiences, living rooms in the United States and Vietnam that were falsely separated. Furthermore, Rosler’s other works in photography and video significantly investigated ideological structures and cognitive assimilations of the illustration. In the work titled The Bowery in Two Inadequate System, Martha complicated connection between the subject and photographers. In the documentation of the alcohol-dependent community on the bowery, Rosler refused to employ voyeurism relating to bowery resident and replicate accepted stereotypes. The project both subverted the premise and practice of documentary photography and its presumption of realism.

Change of Body Work and Evolution over Time

It is evident that Martha has changed significantly in the last 20 years. She has incorporated technology in her imagery work in the last 21 years. As a result, it has become possible for her to orchestrate events with a number of participants. Fundamental impulses of her work have changed significantly (Bussard 34). Her work has been broadened as the art audience has also expanded and become internationalized over the time. Furthermore, the change in body has largely been influenced by technological advancement, an aspect that has made the internet the primary means of disseminating commentary and imagery. In the recent past, Martha Rosler has consciously chosen to quote her own method in order to develop a meta-level commentary regarding the failure of the political class (Bussard 41). However, since there are new wars waged against the old mindset, Martha has chosen to utilize the same unique model to address the photomontage.

It is assumed that most Martha’s works are largely about women in the domestic space. However, though it is evident, such generalization regarding her work appears to be invalid. This is because she was a part time documentary photographer and painter. However, over the years, her works have significantly focused on women and their representations. Furthermore, over the years, Martha has strived to maintain a feminist approach to all her works so that it insists on drawing people’s attention to the social context of work’s reception and production.

Martha Rosler has significantly shifted to massive denunciation being a female narcissist. As a consequence, Martha had strived to figure out means of unleashing the power of the first persona narrative while avoiding self-obsession and narcissism (Selby 54). However, it is apparent that in the Vital Statistics of a Citizen Simply Obtained Martha Rosler has failed to use the first person narration. The most significant operation has been dialectical in nature, which is a concept that has permitted her to become both an object and a subject at the same time. Nonetheless, her video largely remains much more complex than simply denunciation of the female vanity (Selby 78). In addition to its influence on the patriarchal society’s roles, especially in terms of nurturing women’s vanity and self-scrutiny, the video has significantly highlighted increased application of methods of representation. Consequently, she has discovered and demonstrated an ability to exercise control over her representation. Thus, she has focused on self-representation.

Though the body of her works has changed significantly, Rosler has never escaped the use of her voice and persona (Hirsch 46). As a result, both previous and recent works show her vulnerability to ubiquitous media images. Her self-portrait achieves a double goal, revealing that she is not immune to formative fashion and lifestyle magazine though she is the one to resist it through acknowledging their powers (Hirsch 98). In addition, her strategy of representing inextricable relationships between political and personal aspects and using such aspects to obliterate idealized perceptions that harbor both realms has been exquisite.

Personal Reflection

It is doubtless that Martha Rosler’s work and writing have been widely influential, especially in the field of art. Her impact as a lecturer both nationally and internationally has enhanced advancement of the media and photography. In the age of tactical media, it is evident that media have been used to counteract the coercive effect of the mass media. Rosler’s work has offered radical and tactical aspects, as well as hermeneutics for interpreting and reading. The tactical aspect has been evident in her video titled The Semiotic of the Kitchen, in which Martha choses a cooking implement for each letter of the alphabet reciting the name of each implement while staring at the camera (Chan and Rosler 76). It is also observable that Martha’s development of video practice has largely depended upon emergence of video technologies between the 1970s and the 1980s.

Although Martha Rosler appears to be narrow-minded in terms of many issues stretching from the Vietnam War, Iraq war, and killing of Osama Bin Laden, in my opinion, what worries her most is the present state of activities in the conflation of customer’s choice with political organizations. There is very little differentiation between an objective social process and a subjective feeling (Chan and Rosler 89). As a result, the picture depicted is an assertion that women are diverse; blacks are different from Asians; and they occupy different stances in relation to objects and social life though no explanation of their varied relationship with social power is given. In addition, Rosler has transcribed extensively about expansion of a creative class and how entertainers and hipsters have developed to become shock troops of the real estate reappraisal. However, it appears that Rosler seeks to restore the character of an artist to that of a worker and a mere citizen, while her work appears to be a palpable form of dissent.

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