Swamped: Banning’s “Bureaucratics” (and my new job!)

Today’s theme is work. Lot’s of it. I’ve just accepted a full time (plus!) job, and will be posting less frequently, at least for the foreseeable future. I hope that you will continue exploring art, and let me know about works you find engaging. Dig through the archives if you haven’t been reading along every week, and feel free to comment. I’ll try and reply.

As I take a blogging break to rejoin the workforce, i thought I’d share an image from Jan Banning’s “Bureaucratics.”

Jan Banning's "Bureaucratics"

Last winter, when I was still just thinking about starting this blog, I saw Banning’s photographs lining the walls of the lower level of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. I strongly encourage you to check out the artist’s website, where you can look at dozens of portraits of both low-level and high-ranking government employees from Bolivia, China, France, India, Liberia, Russia, the United States, and Yemen. I find an odd beauty in, well, the ugliness of the surroundings of most of the workers. Sure, a few are in grandiose offices with fancy wood desks and symmetrical architectural features. Most, however, have cobbled together half-broken furniture, either starkly bare or mounded with papers, maybe with a poorly hung flag and a sad dying plant to “cheer” things up. Apparently this is a global phenomenon. Seriously, go look at the other photos.

Here is Banning’s caption for the above image: Yemen, bureaucracy, 2006. Yemen-14/2006 [Tai., AAS (b. 1964)]. Ali Abdulmalik Shuga (b. 1964) is responsible for the archives of the Ministry of Trade and CommerceÍs governorate s office in the city of Taizz, Taizz Governorate. Monthly salary: 30,500 rial (US$ 171, euro 117).

I won’t be responsible for any state affairs at my new gig. And while I will be working on a television production, it will mostly be a desk job. Perhaps I will feel as small as Ali Abdulmalik Shuga looks–he with his old school metal filing cabinets, me amid my flurries of emails and texts and logistics to coordinate. We’ll see.

Either way, I’ll miss the research, writing, and especially the sharing of art experiences with you. Hopefully, I’ll still eek out a post every now and then. I already have some ideas lined up, but they won’t be magically appearing every Thursday, unless there is some obscure art-blog-fairy no one has ever clued me in on. My job is scheduled to end late January, so don’t give up on this little corner of the internet. I enjoy doing this too much to abandon it completely.

Until next time,



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