Monday, September 10, 2018

“Re: Re: Black Macho. Unleash the Queen” at Philipp Pflug Contemporary


This was a little before shoe burning had recently hit front pages. Johnson's less viral*. I'm not sure what is with brands and our ability to stick ourselves to them, 4 days ago there was no opinion on Nike other than as any other global capitalist conglomerate. Now, thanks to the power of hyperconfused white people, we are forced into conjuring an opinion because Nike has roped a lightning rod into their orbit. Dogwhistle polemics as divide and conquer strategy. The NYTimes is reporting on it. My distaste for Nike's exploitation of a valid (and invalidly polemical) political movement. An interest in Kapernick becomes an opinion on Nike thanks to the power of branding. Staggering that somehow the conversation over race, sports, and protest, is now, if momentarily, controlled by a Fortune 500 whose name is at the top of the search results. When have brands had such control? Now I want to burn the shoes too.

*One of the more engaging moments of the performance is far before this climax: Johnson appears to stop his contortionals and rests. He squats down, rubbing hands and holding skeptically out above the audience. A respite that doesn't feel all that. An anxious pause that we could make all sorts out of, but the moment feels real and if not Johnson could be an actor. Then he winds his body through the gallery down the stairs and outside and set fire to the Timberlands and sips Hennessy from the bottle, now absolutely dejected but finally actually relaxed while boots bonfire. He wears pink converse (parent company Nike) and a white union suit, patented as "emancipation union under flannel."