[-empyre-] On Americanized Names

Naeem Mohaiemen naeem.mohaiemen at gmail.com
Mon Jan 21 05:49:01 EST 2008


On Jan 17, 2008 5:08 AM, Cara Walz <bumblepuppy at kc.rr.com> wrote:
> so and then moved back to this humble burg sporting the polish version
> of his first name instead of the americanized one he used to go by. He
> has been well received.

This is an interesting topic that somehow digressed yet connected to
Passport topic.

I wonder if Cara meant "well received" as in his work or non-americanized name?

A year ago there was an invitation for a show for artists of "Muslim
origin". The call for work was rather crudely worded, so the
requirements were out in the open. Perhaps a more sophisticated
treatment would have cloaked it in theorese.  I wrote a rather
irritated/snarky response and then sat on it for a few weeks and in
the end never sent.  This was because of few things that ocurred to
me:
- yes, it was a fetishizing category, but if it was a "way in" for
others who might not otherwise be represented and therefore why should
I be the grinch
- the fact that i could reject such a call displayed my own privilege
vis-a-vis opportunities
- when the MOMA pulled together a similar show (although there the
"origin" question was not so crudely placed), none of us protested

Etc, etc various contradictory thoughts pulled at me and in the end
the time to send that email response passed. When I went to the show
opening, I saw several dear friends in the show. So that gave me more
food for thought.

The issue gets more complex also in Europe where funding can differ
based on such criteria as well (or understandings of such
criteria)....


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