“Santana’s Maria Maria” is playing in my head on my way to check out the S.F. MOMA today. Recently I drove across the United States from California to South Carolina. I had plenty of time to ponder my existence. I realized I have this need to slap my ideas up the side of peoples head. It comes from an insecurity from growing up in Kansas, in the 60’s with an odd way of thinking and having a vagina. I remember in history class not understanding why I had to learn about white men, their wars, and their deaths. I had a vagina, I did not see how it related to my life and future. So I stopped paying attention and became an excellent cheater. I spent my days sending notes and getting into trouble.
Finally in the seventh grade I thought I caught a break. My mom got me into Mr. Furdeens English class. She was really excited as my older sister had had him and she thought he was not traditional and I would excel. I would be able to learn something. I got excited and thought “Okay, I am going to try!” Our first assignments was to read a couple chapters in “Catch 22”. So I read the assignment for the first time in my life. It is not an easy book for a cheater. However I was determined to do it. I read the chapters assigned. I decided to wait to raise my hand to join the discussion about the book. Best decision ever as I missed the whole time warp thing in the book.
When I realized my perceptions of the world would not be tolerated in school.
Even after this set back, I still had hope that my ideas would not be marginalized. Sadly I would soon be disappointed with my unsuccessful paper discussing the problem with traditional wedding attire. Not only did I get a bad grade but my teacher yelled at me. I wanted to use “they” for a singular man or woman. I argued that I did not want to have specific wedding attire for either men or women but I did not want to be specific to either sex so I wanted to use the pronoun “they”. After several attempts to ague my point my teacher finally got huffy and yelled “in the English language you have to use the pronoun “he” for the singular pronoun if there is no specific gender, it is mankind after all.” And that is when I quit trying and cheating became my best friend again.
And how does this relate to “Santana’s Maria Maria”?
It relates to his outsiderness. It relates to the words in “Santana’s Maria Maria” “As the rich are getting richer, the poor is getting poorer.” In an inclusive world we would not have poverty and sexist pronouns. History would not be about one race and sex or maybe it would but we would have a different word for all people’s past. Museums would be free. While I liked the films and the light tunnel at the MOMA, they need to get rid of the permanent minimalist painting floor-BORING! I remember it from the old MOMA on Van Ness. Maybe one month a year but everyday, every year? There is so much great art out there and we get stuck with minimalists on permanent display.
And the conclusion?
I have no wise words except the desire to see a more inclusive and economically level world. It is easy to criticize the way things are, however the truth is things are better then they have ever been. We had our first black president. And now we have our first women of color, Vice President. So while I would really like to go into the MOMA and not see any Minimalist paintings, I am going to have to realize they are a part of art “history” and someone with a lot of money likes them regardless of the rest of the amazing art out there. Art does reflect culture and I look forward to having free inclusive art museums filled with different great art. Possibly in some wonderful future I will be able to see my painting “Santana’s Maria Maria” at the S.F.MOMA.