Early in this millenium, in my studio while visiting with an art patron from Switzerland,
I formed in my mind the name for a new cultural space, a cultural space which I refer to as "NeoBohemia". I had been reading from art history in regards to the origins of bohemia, as I have always been intrigued by the sound of the word and I had found within its meaning an understanding of my own cultural identity. As my mother is a native of Spanish Morroco, and my ancestry has been close to the gypsy experience of that area, I came to realize that the bohemian identity, one which represented many artists of the old millenium who were attracted to the gypsy world, captured the spirit of my own feelings about life and culture. Wanting to advance from old-millenium labels and consciousness, I found "NeoBohemia" to be a new name for expressing the cultural space in which I foster my ideas and endeavors.
The need exists for a “Neo”-Bohemia in that a sensitivity to gender issues must be fostered in the Bohemian experience of this new millenium, a sensitivity which affirms the female bohemian as an equal to the male bohemian, thus providing a bridge to an evolved cultural space free of conventional bourgeois attitudes.
Context for NeoBohemia:
In her 2-volume book Art History, 1995, Marilyn Stokstad examines the term bohemian in the context of the rise of Modernism in Europe and the United States. She writes: “The term bohemian was originally used during the 1830s in Paris to describe certain Gypsies (the Romany people, wrongly thought to have originated in Bohemia, a region of Central Europe) who lived within a modern urban environment while maintaining a separate cultural identity. The term was
then applied to young artists and writers who wanted the advantages of a cultural center without its crass, materialistic, “bourgeois” (or middle-class) trappings. They were opposed to the new mass-produced things, like the ready-to-wear suits which they considered both shoddy and ugly, as well as to what they believed to be the bourgeoisie’s appalling lack of interest in the life of the spirit and the mind.”
Stokstad identifies the painter Ernst Kirchner as one of these modernists who advanced “the collective belief that they lived not in Berlin or Paris or New York but in bohemia, a cultural space uncontaminated by the ordinary conditions of the those cities.” Stokstad goes on to note, however, in examining Kirchner’s paintings, that the “images conceive of women in terms of male desire, and Die Brücke (Kirchner’s circle of contemporaries) restricted women to this role. Although they often depicted themselves and their male friends reading, writing, painting , and playing chess, they almost never showed women engaged in such pursuits. The brotherhood may have been antibourgeois in most respects, but its attitudes toward women were utterly conventional. The women who participated in the modernist enterprise, although tolerated, were rarely treated as equals.”
From this art historical context the identity of NeoBohemia gains significance, a progressive focus which advances a more modern expression of society where bohemians, both female and male, stand as equals.
A neobohemian video posted on You-tube, winter 2008:
"Obama Christmasangel #1"