Cool Art Watch: “My Pie Town”

Via Andrew Sullivan, I clicked on over to a gallery of the photos from Debbie Grossman’s “My Pie Town” project, in which she alters a series of images Russell Lee took for the Farm Security Administration so that some pictures of men doing things like farm work are now images of women, and pictures of heterosexual couples are now pictures of same-sex couples. Grossman told the Morning News that “The main reason for doing so was to give us the unusual experience of getting to see a contemporary idea of family (female married couples as parents, for example) as if it were historical.”

This is exactly why I think Kingsdepiction of health care reform is so important, why Tamora Pierce’s integration of dual responsibility for birth control into her fantasy novels matters so much. There’s something so audacious about just presenting the world the way you want it to be, about letting your readers, or your viewers, draw their own conclusions about what it would be like to live in a world with effective herbal male contraceptives, or where environmental stewardship was a form of religious worship. Imagination is key fuel to hope. I’m not saying Avatar‘s going to spur a massive global environmental movement. But making progressive values aspirational through art is important, long-term work.