Ben Valentine

Post image for Mapping a Museum’s Collection with Memory

SAN FRANCISCO — “The rhino looks like it has a terrible skin disease,” said Jay Xu, director of the Asian Art Museum (AAM), discussing a rhino vessel in the museum’s collection as part of a project by artist duo Hughen/Starkweather (Amanda Hughen and Jennifer Starkweather).

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Post image for Masks for the Surveillance State

SAN FRANCISCO — It seems like everyone is making artistic reactions to our increasingly surveilled world.

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Post image for Using Google Street View to Counter Mexico’s Police Violence

The Google Street View photos of Mexican police and army forces gathered on “100 mts” are raw and menacing.

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Dancing with Drones

by Ben Valentine on May 20, 2014

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Eleven Play is a Japanese dance group that incorporates advanced technologies directly into their practice.

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Post image for Standouts from a California MFA Show Worth Seeing

SAN FRANCISCO — This year I finally made it to California College of the Arts’ (CCA) MFA Thesis Exhibition. CCA has one of the best graduate art programs in the Bay Area, and I was eager to see the work coming out of its studios.

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Ugandans Fight to Save the Miniskirt

by Ben Valentine on February 27, 2014

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Last week, Ugandan officials passed the 2011 Anti-Pornography Bill. Ugandans on Twitter (#UOT) were quick to join the fray with memes and a hashtag.

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Post image for High Profile Exits Raise Questions About Indianapolis Museum

The new director of the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s short tenure has been marked by a spate of departures.

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Post image for Indianapolis Museum of Art in Jeopardy?

In the last few years the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) has developed a deserved national and international reputation. The IMA’s 100 acre Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, which opened in 2010, is one of the largest contemporary sculpture parks in the world, and one of the only such parks with a commitment to contemporary and non-permanent installation art. The following year, the IMA was chosen to present the US pavilion at the 2011 Venice Biennale, arguably one of the most important art shows in the world. Their 2011 exhibition of outsider artist Thornton Dial represented the first-ever retrospective of his work, and received widespread acclaim, including glowing reviews in the New York Times and Time magazine. These are exceptional accomplishments for any museum, much less one offering free general admission and located in a state whose population is smaller than the five boroughs of New York City — the IMA is simply an anomaly in the United States. And this spring the museum and its new director, Charles L. Venable, are back in the spotlight, but not for more accolades.

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Revisiting Tumblr as Art

by Ben Valentine on February 22, 2013

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Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of commissioned essay for The World’s First Tumblr Art Symposium. This essay is a revised and expanded version of Ben Valentine’s “Tumblr as Art” that was first published on June 19, 2012.

Much has been written about the rise of internet art. Just in the last few years, we’ve seen net artworks such as “” by Rafaël Rozendaal; Twitter art by the likes of An Xiao and others; “,” an immersive online music video experience by Yung Jake; and “$,” a Google Docs piece by Man Bartlett. But there is a burgeoning field of both social and discrete, beautiful, and weird internet art that demands our attention: Tumblr art.

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Post image for Cloaque’s One-Year Anniversary Project Harnesses the “Collaborative Potential of the Internet”

For the one year anniversary of the Tumblr artwork “Cloaque,” founders Claudia Maté and Carlos Sáez decided to do something a little different; they pushed their Tumblr project and added a collaborative video. In case you missed it, “Cloaque” is one of my favorite Tumblrs. It is an endless collage made possible through collaboration by notable net artists from all over the world; I wrote about it last year.

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