Ben Valentine

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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Articles

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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Essays

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 “intotime.org” by Rafaël Rozendaal; Twitter art by the likes of An Xiao and others; “e.m-bed.de/d/,” 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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Interviews

Painting the Homeless

by Ben Valentine on January 10, 2013

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BERKELEY, California — Hugh Leeman’s work didn’t immediately impress me. It had a distinct Bay Area style, which is not my personal favorite — his paintings are loose, colorful, street art–influenced, and have some realistic surrealism mixed in — but what caught my attention in Leeman’s practice was the social utility interwoven with the artwork.

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Essays

The Aesthetics of Democracy

by Ben Valentine on December 25, 2012

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BERKELEY, California — This election year both candidates used overly aestheticized imagery for their campaigns, but what is the place for quality art in our democracy?

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Post image for Gays, Grinder, The Holocaust Memorial, and Art: An Interview with Marc Adelman

BERKELEY, California — Marc Adelman’s project, “Stelen (Columns)” has been met with critical acclaimed and controversy. It’s time to hear what the artist himself has to say about the series.

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Post image for Ferris Bueller, Vodkamelons, and Other Youthful Follies

BERKELEY, California — Adam Parker Smith’s new show Forever 21 at Ever Gold Gallery is an investigation of youthful aesthetics taken seriously.

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