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This week, Syrian heritage under threat, invisible art, Franz West remembrance, Etsy’s feminist disappointment, Ai Weiwei as Warhol, fashion criticism and more.
Of course, this isn’t the only historic landmark under threat due to the escalating civil war in Syria. Other significant sites UNESCO is keeping its eye on are Crac des Chevaliers, Palmyra, the ancient villages in northern Syria and Damascus, which is reputed to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world.
The exhibition shuttles between the sublime idea of absolute nothing and the engaging reality of almost nothing. This oscillation has a prehistory, broached as much in certain artists’ attempts to articulate it verbally as in their near absconded works. Robert Rauschenberg’s “Erased de Kooning Drawing” (1953) is the record of a month’s careful rubbing out and therefore not exactly a pure void, more a palimpsest in reverse — in Jasper Johns’s words, an ‘additive subtraction.’ Such a work has also, of course, to live in a world that may fill it with meaning or form; John Cage had already observed of some white paintings of Rauschenberg’s that they were ‘landing strips’ for light and shadow. Cage, whose “4’33”” is just the most notorious instance of an apparently silent work filled with inadvertent sound, liked to tell the story of visiting an anechoic chamber at Harvard, and in the absence of all other noise hearing the roar of his bloodstream and the electric whine of his nervous system. It’s more likely that he was experiencing mild tinnitus, but his insight holds: ‘What silence requires is that I go on talking.’
While clearly the visionary and mind behind every work, Franz relied on talented collaborators and helpers who contributed to the lively energy of his work environment and pushed his practice in new directions. He tracked the work of young artists and musicians closely, ending every Monday night at a live club near downtown that played deafening electronic music—one of his passions. In truth, I learned as much about this artist by hanging out with him as I did poring over a hundred hours of interview tape recounting his history.
“Etsy.com Peddles a False Feminist Fantasy: No, you can’t quit your day job to make quilts.”
The frequent comparison of Ai to Andy Warhol is useful here. Warhol’s television-ready persona coincided with the explosion of mass marketing and pop culture in 1960s America. Ai caught the triple waves of the contemporary Chinese art boom, the international focus on political liberties in China, and the new media of blogging and tweeting. In 2007, Ai wrote on his blog: “The significance of Andy Warhol lies in the fact that while he was not widely recognized as a serious artist during his lifetime, his milieu and his works so far exceeded the expectations of the era that he changed the reality and ideals of American art.” Substitute “global art” for “American art,” and he could just as well have been writing a version of his own biography. Societies will occasionally attach to an artist a prophetic aura. If Warhol was the prophet of consumption, branding, and self-promotion, Ai has shown the power of creative dissent, feeding media-friendly stunts to a wide social media network and global art discourse.
Well, it seems the fashion critic has three choices. He can buy into the bullshit and accept the whole carnival of press handouts, photo shoots, styling gimmicks, the show and what they say about the actual clothes. He can puncture the bullshit and tell the truth about the lamentable standards of commercial fashion. Or he can play the honest broker and go halfway or simply find other things to write about such as the number of roses in a room and the names of the front row personalities.
The former panels, removed in 2017, featured images dedicated to Confederate Generals Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee.
One researcher, Jürgen Schick, estimated that over half of the region’s historical artworks have been stolen.
The Morgan Library & Museum Presents Another Tradition: Drawings by Black Artists from the American South
This exhibition celebrates the Morgan’s recent acquisition of drawings by Thornton Dial, Nellie Mae Rowe, Henry Speller, Luster Willis, and Purvis Young.
The visual arts institution and educational center is located in the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world.
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Part of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, the Art Preserve also functions as a curated collection facility and is filled with immersive installations.