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Posted inNews

Is a Tax on iDevices a Savior of French Culture?

André Malraux, the prolific French critic and Minister of Culture under Charles de Gaulle, once wrote that art is an “anti-destin,” a revolt against destiny. And by that measure, the country’s recently-released report calling for a tax on internet-connected devices to fund cultural production qualifies simultaneously as artless and a work of art in itself.

Posted inNews

Cooper President Engages Critics in Impromptu Exchange

Last night, at a little before 11 pm EST, Cooper Union president Jamshed Bharucha spontaneously ended a community forum he was holding in the basement of the Foundation Building and ascended to his seventh floor office to face his critics for the first time. The result was a rather long and uninspiring chat punctuated by raucous and disruptive moments of commentary by many long-silent insiders, including untenured faculty, administrators, and engineering students.

Posted inNews

Andrea Bowers Protest Letters Taken Down Overnight at Frieze [UPDATE]

The labor headache continued apace on Randall’s Island this morning, as Susanne Vielmetter arrived at her eponymous gallery to find Andrea Bowers’s much-discussed protest letters taken down and the entrance of her cube cordoned off by a white string. “I’m shocked,” she told Hyperallergic, “I never expected this would happen.” Though she says it isn’t clear who is responsible for this action, Vielmetter was particularly dismayed as she had spoken with Frieze co-head Matthew Slotover in the run up to the fair, and he had subsequently engaged both her and Andrea Bowers in a “long conversation” assuring her of the right to display the letters and clarifying the Frieze position that they are not in a labor dispute of any kind.

Posted inArt

Cutlog’s Eclectic Edge

French import Cutlog, the latest fair to join the growing clusterfuck surrounding Frieze New York, carries a relaxed and eclectic ethos, one befitting the challenging layout of its Lower East Side venue. According to organizers, 48 galleries, 70% of them international, showed at the Clemente Soto Vélez building on Suffolk Street, marking the four-year-old Parisian fair’s New York debut.

Posted inNews

BREAKING: Students Occupy Office of Cooper Union President [UPDATE 5]

At roughly 11 am today, a group of 30 students occupied the offices of embattled Cooper Union President Jamshed Bharucha. Bharucha himself is not present, however, and unlike the previous occupation, the students have not barricaded themselves in and are being allowed to freely enter and exit the building. Black banners signifying the takeover have also been unfurled from the second floor windows of the Foundation Building.

Posted inArt

Atlantic City’s Art Experiment

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — At a windswept press conference Monday morning, two Atlantic City consortiums announced a new waterfront sculpture walk, an initiative to be curated by the Noyes Museum of Art at Richard Stockton College. The sculpture walk, in the city’s Marina District, follows the larger Artlantic project, a vacant lot formerly occupied by the Sands Casino turned public art park under the auspices of curator Lance Fung.

Posted inNews

Is it Time to Blow Up the Art Fair Model?

Occupy Museums thinks the art fair model needs to be reworked. Occupy Wall Street’s art offshoot has announced a new initiative, DebtFair, which seeks to radically deconstruct the commercial art fair. After essentially sunning themselves in a distant corner of Frieze New York last May, distributing flyers for Un-Frieze and other protest literature, the activists have decided to go for a more radical overthrow of the heavily commodified fair model. Whether or not this alternative has legs remains to be seen.

Posted inNews

Upheaval Galvanizes Cooper Union

In a memorable appearance at St. Mark’s Bookshop in the fall of 2011, Slavoj Zizek held forth on the importance of saving the bookstore from its then-impending eviction from a Cooper Union-owned building, referring repeatedly to the predatory landlord as “the Union Cooper.” The mangy Slovenian’s malapropism seems downright prescient these days, as the university’s community of students, faculty, and alumni looks inward to rebuild the century-old promise of their institution.

Posted inArt

The View from Dubai: Censorship and Resistance in the Emirates

In my screed from a few weeks ago, “When Artspeak Masks Oppression,” I cited the Guggenheim-Emirates partnership as an instance of contemporary art’s institutional culture operating in service of authoritarianism. One of the examples I mentioned of the propagandistic character of this primarily linguistic process was the Dubai-based artist UBIK’s description of an installation of his called “Tahrir Square” (2011). I am glad to have been recently able to catch up with UBIK and hear his frank and often biting perspective on the climate for contemporary art production in the United Arab Emirates.

Posted inOpinion

Art Is the New Gold

Channeling the conspiratorially unhinged salesmanship of a Cash 4 Gold pitchman, the New York Times ran a hilariously bad art market trend piece today — a story titled “As Money Props Up Art World, Prospects Are Mixed,” which portends to link macroeconomic trends with demand for art market investment vehicles. In its own imbecility it reveals a different sort of trend: the perpetual shortcomings in art market coverage, an area that often sees a minimum of rigor and a maximum of price-tag sensationalism at major newspapers.