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Re-Painting a King, Resisting Imperialism and a New Type of Art Conservation

Renowned conservator Glenn Wharton recently released a new book, The Painted King: Art, Activism and Authenticity in Hawai’i, which he spoke about last week at New York University. Wharton’s book provides a captivating account of his years spent with the well-known statue of the 19th C. Hawai’ian King Kamehameha I and the surrounding community that became involved with it’s conservation. Although art conservation has historically focused its attention on the chemistry and original artistic intent of artworks, Wharton works to bring a social aspect into the practice.

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Female Light and Space Pioneer Finally Getting Her Due

LOS ANGELES — As a primary member of the Light and Space movement of the 1960’s, Helen Pashgian played a pivotal role in establishing the legitimacy of California art in the second half of the 20th century. However, being one of the only women in LA’s macho art scene of the era, her work was often overshadowed. An exhibition of new sculptures at Ace Gallery Beverly Hills, as well as her inclusion in a recent encyclopaedic Pacific Standard Time show, aims to set the record straight.

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Art Within a Former Taoist Temple

BEIJING — For the past few years, the hutong area in downtown Beijing has become a new territory for experimental art spaces with the aim of establishing a different, participatory relationship with the viewers and the local people. In April 2011, Zajia Art Lab, run by Italian sinologist and curator Ambra Corinti, opened in two rooms of the former Hong En Taoist temple. Located near the Bell Tower food market in the Gulou area, Zajia hosts all kinds of experimental art, including music, performances and fine arts.

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Historic Protest from 1960s and 1970s California

LOS ANGELES — West Hollywood, known popularly today for its thriving design culture and LGBT community. During the day, you can visit any number of design studios and the sprawling Pacific Design Center complex. At night, Santa Monica Blvd. lights up with raucous bars and bouncing clubs catering to the local community. Affectionately known as “Weho,” the city, which is independent from Los Angeles, has also been a site for numerous citizen actions, from Proposition 8 protests to protests against the Hyatt. It’s only natural, then, that a new show, Decade of Dissent: Democracy in Action 1965-1975, should open in West Hollywood’s terrific new community library, just across from the Pacific Design Center.

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New Project to Help Citizens Document Themselves on Satellites

LOS ANGELES — They fly over us everyday, photographing and documenting us with startling regularity. We’ve seen our homes and some of us have spotted our cars, but only rarely are we able to get enough detail that we can see ourselves. Bemysatellite.net, a new initiative from Los Angeles artist and designer Bora Shin, aims to tap into these satellites and create a living document of the people it photographs so regularly, starting with LA’s 10 million residents.

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Pulling Down the Curtain

Franklin Evans is a Brooklyn-based artist. You might have heard of him as a result of his involvement in PS1’s 2010 installment of Greater New York. I knew little about the artist until I walked into his current exhibition Eyes on the Edge at Sue Scott Gallery. He is a painter and installation artist of the self aware/self conscious brand. Upon entering the gallery the visitor is forced to walk across a Plexiglas-faced bookshelf installed on the floor. Resting on the upturned shelves is a carefully installed library — presumably the artist’s own.

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The Legacy of Edward Gorey Preserved at Columbia University

In 2010, Columbia University received a donation of an extensive collection of Edward Gorey items from Andrew Alpern, an architectural historian and attorney who spent four decades acquiring the illustrator’s work. The 700 objects in the collection include almost every edition of every book Gorey published, as well as drawings, etchings and pieces of his design and illustration work. Gorey Preserved, now exhibited at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University, is a glimpse into the collection, and into Gorey’s mischievously dark world, where death could be as playful a character as a cat on a unicycle.

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When I Hear the Word Poetry, I Reach for My Frequent Flyer Miles

AWP, or the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (that’s actually AWWP, but we’ll let that slide), is billed as an annual celebration of authors, teachers, writing programs, literary centers and small press publishers. Every year these bibliophile masses descend on a North American city (Chicago, this year) to promote, mingle, fraternize, frolic, freak out, fight, deal, dole and drink. The book fair is the centerpiece, the polestar of the conference; a nerve-jouncing nerve center of tables and stalls and booths tucked away in the belly of the Chicago Hilton hotel on South Michigan Ave.

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On The Threshold

There are a number of things that distinguish Zak Prekop, who was born in 1979, from other young painters. The most important one is that he hasn’t turned what he does into a style or, in today’s parlance, a brand consisting of signature gestures. For while he has developed a method of making based on collage and optical disturbance, he has kept his options open. He embraces both the literal and the fictive as well as intertwines them in ways that are assured and compelling.

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Poor Forrest, Dead and Gone

To walk into the artist Robert Gober’s installation of paintings, photographs and writings by Forrest Bess — a visionary painter and self-described, self-surgically-altered “pseudo-hermaphrodite” — was to encounter art frontloaded with (as the reader put it) “cultural significance while also being visually intoxicating, or mesmerizing, you can choose a description.”