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Cory Arcangel’s (Al)ready-mades

Remember Oakley M-Frame sunglasses? They’re supposed to look like the future, with gradient lenses in a variety of neon colors and knotted frames that bear a resemblance to tensed muscle and ligaments. What they actually look like is a future imagined from the 1980s, in which some mixture of cyberpunk fashion, steroidal athlete aesthetic and Gatorade-style visual punch is totally au courant. New media prankster Cory Arcangel has turned these glasses into monuments, casting them in bronze and immortalizing them in a series of readymades called “Sports Products” (2011). Are you ready for 80s nostalgia? You better be, because it’s ready for you.

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Looking at Chinese Social Media: Censorship and Speaking Mandarin (Part 2 of 3)

Is it time for the Western art world to join Chinese social media? That depends on your goals. “I don’t see any reason for anyone not directly involved in the Beijing/Shanghai art world to be on Weibo,” argued Robin Peckham. “It’s more about back-and-forth in-scene and doesn’t have much application in terms of PR and such, at least on the small scale of galleries and organizations.” Indeed, Chinese sites like Weibo and Douban, even as they gain more attention from the West, remain predominantly Chinese in both language and user base.

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Alexander McQueen’s Sartorial Savagery

What becomes a legend most? How are those cultural superstars chosen, the ones whose very names invoke awe, wonder, or at least a gasp? Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, the comprehensive retrospective of the late designer’s ravishing raiment now on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art certainly provides a clue. With an hour and a half wait to enter (on a good day), a de facto gala in his honor and almost unanimous praise from critics, the McQueen legend continues to thrive in the eerie, operatic halls of the exhibition space. He may have a spectacular artistic output, and he may have defined an era of rising fashion stars, but the question remains how his deification came to be, how he came to define 21st century fashion with a short, tragically romantic career.

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Milk Does a White Body Good

Artist Nate Hill’s new project, “White Power Milk” (2011), pushes the boundaries of race, sexuality and commodification. He explains, “I named it ‘White Power Milk’ because I’m selling people that access to white girls from powerful families. Those are the hardest white girls to get access to. They are the powerful.” I interviewed him about his latest art work.

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Time for the Western Art World to Join Chinese Social Media? (Part 1 of 3)

A few months ago, Tom Cruise made waves in both Chinese and Western media by announcing that he had joined Sina Weibo, the popular Chinese microblogging tool used by Chinese and, now, Western celebrities. “We’re having fun talking to you and our new friend at http://t.sina.com.cn/” his Chief Information Officer announced. Cruise is a special case, of course. But his popularity reflects something of an “Ashton moment” in terms of the attention Chinese social media have been received lately from the West. Sina’s strategy, which was to bring prominent public figures in both entertainment and politics to the service, has paid off.

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Oklahoma Art Is OK!

Ever since I moved to New York, I’ve been telling people that great contemporary art is coming out of my homestate of Oklahoma. Benrimon Contemporary in Chelsea is finally bringing some evidence to New York in the group show Red Country Pictures. The exhibit focuses on one particularly influential little college on the plains, East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma.

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Indie Art Publishers Take Root in North Brooklyn

If you don’t know the names of Pen15 Press, Wild Isle, For the Birds collective, Birdsong Collective, Burn Books and Brooklyn Arts Press yet, you probably should. These groups are producing indie art books worth a look, and form the center of Brooklyn DIY arts publishing. Yet even given the ready scene of indie publishing and willing artists and writers, creating and selling good work remains a day-to-day battle in the cacophony of Brooklyn creative production.

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Port Authority’s Human Side in a 24 Hour Performance

When I caught performance artist Man Bartlett around 4:30 pm EST yesterday, he had been in New York City’s Port Authority Bus Terminal for 23 and a half hours straight. Beginning on Wednesday, May 25 at 5 pm and continuing through 5 pm on May 26, the “#24hPort” performance saw the artist occupy both virtual and physical space, wandering through Port Authority and asking visitors where they were going, at the same time tweeting about the experience and asking Twitter participants about their memories of where they had been.