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Get Ready for #TheSocialGraph

In two weeks, #TheSocialGraph will open at Outpost in Bushwick, Brooklyn and we’re incredibly excited. What is #TheSocialGraph? It is an evolving exploration of the burgeoning field of social media art and the relation of contemporary art with this populist tool as a medium, facilitator, and subject for art.

I am the curator of the project and I’ve pulled together a number of interesting artists, writers, social media mavens, and others to share ideas and explore possibilities presented by the intersection of visual art and social media. Some of the art in #TheSocialGraph will be about social media, some will use social media as an integral component of the finished project, and some will be more of an experiment so we’re not exactly sure what to call it.

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What’s Up With UK Arts Funding Cuts?

Arts Council England, a group within the English governmental Department of Art, Media and Sport, is an organization entirely devoted to funding the arts, performing, visual and literary. In total, the council currently funds 880 arts organizations and events. In September, “Britain’s coalition government of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats proposed a budget that could cut arts spending by as much as 25 percent,” reports the New York Times, a move that would help reduce the country’s budget deficit.

It’s still not clear where the budget cuts will lead, but it’s clear that artists and art organizations are speaking up against the disastrous impact the cuts could have.

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Bronx Museum Helps US Artists Go Abroad

Think the United States’ image abroad could use some updating? Well, take it to your local Bronx Museum! The Bronx Museum of the Arts is at the head of a new US State Department program called smART Power, an initiative to expand diplomatic art outreach beyond the performing arts that often forms its basis.

Artists will be able to submit project proposals to the program through an open call early next year.

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Is “Hell, Yes” Being Replaced at the New Museum?

A little birdie told us at Hyperallergic HQ that Ugo Rondinone’s “Hell,Yes” (2001) will be removed from its perch on the facade of the New Museum. The same little birdie told us that it is slated to be replaced by Isa Genzken’s 30 foot (8 meter) tall “Rose” sculpture.

What do we think of the newest addition to the Bowery? We’ll let you know after it’s installed in early November.

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Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds Prove Hazardous to Visitors and Staff

Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds at the Tate’s Turbine Hall space in London opened to a good deal of rejoicing. Viewers and critics alike were entranced by the installation, a field of 100 million sunflower seeds that were actually carved from porcelain. An abundance of press photos show exhibition-goers frolicking in piles of seeds, tossing them up into the air, making seed-angels and having a great time. HOWEVER! The Tate has since been forced to alter Ai’s exhibition due to health hazards: the tons of porcelain seeds were kicking up a fine ceramic dust, easily breathed into the lungs of art aficionados. Visitors can now only gaze at Ai’s piece from a cordoned off observation deck.

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Raiders of the Lost Art

Reuters reports that, “A new online database recording more than 20,000 works of art looted by the Nazis from Jews in France and Belgium during World War Two shows that at least half have yet to be returned to their original owners.”

To view the database, where you will find works by Salvador DaliPablo PicassoHenri MatisseEdouard Manet, and almost every other master from the era, go to www.errproject.org/jeudepaume.

There are some fascinating photos on the Daily Mail website that show the extent of the looting that took place.

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Kanye’s George Condo Album Cover (Probably) Banned

In case you haven’t heard from the star’s overactive Twitter account, Kanye’s latest album is called My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and the just-released album cover art pretty much matches the title.

Following Kanye’s GOOD Friday single series which also featured the artist, the album cover is painted by none other than 1980s art world wunderkind George Condo. The image depicts a bear-like Kanye reclining on a bright blue couch, a naked human/bird hybrid with a polka-dotted (snow leopard?) tail perches on his leg and shrieks into the foreground, a classic Condo grin on her face. I would tell you this is a fine example of Fauvist coloring, but somehow it seems unnecessary.

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Art Attacker Pleads Not Guilty in Colorado

The Montana truck driver accused of destroying a controversial art work that featured the image of Jesus at the Loveland Museum/Gallery in Loveland, Colorado has pleaded not guilty to charges against her Friday morning. According to news reports on 9news.com and the Denver Post website, Kathleen Folden pleaded not guilty to the charge of criminal mischief, a class-four felony. She waived her right to a preliminary hearing and is scheduled for a three-day trial in January. If convicted, she could face two to six years in prison.

According to the Coloradoan, “Folden wore a black T-shirt to court that read ‘Jesus beat the devil with a big wooden stick.’” The Denver Post is also reporting that Enrique Chagoya, the Stanford University professor whose work was destroyed is “reportedly going to create a portrait of Jesus Christ for Loveland’s Resurrection Christian Fellowship as a conciliatory gesture.”

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BREAKING: People Want More Topless Nudes

We always say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Whether it’s destroying a blasphemous print, banning Robert Mapplethorpe from NEA funding, or censoring the David with a fig leaf, art presents some pretty easy flashpoints for scandal. Chief among them: nudity. An obvious lack of clothing rarely fails to be provocative, and such is the case with a certain Pittsfield, Massachusetts woman’s quest to allow women to go out in public, as men do, without shirts on.

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