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Smithsonian Caves to GOP Pressure, Removes Ant-Covered Jesus Video

The National Portrait Gallery has caved under Republican political pressure and removed a potentially “offensive” video work by David Wojnarowicz, a multi-media artist who was felled by AIDS in 1992, from its Hide/Seek exhibition. The exhibition, deemed brave and important by critics, uncovers previously-veiled LGBT influences in the history of art. Yet threats and demands that the exhibition be canceled from Reps. John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Eric Cantor (R-Va.) have caused the NPG to remove Wojnarowicz’ “A Fire In My Belly,” a video that features a brief clip of ants crawling over a crucifixion Jesus figure.

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Kenny Scharf Blobs Take Over Bowery Wall

Kenny Scharf, druggy painter of 80s fame, has covered a Bowery wall with his psychedelic blobs. This isn’t just any wall, though. Previously curated by Deitch Gallery, now The Hole NYC, this wall originally played host a Keith Haring mural and has recently been the site of Shepard Fairey, Os Gemeos, and, most recently, Barry McGee projects.

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Picturing Black Friday

Dan Koeck’s image above was one of the finalists in last year’s Picture Black Friday competition. This year the organizers welcome new submissions on the impact on consumerism. The website explains that the contest is “an open call for photographers throughout the US to go out and produce images that document Black Friday — how you see it, on your terms.” [Picture Black Friday via @jonnodotcom]

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Swoon Getting Up in New Orleans

Photographer and art historian John D’Addario has been capturing images of the new Swoon pieces going up in the Crescent City. Judging by the designs she has big plans for the city, oh right, she’s planning an art house on Piety Street! And not just any house but a “towering pixie temple with a star-shaped floor plan, a zigzag wrap-around porch and pointy cupola, adorned with assorted dormers and flying filigree.” It sounds impressive.

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Charlie Rose + Jay-Z Roll With Assyrians at Brooklyn Museum

Yesterday, PBS talk show host, Charlie Rose, interviewed musician Jay-Z at the Brooklyn Museum. The hip hop star is promoting his new book, Decoded, which, in addition to telling his personal story and decoding his lyric, includes unconventional typography, line drawings, and photographs, which according to a review emphasizes “the author’s message that rap is a form that transcends and defies easy categorization.”

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Italian PM Gives Roman Statue a New Penis

It somehow seems fitting that the womanizing Prime Minister of Italy has suited an ancient Roman statue with a new penis: “Government officials confirmed today, however, that a valuable statue of the god Mars, on loan to the prime minister’s office, had been fitted with an artificial penis … La Repubblica said the transplant was carried out at Berlusconi’s “express request” and … it had cost the Italian taxpayer €70,000 (£60,000).” [Guardian]

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Breaking: Great News For “Watercolor Graffiti” Artist

MY BOGUS ‘GRAFFITI’ CASE, IN WHICH I WAS ARRESTED AND IMPRISONED FOR 23 HOURS FOR PAINTING ON MY OWN WATERCOLOR PAPER- WAS DISMISSED TODAY!!less than a minute ago via web

You will probably remember the wrongful arrest of watercolor artist Julie Torres on a ridiculous charge of graffiti. We last reported on her court appearance last month, but now this great news. Congratulations, Julie!

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Get Ready for The Sound of Art This Thurs, “Brooklyn Sounds More DIY”

Ever caught yourself thinking about what an art space sounds like rather than what it looks like? Perhaps provoked by artists who use sound as their medium or the cavernous qualities of the space art usually inhabits, Paddy Johnson of ArtFagCity fame has put together an LP that documents “the last five years of art in the city” through recordings of gallery spaces, collected audio ephemera, and even some guitar thrown in for good measure. The album’s opening party kicks off this Thursday for eight straight hours of remixes by an assortment of bands and artists at Santos’ Party House from 7pm to 3am. See below for the juicy details, plus a Q+A with the brains behind the LP.

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