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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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Ai Weiwei Spreads a Sunflower Seed Carpet at Tate’s Turbine Hall

Ai Weiwei, internationally famed artist and chief provocateur of the Chinese art world, opened his London Turbine Hall installation today, the eleventh, and first for an Asian artist, in the Tate’s Unilever series of exhibitions.

The installation forms a gesture both classic for the artist and yet totally unexpected: a carpet of sunflower seeds now covers over 1,000 of the Turbine Hall’s 3,400 square meters of floorspace, in total over 150 tons. Photos from afar show an unmeasurable expanse of gray, a rectangular infinity that calls to mind Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s candy fields: part minimalist, part maximalist. The seed carpet is visually stunning, but beyond its striking appearance, the installation has a deep political, historical and social background.

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Art Work Attacked in Colorado Museum

Kathleen Folden, 56, of Kalispell, Montana, has been charged with attacking an art work by California-based artist Enrique Chagoya with a crowbar while it was on display in the Loveland Museum Gallery in Loveland, Colorado. The 12-panel lithograph, according to the artist’s statement to FoxNews, depicts “no nudity, or genitals, or explicit sexual contact” and portrays “a dressed woman, a religious icon’s head, a man showing his tongue, and a skull of a Pope in the upper right corner of the controversial page.”

Critics of the work argue that it represents Jesus Christ, who Christians believe is the son of God, as receiving oral sex from another man. FoxNews gives its own interpretation of the work and describes it as having “several images of Jesus, including one in which he appears to be receiving oral sex from a man as the word ‘orgasm’ appears beside Jesus’ head.” The attack took place last Wednesday at 4pm.

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Frank Gehry’s Latest Development Tango: The Joyce Theater’s New Lower Manhattan Home

The Joyce Theater is going to be a lonely Lower Manhattan performance tenant, with vacancies in the building if there are any performing arts organizations hunting for posh new downtown neighbors.

In a statement made earlier this week, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, alongside Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Patterson, announced a federal funding allocation of $100 million for a much-touted and much-delayed performing arts center at Ground Zero designed by Frank Gehry’s firm.

Silver said that “this $100 million commitment clearly paves the way for this long-promised performing arts center,” and that it “will be a cultural jewel for Lower Manhattan.”

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What Does Facebook’s New Photo Viewer Mean for Artists Online?

Since the inception of Facebook’s photo viewer, an influential tool that’s become the go-to for documentation of everything from social events to product launches, users have been stuck at a pretty lousy 72 DPI and 720 pixels. Those digits mean an image size that’s low enough to make even high quality pictures look bad, adding grain and distorted colors. The limitations were even annoying enough for artist Jonald James to start a Facebook group in protest, Artists Against Facebook’s Image Compression Process. Yet though difficulties remain, new Facebook updates point to a way forward for art and artists online. The message of James’ group is that Facebook isn’t just for presenting shitty party pics, but also presents a tool that artists depend on for marketing and sales. “Let’s face it,” their About statement reads, “Facebook’s photo management really sucks.”

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Refresh: The Antidote to Art World Illiteracy

Leon Neyfakh is best known as a reporter for the New York Observer, and his beat is everything from Brooklyn’s indie music scene to uptown art world intrigue. What many people may not know is that he’s much bigger online … ok, not much bigger but definitely cooler than an Observer byline would suggest. For those who live in Tumblr-land, Neyfrakh’s tumblelog Leon Crawl is full of quips, interesting links, and observations about what he’s reading/listening to/watching. And if you know that, then you probably know that he’s also the host of a great new literary series, Refresh, which welcomes the internet famous to spill their guts about whatever netizens vomit out of their mouths or via their fingers.