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“Little Ai” Goes To Court, “Big Ai” Writes Brit PM

Beijing-based writer and art professional Melanie Wang brought to our attention the upcoming November 17th court case of Wu Yuren, a Chinese photographer and installation artist whose provocative work and political activism have earned him the nickname “Little Ai,” a play on the artist Ai Weiwei’s reputation for not shying away from defiance in the face of pressure from the Chinese government. The trial is another step in the conflict between artists and the forces of Chinese politics.

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German Artist Hans-Peter Feldmann Wins 2010 Hugo Boss Prize

Last night to the accompaniment of much fanfare and celebrity attendance German conceptual “artist’s artist” Hans-Peter Feldmann won the Guggenheim’s Hugo Boss Prize, a biannual award that comes with a cool $100,000. Feldmann wasn’t the obvious choice for the prize; at 69, he is the oldest artist to receive an award usually bestowed upon emerging artists. [New York Times]

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NY Art Book Fair is the Coolest Book Fair Since Elementary School

New York Art Book Fair kicks off today, so if you like print media AND contemporary art as much as we do (even though we’re online), there’s only place to be this weekend: MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, where the fair is being held. Hosted by AA Bronson, president of NYC art media shop and proponent Printed Matter, New York Art Book Fair is an unrivaled chance to get a look at that rare breed of affordable collectible contemporary art: artist books.

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Smithsonian Show Not “Gay” Enough for Artinfo?

A Facebook post is sometimes a dangerous thing. When Artinfo’s “What’s Troubling about the Smithsonian’s Gay Art Show,” re-titled “What’s Troubling About the Smithsonian’s Hide/Seek Show,” article was posted to their Facebook page, it was re-captioned with the admittedly punchy line: “Are sexuality and gender appropriate themes for a Smithsonian art exhibition?” The ensuing response thread involved commenters, the show’s curators, and a game of journalistic hedging. It turns out that this “reviewer” hadn’t even seen the show they critiqued.

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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.