In the latest of a long series of environmental mishaps that have attended the artist’s environmental installations, Christo’s “Over the River” project continues to be plagued by worries that the planned piece will harm its surroundings. This time, the concern is that the installation will interrupt the migration and mating patterns of animals that make their home in the Arkansas River, Colorado setting.
Smithsonian’s Censorship Gaffe Continues to Snowball
Two new developments in the Wojnarowicz Censorship case since we last reported on the Hide/Seek show and its problems with government censorship and a Smithsonian Secretary who just can’t say sorry … Washington Post‘s Philip Kenicott is asking for Secretary G. Wayne Clough to resign … collector Jim Hedges wants his work by Jack Pierson out of the show …
Kiefer Protest Met With Conflict, But Not For Protesters
At Gagosian gallery on December 23rd, black-shirted figures stood in front of Anselm Kiefer’s enigmatic, monumental sculptures. Wearing shirts inscribed with “Next year in Jerusalem,” the protesters were attempting to continue Keifer’s political dialogue. Gallery employees didn’t agree and tried to force them out. Unfortunately, an innocent bystander got caught in the middle and was injured in the process, The New Yorker reports.
Museum of Arts & Design Lifts Photo Ban, Will Others Follow?
Another New York museum has removed its photography ban in galleries. This time the Museum of Arts and Design (aka MAD) is the latest institutions to join the ranks of MoMA and other major art institutions that welcome photography in their galleries, though some restrictions may apply to specific works or exhibitions. I asked Marisa Bartolucci, MAD’s director of public affairs, about the policy change and why it happened …
Wojnarowicz Update: Catholics United Fights Back, AA Bronson Still Rebuffed, Patti Smith Talks
Fighting the perception that all Catholics are as conservative as those espoused in William Donohue’s Catholic League call for the Smithsonian to remove David Wojnarowicz’s “A Fire in My Belly” from Hide/Seek, Catholics United has begun a petition calling for closer scrutiny Donohue’s organization. Specifically, they target his high salary and his claim to represent the wishes of all Catholics. In the meantime, artist AA Bronson has repeatedly been denied his request to have his “Felix, June 5, 1994” removed from the exhibition, and Patti Smith spoke at the Smithsonian despite controversy.
Gallery Hangings Gone Wrong at Boston MFA’s New Wing
At the Boston Museum of Fine Arts’ new Wing of the Americas, the story of American art is told over the course of four floors, ranging from colonial and indigenous art through modernism. Stopping before contemporary, the third floor above ground level is the home of American modernism. The opening gallery of the floor tells a story that’s neither comprehensive nor diverse, instead presenting a kind of multifaceted, unfocused face to greet the public. How does this hanging impact the works on view in the gallery, and museum-goers’ experience of the art?
Chelsea’s Luhring Augustine Buys Bushwick Outpost
BushwickBK’s Stephen Truax, who also contributes to this blogazine, reports on Luhring Augustine’s new Bushwick space:
“The new building is primarily going to be our storage facility, but we hope to have at least a quarter of the space dedicated to exhibitions,” said Barrow. A 2,500-square-foot exhibition space would be a first for Bushwick, though it’s not clear if it will be open to the public or just collectors.
AA Bronson Negotiates, Offers Space for Wojnarowicz
In an email posted on Newsgrist, artist AA Bronson, who asked that his portrait of Felix Partz be removed from the Smithsonian’s Hide/Seek exhibition following the censorship, suggests to director Martin Sullivan that his piece be removed to make room for the Wojnarowicz video.
Fire In My Belly Protest This Sunday at Met Museum
A protest is slated to take place on Sun Dec 19 at 1pm EST at New York’s Metropolitan Museum. We have links to a handy flyer and a protest action kit!
More Answers in MOCA Mural Censorship [UPDATE 4]
Some answers are finally surfacing after a week of the LA MOCA controversy. Recently an email between the censored street artist Blu and renowned graffiti photographer Henry Chalfant has been posted online. Blu has confirmed to me via email that the text is real, and Chalfant has said he will provide his comments on the situation this afternoon.
The email reveals, among other things, that MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch did not request or see any preliminary sketches for Blu’s mural, MOCA whitewashed the mural without informing Blu, the artist has yet to be paid, and Blu encountered many veterans who found the mural “truthful.”
Beirut’s Oldest Synagogue Getting Restored
Al-Jazeera reports that the once vibrant center of Jewish life in Beirut, Lebanon, and the city’s largest and oldest surving synagogue, Magen Abraham is being restored by private donations, including from local Muslims.
Smithsonian Director Unrepentant, Curator Talks “American Taliban,” Catholic League Gets a Beer
At a conversation held with Hide/Seek curators Jonathan Katz and David C. Ward at the New York Public Library December 15th, a few things became clear about the censorship scandal: Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery director Martin Sullivan is far from repentant over the decision, and the Catholic League, who initiated the “offense” taken at the video, are largely absent.