Posted inBooks

Reading Martha Cooper’s Tag Town & Going Postal

In the world of graffiti, Martha Cooper is a cult figure. She’s an old skool photog who, along with Henry Chalfant, documented the fast-changing world of New York graffiti and unintentionally helped make it sexy and digestible for public consumption. Her book Subway Art, co-authored with Chalfant, kickstarted the graff book genre that has ballooned (for better or worse) into a full-blown field that witnesses hundreds of books published a year.

Since the influence and impact of Subway Art is well-know, I chose to focus this review on two more recent works by the graff photography veteran which were published in that last few years, Tag Town: The Evolution of New York Graffiti Writing and Going Postal.

Posted inArticles

A Better Boston: Artists’ Perspectives

Boston artists understand that the city’s contemporary art community lacks punch. After all, they’re the ones in the middle of it, surrounded on all sides by curators, galleries and critics. As artists have responded to the problems set out in my series on the Boston contemporary art scene, their comments point towards a working answer for one question: how could the Boston art community be made better for the city’s artists?

Posted inEssays

Art Beyond the Museum

Arts institutions often tell us to expect great things from their inhabitants. Take the Metropolitan Museum of Art, for (an extreme) example. As you approach it on Fifth Ave, the first thing you see is a monumental stair case leading up to huge doorways flanked by towering columns.

If you make it up the two dozen steps, past the columns, doors, and security, you enter a vast breathtaking atrium. This is your pre-launch prep station.

Posted inNews

Brooklyn Housing Project Gets the Ax, Iran Cuts Ties with British Museum, Nelson-Atkins Gets Impressionist Stash

… a Manhattan gallery is being accused of selling a Basquiat without the owners permission … the 2009 New England Art Awards have been announced … the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland is getting a new building … Transport of London has banned posters for Massive Attack’s latest album because it resembles graffiti … a sanctioned mural on private property is threatened in LA.

Posted inEssays

Battle for the Nation: John Yau Questions Jerry Saltz’s America

In the newly released edition of the Brooklyn Rail, editor John Yau takes on New York Magazine’s art critic Jerry Saltz and his characterization of America as “big, bright, shiny, colorful, crowd-pleasing, heat-seeking, impeccably produced, polished, popular, expensive, and extroverted—while also being abrasive, creepily sexualized, fussy, twisted, and, let’s face it, ditzy.” Yau asks, “Is this ‘our America?’ Or is this Jerry Saltz shilling for Jeff Koons?”

Posted inUncategorized

And the Winner Is … Paddy Johnson!

After hundreds of votes and dozens of banter on the post, on Twitter & on Facebook, we are happy to announce that Paddy Johnson has been declared the official winner of the first ever Worst. Press. Release. Ever. competition.

The art blogosphere’s favorite art fag has crossed the finish line the victor with a whopping 72.3% of votes. Congratulations, Paddy!

Posted inArticles

China Bulldozes Studios, Flash Mobs Follow, Avatar Invoked

While we live our artistic lives in the West in relative calm, if sometimes obscurity and poverty, artists in China face some very serious dangers from an autocratic government that only allows art to flower when it fits its political agenda. So when artists in China create a flash mob to protest the systematic destruction of artist studios, it is shocking that no one notices. Thankfully, Austrian blogger Karel has written something for mazine.ws about this vast injustice …