Posted inNews

Blu Says Deitch/MOCA Censored Him

Just when you thought this story may be dead, Italian street artist Blu, whose mural was whitewashed by MOCA last week, has shot back at Jeffrey Deitch’s brush-this-all-under-the-rug mentality with a fiery statement he emailed to the LA Times:

It is censorship that almost turned into self-censorship when they asked me to openly agree with their decision to erase the wall. In Soviet Union they were calling it ‘self-criticism.’

Deitch invited me to paint another mural over the one he erased, and I will not do that.

How will the art world react to the fact that a major museum director, and not some museum bureaucrat (as in the case of the Smithsonian’s Wojnarowicz censorship) has actively censored a prominent artist? I can’t imagine with anything short of outrage.

I contacted the LA MOCA’s press department 15 minutes ago, and they said there is no official response to Blu’s statement, but they will let us know when there is.

Animal New York has responses from Ron English, Faile and other prominent street artists who aren’t happy with MOCA and Deitch either.

One thing is for sure, this issue is NOT going away any time soon.

Original image: Blu’s MOCA mural being whitewashed (via Unurth, image by Casey Caplowe, and used with permission)

Posted inArt

Drawings of Portraits of Osama Bin Laden at Pierogi

Filling an entire gallery with the repeated face of Osama Bin Laden might sound like a bit of Warholian task for an artist interested in interrogating politics: an international criminal turned celebrity. But James Esber’s exhibition You, Me and Everybody Else at Pierogi in Williamsburg actually aims to do exactly the opposite. By repeating Osama’s image so many times, Esber seeks to remove the political content from the image, simplifying into just a visual work of art. The real trick? The Osama portraits aren’t even drawn by the artist. By asking artists and non-artists alike to copy his original portrait, Esber blurs the line between subject and meaning.

Posted inArt

Deitch’s Blunder

Blu is a street artist. One of the points of being a street artist is freedom to express yourself publicly, without rules. Once a museum commissions a street artist to paint a mural on an outdoor wall does it then become public art and institutional? I think so.

And I don’t blame Blu for taking a museum commission to create his art. But I do blame MOCA heavily for not nurturing the project. Had MOCA been responsible to Blu and gone through some basic research prior to approval, this probably would have never happened. Once a museum commissions a street artist for a mural, that mural becomes institutionalized. So public art rules should then apply. This means initial drawings, site approval, a budget, insurance, and a curator/project manager who sees to producing the artist’s vision. In this case, it might have meant, oh … looking across the parking lot to the giant monument sitting RIGHT THERE.

Posted inNews

Show Your Support of Hyperallergic, Buy a T-Shirt

You know we work hard at Hyperallergic to bring you the most interesting news, reviews, and opinions about art but we also need some support once in a while, and today is one of those days. Contrary to popular belief, ads and sponsorships do not pay for everything here at Hyperallergic, and most of us have other jobs to support our passion for art writing and blogging. We know we offer a valuable service to the community as we work to speak truth to power and present issues, art, and events that no one is talking about, let along writing about, and we want to continue that commitment. But we need your help.

Posted inOpinion

Where Is the Art World Wikileaks?

Some of us have been thinking the same thing. Since the art world depends on tight-lipped kowtowing to the power$ that be, I can’t think of a field that needs a “Wikileaks” more than the art world. The recent Los Angeles MOCA censorship story regarding the Blu mural must have a paper trail somewhere or at least information that has not been made public yet. Bring it insiders, feel free to use our contact form and we will respect your confidentiality.

Posted inOpinion

T-Shirts For Recent Art World Scandals

If you haven’t been living under a rock or in a place without wi-fi for the past two weeks, you know that the proverbial shit has hit the proverbial fan in the art world. From cases of censorship to the forced alteration of several exhibitions, it’s definitely been a good month for news, if not for art and artists. To commemorate the art world apocalypse, Hyperallergic has designed some t-shirts just to keep everyone up to date on our favorite museums’ antics. Things can only plummet into oblivion look up from here, folks. Might as well look good while Chelsea burns, right?

Posted inOpinion

Warhol Goes App-y

Word is that the Warhol Museum is releasing a new Warhol app (iPhone only for way) that allows users to transform photos into silkscreens that create their own versions of art that resemble the Pop master. But you don’t have to wait for the official version since there are many unofficial ones already on the market, including Warhol FX and myPhotoBooth (both for iPhone) … and there’s much more Warhol for your smartphone.

Posted inArt

Sperone Westwater Builds a White Castle

You’ve heard of the White Cube. No, not that London gallery, the idea: that art thrives best in a blank white box, removed from any context and given its own domain of pure space to dominate as the work and the artist see fit. Well, Sperone Westwater’s new gallery space on the Lower East Side, an attenuated tower on the same stretch that hosts the New Museum, stakes a claim for the white castle instead of the white cube. Designed by Norman Foster, this gallery is as much a power play for the LES as for Sperone Westwater. The space, currently showcasing a Bruce Nauman solo exhibition, is like Chelsea minimalism gone mannerist, clean low-key gallery spaces turned into a show-offy art fortress.