Posted inOpinion

Steve Martin, Stella, Fairey & Serrano on Colbert Report

I can’t remember the last time so many bold faced art names were on mainstream television. Last night, Stephen Colbert tried to convince well-known art collector Steve Martin to buy his René Magritte-like portrait but it wasn’t an easy sell. Colbert soon marched on some major artists to make it more enticing. As he said, Stella declared it art, Fairey recontextualized it, Serrano added controversy, and Colbert even added Martin’s image but still no sale. The segment is a funny and clever way to introduce some artists to a mass audience that may not be familiar with their work. For that, Colbert gets an A++. Click thru to watch the segment.

Posted inArt

Interview with Hide/Seek Co-curator David C Ward

David C. Ward is co-curator of the National Portrait Gallery’s Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture exhibition, which has become a lightning rod for right-wing attacks on the federally funded Smithsonian institution. The show is the first major museum exhibition to focus on sexual difference in the making of modern American portraiture. There are many LGBT images on display but the work is not limited to gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender artists and encompasses work by many names that are mainstays in art history, including Thomas Eakins, John Singer Sargent, Romaine Brooks, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O’Keeffe, Agnes Martin, David Hockney, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, AA Bronson, and Felix Gonzalez-Torres.

But what has really catapulted the show into the limelight is the fact that last week Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough ordered David Wojnarowicz’s “A Fire in My Belly” video pulled from the National Portrait Gallery show.

Posted inArt

Art Basel Miami Beach 2010, Photos from the Day After

Brooklyn-based artist Jacob Krupnick had the opportunity to spend the day after the Art Basel Miami Beach fair closed inside the convention center dodging forklifts and documenting the breakdown of the fair. “It’s that rare moment when lots of valuables are at risk and in motion,” he told me over email. “The amazing piles of crates and packing materials make it hard to pin down what, exactly, an art piece is. (One forklift operator pointed at a stack of shipping containers he’d arranged, and said without sarcasm: ‘This is my art.’)” [PHOTO SERIES]

Posted inOpinion

Rosa Parks as Performance Artist?

Rob Maguire, who is the founder and editor of Art Threat, a Canadian blog devoted to exploring political art and showcasing artists whose work inspires social change, hurled out this nugget during a recent online “water cooler” hosted by The National Post newspaper about art and ethics:

… artists may break the law to draw attention to such injustice and oppression. Sure, it’ll make some people uncomfortable, especially those people in power whose authority is being challenged, as well as those unfairly privileged by the current set of rules. But artists play an important role in pushing society forward, and progress can be messy. Pardon the crude analogy, but if Rosa Parks were a performance artist, would she not still be a hero?

Read the whole post here.

Posted inOpinion

Quote from Shirin Neshat at TEDWomen

In the West, culture is at risk of being a form of entertainment — exiled Iranian artist Shirin Neshat #TEDWomenless than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Part of me thinks this has already happened. I asked An Xiao for a context for this quote at the TEDWomen conference and she provided the following:

Neshat spoke today about her experience as an artist exiled from Iran. She explained that art and culture are a form of resistance, and that she envied Western artists for not having to think about resistance in their work. The only challenge, though, is that art here in the West can quickly become entertainment instead.

Posted inArt

New Museum Director Lisa Phillips Explains Decision to Show Wojnarowicz Video

When the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery announced that it would be removing “A Fire in My Belly,” a David Wojnarowicz video work, from its Hide/Seek exhibition due to Republican political pressure, the art world rushed to the work’s defense. Among the first art institutions to respond to the scandal was the New Museum. In a press release on December 6, the museum announced that it would be displaying the video in its lobby “as an act of solidarity with the many artists whose rights of expression continue to be limited by misinformation and fear.”

In a Hyperallergic-exclusive Q+A with New Museum’s director Lisa Phillips, the director explains how the museum reacted to the initial controversy and how the decision was made to display the censored video in the lobby.

Posted inSponsored

[Sponsor] ArtWeLove: It’s Fine Art, Finally Collectible. 10% off until Dec 31

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Works by established artists such as Lyle Starr, Tomoo Gokita, and rising stars such as Venice Biennale-featured Jorge Otero-Pailos, Brent Green, and Molly Dilworth are all available in at least two formats, and priced from $15 to $2,000. Click through for art picks from the editors of Hyperallergic, Art Fag City and Art Market Views.

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Posted inBooks

Reading Kill Screen #2: Back to School

Kill Screen is a highbrow magazine about video games. If this strikes some as a bit of a contradiction, I wouldn’t be surprised, but it certainly makes sense to me. Being a young’en, I didn’t exactly grow up during the heyday of print journalism. There were no magazines or newspapers or any kind of periodical that defined my childhood, that I felt close to. The internet, with its forums and blogs, came to take that place. Then I found Kill Screen, a magazine that, against all my preconceived notions of print, feels like it was edited and written for me alone.

Posted inOpinion

Julian Assange Is a 21st Century Marat

An Australian internet activist named Julian Assange (bio) exposes top secret American diplomacy on an international website.

He’s profiled last June in The New Yorker by Raffi Khatchadourian, photographed by Phillip Toledano, has a warrant issued for rape in Sweden, he’s denial bailed in the UK, and the right-wing American politicians (which is almost all of them, nowadays) want him to be tried for treason.

Yes, this must be the 21st Century.

Why am I reminded of Jacques-Louis David’s “The Death of Marat” (1793)? Probably because there is a faction in the world today who is trying to martyr Assange as a prophet of the new flesh, though so far they’re losing.

Posted inArt

Need Your Condo Decorated? Jessica Snow at Jen Bekman

There are condos going up all over Williamsburg, facades decked out with panels of bright colors that bring to mind a sort of yuppie Piet Mondrian: sickly oranges, pea greens and off-reds, all surfaced fiberglass matte and smooth. All those bare walls seen through the under-construction picture windows must need something to hang on them, right? In the burgeoning gallery scene on the Lower East Side, Jen Bekman has an answer: anemically pretty, blandly abstract paintings by Jessica Snow.

Posted inOpinion

Thoughts on the 2010 Turner Prize

The 2010 Turner Prize was announced last night, and Susan Philipsz was named the winner (against betting company William Hill’s unlikely odds of 16/5). Her piece, “Lowlands Away” (2010), has been much ballyhooed as the first sound installation to win the award for UK artists under the age of 50. The piece, a critic favorite before the announcement, is an easily digestible recording of the artist singing a traditional Scottish folk song. It was originally installed along various river-adjacent alleyways in Glasgow, re-contextualizing the spaces with the lament of a man whose lover had drowned.

Philipsz’s work is considerably less politicized than that of her fellow nominees …