The Financial Times kicks off a polemical article with the knock-out sentence, “Europe as a cultural centre is in danger of being eclipsed by the Middle East as western heritage industries struggle with swinging austerity measures.” Speaking to the recession-induced cuts to Western cultural organizations, the Times argues that the Middle East’s status as the locus of international money (based on oil and human capital) make it a more stable patron of the arts, and thus “the new cultural capital of the world.” Including a quote from Met director-emeritus Phillipe de Montebello, the argument runs that as water flows downhill, culture flows toward money. This is a stupid, reductive way to think of a globalizing art world that has never been larger or more universally accessible.
And art continues its march into mainstream pop culture … with the newly released/leaked (who can tell anymore) Kanye West track featuring Jay-Z, “That’s My Bitch,” which includes the following artful references to Basquiat, Picasso, Mona Lisa, and Larry Gagosian.
If you, like so many art-worlders, are heading to the Miami art fairs next week, chances are you may be feeling a little grimy. Why? Not because of the humidity, but maybe because of the exploitative economic interactions and hierarchies on display at US’s biggest art shopping mall. The antidote to all this is #Rank, an event organized by artists William Powhida and Jen Dalton in collaboration with the Edward Winkleman Gallery, which will be park at the Seven art fair. #Rank will critique the blatant displays of wealth and status and the stratification of the art world through panels, artist projects and lectures. The details of #Rank were until recently unclear aside from a call for proposals, but now Powhida and Dalton have started announcing their artist projects, and they sound great. Here’s a preview of 5 projects that I find particularly interesting.
Photographer and art historian John D’Addario has been capturing images of the new Swoon pieces going up in the Crescent City. Judging by the designs she has big plans for the city, oh right, she’s planning an art house on Piety Street! And not just any house but a “towering pixie temple with a star-shaped floor plan, a zigzag wrap-around porch and pointy cupola, adorned with assorted dormers and flying filigree.” It sounds impressive.
For the third and final installment in his series of YouTube Essays, called YouTube Archive + Anarchy, blogger and curator Brent Burket pretty much goes for broke. If this doesn’t get you pumped about YouTube, or at least disturbed enough to stop using it for a few days, there’s no hope for you. From black metal to necrophilia, surrealism and Alice Cooper, these are the YouTube videos you only find at 2 in the morning after a night of heavy drinking. Also, Jeffrey Deitch gets punched and bitches out his attackers like Woody Allen in a pink suit.
One of the figures behind Space Slave Trade, Seychelle Allah discusses his brand of afrofuturism that layers the visual culture around him into a world in which the aggregate plays an important role.
Allah’s relationship with social media has been complex. Space Slave Trade, named after a friend’s band, started after he was kicked off Facebook for sharing images deemed inappropriate by the service. The resulting blog is NSFW and careens from porn-like images with young Asian girls to absurd representations of starving Africans. The aesthetic is young, fresh, and aggressive without being violent.
Last Thursday, Paddy Johnson (AKA ArtFagCity) held a debut party for her ambient sound-collecting DJ battle record Sound of Art at Santos Party House, and I think our small sector of the art world collectively took the morning off on Friday. This short vacation ended with your humble writer as well as the Hyperallergic editor stumbling into work around 11am accompanied by groans and sensitivity to light. Thanks to the musicians that spun the album in their sets that night, the conclusion after the party, and post-copious LP and vodka sales, was that art sounds pretty loud, but art-partying sounds louder.
Yesterday, PBS talk show host, Charlie Rose, interviewed musician Jay-Z at the Brooklyn Museum. The hip hop star is promoting his new book, Decoded, which, in addition to telling his personal story and decoding his lyric, includes unconventional typography, line drawings, and photographs, which according to a review emphasizes “the author’s message that rap is a form that transcends and defies easy categorization.”
For the second in his series of YouTube Essays, YouTube Archive + Anarchy, blogger and curator Brent Burket selects a mix of art and music, collecting YouTube music videos, amateur documentation of video art pieces and performance art. Check out a Katy Perry introduction and feminist firecracker Karen Finley invading a Sinead O’Connor song, to disastrous and hilarious effect. Click through for the complete VJ set.
It somehow seems fitting that the womanizing Prime Minister of Italy has suited an ancient Roman statue with a new penis: “Government officials confirmed today, however, that a valuable statue of the god Mars, on loan to the prime minister’s office, had been fitted with an artificial penis … La Repubblica said the transplant was carried out at Berlusconi’s “express request” and … it had cost the Italian taxpayer €70,000 (£60,000).” [Guardian]
Mark Billy’s penis once got stolen, but that didn’t bother the intrepid artist. After the sculpture went missing, Billy just made a new one! The replica is on display at #TheSocialGraph, and this time, Billy used some extra protection.