President Obama’s proposed budget for the 2012 fiscal year includes cuts to funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Under the proposed budget, each organization’s budget would drop by 13 percent.
iPhone Photojournalism Causes Aesthetic Controversy
That New York Times staff photographer Damon Winter won third place in Pictures of the Year International’s Feature Picture Story competition for his photo essay A Grunt’s Life isn’t surprising. The series of images shows an eloquent portrayal of daily life in a war zone for US troops in and out of action. But where the images came from is pretty unorthodox for mainstream photojournalism: Winter shot the photos on his iPhone, using the Hipstamatic application as a faux-polaroid filter. The problem is that not all photographers agree that Hipstamatic shots constitute the true depiction of events that photojournalists are always seeking.
Banksy/Oscar Drama [UPDATE 3] New Banksy in LA? Yup, 3 So Far…Make that 4
As soon as those of us at Hyperallergic heard that Banksy was nominated for an Academy Award, we knew that drama had to follow. Here’s the latest. The Academy had to grapple with what to do with an anonymous winner.
Tracey Emin Says Her First Abortion was Impetus for Art
We all knew Young British Artist Tracey Emin isn’t afraid to say what’s on her mind. From making her unmade bed into an art installation to appliqueing the name of everyone she’s ever slept with on a tent, no one can say Emin doesn’t bare it all. In this 1999 interview Emin gets even more personal: she recounts how her first abortion forced her to rethink her artwork.
Will New Guggenheim Force Closing of Helsinki Art Museums?
Through Finnish television, newspaper and blog media outlets, statements have arisen from Finnish museum and government administration that the construction of a Finland Guggenheim, the subject of a current feasibility study, may be funded by the decommissioning and closing of Helsinki’s own local art museums.
Major Ai Weiwei Exhibition Canceled; Beijing’s Ullens Center Changes Administration
With Sotheby’s announcement of their sale of Guy Ullens’ collection of Chinese contemporary art comes news that Ullens is divesting himself of his Chinese contemporary art museum in Beijing, handing it over to long-term Chinese partners. A major Ai Weiwei exhibition planned at the space was recently canceled due to political pressure.
The State of Egyptian Antiquities, According to Zahi Hawass
On February 2nd, a post published on now-Minister of Antiquities Zahi Hawass’s blog categorically stated: “I would like the people of the world to know that today all of the Egyptian monuments are safe.” The post assures us that no major Egyptian archaeological sites have been seriously damaged besides the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, at the epicenter of the protests that recently overthrew Mubarak’s government (of which Zahi Hawass was a prominent part). Oh, but there was also the “looting of the storage magazine in Qantara,” during which an unknown amount of antiquities were stolen, though 288 were reportedly returned. Hawass’s blog gives a uniquely skewed perspective on Egyptian lootings over the past weeks, not to be trusted, but certainly not to be discounted either.
This week on Required Reading … a look back to Napoleon in Egypt … a history of mural whitewashing in Los Angeles … the preservation of the Watts Towers … Steven Heller tracks dowing the master style guide to the Master Race … what is “The Future of Art” … are you ready for the Singularity?
Branding Vintage Condoms: Remember Your Rubbers!
You’ve seen it before with heroin bags, but now check out a typology of a different, (potentially) less dangerous sort. Here’s a collection of vintage condoms, from wrappers and “envelopes” to actual tins, which look really cool. The branding is the funniest part– would you buy a condom called “Sedatex”? How about the subtle “Pousse L’Amour”?
The Fashionable Wallpaper of Retna
Last night’s opening of art by the LA graffiti artist Retna was more of a fashion event than an art show. Bizarrely titled The Hallelujah World Tour, the artist’s all-over calligraphic style was ill served by poor curatorial decisions like a dense hanging that reduced the lines to visual wallpaper for a posing group filled with mad-hatter-wannabes and fashionistas.
Is the Boston ICA Already Dead on the Water?
The Boston art media are getting into a tiff, arguing if the newly redesigned ICA Boston is irrelevant-on-arrival. The Diller Scofidio+Renfro-designed home has actually heralded a new high point for a museum that is becoming one of the Northeast’s most dynamic, interesting contemporary art institutions.
Art Positive Requests Smithsonian Wojnarowicz Installation Shots
Bill Dobbs, representing anti-censorship organization Art Positive, has sent a letter to Smithsonian director Martin Sullivan requesting that the museum release the original installation shots of David Wojnarowicz’s “A Fire in My Belly,” as well as photos of the gallery as it now stands, minus the video.