Posted inArt

New Year’s Resolutions for the Art World

The new year is always a time of idealism. We want to improve ourselves, lose weight, find success in a new career: everyone has high aspirations. Why shouldn’t we do the same for the art world? Here’s a list of resolutions I have for the contemporary art community in 2011. There are some suggestions, some criticisms and some predictions, but what they all have in common is a desire to foster a better public artistic dialogue, free of some of the snares we encountered over this past year. Click through for a small flash of optimism before what promises to be a roller coaster ride.

Posted inArt

Towards Transparency and Justice, Learning from Wikileaks and Wojnarowicz

What do Wikileaks and the art world’s response to the censorship of David Wojnarowicz’s “A Fire in My Belly” by the Smithsonian have in common? Both make public what elites want to keep secret. They illustrate how little, if anything, can be hidden anymore and demonstrate how the more something is concealed the more the demand for it to be revealed grows.

What the complex and seemingly unrelated stories of Wikileaks and the censorship of “A Fire in My Belly” at the National Portrait Gallery’s Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture highlights is how insiders, or those with insider access, can use their privilege to unsettle the status quo when it isn’t working anymore.

Posted inNews

Wojnarowicz Update: Catholics United Fights Back, AA Bronson Still Rebuffed, Patti Smith Talks

Fighting the perception that all Catholics are as conservative as those espoused in William Donohue’s Catholic League call for the Smithsonian to remove David Wojnarowicz’s “A Fire in My Belly” from Hide/Seek, Catholics United has begun a petition calling for closer scrutiny Donohue’s organization. Specifically, they target his high salary and his claim to represent the wishes of all Catholics. In the meantime, artist AA Bronson has repeatedly been denied his request to have his “Felix, June 5, 1994” removed from the exhibition, and Patti Smith spoke at the Smithsonian despite controversy.

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Hundreds Attend Wojnarowicz Censorship Protest in Manhattan

Today, approximately 400-500 protesters gathered on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum to take part in a rally demanding that the Smithsonian return the censored video by artist David Wojnarowicz, “A Fire In My Belly,” to the National Portrait Gallery’s Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture.

Organized by Art+, a New York-based group organizing direct action against the censorship of Wojnarowicz’s video, the march began in the middle of Museum Mile and marched uptown along Fifth Avenue until the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, which is a Manhattan-based Smithsonian institution.

Posted inNews

More Answers in MOCA Mural Censorship [UPDATE 4]

Some answers are finally surfacing after a week of the LA MOCA controversy. Recently an email between the censored street artist Blu and renowned graffiti photographer Henry Chalfant has been posted online. Blu has confirmed to me via email that the text is real, and Chalfant has said he will provide his comments on the situation this afternoon.

The email reveals, among other things, that MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch did not request or see any preliminary sketches for Blu’s mural, MOCA whitewashed the mural without informing Blu, the artist has yet to be paid, and Blu encountered many veterans who found the mural “truthful.”