In 1986, South Africa was still eight years away from the end of apartheid, and though opposition to the racist ruling system had been mounting for decades, the government continued to suppress rebels and dissidents. Yet that same year, the exiled Afrikaner writer and artist Breyten Breytenbach, a vocal critic of apartheid, returned to South Africa to accept a literary award. It was his first visit to his homeland after being granted early release from a nine-year sentence there on charges of terrorism.
Proving that art does still have the power to be controversial, and that the New York Police Department pretty much does whatever it wants, the NYPD dispatched two officers on Tuesday to paint over a mural that it didn’t like.
MIAMI — Years after his election, Hugo Chávez is a galvanizing figure in Venezuela. But what role are street artists playing in Chávezist Venezuela?
Sue Coe has called the art world “a zipped-up body bag of what they call culture.” Thinking about the troubling and troubled work of this extravagantly gifted artist, I found myself circling back to that statement, which is from a 1996 profile written by Steven Heller for Eye Magazine.
The United States, under the leadership of George W. Bush, launched its unprovoked, premeditated invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003. On November 20, 2004, the Museum of Modern Art opened its 630,000-square-foot Yoshio Taniguchi-designed building.
ISTANBUL — Istanbul has launched a full frontal assault to claim its place amongst rising art centers by hosting the complex and provocative Istanbul Biennial, as well as a massive all-inclusive history of the city’s female artists, Dream and Reality – Modern and Contemporary Women Artists from Turkey at the Istanbul Modern right next door. The timing and juxtaposition of these two shows is not haphazard and should be viewed as twin prongs of an interior exploration and bold emergence.
PROVIDENCE, RI — Cai Guo-Qiang’s Move Along, Nothing to See Here opened last Friday at the Cohen Gallery at Brown University in Rhode Island. The inaugural event for Brown’s “Year of China,” the exhibit includes work common to Cai’s oeuvre. The main sculptural work of the show, “Moving Along Nothing to See Here” (2006), has a title comprised of a phrase hear commonly used by policemen at a crime scene. It consists of two life-sized crocodiles, supported by wooden stills, their jaws wide open and writhing in pain.
Governor Paul LePage’s decision to remove a labor mural from Maine’s Dept of Labor was met with an avalanche of messages critical of the Republican leader’s need to appear more pro-business. According to AP’s analysis, 92 percent of the individual letters opposed the governor’s action. [HuffPost]
The Portland Press-Herald is reporting that Maine’s labor leaders believe their Republican governor’s decision to remove a pro-labor mural from the state’s Department of Labor is “political payback” and “a spiteful, mean-spirited move by the governor that does nothing to create jobs or improve the Maine economy.”
Some things leave us speechless and this bite of Twitter wisdom is one of them. There are no words for this ridiculousness though it really does put things into perspective.
For information on the history of US arts funding, visit a post I wrote last year for the Art21 blog.