Posted inArt

Color-Branding Politics

Two days ago, Americans watched (many via Twitter) Texas State Senator Wendy Davis filibuster the hell out of a proposed bill that would have banned all abortions in the state after 20 weeks and closed all but five of Texas’s clinics that currently offer the procedure. Davis stood and spoke without any breaks (including to drink, eat, or use the bathroom) for 13 hours, and perhaps because of that heroic effort — or perhaps because of a sexist male reporter with an eye for detail — a lot of attention ended up focused on her shoes. Davis wore pink sneakers for her filibuster, and those sneakers have become a symbol.

Posted inNews

Brazil Evicts Indigenous People in Violent Clash Over Sports Stadium

Brazilian police dressed in riot gear stormed an old museum in Rio de Janeiro last week with tear gas and pepper spray in order to evict some 20 indigenous people squatting there. The building, the former site of the Brazilian Indian Museum, is adjacent to the Maracanã stadium and set to be demolished as part of plans to renovate the stadium for next year’s World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

Posted inOpinion

Five of the Best Presidential Campaign Ads from the Past 70 Years

With Hurricane Sandy relentlessly bearing down on the East Coast, we know many people are cooped up at home and more than a little flood obsessed. But we thought we might just remind everyone there’s another really big event right around the corner: that presidential election we were all tweeting about nonstop until yesterday. In honor of the upcoming election, and as yet another distraction on this insane day, we’ve chosen five of the best presidential campaign commercials from the Museum of the Moving Image’s Living Room Candidate archive.

Posted inOpinion

Is Holland Going Through a Cultural Meltdown? [UPDATED]

You may have seen it in the New York Times: a half-page ad warning readers “Do not enter the Netherlands. Cultural meltdown in progress.” The ad (which apparently cost $26,000) was bought by a group called Dutch Artists 2011 to protest the catastrophic funding cuts proposed by Holland’s Geert Wilders, the far-right leader of the Party for Freedom (the third largest political party in the country). Wilders would cut arts funding from €800 million to €200 million, decimating Dutch cultural organizations. Where does the situation stand now?

Posted inOpinion

Ethical Africa Bag Collection May Actually Help People

At Pitti Immagine, one of the largest fashion trade shows in Florence, Dame Vivienne Westwood debuted her second Ethical Fashion Africa Collection in partnership with the International Trade Centre. The first, back in February, was a small offering of three tote bags, but for her sophomore effort she came back with a fuller collection of totes, handbags, duffles and key chains. Though she says of Africa, “I’ve never been before, [and] I shall probably never go again…”, she appears to be getting a lot accomplished in this one shot.

Posted inNews

Ai Weiwei to Pay $2 Million in Tax Penalties, Chinese Art Scene Moves On

According to Ai Weiwei’s lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan, Ai’s FAKE studio has been accused (and seemingly convicted) of evading over 5 million RMB ($770,000 USD) and is to pay 7 million RMB ($1 million USD) in fines, together totaling around $2 million USD. Ai’s mother Gao Ying speaks on her son’s arrest, release and current condition. In the meantime, the Chinese art scene continues business as usual, with the exception of some ripples — a well-known artist-run cafe has been closed by the authorities.

Posted inArt

Questions Remain After Ai Weiwei’s Release

Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been released, as has his cousin Zhang Jinsong, but that doesn’t mean the story is over. Ai’s legal case is still open, China is still detaining and jailing dissidents and the Ai’s freedom may just be political image clean-up for the government. What does the release actually mean?