The National Portrait Gallery has caved under Republican political pressure and removed a potentially “offensive” video work by David Wojnarowicz, a multi-media artist who was felled by AIDS in 1992, from its Hide/Seek exhibition. The exhibition, deemed brave and important by critics, uncovers previously-veiled LGBT influences in the history of art. Yet threats and demands that the exhibition be canceled from Reps. John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Eric Cantor (R-Va.) have caused the NPG to remove Wojnarowicz’ “A Fire In My Belly,” a video that features a brief clip of ants crawling over a crucifixion Jesus figure.
A not-unexpected surprise awaits visitors to the Miami-based Rubell Family Collection’s website. Scion of collector royalty and son of Don and Mera, Jason Rubell is releasing a catalogue of a show memorializing the works he collected from ages 13 to 21, an illustrious and mature body of art that Jason also gathered into a senior thesis exhibition in college. Pay attention folks, this is a lesson in narcissism that’s likely to go unparalleled in the art world for a little while.
Last year, when they announced this ridiculous thing called the Rob Pruitt Awards I thought it was a joke: the justification was that it was conceived as a performance-based art work. Come on, give me a break, we’re not idiots.
First off, an artist slapping his or her name on an award is just bizarre, particularly an artist whom I don’t think is all that great or renowned (maybe if Koons or Hirst or Murakami did it, the award would at least be more reputable). But I do think some kind of art award was inevitable as the art industry continues its march toward greater “professionalization” and toward reinforcing the equivalent of a 21st century art academy mentality.
A group of enterprising Oxford musicologists have endeavored to recreate the musical instruments found in the Bosch’s famed 16th century painting “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” a painting that’s well known for its unreality. Conclusion? “Whatever Bosch’s painting depicts, it’s not possible to play a flute with your bottom.”