Boba Fett, accordionist

Under the High Line in Chelsea tonight, en route to meet artblogger Hrag Vartanian, Stephan Geras and I stumbled upon Boba Fett, bounty hunter turned street musician. Decked out in a home-made helmet constructed from magazine covers, he played a recognizable rendition of Star Wars' "Imperial March."
Boba Fett, accordionist


Joyride at the Bicycle Film Festival

When the Bicycle Film Festival rolls into Minneapolis July 8 it, sadly, won't include the JoyRide art exhibition that accompanied it in New York. Organized by BFF and Anonymous Gallery, the show included a huge array of works by artists including Aiko, Jonas Mekas, Martha Cooper, Ellis Gallagher, Ji Lee and many others. One work that piqued my interest: Benedict Radcliffe's graffiti bike. He sends a few shots:

Fluoro Bikes

Love these fluorescent bikes by artist Benedict Radcliffe and Fixedgearlondon's Andy Ellis.


Bits: 06.22.09

Still from John Baldessari's 1971 film I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art via Wrong Distance

• The Big Picture looks at the continuing democracy protests in Iran, including a screen grab of the death of Neda Soltan, a protester shot in the heart. The video of her death is likely the most disturbing thing I've ever seen and for reasons too complicated for me to understand or explain.

• The Asian Art Museum, noting the Neda's name means "divine message, voice, or calling" in Farsi, offers a quiet homage to the fallen Iranian woman, likening a c.1100 mother-and-child vase in the museum's collection to Michelangelo’s Rondanini Pieta. "Somewhere in Iran, a mother is also grieving for her child."

• Chicago Exhibition: Anne Elizabeth Moore's Dismantling the Corporate State, and Other Amusements at Columbia College Chicago, now through August 22 (via).

• LA Exhibition: Olga Koumoundouros: Demand Management, opening June 26 at REDCAT in LA. (See her reworked "terror" installation here.)

• NYC Exhibition: Red Lines Housing Crisis Learning Center, "a large-scale installation that explores how we finance our living environments," at the Queens Museum, now through Sept. 27.

• Following up La Machine's giant arachnids and Royal de Luxe's massive marionettes, here's Estuaire 2009, featuring, among other spectacles, a gigantic walking deep-sea diver.


Current TV spoofs GM "re:invention" commercial

Another reworking of GM's already spoofed "re:invention" spot.

Bits: 06.16.09

Detail of Andy Ducett's installation It Could Have Happened Yesterday or It Could Have Happened Today (2009)

• A Dutch artist kills her pet cat to make it into a purse, receives hate mail, and turns around to make the angry correspondence her art, revealing the identities of those who write in to threaten and ridicule her.

• I'm not sold on Ben Judson's distinction between "street art" and "public art" -- his description of the "typical street artist" is something of a caricature, and it seems he sees the former as perjorative, while the latter isn't -- but I do enjoy the meticulous work of the artist he highlights, Aaron Forland. (Caveat: I agree with the sentiment, though; I most appreciate street art when it's interventionist or site-specific, offering surprise or a challenge along with demonstrated craft by a visual artist.)

• Starting today: Two Degrees, a "week long programme of work by radical and politically engaged artists about climate change and our relationship with the environment" in London. Thirteen artists or groups are taking part, including Akroyd & Harvey, who have grown seedling grass on buildings throughout the UK. [via]

• As Jammie Thomas' RIAA/filesharing retrial began yesterday in Minneapolis (via), Fleet Foxes singer Robin Pecknold says filesharing exposed him to a wide range of music. As a result, he says, bands "are doing way better music now than was being made pre-Napster." (About piracy of his music: "I've downloaded hundreds and hundreds of records - why would I care if somebody downloads ours?")

• Essay: "What Makes Us Happy?"

• "Frank Behry"? Dwell is asking readers to help name the newest flavor of icecream sold from the Coolhaus, an architect-owned ice cream truck in LA.

Liberian Barbie.


The Big Picture: Iran election aftermath

These two photos -- featuring supporters of Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi helping riot police officers beaten in the post-election protests -- stand out among a those in yet another remarkable offering from the Boston Globe's The Big Picture. The top one is by Behrouz Merhi; the bottom by Olivier Laban-Mattei, both of AFP/Getty.


Bits: 06.12.09

The Glue Society, It wasn't meant to end like this, Sculpture by the Sea, Denmark, 2009

• "A performance by Christian Marclay, from the October 29, 1989, episode of the short-lived music television show Night Music."

• The Brooklyn Museum presents a slideshow of the 82-piece recent acquisition, Hank Willis Thomas’ series Unbranded: Reflections in Black by Corporate America.

• Art:21 offers a video look at artist Laylah Ali's collaborations with graphic designer Nicole Parente.

• Tim Burton is getting a multimedia career retrospective at MoMA this fall.

• New book: Stencil Nation: Community, Graffiti and Art by Russell Howze (Manic D Press), featuring Minneapolis' Amy Rice and John Grider and others. Also good: Mural Art, which also features Grider, available at the Walker book shop.

• ESPN's "Being Ed Templeton," a video on the artist and skateboarder. [via]

• Minnesota Public Radio on Tomas Saraceno's show at the Walker.

• A video introduction to Eyebeam's (just-closed!) Drawing Contemporaries, "an exhibition of work on paper made by a peer group of new media artists who all create drawings, both as a primary object and as an experimental process." Artists: Darren Kraft, Steve Lambert, Julia Schwadron, Michael Mandiberg, Marisa Olson and Lee Walton.

• "neverwouldbetoosoon..."

Amphibious bicycle! Shadow bike! Chrome chandelier bike! (Scroll down to third photo.)

Barrel-artist busted

The Smoking Gun:
A North Carolina man is facing criminal charges for creating an amusing piece of public art from construction barrels. Joseph Carnevale, 21, was nabbed Wednesday after a Raleigh Police Department investigation determined that he was responsible for the work constructed May 31 on a roadway adjacent to North Carolina State University. Carnevale was charged with misdemeanor larceny for allegedly building his orange monster from materials pilfered from a construction site. According to an arrest warrant, Carnevale "destroyed three road blocking barrels by cutting and screwing them together to form a statue."
He's said to have caused $360 in damage and is scheduled for a July 21 court hearing.


Sweet Hair Poster Show: June 13

Paul Gardner's contribution to "Sweet Hair"

Don't miss this sweet fundraiser/party/art sale, curated by local raconteur Andy McInnis, at Art Minion in Northeast Minneapolis Saturday night. The details:
All prints are hair-inspired, handmade and created just for this one-time-only event. Not only will some of Minneapolis’ premier poster artists be showcased here, but thanks to Mezzanine Salon, hair will actually be cut and styled during the show’s opening reception. Sweet Hair opens on Saturday, June 13th from 7-10pm at the Art Minion Gallery, nestled away in North East Minneapolis overlooking the Mississippi River. This exhibition is free and open to the public. DJ Rambo Salinas and DJ Talk Radio will be spinning music all evening. Artwork purchased the night of the show will be accompanied with a discount to Frame Ups Custom Framing. The show will be up for one month following the opening reception.

10% of poster sales and ALL pony tails collected for Sweet Hair will be given to Locks of Love.


Holocaust Museum Shooting Suspect Is White Supremacist Artist?

Date Farmers' N.A.S.A. video

The Date Farmers art collective contributed original art for the new stop-action animation video for N.A.S.A., just released today. [via] And here's how they made it:

Bits: 06.10.09

Artist Mike Bouchet's Watershed, a 1:1-scale American-style house, was to be installed at Venice's Arsenale basin on pontoons, but it sprung a leak. (Thanks, Jim.)

• WalrusTV offers a new video on Swoon, who, with the rest of her Swimming Cities of Serenissima crew, are now tweeting from the Venice Biennale.

• An employee at a Toronto Goodwill store found two pieces in the drop-off donation bin that turned out to be by 19th-century painter Federico Del Campo. The store sold them at auction yesterday for a combined price of $150,000.

• Lego's coming out with its own version of Frank Lloyd Wright's FallingWater.

• Clear Channel ad hacked to read "Liar Channel."

• A "ghostly imprint" of a recently removed house.

• "Beautiful Destruction": Aerial photos of the Alberta tar sands by Louis Helbig. [via]

• RIP Robert Colescott. [via]

• Tag on a discarded fridge in Bristol, UK: "I'm cold."


Man Walking Down the Side of a Building

The Trisha Brown Dance Company performs Man Walking Down the Side of a Building at the Walker Art Center in 2008, the first time in 40 years the work's been seen stateside. Via @walkerartcenter.

GM: "Retarded"

GM's re:invention campaign gets the spoof treatment with "re:tardation":
"We at GM have been screwing your tailpipe for years. And now with your help and the inefficiency of the American government, we're gonna screw you again."
More at GMretardation.com. See GM's original spot:


Bits: 06.05.09

A Football Match (detail), Huang Yong Ping, 2002

• Following up his 1999 Spinoza Monument, Thomas Hirschhorn has installed The Bijlimer-Spinoza Festival in Amsterdam's Bijlimer neighborhood through June 28. It's part of Open Source Amsterdam and features lectures and readings, a daily newspaper by Alexandre and Daniel Constanzo, the "Spinoza Theater" and more. Tank.tv begins daily video broadcasts on June 8.

• The Air France flight that disappeared in the Atlantic has apparently claimed the lives of 228 people, including five artists: Silvio Barbato, artistic director of the Symphony Orchestra of the National Theatre of Brazil; German architect Moritz Kock; Brazilian singer Juliana Ferreira Braga de Aquino; Riverdance performer Eithne Walls; and Turkish classical harpist Fatma Ceren Necipoglu. [Via ArtInfo.]

• For TateShots, Adrian Searle looks at Venice Biennale works, including Scandinavian artists Elmgreen & Dragset's installation, which features a faux drowned art collector face-down in a pool.

• Type designer Matthew Carter (who designed, among others, the Walker Art Center font) visits The St Bride Foundation to discuss reviving old type.

• Riceplate gives a rundown on Lille/Madrid/Sao Paolo–based street artist REMED.

Koko Taylor, 'Queen of the Blues', Dies at 80

• Yoko Ono, N.E.R.D., Moby, and others have offered up designs for H&M's Fashion Against AIDS campaign.

Seed bombs.

• "The Medicis had Michelangelo. Rich Americans (and one rich English actress) get Dick - Zimmerman, that is. Feast and avert your eyes." [Via ChuckT]


Chad Hagen's Nonsense Infographics

I love how these nonsense infographics by Minneapolis designer Chad Hagen appear yellowed by time -- as if discovered by archeologists (or astronauts?) who never managed to locate the accompanying legends. See more here. Via Roughstock.

Recommended: Laura Gibson at Cedar Cultural Center (tonight)

While intended as a compliment, saying Laura Gibson sounds like Jolie Holland is a bit of a disservice to the Oregon indie folk musician. Catching her as she opened for Damien Jurado in Seattle last month, I was surprised and delighted by her inventive song structures, tremulous voice and minimalist guitar -- not to mention the wizardry of her two-man band, who multitasked on drums, keyboards, saws, and some breath-powered keyboard thingies. She's got the old-timey quality of Holland, but a sound that's all her own -- weirdly magical, yet deliberate; chirpy yet haunting; ancient yet somehow avant-garde. See what you think: Gibson's playing at Minneapolis' Cedar Cultural Center tonight, June 4, with MuseƩ Mecanique and local artist Dewi Sant opening up. See videos of Gibson's performances here or on All Songs Considered.


Bits: 06.03.09

Provisions Library's "Screamer" amplification device. (More here).

• Art Observed has all the Venice Biennale links.

• Painter Riki Kuropatwa tweaks how women are over-sexualized in ads. "Offering up women in the context of the roller derby rather than the lingerie shoot, the oil stick on panel works depict the same sort of suggestive poses and provocative peaks at bare skin that we might see in Victoria's Secret ads, but the 'derbygirlz' have traded in their stilettos for skates and tousled Giselle waves for helmet hair."

• Online book: Brian Holmes' Escape the Overcode: Activist Art in the Control Society. Via Groundswell.

Current.TV's video on the just-closed exhibition The Big Sad, featuring Barry McGee and Clare Rojas.

GOOD magazine's excellent infographics are all the hell over Flickr.

Window farms! (Thanks, Jeff.)

Cork art (including Minneapolis' Cork Truck).

Video: Grassfiti

A how-to, via @groundswellblog.


Megunica: Blu and friends travel through Central and South America

Megunica, an art road trip that seems to go far beyond art, follows artist Blu and a group of friends as they travel through Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Argentina making art and looking deeply into the people and places that help shape Blu's work. Above, the trailer.

Via Eyegunk.


Frank Lloyd Wright on "What's My Line?"

1956. Via ____ like you give a damn.

Bits: 06.01.09

Greg Murr, Election Day 2008, on view at Morgan Lehman beginning Jun. 4

Greg Murr's series "The Usual Politics," features dogs as surrogates for people -- their "uncomplicated animal nature is altered by the introduction of symbolic trappings of society: high-heels, jewelry, and other emblems of luxury, technology and popular culture." In Election Day 2008, they're pictured "congregating in an absent space, noses to the ground and guided by instinct, yet still tethered to leashes that end mysteriously in the sky." Via Hustler of Culture.

"With newspapers in terminal decline, what future for arts journalism?" Via Mediation.

• For Memorial Day, Maira Kalman visits Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

• Andy Sturdevant digs up an unsuccessful campaign to shut down all art production, exhibition, sales and distribution from Jan. 1, 1990, to Jan. 1, 1993.

• "The mind is not the brain. Confusing the two, as much neuro-social-science does, leads to a dehumanised world and a controlling politic."

Visualizing randomness, via Infosthetics.

• The Mona Lisa makes an appearance as a skirt-wearing soldier in a Russian firehouse mural.

Logo trends 2009, via designboom.

• Performance artist Ansuman Biswas will be the Manchester Museum's hermit in residence. He'll take 40 objects -- leading online discussions about one each day -- into the museum's Gothic Tower, where he'll live for 40 days and 40 nights. His stint, the first of its kind for the UK museum, begins June 27.

Jimmy Stamp: "Batman is integrally linked to his city, the city he has sworn to protect. In every sense of the word, he is a true avatar of Gotham. And Gotham City itself is an avatar, not only of the dreams of its fictional architects, but of our collective urban paranoia."

Scraper bikes in Oakland.