Nadia Plesner/Louis Vuitton copyright hearing moved to Apr. 20

Nadia Plesner, the Danish artist being sued for copyright infringement by Louis Vuitton for using a rendering of a handbag in her Darfur painting, writes in to say the first hearing on the case, originally scheduled for today in The Hague, was moved yesterday to the afternoon of April 20. She writes:
The reason is that last week we challenged the assigned judge since it was the same judge who gave the court order in the first place. We feel like he can not be impartial, since ruling in my favor would mean that he would have to admit making several severe mistakes.

So last Monday we had a court hearing about this and the three judges listened to us! They think there might be reason to assign a different judge and they scheduled a new hearing for this coming Monday. Then it will be decided who will judge my case on April 20.

It feels like a small victory that they even consider it.

Bits: 03.30.11

Raphaël Dallaporta, B-40, from the series "Antipersonnel"

• In "Antipersonnel," Raphaël Dallaporta photographs antipersonnel landmines "in the way an advertising photographer might render a shampoo bottle," including the B-40 blast mine above, which is presented with this caption: "The B-40 antipersonnel mine is a Vietnamese adaptation of the BLU-24/B US-made cluster bomb. When activated, the homemade mine contains enough explosive and fragmenting pieces to blow off a leg. Despite the destruction of 4 million mines and 8 million items of unexploded ordnance (UXO) since 1975, it is estimated that 16.478 million square meters of land in Vietname is still contaminated by mines and UXO."

• Wired's Raw File blog looks at an "oddly peaceful" yet weaponry-laden scene in the Middle East, the International Defence Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi, as photographed by Spencer Murphy in 2007. “Countries from all around the globe are present and offer everything from pepper spray to tanks and aircraft,” Murphy says. “I do not want to make an intentional moral statement but merely present to the viewer a world that most of us don’t get to see.”

• Mother Jones hosts a selection of work from the exhibition Artists Against the War, presented in January 2008 at the Society of Illustrators gallery in New York.

• As the Louis Vuitton/Nadia Plesner copyright infringment lawsuit gets its first hearing in The Hague today, here's a far less incendiary use of the luxury brand's logo: needlepointed bananas by Kazuki Guzmán. [Update: Plesner's hearing has been rescheduled for Apr. 20.]

• Speaking of Plesner, the art-and-law blog Art and Artifice notes two "fascinating aspects" of Vuitton's ex parte application: "Firstly, LV suggests that Plesner may have a defence under freedom of expression but immediately dismisses this argument on the basis that it 'holds no water' and that 'there is no necessity to use the intellectual property rights of Louis Vuitton [as] There are numerous other means to get this message across.' Secondly, the reliance on design right as opposed to copyright, particularly as there is no fair dealing defence to design right infringement." I've emailed Plesner in hopes of hearing the outcome of today's hearing.

• Vuitton collaborator Takashi Murakami is now selling "New Day" t-shirts, and he'll donate 100% of proceeds to the victims of the tsunami and earthquake in Japan on Mar. 11.

• New York exhibition: Keep Out You Thieving Bastards -- featuring Minnesota artists Aaron Spangler, Alec Soth, Angela Strassheim, Cameron Gainer, Chris Larson, David Rathman, Justin Newhall, Paul Shambroom, Rob Fischer, Ross Knight, Santiago Cucullu, Sara Woster, Shannon Kennedy, Tetsuya Yamada, and Chris Osgood and Chuck Statler -- on view through May 8 at Hendershot Gallery.

• A bike-mounted robotic graffiti rainbow sprayer by Akay.

• Photographer Brian Ulrich gives a nod at a potential future project on Facebook when he asks friends for old store charge cards like this one. One reader notes that an array of such cards are offered for sale, in all their weird-vintage-design glory, on Ebay.

• 3eanuts: "Charles Schulz's Peanuts comics often conceal the existential despair of their world with a closing joke at the characters' expense. With the last panel omitted, despair pervades all."


"Graffiti addicts needed" for medical study

For real?
"Individuals ages 18–65 who spray paint but do not use other mediums are needed for a research study... to evaluate the biological relationship between the loss of bowel control and spray paint vapors...

Fun with Jeff Koons: The first-person shooter game and the action figure

Like him or loathe him, artist Jeff Koons seems to be a good target for critique these days. In one new case he's literally a target -- or at least his artwork is. Hunter Jonakin's Jeff Koons Must Die is a first-person shooter game presented in an '80s-style arcade game cabinet in which a quarter gives players a chance to shoot at digital versions of Koons' balloon animal sculptures. Jonakin (who did his BFA at the University of Minnesota) writes:
Jeff Koons is one of the most polarizing and well known contemporary artists living today. He attempts to elevate the banal by constructing large metal sculptures that resemble balloon animals, oil paintings that contain subject matter derived from digital collage, and large-scale pornographic photographs featuring the artist and his former wife, to name a few. All of Koons’s art is constructed by assistants. In general, viewers love or hate Koons and his work, and that is why he was chosen as the subject matter for this piece.

The game is set in a large museum during a Jeff Koons retrospective. The viewer is given a rocket launcher and the choice to destroy any of the work displayed in the gallery. If nothing is destroyed the player is allowed to look around for a couple of minutes and then the game ends. However, if one or more pieces are destroyed, an animated model of Jeff Koons walks out and chastises the viewer for annihilating his art. He then sends guards to kill the player. If the player survives this round then he or she is afforded the ability to enter a room where waves of curators, lawyers, assistants, and guards spawn until the player is dead. In the end, the game is unwinnable, and acts as a comment on the fine art studio system, museum culture, art and commerce, hierarchical power structures, and the destructive tendencies of gallery goers, to name a few.
Mike Leavitt -- who brought us Shepard Fairey, Barry McGee and Ron English action figures -- also takes on Koons, rendering him as half man, half balloon animal in his recent series of contemporary art themed figurines. Leavitt doesn't explain why he chose Koons as a subject, but the 11-inch polymer clay sculpture, he notes, does come with a "poseable balloon penis."

Via Reddit and Flavorwire.


Bits: 03.21.11

Volkswagenball, Lars-Erik Fisk (Thanks, NEZ.)

NYT: "A federal judge in Manhattan has ruled against the artist Richard Prince in a closely watched copyright case, finding that Mr. Prince – who is well known for appropriating imagery created by others – violated the law by using photographs from a book about Rastafarians to create a series of collages and paintings."

• Do this if you're Minnesotan: Take part in the State Arts Board's (quick) MN Arts Count.

• Jerry Saltz: "How a Joyride in Gavin Brown’s Volvo Became Art."

• Essay: "The Moral Underground: How Ordinary Americans Subvert an Unfair Economy."

David Lynch's hair as it approximates different painting styles.

Why Johnny Cash flipped the bird.

• The Second Coming, the billboard and the bus!

• Your moment of crocheted Cthulhu.

Louis Vuitton lawsuit against Nadia Plesner inspires Dutch street artist; first hearing set for Mar. 30

Nadia Plesner-inspired street-art
A copyright infringement lawsuit by luxury goods brand Louis Vuitton against Danish artist Nadia Plesner has taken to the streets in Maastricht, The Netherlands. Plesner was sued by the company in 2008 for selling t-shirts to benefit Darfur that bore the image of a Sudanese child holding a chihuahua and one of Vuitton's iconic bags. Earlier this year the company sued her again for using the image in a giant painting, scaled to match Picasso's Guernica and called Darfurnica. Vuitton's suit filed in The Hague lists penalties of 5,000 Euros per day for each day the image remains on her site.

Now street artist Little Louis writes in that the "starved little boy carrying a Chihuahua and a fashion bag has grown to a height of seven meters on the facade" of a building at the cultural free zone The Landbouwbelang. The image differs from Plesner's original in one key way: the Vuitton bag is left blank, so artists can use it as a canvas for their own messages.
Nadia Plesner-inspired street-art
While there are some news reports that Vuitton is willing to settle the case, Plesner calls such stories an attempt by the company "to disinform the media by stating that it is all a big misunderstanding and they never had any problem with my painting Darfurnica and are willing to drop the case." She continues:
First of all, and let me be very clear on this point: we explicitly asked Louis Vuitton to lift the ex parte court order. They have refused and continue to refuse to lift the order. If that position changes that would of course be great but so far it has not.

Second, Louis Vuitton specifically asked and got a prohibition on me exhibiting (offline and online) or selling any image of the little boy with the bag, as incorporated in my works Simple Living and the painting Darfurnica. There can thus be no "misunderstanding". The fact that they suddenly act as if there is no problem at all and are willing to "leave it at this" seems to be an attempt to pacify the media, while at the same time they continue the battle against me outside the eyes of the media. "Leaving it at this" means that the court order and the penalties remain.
On Mar. 17, Plesner filed her own counter-suit against Vuitton (read it here) aimed at getting the court's order against her lifted. She argues that the order is an "unacceptable infringement on [her] right to freedom of speech" and a "gross violation of the right to a fair trial," both of which should be afforded her by the European Convention on Human Rights.

The first hearing on the case is Mar. 30.


Bushwick mural: Overunder + No Touching Ground's "Helping Hand"

Overunder (Erik Burke) and No Touching Ground just finished a mural collaboration in Bushwick, Brooklyn, which includes a plea to donate to help the victims of Japan's earthquake and tsunami. The "helping hand" image is a blown-up shot of Burke's arm, which features a tattoo of a notepad, but there's an underlayer of paint beneath the wheatpaste. "That way, over time the piece would of course disintegrate, but also introduce a new mural," he writes.

There's another twist as well: "With everything that is happening in the world today it seemed only right to make an addition to the notepad for Japan. It's good to practice what you preach, so I woke up and donated to Red Cross this morning," Burke writes.

Burke collaborated on Minneapolis' Shuga Records mural, while No Touching Ground was behind the Seattle mural memorial to John T. Williams, a homeless Native American woodcarver shot to death by police last summer.



AP and Shepard Fairey's Obey Clothing settle copyright suit

Shepard Fairey's Obey Clothing and the Associated Press have come to an agreement about the use of Fairey's iconic image of Barack Obama, which was based on a copyrighted AP photographer's work, on his apparel. According to the AP's press release, neither Fairey nor the news agency "surrenders its view of the law" regarding the longstanding copyright dispute.

Romensko has the press release:

AP and Obey Clothing settle copyright infringement lawsuit

The Associated Press and Obey Clothing, an apparel company and exclusive licensee of Shepard Fairey, have agreed to settle their high-profile copyright infringement lawsuit over Obey Clothing’s sale and distribution of apparel and other merchandise bearing the image of Barack Obama in the 2008 Obama Hope poster. Pursuant to that agreement, the AP and Obey Clothing will collaborate to create and sell apparel using Shepard Fairey’s graphics based on photographs owned by the AP. Obey Clothing has further agreed that it will not use another AP photo without obtaining a license from the AP. The parties agree that neither side surrenders its view of the law. Additional financial terms remain confidential. The settlement also amicably resolves claims that the AP filed last week against three retailers who sold T-shirts and other apparel distributed by Obey Clothing.

Mr. Fairey used an AP portrait photograph of Barack Obama in making the Obama Hope poster. Mr. Fairey did not license the photograph from the AP before using it. Mr. Fairey licensed the Hope image to Obey Clothing for use on T-shirts and other merchandise. The litigation involving Mr. Fairey was resolved according to a settlement that included confidential financial terms. The AP also brought claims against Obey Clothing, contending that its T-shirts and other apparel that depicted the Hope image obviously copied the AP’s photo. Obey Clothing claimed, among other things, that it did not appropriate any copyrightable material from the AP’s photo. The AP’s claims against Obey Clothing remained pending and were scheduled to be heard in a jury trial in New York beginning March 21, 2011, before Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

“The Associated Press is pleased to have reached a settlement of our lawsuit against Obey Clothing,” said Tom Curley, president and CEO. “This settlement marks the final resolution of the disputes over our rights in the AP’s photograph of Barack Obama. While it was a long road with many twists and turns along the way, the AP is proud of the result and will continue to vigorously defend its copyrighted photographs against wholesale copying and commercialization where there is no legitimate basis for asserting fair use. The AP is particularly gratified that this settlement will benefit the AP’s Emergency Relief Fund, which helps AP staff and families worldwide cope with catastrophes and natural disasters.”

Don Juncal, president of Obey Clothing, said: “The Associated Press has an impressive archive of work provided by talented photographers. We look forward to working with those photographers, as part of our long-standing relationship with Shepard Fairey, to produce and market apparel with the new images that will be created. We have collaborated with other photographers and artists in the past, and hope that will be a successful endeavor for all parties.”


Bits: 03.15.11

Ocupeacidade, Projecto Kombi, São Paulo, 2009

• In 2009, the Brazilian art collective Ocupeacidade created a life-sized VW bus from paper and then "brought the van into the streets of their city, moving it as it were a car from the Flintstones, just with their feet. They executed this performance in order to raise awareness regarding environmental topics and to make people critically consider traffic and car-based transport culture."

• A visibly saddened but optimistic Yoko Ono spoke of the Japan earthquake: "With a big challenge I’m sure that some big, big beautiful result will happen." Here's her Mar. 11 message to her "dear people of Japan."

• Deborah Clearwaters, education director at the Asian Art Museum San Francisco, blogs about the museum wrestling with how to talk with visitors about the earthquake and tsunami.

• Tons of artists and designers are making work to fundraise for Japan relief, including Minneapolis' Erik Brandt. The Imprint blog runs down some, while Osocio offers a series of posts.

• Julian Schnabel's Miral (trailer) -- which screens this Friday night at the Walker Art Center, with an introduction by Schnabel himself -- screened at the United Nations in New York last night despite efforts by the American Jewish Committee to shut it down. Harvey Weinstein, the Jewish-American producer and distributor for the film, countered criticisms: “The simple answer is if you don’t tell the story from both sides, you will never understand…I know you’re not supposed to be political, but you can’t exist in this world if you aren’t.” Said Schnabel when the film -- about an orphaned Palestinian girl growing up in the aftermath of the first Arab-Israeli war -- debuted at Venice: "Coming from my background, as an American Jewish person whose mother was president of Hadassah [the Women's Zionist Organisation of America] in 1948, I figured I was a pretty good person to try to tell the story of the other side."

• Meanwhile, the British Committee for Universities of Palestine is urging Joel and Ethan Coen to refuse acceptance of the $1 million Dan David Prize, which will be awarded in Tel Aviv at a May 15 presentation attended by Israeli president Shimon Peres.

• Museum 2.0's Nina Simon on why Welcome to Pine Point, by my former Adbusters cohorts Paul Shoebridge and Mike Simons (aka The Goggles), is "the best multimedia history project I've ever seen."

• The pro-union demonstrations in Madison, Wis., are so historic the Smithsonian has sent a curator to document the posters and placards in use. Brooklyn Street Art looks at some of this art.

• Trailer: Alper Cagatay and Christopher Thompson's How to Sell a Banksy.

• A group of artists takes over a billboard in LA, replacing all the ad's text with the group's name, Desire Obtain Cherish.

• Your moment of Turkish hair museum.

Minneapolis street artist HOTTEA

MplsArt.com on HOTTEA:
HOTTEA is composed of two artists, one of which that started writing graffiti art back in 1996 under a different name. He took inspiration from Boston-based Monk and Minneapolis’ Ewok. “I liked how those artists specifically chose their locations well,” says HOTTEA, “Much of graffiti is all about placement.”

The HOTTEA project developed after a trip to jail, but it was also heavily inspired by past experiences: A grandmother teaching the skill of knitting, anti-gay bullying from kids at school, and, most importantly, the relationships that that were developed along the way — negative, or positive. HOTTEA explains, “The HOTTEA project embodies the similarities and differences in all of us. I wanted to base the project off an idea that had room for growth. We are always growing as people and the dynamic between people gives endless possibilities.”


"Help Japan"

Help Japan
James White's beautiful "Help Japan" poster -- which he created to fundraise for relief efforts following the earthquake and tsunami -- is sold out, but there are plenty of other ways you can help:

Canadian Red Cross
American Red Cross
Doctors without Borders
The Salvation Army
Global Living

Canada: Text REDCROSS to 30333 to donate $10
USA: Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10


Bits: 03.13.11

• The Project Lodge, an art space in Madison, Wis., that's now showing SolidARTity, "got no submissions from artists aligned with Gov. Scott Walker or the Republicans," according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, prompting the question, "Where are all the great Republican artists?" (I asked a similar question over at Art21 in 2009, "Where's all the rightwing street art?")

• While creative protest signs at the ongoing pro-union demonstrations in Wisconsin have gone viral, there's a lot of great graphic design as well, including -- as I've noted before -- the work of Justseeds, which has a strong Milwaukee contingent. Artists in the cooperative have made a series of Wisconsin-themed posters, including Nicolas Lambert's (above), which are offered as his-res downloads on the group's site. A few more: "Union Made," "Make the Rich Pay," "General Strike." For more information on what's going on in Madison, visit DefendWisconsin.org.

• An inscription by Che Guevara in a book owned by Alberto Granado, who accompanied Che on his 8-month motorcycle tour of Cuba in 1951 and died this week at age 88: "My dreams shall know no bounds, at least until bullets decide otherwise. I'll be expecting you, sedentary gypsy, when the smell of gunpowder subsides. A hug for all of you. Che."

• Hyperallergic's Kyle Chayka on "Why Ai Weiwei’s NYC Zodiac Is a Political Gesture."

The second update from Broken Crow's Mexico City tour, plus a look at one of the Minneapolis stencil-art duo's Mexico murals.

• Minneapolis call for participation: Constellation: A Backyard Art Expedition is looking for artists and spaces for cultural events in garages, backyards, porches, etc., in South Minneapolis the weekend of May 27-29: "In addition to visual arts, we are imagining bands in back yards, performance, food, etc. A traveling dinner party with different courses at different houses. A bike tour during the day between the different locations. A swapping/trading post/free sale (since it’s high garage sale season). We imagine things taking place throughout the day and night, not just during regular art opening hours!"

Louis Vuitton sues artist Nadia Plesner -- again -- for using handbag image in Darfur art

Darfurnica (detail), Nadia Plesner, 2010

Danish artist Nadia Plesner got in hot water with Louis Vuitton in 2008 for depicting an African child with one of its high-end bags on one arm and a chihuahua in the other (below) as part of her campaign urging divestment from Sudan over the conflict in Darfur. Now the company is suing her again: this time, the luxury goods company has filed a copyright infringement suit at The Hague that will penalize her 5,000 Euros for each day a likeness of its Audra bag in her painting Darfurnica remains on her website. The company has been tallying her penalty since Jan. 28.

"The story about Darfur must be told, and I believe I should have my artistic freedom of speech to do so," Plesner writes on her website.

Whereas the first legal kerfuffle with Vuitton ended in mid-2008 with Plesner agreeing to stop selling t-shirts bearing the handbag image, this time Plesner's art is not merchandise to be sold but a work of fine art. Created to the same dimensions as painter Pablo Picasso's Guernica, a 1937 polemic against the carpet-bombing of the Basque town of the same name, the idea for Plesner's piece hinged on news that officials decided to shroud Picasso's famed painting in blue cloth during a 2003 UN press conference on the Iraq War by John Negroponte and Colin Powell.

"It is amazing that an art work can be considered so powerful, that it has to be covered up while governments present their plans," Plesner writes. "It only proves that artists around the world must continue to work with the harsh issues to influence the people with power and to start important debates."

That same year -- 2003 -- the genocide in Darfur started, she writes. "Politicians come up with new ways to try to hide from us that things stay the same."

Despite a clearly artistic -- and not commercial -- intention behind the work, Louis Vuitton is seeking monetary penalties (220,000 Euros or roughly $307,000 and counting, with no ceiling on the penalty) and aims to prevent Plesner from exhibiting the painting either on her website or at venues in the European Union. (Here's an unofficial English translation of the court order.)

Plesner, who now runs a foundation that raises funds for projects like sending medical equipment to Darfur or buying a vehicle for use at an orphanage in Tanzania, is lawyering up for her defense. Her opponents won't need a fundraiser for its legal efforts: Louis Vuitton -- aka LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton -- had profits of $28.26 billion last year, and its chairman, Bernard Arnault, rose on Forbes' billionaires list to world's fourth-richest man, with a net worth of $41 billion.

But Plesner reportedly has an unorthodox ally. According to media reports and an image posted at Reddit (.png file), the hacktivist group Anonymous is launching a campaign against the company. The goal is to use "any non-physically violent method available to us to cause financial damage to Louis Vuitton."

Big words? Perhaps, but Anonymous has reportedly been successful in launching distributed denial of service attacks against various entities, bringing down the websites of BMI (for its "war on copyright"), Americans for Prosperity (the anti-union group funded by the Koch Brothers that's been active in Wisconsin in recent weeks) and VISA and Mastercard (for the company shutting out Wikileaks), among others.

Update: Louis Vuitton lawsuit against Nadia Plesner inspires Dutch street artist; first hearing set for Mar. 30

Update: On May 4, 2011, the court in The Hague ruled against Louis Vuitton, finding that "the importance of [Plesner's work] outweighs the importance of Vuitton (protection of property)." An elated Plesner tells Eyeteeth, "Today is a great day for art."


KnittaPlease and Co. yarnbomb 99 trees at the Blanton Museum of Art

Back in January, Maya Sayeg -- one of the earliest "yarnbombers" -- made an open call for help covering the trunks of 99 trees at the University of Texas at Austin's Blanton Museum of Art with yarn. As part of the Blanton's show Recovering Beauty, the "Knitted Wonderland" installation -- installed Mar. 5 and on view through Mar. 18 -- drew some 170 volunteers, including these elementary schoolers who knitted tree cozy #48 using "Fibonacci sequenced stripes." The blog Sally Comes Unraveled goes through how the installation project went.

Sayeg and her knitting graffiti crew KnittaPlease have hit statues in Paris, door handles, a bus in Mexico City and, most recently a smart car in Rome. Similar guerrilla craft projects by others include knit street signs, cannon cozies and sweaters for statuary. While these projects tend to be done clandestinely, Knitted Wonderland was a communal effort, "reminiscent of American quilting bees," as the Blanton puts it.

Here's a pair photos of the project, taken by Mary Roland and courtesy of the Blanton (thanks, Kim!).

More photos here and at the project's Facebook page.

Show Us Your Long Drop: Post-earthquake New Zealanders' improvised toilets

Creativity is often sparked by necessity in times of disaster. Such was the case in Christchurch, New Zealand, after the Feb. 22 earthquake left many without plumbing. Pete Brook of Prison Photography points out Show Us Your Long Drop, a site that catalogs one such kind of disaster-inspired creativity: impromptu outdoor bathrooms. From the site:
The earthquake disaster has been a testing time for us Cantabrians and we feel for people who have lost loved ones or property. Our thoughts are with you. During these tough times it is important to be with friends and family and still be able to have a good laugh. Hence the reason for this website. A bit of toilet humour is bound to put a smile on your face even if your having a crappy day!


Your daily dose of: Crocheted car cover

Via Craftzine.com, your moment of crocheted Smart car cozy in Rome by Maya Sayeg.

(Thanks, Linda.)

Bits: 03.07.11

Epoxy and broken bottle skull by Andrés Basurto, via Nevver. Photo: Jacob Breinholt

• In 2002, Hasan Elahi, an American citizen of Bangladeshi descent, was turned over by Detroit airport officials to the FBI for six months of interrogations related to international travel and suspected tied to terrorism (he was cleared). Since 2004, he's been doing a "self-surveillance project that continually and publicly presents his exact location, activities, bank records, and other personal data." His Tracking Transcience -- which he discussed with Stephen Colbert recently -- is part of a solo show now on view at San Franciso's Intersection for the Arts.

• Twin Cities mural artists Broken Crow are currently in Mexico City doing a project at the Antique Toy Museum Mexico. Brooklyn Street Art has the first update on what they're up to.

Here's how microRevolt made its series of "logoknits," knitted garments bearing the logos of sweatshop offenders, created to open a discussion about the "relation between craft, labor, production and consumption, as well as appropriation and digital copyright." Upload your image into the free application to have it converted into a cross-stitch pattern.

Gum Election: A guerrilla poster project in which passersby could show their preference for political candidates by pasting chewing gum on the images of candidates is back, this time offering New Yorkers a choice between AT&T and the newly iPhone-capable Verizon Wireless: "Who sucks the most? Vote with your gum."

• If, like me, you live under a rock, here's street-artist JR's TED Prize talk and the site for his resulting global Inside Out project.

• Just ordered: Art & Agenda: Political Art and Activism (via Rebel Art).


The Nine Eyes of Google Street View

Old news but new to me -- and totally engrossing -- Jon Rafman's The Nine Eyes of Google Street View culls some of the strangest, funniest and most beautiful images captured by Google's Street View car-cameras. Here's Rafman discussing it back in 2009. (Thanks, Jake.)


Candy Chang in NOLA: Before I die I want to ____________.

Candy Chang's newest project in New Orleans is a bucket list of sorts: It's another public fill-in-the-blank project inviting residents to dream in chalk.

Via Animal New York.

Candy Chang in New Orleans: "I Wish This Was __________" stickers
Candy Chang stencil: Plant one here

Free downloadable posters in support of Wisconsin's union movement

Six to choose from, downloadable and free, from, naturally, Just Seeds. Pictured: Rat Eating Badger by Nicolas Lampert.

Banksy, Futura 2000, KAWS have friends in LEGOland

Banksy LEGO Club ad for EyeteethStreet-art gets its due in an ad in LEGO's magazine, LEGO Club, where pieces by Banksy, Futura 2000, KAWS and Shepard Fairey mark the wall hopped by a fleeing jewel thief. Artist Jon Nelson, aka Escape Mechanism, sends in the image, which shows Fairey's iconic Obey image and Banky's Balloon Girl stencil. KAWS' tag is there too, along with that of Futura 2000, which appears to be lifted from this shot (pictured) taken by EPIC 1 on a wall of the Broadway 1 train line in 1973.

Fairey hasn't responded to my query about whether LEGO appropriated his work -- fitting, given the nature of what he does -- or whether it's an official collaboration. Nor could I find much about any of the other artists working with LEGO. The closest I could find is the same Banksy decal on a tiny Lego wall, a few LEGO-themed wall stencils attributed to Banksy, and this nice video of Futura 2000, shot by his daughter Tabatha, discussing his LEGO creations, including a city and a complex District 9-inspired "Alien Assault Rifle."



Bits: 03.02.11

Jonathan Andrew, Type L483 Central Radio Transmitter Bunker, Spaandam, The Netherlands

Beautiful/Decay points out Jonathan Andrew's hauntingly stark photos of World War II bunkers, including the one above that was "important for the communication of the German Luftwaffe." Earlier: "Atlantikwall: Paul Virilio and the experimental geography of war bunkers"

• Did you know: The entirety of the Academy Award-winning documentary Harlan County USA -- about a 1973 coal miners strike in Kentucky -- is on Hulu?

• David Peterson, of Art of This Gallery in Minneapolis, has started a Kickstarter fund for Dressing Room, an exhibition and artist book publishing endeavor in his home. Kick 'em a few bucks.

• The hammer-wielding Christian woman who attacked Enrique Chagoya's The Misadventures of the Romantic Cannibals at the Loveland (Colo.) Museum/Gallery last year (mentioned here) has been “ordered to pay $2,991 in restitution — less than half the amount requested by prosecutors.”

• Meet Voina: "An art group that stages orgies, throws cats at cashiers and has Banksy as a fan has enraged the Russian authorities."

• Minnesota calls for art: Community Supported Art (CSA) is looking for art for the Spring season; deadline, Mar. 18. The nuit blanche festival Northern Spark is looking to bring the winter fun of the Art Shanty Projects to St. Paul's riverfront in June; submit proposals by Mar. 7.

• Your moment of Charlie Sheen Mad Libs. (My first attempt.)


Minnesota man makes two-story ice sculpture with geothermal heating water, computer

For four winters now, Roger Hanson of Big Lake has been making remarkable sculptures in his yard using a computer-directed sprayer that disperses water from his geo-thermal heating system. This year's piece (above) is -- so far -- 65 feet tall and 85 feet wide.

He explains the process
The frame for the ice to collect onto is made from ½” conduit. There are four tiers each 10 feet high. These tiers are hoisted (in sections) from a rope that stretches from two towers 85 feet apart and 50 feet high. The final center conduit pole is pushed up onto the rope to a height of 63.25 feet.

The robot that directs the spray is made from two antenna rotators. One rotator is attached to the other to allow azimuth and elevation motion. These antenna rotators are controlled by a computer using software that I have created. The computer program also uses weather info from a weather station on the top of the house. The weather information such as the wind direction and speed is used to more accurately target the spray.
Below, his works from 2010 and 2008: