Bits: 10.29.09

Valerie Hegarty's Rothko Sunset (Thanks, Kristina)

• Fascinating: "Occult Symbolism in Corporate Logos," Part 1 & Part 2. Via Agenda Inc.

• Rest in peace, Roy DeCarava, a photographer whose images of the African American community sought to capture "not the famous and the well known, but the unknown and the unnamed, thus revealing the roots from which spring the greatness of all human beings."

• What I gave 250 words to, Minneapolis artist and SELLOUT Gallery co-founder Ruben Nusz dedicates hundreds of words to -- Rob Fischer's solo show at Franklin Art Works, which closes tomorrow.

• The Chicago Tribune's Blair Kamin reports that the city has demolished a Walter Gropius–codesigned building at the former Michael Reese Hospital campus; it's the first Gropius project destroyed anywhere in the world in decades, according to Grahm Balkany, head of the Gropius in Chicago Coalition.

• After getting spoofed by the Yes Men over its opposition to climate-change legislation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce got the group's internet service provider to shut down a fake Chamber website it was running. And now they're suing.

• R. Crumb's history of women and his book of Genesis.

• The Sistine Chapel ceiling, Second Life edition.

• Your moment of paper Nikes. Also, Run DMC: The Musical!

Tezuka wind turbine

Pink Tentacles has more shots of a 100-meter tall wind turbine in Tokyo adorned with images of Astro Boy and other Osamu Tezuka characters.

Mail-art: Abe's Penny Vol. 1.8 (3 of 4)

Part 3 of October's issue of Abe's Penny.

Mail-art: Abe's Penny Vol. 1.8 (1 of 4)
Mail-art: Abe's Penny Vol. 1.8 (2 of 4)

The Art World's Least Powerful

Hyperallergic is hitting its stride, as evidenced by its counterpoint to ArtReview's Power 100 list of art influencers. Its “Top 20 Most Powerless People in the Art World!” alternates between good clean fun, gentle ribbing and more pointed jabs at contemporary art's excesses -- citing among the least powerful the "faceless miners in Sierra Leone who procured the 8,601 diamonds for Damien Hirst’s sparkling skull" and the homeless guy that shows up for freebies at openings ("Wine at gallery openings may be the art world’s only form of social service to people outside their realm, but hey, it’s something.") Then there's this one:
Candida Home, blind art blogger. While unphased by a ban on photography in many major galleries and museums, Candida disastrously tried to cover the Lakeland Ceramic Fair in Derbyshire, England and caused over £80,000 in damage because of her proclivity to touch the art. She has since been banned from most major art fairs and institutions and is only writing about public art.


FEAST MPLS: Deadline Oct. 29!

FEAST (Funding Emerging Art with Sustainable Tactics) -- the Brooklyn-born "recurring public dinner designed to use community-driven financial support to democratically fund new and emerging artmakers" -- has a Twin Cities cousin! But before Nov. 14th's First FEAST, we need proposals from artists who'd like to be funded. Proposals are due this Thursday, Oct. 29.

I'd write something compelling to describe this worthy and fun project, but FEAST says better what it's all about, why it matters and how you can be part of it:
By getting together and pooling our money, wealth becomes a plural communal attribute. We can then share that wealth with people whose projects our community finds most the valuable to implement.

As a potential grantee, you submit a short and concise project proposal, which will be distributed to diners at the next FEAST dinner. If your project is selected by popular vote the night of the FEAST, you walk home with that evening's available grant money.

As a patron who attends FEAST, you make a cash donation on a sliding scale to receive supper and a ballot. At the end of the night, you cast a vote for which of a handful of artists’ proposals should get the evening’s proceeds. The winning proposal is funded directly from the donations collected at the door, and the grantee is asked back to present the fruits of their labor to you—the patrons—at the next FEAST dinner.

More to come on FEAST Minneapolis in the next week or so.


Bits: 10.19.09

A knit-covered subway greeter by Agata Olek, who's part of the Art in Odd Places Festival, NYC, through Oct. 26

A fire has destroyed more than 1,000 works by the late Brazilian artist Helio Oiticica. A fire at his brother César's home in Rio de Janeiro destroyed 90 percent of the works stored there. (Via Nato Thompson on Facebook)

Minnesota Public Radio looks at Silver Bromide, a new mural by artist Rich Barlow. Based on one of Fox Talbot's first silver-negative photos, the landscape is Barlow's first large-scale outdoor work and got funding through city graffiti abatement money. Earlier: Barlow's "Covers" series.

• The increasingly right-leaning U.S. Chamber of Commerce has reversed its opinion about climate change: it is bad for business after all and strong legislation must be supported! But hold on, the press release stating as much was really a Yes Men spoof. But that only came out after the Washington Post, New York Times and Reuters all ran with the fake report as news.

• Shepard Fairey has amended court records in his legal case against the Associated Press to indicate that he did indeed use the Mannie Garcia photo indicated by the AP as the basis for his Obama/HOPE image. On his website, he says that when he realized the AP was right about which photo he'd used -- something he long contested -- he "submitted false images and deleted other images" in "an attempt to conceal my mistake." Here's the AP attorney's response to the revelation.

• Shakira and Danzig, together at last. [via]


RIP Nancy Spero

Gallerist Edward Winkleman reports that feminist artist Nancy Spero died at NYU Hospital Sunday morning at age 83, and while the mainstream media hasn't yet confirmed, her Wikipedia page now shows yesterday as her death date. A dogged antiwar activist, she was married to artist Leon Golub, who died in 2004. I've always admired Spero's constant interrogation of modern society -- not to mention the male-dominated New York art scene -- and her unswerving dedication to a personal vision often at odds with mainstream culture and, certainly, market-driven trends in art. More than her art, it's her example of a steely knowledge of self that I most respect.

Condolences to her family and friends.

Watch Spero's segment on Art:21.

Update: The New York Times' obituary.

Health care

Via Reddit.


Bits: 10.16.09

Striped icebergs, which Inhabitat says are legit.

• As Utne introduces us to sound artist Diego Stocco's video "Music from a Tree," Matt Olson at ROLU points out a fascinating piece about the installation of Bruce Nauman's Microphone/Tree Piece (and other Nauman audio works) at the Walker.

Nominate a "keeper": Metro Magazine is looking for artists of all disciplines to feature in its January issue. The twist: Nominate someone you like so much you don't want them to move off to New York or LA (hence, the "Keepers" name). In addition to good ink, the winner gets a party in their honor and a trophy designed by 2009 Keeper winner
Andrea Stanislav.

• Call for media artists: Artists on the Verge is open to Minnesota-based artists working at the intersection of art, technology and digital culture; five winners -- who'll participate in a nine-month residency that culminates in the Spark Festival in Oct. 2010 -- will receive $5,000 as well as technical support and mentorship. Deadline: Nov. 16.

• Already a meaningless measure, ArtReview's "Power 100" list just got even worse -- with the addition of Glenn Beck at number 100.

• A jab at contemporary art marketing, Nika Oblak and Primoz's self-promotional billboard has a catch: installed in a remote Welsh forest, it features the art duo along with the headline "Recommended by curators worldwide." Via the Post Family.

• "Sorry I'm Late," Tomas Mankovsky's stop-action video was shot with a still camera mounted to the ceiling as the story plays out on the floor (don't miss the end credits to see how it was done).

• "
Cutaway diagrams showing the anatomy of 85 traditional monsters from Japanese folklore."

NYT on pop-up galleries not unlike one we recently saw here.

• A 1617 painting by Brueghel "appears to show a Keplerian-style telescope in a painting dating from 15 years before this design was thought to have been built," MIT reports. Via Bad at Sports.

Rob Fischer: Few Landmarks and No Boundaries

My Artforum review of the exhibition Rob Fischer: Few Landmarks and No Boundaries at Franklin Art Works, Minneapolis, through Oct. 30.

For years, Rob Fischer has been building strange hybrid vehicles: a glass-roofed rowboat with a matching greenhouse trailer, a single-engine plane with an ice-fishing shack for a cockpit. This exhibition continues the theme, although transport is more implied than depicted, and it’s unclear whether movement represents escape from rural America or, for a Minnesota native like Fischer transplanted to New York, a yearning for home.

Fischer captures the desolate winter landscape of northern Minnesota in four videos; liquid propane-tank sales lots, shuttered tourist shops, and fleet-supply stores are seen through the windows of a borrowed Buick. Handpainted signs propped against a wall suggest discarded wayfinders, while a two-dimensional wall sculpture, accented by colors seen in the videos, arranges slats of gymnasium flooring in a geometric maze reminiscent of country roadways.

Another personal habitat for Fischer is here, too: that of the art world. Submerged in a pond constructed in the gallery is the twisted hull of a boat, painted up in Mondrian red, yellow, and blue. A series of suspended clear plastic cubes reference a Jasper Johns set piece for Merce Cunningham’s Walkaround Time (1968), although Fischer’s version has a quirky, regionally appropriate tweak: Screenprinted on one are Hubbard County Sheriff’s notices, copied from a small-town paper, that highlight snowmobiling infractions, DWIs, and one count of failure to wear BLAZE ORANGE IN FIREARM DEER SEASON. Likewise, a deconstructed billboard of the kind towering over area roads might offer another art-historical reference––fluorescent tubes à la Dan Flavin. But the exposed wiring and rough construction, not to mention the lonely stretch of highway (complete with a Cindy Q gas-station sign), suggest that it’s midwestern pragmatism, not intended allusion, that dictated his choices.


Artist Hiroshi Sunairi named 2009 Utne Visionary

Persimmon, Oct. 15, 2009
New York-based artist Hiroshi Sunairi is one of Utne Reader's "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World" for 2009. He's cited for his Tree Project, in which he shares seeds from plants that survived the atomic bomb blast in Hiroshima with people around the world: "By creating beauty from devastation, the creator cultivates peace."

Here's a shot of my hibaku ("A-bombed tree"), a persimmon I started from seeds Hiroshi sent me. And here's my interview with him on the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing in August.

Congratuations, Hiroshi!


"The revolution will be privatized"

Jerm IX, Vancouver

Bits: 10.14.09

Japanese town logos often incorporate typographical elements like "kanji, hiragana, katakana, and Roman letters." Via Pink Tentacles.

• New York art critic and street-art historian Hrag Vartanian lauches a new site, Hyperallergic, today and a Twitter account to go with it.

• Greg Allen writes about "dazzle painting," a pattern used in Word War I naval camouflage and the inspiration for a Jeff Koons yacht paintjob.

• "Omission is the beginning of history writing."

• Not new but fascinating-looking documentary: Guest of Cindy Sherman, which chronicles artist Paul H-O's breakdown after he interviews Sherman for his NYC cable-access TV show, they fall in love and he finds himself subsumed by Sherman's fame. (YouTube has some clips.) Via the Art Collectors.

• Minneapolis hosts the American Craft Council's “Creating a New Craft Culture” Conference this Thursday through Satruday. Speakers include illustrator Kate Bingaman, NYT "Consumed" columnist Rob Walker and others.

• Merkins! The Textile Center in Minneapolis is showing Intimate Apparel, an exhibition of artist-designed merkins ("artificial covering[s] of hair for the female pubic region"), through Oct. 24. (Thanks, Ellen.)

• Jen Graves talks with Stelarc, "The Man with the Ear-Arm."

• BBC: "A school has been fined £16,500 after a 16-year-old pupil lost eight fingers when her hands got stuck in a bucket of plaster of Paris during an art lesson." Only £16,500?!

• Waxy looks at Nikolai Sutyagin's wooden skyscraper.

• There's now a crater on the moon named after John Lennon -- the John Lennon Peace Crater. And, no, it's not the one left behind after last week's "bombing."


BITS & PIECES Moleskine book

Sweet: Walker-exclusive Lawrence Weiner Moleskine notebook embossed with his 1991 work Bits & Pieces Put Together to Present a Semblance of a Whole. 18 bucks at the Walker Shop.

Mail-art: Abe's Penny Vol. 1.8 (1 of 4)

I just received the new edition of Abe's Penny, a monthly "micro magazine"/mail-art project by sisters Anna and Tess Knoebel. Each issue unfolds over four postcards created by a writer and an artist, and this one pairs text by Adam Wade with imagery by Cornelia Hediger. (See back issues here.) I'll post each of the four installments as they come out.

Click to enlarge or go here for full-sized images.


Bits: 10.09.09

Bottles by Blu in Ancona, Italy, via Unurth, which has the full-size image.

• The World Monuments Fund's Most Endangered list includes one regional mention -- Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesen in Spring Green, Wis. Via @cmonstah.

• Kara Walker: "Obama's Peace prize is a vote of confidence in all of us who voted for him." Via @thatwaszen. Here's Obama's speech about winning the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

Full episodes of the first four seasons of PBS' Art:21 series are now available for online viewing.

• Two days after Egypt said it'd stop cooperating with the Louvre over stolen antiquities, the Paris museum says it will return five frescoes it purchased in the '80s.

• Risking 30 days in jail, VICE's Alex Hoban snuck onto Japan's Hashima Island -- aka Battleship Island -- to photograph the abandoned and dangerously crumbling former Mitsubishi coal mining facility an hour off the port of Nagasaki.

• The Big Picture looks at Royal de Luxe's newest giant-puppet show, "The Berlin Reunion."

• Via The Awl, the art of Carla Bruni Sarkozy, features the French first lady's portraits of Bono, David Lynch, Aung San Suu Kyi, the Obamas, and others.

• Like The Soap Factory's excellent exhibition, The Austerity Cookbook, Brooklyn's Nurture Art is looking at recession-inspired art.

Minimalist movie posters, via Etre.


Gimme a T, gimme a C, gimme an F: College marching band forms letters of corporate sponsor's name

The University of Minnesota marching band formed the letters of stadium-sponsor TCF Bank’s name at a recent Gophers game, according to a new fawning video produced about the field. But university officials haven’t yet said whether the band was required by the bank’s naming-rights contract with the school to perform the corporate logo. TCF paid $35 million for a deal TCF head Bill Cooper says is “half charity and half business.” (Hmm: If it’s part charity, is TCF getting tax breaks in return?)

Today in elephants

Here's one being born (sploosh), here's one being mounted for museum display (at the American Museum of Natural History), and here's how a fake one gets maintained.


Bits: 10.07.09

Turner Prize contender Roger Hiorns' Seizure, a vacant London flat covered in liquid copper sulfate

RIP Irving Penn.

• Tres Americain! The Louvre gets a McDonald's, but loses Egypt. The country has cut ties with the French institution until it gets back "stolen" Pharaonic relics.

• A critique of Frank Gehry's first museum -- and relief that he's expanding the facility.

• Copyright overreach: MySpace won't let musician Edwyn Collins stream a song he owns because it (incorrectly) believes Warner Brothers owns the copyright. "[We are] aware of who the biggest bootleggers are: It's not the filesharers," says his wife/manager. It's big labels who continue selling the single online even after their license to it has run out.

• An Italian chemist recreates the Shroud of Turin using Middle Ages-era materials and practices, disproving claims by some that it "has unexplainable characteristics that cannot be reproduced by human means."

• Trailer: Vannessa Gould's Between the Folds, which interviews 10 origami artist about the mathematics of paper-folding.

Scary Jason Hackenwerth monster balloon costumes! Via @walkerartcenter.

• It'd be cute if it wasn't so creepy: Flies peeing.

Ohfercute: The Honda EV-N

the ev-n is a new electric compact car which honda will officially debut at the tokyo motor show. the new vehicle is part of a series of electric cars, honda will be showcasing this fall. the car runs on an electric battery and features a large solar roof to generate additional power. inside the car will feature customizable seat covers and a small electric unicycle inside the passenger’s side door. the car’s front is a flat-panel with embedded lighting which can shine a variety of patterns. the back seats of the small car even fold flat for extra cargo room.

Photography: Patrik Budenz's "Post Mortem"

Some pieces in German photographer Patrik Budenz's series "Post Mortem" are incredibly wrenching to encounter: the long eyelashes of a girl whose chest is cracked open after an autopsy, the detail of wrinkled fingers and a pool of blood, presumably on a coroner's table. (He depicts similar themes in the equally grisly "Search for Evidence" series, shot in a forensics lab.) But others achieve impact sans viscera. This shot shows medical pins, screws and artificial joints that remain after cremation as a testament to the ephemerality of the body.

Via Conscientious.


How to help: Philippines, Indonesia

The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco lets us know how to help the victims of the recent earthquake and typhoons in Southeast Asia.

Appropriation: Picasso/Radisson

Serkan Özkaya's Radisson/Picasso, via VVORK.

Bits: 10.06.09

Christian Marclay's 2822 Records (PS1), 1987-2009, by Riviera 2005, Flickr

• Online documentary by the Glass Bead Collective and Twin Cities, Chicago and Pittsburgh Indymedia: Democracy 101: Pittsburgh G20 Protests and the Police Occupation of Pitt University

• Introducing “Hi, How Are You,” an iPhone app/game by outsider artist musician Daniel Johnston, who has never owned a cellphone. (Via ArtInfo.)

• On my to-see list, thanks to Kemi at Creative Capital: The Art Farm in Marquette, Nebraska. Don't miss the Sculpture Prairie or, on the weekend of Oct. 24, the Art Harvest.

• Nicholas Kristof: "The most successful logo in human history is not the Nike swoosh or any other corporate design. Instead, it’s probably one designed by anti-slavery activists in Britain way back in 1787, and it became a mainstay of the abolitionist movement — a way to spread the word and build solidarity. This logo was provided by Josiah Wedgewood for use by early British abolitionists.... It shows a slave in chains and asks: 'Am I not a man and a brother?'"

• SocialDesignZine's site is now censored in Iran for this gallery of 132 "Posters for Green Iran."

Onion headline: "Struggling Museum Now Allowing Patrons To Touch Paintings"

• Insert Spinal Tap joke here: Mini-Stonehenge discovered in England.

• Among the winners of the 2009 IgNobel Prizes -- "a bra that can be quickly converted into a pair of gas masks, one for the brassiere wearer and one to be given to some needy bystander."


Bits: 10.02.09

"Frida Kahlo Uterus Plushie," found by Regretsy, a blog of regrettable Etsy crafts

On Studio 360, Yoko Ono talks about collaborating on music projects with her son, Sean.

• Tate Modern has temporarily removed Richard Prince's Spiritual America (on view in the traveling Guggenheim-organized exhibition of the same name), which features a photo of nude, ten-year-old Brooke Shields, after British police began investigating whether it violates UK obscenity laws.

• The Weisman Art Museum has finally begun its $14 million expansion to its 1993 Frank Gehry–designed facility.

• Bernie Madoff pinned to the wall by a bull: Chen Wenling's sculpture, Emergency Escape.

• "Archeologists in Rome believe they have found the remains of a legendary rotating dining room which the Emperor Nero built to entertain his guests."

• Minneapolis exhibition tonight: Matt Bakkom: Strange Victory opens at the Chambers' Burnet Art Gallery.

• Minneapolis exhibitions on Saturday: Rob Fischer: Few Landmarks and No Boundaries opens at Franklin Art works; TECTONIC/TAPOLA/LEHR at Sellout; the MCAD/Jerome show opens at MCAD Gallery; and HHH, an "epic one-night-only send-off" to the Metrodome (on the eve of the Twins final game there), by Andy Sturdevant, Peter McLarnan and Brennan Vance, at Art of This.

• The Playing for Change Foundation has opened the the Ntonga Music School, in Gugulethu, South Africa.

Turns out the skywriter behind the "CLOUD CLOUD CLOUD" sky graffiti is Ron English.

• Oh, what have they done to Ted Williams head!?

Livestream: A National Summit on Arts Journalism

Today's conference at USC -- which will be streamed live from 11 am–3 pm CT -- looks at new forms of culture-focused media that are working to fill the gap left by the newspaper industry's reduced coverage of the arts. Highlights: public projects like multimedia magazine Flyp, Texas visual art portal Glasstire and Flavorpill, and guests like Jeff Chang (Can't Stop Won't Stop) and Salon.com CEO Richard Gingras.


@iteeth makes Metro 100

Metro Magazine's annual Metro 100 edition -- to be launched with a big party in Northeast Minneapolis tonight -- features a nice array of "community builders" who are making "the idea of rallying seem cool in order to draw more people to their cause." I think they're on to something. I've felt this a few times in the past year or so -- as I've watched Solutions Twin Cities (co-founded by Colin Kloecker, who's #38 on the Metro list) grow and the West Bank Social Center (#28) take off, attended Common Room (#30, curated by artist Andy Sturdevant, #39) at the Soap Factory, or interviewed the organizers of Save Canvas (#32). It seems like we're seeing a creative growth spurt in the Twin Cities -- and I'm happy to take part.

Thanks to Metro for including my Twitter feed (#36), along with that of WCCO's Jason De Rusha (#37), as "local art-happy Twitterers worth your time," and for using my Save Canvas photo.