RIP Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois. Image: Centre Pompidou

In what would turn out to be her last days, artist Louise Bourgeois committed her energies to marriage equality, making a dye-and-embroidery print to benefit Freedom to Marry. This morning she died at age 98, capping a long life of engaged activism through and outside of her art. Two days ago the sculptor and painter had a heart attack, according to her studio. Her work -- sometimes figurative, but often abstract and symbolic -- often referenced women's sexuality and memories from childhood. “My childhood," she once said, "has never lost its magic, it has never lost its mystery, and it has never lost its drama.”

Of her giant spiders, perhaps her most famous recent works, she said in a rare 2007 interview, "The spiders were an ode to my mother. She was a tapestry woman, and like a spider, was a weaver. She protected me and was my best friend."

As a woman artist -- and one who delved into radical politics and human sexuality -- she was a pioneer. "She smashed a taboo," said Christopher Knight, art critic at the Los Angeles Times. "Bourgeois was the first Modern artist to expose the emotional depth and power of domestic subject matter. Before her, male artists had only nibbled around the edges, and women just weren't allowed."

Via James Wagner.

Maman, Bourgeois' 30-foot bronze spider, via Wikipedia


Artist Aaron Marx brings the faces of the fallen to Minneapolis streets

Aaron Marx
We're at war -- on two fronts -- yet visible public awareness of the fact seems increasingly scarce. Thankfully, artists are trying to invade this apparent obliviousness with interventions, from Suzanne Opton's billboards of those who fight on our behalf to Steve McQueen's quest to commemorate killed-in-action soldiers on British postage stamps. This Memorial Day, the faces of the fallen will hit closer to home for Minnesotans. Through his residency with Minneapolis Art on Wheels, artist Aaron Marx has been projecting images of U.S. soldiers killed in action on facades of buildings in downtown Minneapolis. The images will next be projected on the Basilica of St. Mary in downtown Minneapolis the evening of May 31, Memorial Day. Marx is traveling, so couldn't explain the project in detail, but he did offer this description:
The images of the faces are scraped from the Washington Posts "Faces of the Fallen" and processed for long distance projection. The faces are paired with animations from a 3d model of the earth where the birth place and death place was mapped and connected with an arc that corresponds to the age of the soldier at death. Yes, I have names, ages, dates of birth, dates of death, location of birth (or hometown), and nature of death for most of the 5,400+ soldiers.
Marx says he was unable to map all the data during his three-week MAW residency for this iteration of the project, but he's continuing that process. View more images from his "Mass Information and the Temporal Graffiti of War" series, including shots of the project as they appeared on the Basilica and the Walker Art Center recently:

Blu and Os Gemeos in Lisbon

The ever-awesome Unurth has photos of a new collaboration by Blu and Os Gemeos in Lisbon. While Os Gemeos' trademark figure (above) is great, I especially like the oil company "king" sucking all he can out of the planet.

Bits: 05.28.10

Phyllis Galembo, Baby Dance of Etikpe, Cross River, Nigeria, via But Does It Float (via Ron)

• Broken City Lab looks at Austin Holdsworth's fossilization machine: "He is attempting to use this machine to create fossils in a matter of months, a process that usually takes thousands of years and requires specific circumstances to be present. According to his project description, 'the project starts with the attempt to petrify both a Tatton-grown pineapple and pheasant, and conclude when it is a human that ends up fossilised.'"

• "Part art, part political statement, 800 farmers in France have installed a giant garden on the most famous street in Paris, the Champs-Élysées." Via @nicolejcaruth.

• Why is Simon Rodia's outsider-art landmark the Watts Towers in a "perpetual state of crisis"?

• Photographer Nicole Tung writes about being detained for eight days by Pakistani authorities in the course of trying to document internally displaced people from the Pakistani Army’ counter-insurgency in the Swat valley and South Waziristan.

• Hey look: Art Not Oil is on Twitter.

• LA exhibition: Paper, featuring paintings of discarded scratch-off lottery tickets by LA-based Minnesotan Dane Johnson, at Sabina Lee Gallery June 5–July 3. The show heads to Minneapolis' XYandZ Gallery in August.

• New York exhibition: Leon Golub: Live & Die Like a Lion?, featuring 50 oil stick and ink works by the late great Golub, plus the only unfinished painting in existence, at the Drawing Center through July 23.

• Durham exhibition: The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl, featuring works by Ralph Lemon, Robin Rhode, William Cordova and others, opening Sept. 2 at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

• Vancouver gallery owner says bike lanes drove him out of business. Via @artnetdotcom.

• If the BP oil spill happened in the northeast, how much would it cover?

• Your moment of lovely toilet-paper-roll dioramas.


Lauren DiCioccio's sewn media artifacts

Artist Lauren DiCioccio's needlepoint work commemorates dying media, from 35mm slides to newspapers:
My work investigates the physical/tangible beauty of commonplace mass-produced media-objects, most recently: the newspaper, magazines, office papers and writing pads, plastic bags, 35 mm slides. These media are becoming obsolete, replaced by the invisible efficiency of various technologies. In some cases, this transition is a good thing- faster transmission and distribution of information, streamlined systems, openness to user input, less waste. But a hole is left behind by the disappearance of these everyday objects. What will happen when we no longer touch information? When newsprint does not rub off onto our fingertips? When we no longer write longhand?

The tedious handiwork and obsessive care I employ to create my work aims to remind the viewer of these simple but intimate pieces of everyday life and to provoke a pang of nostalgia for the familiar physicality of these objects.

Via Sympathy for the Art Gallery.

Bits: 05.26.10

Street artist Selon in Goiânia, Brazil

The New Yorker's profile of Ai Weiwei is reserved for subscribers, but the magazine offers a 3-minute clip of a forthcoming documentary on the Chinese artist.

• Tonight in Minneapolis: As part of ROLU's Scattered Light exhibition at Art of This, join a discussion, dubbed RECESS: Seminars Toward Creative Action, tonight at 8. Participating are Ceri Meyers (doctoral candidate in contemporary art history), Volkan Isler (professor of computer science) and David Horvitz (artist and part of asdf, creators of Scattered Light), who has prepared a statement but won't be present.

• The new StreetMuseum iPhone app uses geo-tagging and Google Maps to combine city scenes from works in the Museum of London's collection with the actual locations they depict.

David Byrne on why he's suing Florida Gov. Crist's campaign for unauthorized use of the Talking Heads' "Road to Nowhere": "I still believe songs occasionally mean something to people — they obviously mean something personal to the writer, and often to the listener as well. A personal and social meaning is diluted when that same song is used to sell a product (or a politician). If Crist and his campaign folks had asked to use the song, I would have said no."

• A troubling photo of Israelis (and maybe Americans) taunting a Palestinian woman evicted from her Jerusalem home by Jewish settlers.

• The Park(ing) Day meme hits Paris. Behold: I Park Art. Via Social Design Notes.

Hacked iPad ads.

Art Not Oil targets petroleum-industry sponsorship of the arts

Via the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts comes word of a group founded in 2004 to examine the environmental hazards of oil dependency and push for British cultural institutions to drop sponsorships from oil companies. Among Art Not Oil's campaigns: pressuring the Tate to cut ties with BP.

Sounds like that won't happen anytime soon, though. The group cites a quote from a Guardian interview with Tate director Nick Serota, who says:
'The first thing to say is we have support from BP, which as a company is looking at renewable energy as well as using up fossil fuels and using oil. We have long had support from them and are not intending to abandon it. But we are committed to addressing issues posed by climate change. Tate has made some big strides in terms of carbon reduction and bringing that to the attention of other people in the world.'
From Art Not Oil's About page:
Since 2004, Art Not Oil has aimed to encourage artists - and would-be artists - to create work that explores the damage that companies like BP and Shell are doing to the planet, and the role art can play in counteracting that damage.

It is designed in part to paint a truer portrait of an oil company than the caring image manufactured by events such as the BP Portrait Award, Shell's sponsorship of classic drama at the National Theatre, and other 'cultural activities' of the oil multinationals which also happen to divert public attention away from their actual activities. Climate chaos is set to have a catastrophic effect on all of us, while hitting the poorest hardest. The companies most responsible are profiting handsomely, yet they're still welcome it seems in many of our most prestigious public galleries and museums.

Activists arrested for oil graffiti in gulf, but where are the BP arrests?

Let's get this straight: when Greenpeace activists board an oil-drilling vessel and write "Arctic Next?" in leaked Gulf Coast oil on the bridge, they're immediately arrested, yet no arrests have been made for BP/Deep Horizon executives who, through negligence and lack of planning for worst-case scenarios, have dumped six million gallons of oil (and counting) into the Gulf of Mexico?

The White House could prosecute, but the language is so wishy-washy it seems doubtful: A report by The Independent says the administration will file a formal inquiry which "could lead to possible prosecutions."


Sadly, not a work by Christo

As oil from the BP/Deep Horizon oil spill makes landfall, I can't help but see similarities between barriers set to prevent oil from hitting critical habitats and the works of Christo. But in this case, too bad we can't wish it's merely the work of creative minds...


Bits: 05.21.10

Edwin Zwakman, Straat, a floating replica of rowhouses in Walcheren, the Netherlands, via Rebel Art

Christo says he'll continue with his Over the River project in Colorado despite the death of his wife and collaborator Jeanne-Claude last November. Meanwhile, the couples' Central Park project, The Gates, was part of an augmented reality iPhone app, which allowed park visitors to virtually experience the 2004 work.

• Christo had nothing to do with AT&T's "Blanket" commercial that's an overt rip-off of several projects: the color from The Gates, the draping of, well, just about every other Christo project. Greg Allen notes a disclaimer at the end of the ad which notes the artist has no "direct or indirect affiliation or involvement" with AT&T.

• Continuing the theme, John Grider of Minneapolis stencil-art duo Broken Crow notes that the yellow cheetahs at the 39-second-mark of this Olympus commercial look an awful lot like his.

• Artist Poster Boy, sentenced to 11 months at Rikers Island for altering subway ads, has been released on bail.

• On June 21, artist Luke Jerram will be placing 60 pianos around New York for residents to play; concurrently, he'll be putting 21 pianos around London. Via Animal NY.

• Audio: At MoMA in 1962, Marcel Duchamp discusses readymades.

• Dio, the early years: Before Sabbath, Rainbow and a solo career, the late Ronnie James Dio "dwelled in the shadows of the greasy R&B/ white vocal group sound," reports WMFU, which links up mp3s of Ronnie James Padavona's early cover of "Love Potion No. 9" and other tunes that were resonant with the likes of Paul Anka, Dion and Chubby Checker.

Roger Ebert reviews The Human Centipede: "I am required to award stars to movies I review. This time, I refuse to do it. The star rating system is unsuited to this film. Is the movie good? Is it bad? Does it matter? It is what it is and occupies a world where the stars don't shine."


Bits: 05.20.10

Kim Sung Soo, Tour Bus, from the series "Magical Reality," via Conscientious

• Provisions Library has the powerful trailer for JR's new film, Women Are Heroes, about this anonymous artist's large-scale global project underlining "the dignity of women who are often the targets of conflicts.” Says JR in the trailer: "They all wanted to share their stories, that their story travels. When you hear the stories, you're like, 'Whoa, maybe the person is dying inside.' But then when you ask her to do her faces, then you can see life. And then I say, 'I'm going to paste the photo back in your city so everybody can see. For you and the people here."

• The Walker Art Center is cutting its budget by 8 percent and its staff by 9 people.

• Street artist Poster Boy has been sentenced to 11 months at Rikers Island, prompting supporters to launch a Free Poster Boy page on Facebook.

• A lone thief swiped five paintings by the likes of Braque, Modigliani and Picasso at the Paris Museum of Modern Art last night. Police estimated the work's value at $613 million.

• With parts of Bangkok burning, a sculpture by Indian artist Ravinder Reddy remains unscathed.

• Who knew? The Indianapolis Museum of Art keeps bees? Via @justinph.

• Video: Artist Steve "ESPO" Powers, whose Love Letter for You project is shown here, gives his life story at the recent PSFK Conference in New York. Via TWBE.

• Here's the letter Bill Watterson sent to newspapers when he decided to stop producing Calvin & Hobbes.

Redesign BP's logo

Greenpeace is running a contest to redesign BP's logo. Here's what they've got so far. Via Animal.


Lake Creature hits Powderhorn

Cameron Gainer's Loch Ness Monster-like public art work -- _[ -- is now installed at Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis. A park board project, it's been spotted around town, first at Lake Harriet last summer.


Barbara Kruger's map for the London Underground

Barbara Kruger is the latest artist to do a work for London's Art on the Underground. She joins Jeremy Deller, Richard Long, Cornelia Parker, Chiho Aoshima and others in the project, yet her take on the map seems most familiar: Unlike the actual Tube, I've been in just about every station on her map. Via Creative Review.

Bits: 05.18.10

Anthony Discenza, Limits of Poetry, via 1 + 1 = 1

• As Noam Chomsky is barred from entering Israel, Elvis Costello announces he'll cancel concerts there in protest of "conditions that visit intimidation, humiliation or much worse on Palestinian civilians in the name of national security."

• Video: Critic/author Lewis Hyde (The Gift) on creativity and the commons, via the Walker, where Hyde speaks Sept. 2.

• Edge of Sports' David Zirin interviews Chuck D on the revival of Public Enemy's "By the Time I Get to Arizona" for the fight against SB1070, while Davey D gives props to a remake of the PE song by Minneapolis' Toki Wright. (Here's Chuck D's new version of the song with DJ Spooky.) Via Provisions Library.

• Minneapolis exhibition: Scattered Light, a participatory poster project by ASDF for ROLU, opens May 22 at Art of This.

• Photo District News takes a look at disaster tourism.

Hyperallergic interviews Tyler Green about his move from ArtsJournal to ArtInfo and Modern Painters.

• BagNewsNotes on the gun industry's appeal to women.

• RIP Dio.

• Video: Walrus TV interviews Swoon.

Two bodies suspended in mid-air.

• Your moment of heartwarming underpants man. (Via Reddit.)


Madison historical markers

Nice to see that while the late great Club de Wash in Madison (and other venues like O'Cayz Corral) is gone it's not forgotten.


Minneapolis mural: Rogue Citizen at Shuga Records

Rogue Citizen mural
At Minneapolis' Art-a-Whirl, Rogue Citizen added a mural of its own to accompany Broken Crow's iconic piece, put up this weekend one year ago. They're finishing up today, so stop by.
Rogue Citizen mural
Rogue Citizen mural


What remains of Peter Eleey at the Walker

Curator Peter Eleey may have departed the Walker Art Center for P.S. 1, but his memory -- and, apparently, a skeleton -- remain behind. In a punny blog post, the Walker's Kristina Fong blogs that somebody left a rubber effigy in Eleey's office chair, an apparent reference to the human skeleton artist Kris Martin buried on Walker grounds during Eleey's recent show, The Quick and the Dead. Unlike Eleey, it's still there... somewhere.

Update: Apparently, the Walker has deleted this post; here's the Google cache.

Let Jennifer Davis curate your Art-a-Whirl weekend

The Slow Mirror & the Metronome (top); Amy Rice's studio, flocked, detail of Studio on Fire's Artcrank poster

For once, artist Jennifer Davis is going to Minneapolis' Art-a-Whirl as an observer rather than a participant (unless you count her piece in the Artcrank poster show, linked below). As such, we asked her what she'll be seeing this weekend.

1. Location - Volume 1, Thorp Building
A release party for the first volume of this new quarterly publication of limited edition artists’ books featuring idea-based work in all media (edited and produced by Scott Nedrelow and Ruben Nusz).

2. flocked : a wallpaper project, Casket Arts Carriage House
Studio mates Nick Howard, Anna Tsantir and Vincent Murray invited 30 local artists to create prints, drawings and multimedia two dimensional works that will be combined to cover a 22’x10’ studio wall floor to ceiling. Featuring contributions by 30+ of everyone’s favorite local artists.

3. Amy Rice's pretty new studio, California Building
Artist Amy Rice has moved her studio from the Felt Factory building into a bigger, brighter space. She knows how to make a gallery go-er feel at home so I can’t wait to see what she has done with the place.

4. The Age of Aquarius, Fox Tax Gallery
An exhibition showcasing three young Twin City artists: Jesse Draxler, Katelyn Farstad and Josh Journey-Heinz. Fox Tax always has great art and great art parties.

5. NEMAA Silent Auction, Northrup King Building
View and bid on items donated by more than 100 NEMAA members including artwork and gift certificates. Proceeds from this event benefit NEMAA and what would Art-A-Whirl be without NEMAA?

I can’t stop. Here are some more things I am looking forward to:

* The Slow Mirror and The Metronome
, Mississippi River
All weekend behind the Sample Room. “…music/art on boats, rafts, and stages, on and around the banks of the Mississippi River.” Crazy! Full schedule here.

* Art-A-Whirl is your last chance to see the ArtCrank print and poster show. All weekend at Lure Design. Posters are only $30 each.

Earlier: See Taylor Carik's picks for Art-a-Whirl 2010.


Let Taylor Carik curate your Art-a-Whirl weekend

SuperGroup (top), Location - Vol. 1, Sean Tubridy, Death of the Red Shoe

With Art-a-Whirl, Northeast Minneapolis' annual rite of spring, again upon us (May 14–16), Eyeteeth turns to locals in the know for a rundown of not-to-miss picks. First up, Flak Radio co-host, Mediation blogger and Zombie Pub Crawl co-founder Taylor Carik. He's also helping out with Shuga Records' Hoolie Fest, a 70-band music festival this Friday through Sunday.

1. Sean Tubridy, Northrup King Building #272
There's more and more screen printing happening at Art-a-Whirl, which I appreciate because I can't afford a lot of the art on display. However, much of the screen printing isn't that clever or stylistically attactive, one of the artists who does affordable, but interesting, work is Sean Tubridy.

2. "Location - Vol. 1," Thorp Building
I know Jennifer [Davis, who offers tomorrow's suggestions] also picked this, but Scott Nedrelow is one of my favorite artists, and this event looks great.

3. Blue Sky Galleries, Northrup King Building #295
Woodworking is almost the opposite of the trendy vibe of a lot of the attractive showings and hip parties happening during Art-a-Whirl weekend, but one of my annual favorites, Sky Blue Woodworking, features some incredible craftsmen who do intricate pieces that masquerade as home furnishings.

4. "SuperGroup at Art-a-Whirl" at Casket Arts
Physical performers SuperGroup, one of three experimental groups recently featured at the Southern Theater's "New Breed" show, will be doing an improvised performance of movement in the lobby of the Casket Arts Building. What's that look like? TBD, I guess, but there's a good chance they'll be wearing their fluorescent body suits.

5. Steve Ogdahl, Q.arma building B20
Aethetic Apparatus always has some stuff, and last fall I was really interested in the piece Ogdahl had on display. Hopefully his studio will be open for Art-a-Whirl for folks to stop on by.

6. "Death of the Red Shoe," Thorp Building
There's also a lot of fashion happening in studios and on the streets over the weekend, but if you only have time to check out one clothing-centric show, it's Kerry Riley's retrospective that evolves from dark beginnings towards a light ending at the Thorp Building.


Reverse-graffiti in South Africa

Following the example of artists like Paul "Moose" Curtis and Brazil's Alexandre Orion, Durban, South Africa–based artist Martin Pace and fellow art school grads have been doing "reverse graffiti" -- scrubbing away exhaust grime on motorway walls, often using high-pressure water and stencils, to make art -- as a way of both calling out filthy walls and doing legal street art.

Says Pace, “We have had council guys in police cars stop us in the middle of the day while we are working and asking us if we have been commissioned to do this and when we answered no, they gave us thumbs up and said keep doing what you are doing.”

One unexpected result: once pollution is selectively removed from walls by artists, authorities immediately paint over it -- apparently ashamed at the neglect it suggests -- making a fresh canvas for more traditional graffiti taggers.

Via Broken City Lab and The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts.

Roa's rabbit

Via Unurth, a multipanel rabbit by Belgian artist Roa.

Amateur video of the BP oil spill: "The Gulf appears to be bleeding"

Alabama resident John Wathen and pilot Tom Hutchins flew over the Gulf oil spill and got amateur video of the spill, which he says is worse than BP admits:
I'll never forget the scene... Nothing but a red mass of floating goo. It could've been prevented and should've been prevented... For the first time in my environmental career, I find myself using the word 'hopeless.' We can't stop this. There's no way to prevent this from hitting our shoreline... The Gulf appears to be bleeding...
Also: How big is the BP/Deepwater Horizon spill?


"I Do": Louise Bourgeois donates edition for Freedom to Marry

Louise Bourgeois print
Louise Bourgeois, I do (2010), archival dyes on cloth with embroidery

Artist Louise Bourgeois has seen plenty of battles: against gender inequity in the arts, against the several wars she's lived through. And now, at age 98, she's signed on for another: she's pitching in to help the marriage equality movement by donating an edition of 300 prints, entitled I Do, to the national Freedom to Marry campaign. The prints, featuring an image of two flowers on a single stem, will be sold for $1,000 each to fund Freedom to Marry's efforts.

"Everyone should have the right to marry," Bourgeois said in a release by Freedom to Marry. "To make a commitment to love someone forever is a beautiful thing."

Bourgeois was married to the art historian Robert Goldwater, who died in 1973.

Meet Rusty, Brock Davis' Minneapolis watertower projection

Via METRO Magazine, a nice projection piece near Target Field by Minneapolis-based artist Brock Davis. Writes Davis:
This tower, which we've named Rusty, faces the new Target Field Stadium, which just opened and is the new home of the Minnesota Twins. Several other projection ideas currently in the works, but this simple face has been the clear favorite so far as it brings to life the physical structure itself allowing it to complete the overall look of the character. Currently, we're working to have Rusty react in realtime to the games in the stadium, so that If the team wins, he can cheer and if they lose, he cries.

Poster artists take on Arizona's SB 1070 immigration law

Via Just Seeds, a gallery of posters against Arizona's SB 1070, including this one by Jonah Ellis.

Protest dog

The Guardian presents a slideshow of Kanellos, a stray dog that "has shown up at nearly every protest in Athens over the last two years." Not sure of the backstory, but the imagery is pretty amazing. (The caption to the last photo notes that Kanellos is in a "playful" mood; he's not... dead.)


Bits: 05.08.10

An image from Bryan Schutmaat's "Western Frieze" series, via Doobybrain.

• As the creator of a Justin Bieber t-shirt copying Raymond Pettibon's iconic Black Flag logo gets a cease-and-desist letter from SST records, ANIMAL NY notes some irony: Roy Lichtenstein's estate sent a nastygram to the band Elsinore from appropriating the artist's Kiss V -- which itself was lifted from a comic artist's work -- for its album cover.

• In open letter to Margaret Atwood, Art Threat says the author's trip to Tel Aviv to accept a literary prize would "legitimize Israeli colonial policies" against Palestine because of the sponsoring university's "active support of these policies." The letter calls on Atwood "to support the global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against the Israel." Earlier: In 2009, Haruki Murakami accepted the Jerusalem Prize in Israel, where he gave a powerful speech (which I often mention), intoning, "Between a high, solid wall and an egg that breaks against it, I will always stand on the side of the egg."

• Trailer: The Mystery of the Flying Kicks, featuring Shoefiti.com founder and Eyeteeth pal Ed Kohler.

Mark Bradford on why he and his assistants don uniforms to remove outdoor ads used in his art: "It’s quasi-illegal for these advertising companies to paste the posters on the plywood barricades, and its quasi-illegal for me to take them down, so my actions exist in a real grey area... I appropriate the role of a city worker and I perform their job for them, and this way I don’t have any problems. I have gone to multi-million dollar buildings during the middle of the day and they assume that I’m on a certain side of the law."

• Critic Jerry Saltz calls the New Museum's exhibition Skin Fruit: Selections from the Dakis Joannou Collection "a shapeless amalgam of big names, big dicks and big price tags, crowded into too little space," stating that the museum's "thin credibility [is] stretched to the breaking point" with the show.

• Paula at MyBeesWax points out a nifty review of the new Banksy film, which is playing at Minneapolis' Uptown Theatre for a few more days.

Congratulations to Artforum senior editor Michele Kuo, who'll be replacing Artforum editor Tim Griffin as he steps down after seven years
"to devote more energy to writing and teaching."

• Tattfoo tracks down examples of mobile gardens.

Calling all Twin Cities–based chainsaw sculptors!


Zhang Huan's fragmented "Three Heads Six Arms" arrives in SF

The Asian Art Museum blogs the arrival of pieces of Zhang Huan's Three Heads Six Arms (2008), which the San Francisco Art Commission is dedicating next Wednesday as part of Shanghai San Francisco Sister City 30th Anniversary Celebration. Huang chose San Francisco for the world-premiere installation of the 15-ton, 26' x 59' x 32' copper work, which is being presented on the piazza across from City Hall.

The Asian's blogging of the fractured sculpture fits Huang's impulse with the work. From SFAC's description:

Three Heads Six Arms is part of a series of monumental works depicting the fragmented extremities of Buddhist statues. The series was inspired by Zhang’s discovery of religious sculptures that had been destroyed during the Cultural Revolution for sale in a Tibetan market. He began the series in 2006 shortly after moving from New York City to Shanghai where he retired his performance art practice and embraced a more traditional approach to artistic creation. His recent work is characterized by a more overt relationship with traditional Chinese culture and Buddhist iconography. However, he continues to use the body as a primary vehicle for exploring existential questions and expressing emotions, and it is a common thematic thread through his various artworks.

The first sculptures in the Buddha series included nine large-scale copper fingers, which were based on remains he collected during his visit to Tibet. According to Zhang, “When I saw these fragments in Lhasa, a mysterious power impressed me. They’re embedded with historical and religious traces, just like the limbs of a human being.” The fingers of Buddhist deities are considered highly symbolic because they convey different spiritual meanings through various hand gestures, or mudras. Zhang continued the series with several even larger sculptures combining the legs, feet, hands and heads of Buddhist deities. The artist, having been deeply moved by the sight of the desecrated statues, believes that by recreating these fragments on a grand scale, he is able to alleviate the pain caused by their destruction.


“The shape of Three Heads Six Arms came from my correlation of it with the Chinese mythological character Nezha, inspiration came from Tibetan Buddhist sculptures. I replaced two of the three Buddha heads with human heads,” said Zhang. Among the sculpture’s three heads is a self-portrait of the artist...

Here's how it'll look when completed:
Top image via the Asian Art Museum San Francisco, bottom image via the San Francisco Art Commission.

Swoon in Zambia

Brooklyn Street Art reports on a recent trip by artists Swoon and Matt Small, gallerist Mike Small (of Black Rat Projects), and blogger RJ Rushmore to a school in Kabwe, Zambia, where they taught print-making, linotype carving, portraiture and collage. For three days, writes Josh McPhee at JustSeeds, the group led workshops with all of the 200 or more kids at the Robert Shitima School, a "non-denominational facility run by The Brothers of the Sacred Heart where orphans and children living in the shantytown of Makululu (one of the worlds largest slums) can get free k-9 schooling." A few photos of Swoon's cut-paper works and some of the kids, via Swoon (via Just Seeds) and used with permission:

Related: Swoon in Minneapolis (1, 2)


Google Earth: The fortified city of Palmanova, Italy


Wikipedia on Palmanova, Italy:
On October 7, 1593, the superintendent of the Republic of Venice founded a revolutionary new kind of settlement: Palmanova. The city’s founding date commemorated the victory of European forces (supplied primarily by the Venetian republic) over Ottoman Turks in the Battle of Lepanto. October 7 also celebrated Saint Justina, chosen as the city’s patron saint. Using all the latest military innovations of the 16th century, this tiny town was a fortress in the shape of a nine-pointed star, designed by Vincenzo Scamozzi. In between the points of the star, ramparts protruded so that the points could defend each other. A moat surrounded the town, and three large, guarded gates allowed entry.


Professor Edward Wallace Muir Jr. said on Palmanova: "The humanist theorists of the ideal city designed numerous planned cities that look intriguing on paper but were not especially successful as livable spaces. Along the northeastern frontier of their mainland empire, the Venetians began to build in 1593 the best example of a Renaissance planned town: Palmanova, a fortress city designed to defend against attacks from the Ottomans in Bosnia. Built ex nihilo according to humanist and military specifications, Palmanova was supposed to be inhabited by self-sustaining merchants, craftsmen, and farmers. However, despite the pristine conditions and elegant layout of the new city, no one chose to move there, and by 1622 Venice was forced to pardon criminals and offer them free building lots and materials if they would agree to settle the town.18 Thus began the forced settlement of this magnificent planned space, which remains lifeless to this day and is visited only by curious scholars of Renaissance cities and bored soldiers who are still posted there to guard the Italian frontier."
Now, via Google Earth

The Art Workers' Coalition: "13 Demands" and "Does Money Manipulate Art?"

Eyeteeth's (informal and inadvertent, 'til now) Manifestos and Missives Week continues! After posting Bread & Puppet Theater's Why Cheap Art manifesto, Alex Dearmond's Made-By-Hand No Google Manifesto, and the text-based Situationist-inspired billboard hacks by the "Shoreditch Department of Advertising Correction," here's one from the exhibition Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts and Other Artists' Enumerations from the Archives of American Art, on view through Sept. 27: the Art Workers Coalition's "13 Demands," delivered to then-MoMA director Bates Lowry on January 28, 1969.
13 demands
(Click for larger version)

As the exhibition catalogue explains, Greek artist Vassilakis Takis removed one his sculptures from MoMA, claiming that while the museum owned the work, he retained authority over how it should be presented. The statement lead to the formation of the Art Workers' Coalition, a group of artists that, as its first act, delivered its "13 Demands" to Lowry.

"While these demands were not met, the coalition became a force for change in the world," writes Liza Kirwin, the Smithsonian Archive's manuscripts curator, going on to address global and art world issues, from organizing protests against the Vietnam war to successfully pushing for the institution of free days at MoMA and other museums.

Below, via Primary Information, the group's 1969 document, "Does Money Manipulate Art?":
artist questions
(Click for larger version)

Democracy Now's Amy Goodman suing law enforcement over RNC arrests

Democracy Now's Amy Goodman was among 46 journalists arrested or detained during the 2008 Republican National Convention, and now she's among plaintiffs suing law enforcement in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Ramsey County as well as the Secret Service.

The suit, filed Wednesday in United States District Court in the District of Minnesota on behalf of Goodman and Democracy Now! producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar, challenges "the policies and conduct of law enforcement during the Republican National Convention (RNC) in 2008 that resulted in the unlawful arrests and unreasonable use of force against the plaintiffs," according to the nonprofit Center for Constitutional Rights, which filed the suit. Goodman was manhandled during her Sept. 1, 2008, arrest, despite her protestations that she's a journalist. Her arrest came as she enquired about the earlier arrest of Salazar. Salazar was filming as riot-clad police, ignoring her screams, shoved her to the ground and apparently kicked her.

Goodman, et al. v. St. Paul, et al. -- which was filed by local attorney Bruce Nestor today, names the City of St. Paul, the City of Minneapolis, Ramsey County, St. Paul police chief John Harrington, Minneapolis police chief Timothy Dolan, Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher, an unidentified secret service agent and "multiple unidentified law enforcement officers to challenge the targeting by law enforcement of journalists during the 2008 Republican National Convention, the unlawful arrests of the journalists, and the use of excessive force."

Goodman says the arrests are "not only a violation of freedom of the press but a violation of the public’s right to know. When journalists are arrested, that has a chilling effect on the functioning of a democratic society.”

According to CCR's release, the suit seeks:
compensation and an injunction against law enforcement’s unjustified encroachment on First Amendment rights, including freedom of the press and the independence of the media. Attorneys say the government cannot limit journalists’ right to cover matters of public concern by requiring that they present a particular perspective; for instance, the government cannot require journalists to “embed” with state authorities. Goodman further asserts that the government cannot, in the name of security, limit the flow of information by acting unwarrantedly against journalists who report on speech protected by the First Amendment, such as dissent, and the public acts of law enforcement.
Video of Salazar's arrest, which she says galvanized support for the journalists:

Update: Journalists' RNC suit charges 'deliberate intimidation' by law enforcement

Cross-posted at the Minnesota Independent.


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