Bits: 04.21.11

• On yesterday's one-year anniversary of the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, artist-activists at Liberate Tate staged a guerrilla performance in the Tate Britain galleries to highlight the museum's ties to BP. The peformance: "A naked member of the group has had an oil-like substance [charcoal and sunflower oil] poured over him by silent figures dressed in black and wearing veils, and is now lying in a fetal position on the floor in the middle of the exhibition Single Form." See video of the piece, Human Cost. Earlier: Art Not Oil targets petroleum-industry sponsorship of the arts

• The same day, 166 artists, writers and thinkers -- including Naomi Klein, Lucy Lippard, Rebecca Solnit and Brian Holmes -- signed an open letter published in The Guardian calling for the Tate to "demonstrate its commitment to a sustainable future by ending its sponsorship relationship with BP."

• We lost two great journalists in Libya yesterday -- Restrepo co-creator Tim Hetherington and photographer Chris Hondros -- while more remain in jeopardy in the country: 34-year old American freelance reporter Claire Gillis (The Atlantic, USA Today) has been in Libyan custody since Apr. 5 and was last seen in a detention facility two weeks ago today. American Global Post correspondent James Foley, Spanish photographer Manu Brabo and South African photographer Anton Hammerl were also detained.

• In its first layoffs since 2009, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts has cut 10 positions, including that of Sue Canterbury, associate curator of paintings, who has been at the museum for 12 years. The cutbacks, which follow layoffs of 19 people two years ago, is part of an effort to trim $1.4 million from the MIA's budget.

• Curators of the Sharjah Biennial have issued a "final" statement following the abrupt firing of biennial director Jack Persekian following outrage over a work some deemed offensive: "It is deeply disheartening to witness the biennial’s complexities, poetics and considerations overcast by this crisis, and its bold proposals contrived to the service of shock value. To shock was never our strategy, and offense never our intention."

• Creators of the Sharjah petition, which has some 1,600 signatures so far, send an email: "Our call for action to boycott stems from our indignation, disappointment and refusal to accept that the hard work of creating a transnational and local arena for artistic practice and debate from within Sharjah could so quickly, arbitrarily and unilaterally be annulled, that internal politics were allowed to reign over this matter at the expense of a much needed conversation, and that artworks in the 10th Sharjah Biennial were altered without the minimum of transparency on behalf of the Foundation." They seek: "public acknowledgment of the events that occurred and the exact manner in which they took place," and a "guarantee that safeguards the intellectual independence of Sharjah Art Foundation’s multiple productions including the work of the artists involved with the Foundation."

• The LAPD thinks one of two French graffiti artists it has in custody for suspected vandalism is Space Invader.

• Hyperallergic has photos of the damage at Gaudi's Sagrada Familia, which was hit by an arsonist the other day, in Barcelona.

Paint like Jackson Pollock. Online. Sorta.

No comments: