I gave a lecture at Detroit’s Wayne State University last week so today I play catch up. A few relevant links with the usual commentary.
- Maureen Dowd is furious with Bob Dylan because he let the Chinese government pre-approve his set. Officials asked him not to perform some of his protest songs and according to Dowd the one-time activist is a sellout for agreeing. He’s also a sellout for not speaking out against the Chinese government for holding artists such as Ai Weiwei hostage. Lay off. If, as an artist, Dylan is no longer interested in his activist roots (and he says he’s not), that’s his prerogative. Who is Dowd to tell artists what they should and shouldn’t be doing? Anyway, apparently he’s only drawing in small- to mid-sized crowds.
- In related news, the Guardian reports Ai Weiwei‘s driver and accountant are now missing. Not good.
- We’ve been tweeting about Bravo’s rumored Gallery Girl reality series since early February — our own Corinna Kirsch was approached by a casting agent — but Bravo finally confirmed the rumors last week. Hyperallergic immediately reported complaints that the show rips off Mary Blakemore’s webcomic by the same name. Is the concept too similar? Bravo will follow the lives of six young, 20-something women that work in New York City's art galleries. Can they survive the business? What will their love life look like? I’d argue that the concept is common enough that theft could be hard to prove — I tabled a relatively similar idea many years ago and nobody contacted me either. Still, that the names of the comic and the show are the same doesn’t reflect well on Bravo or Magical Elves and that’s bad news for them. It’s not like everyone in the field doesn’t already think they are at least a little evil.
- This week in link bait The Village Voice’s R.C. Baker claims Lichtenstein is the most overrated artist of the 20th century. Meh. I’d give that award to Pablo Picasso but then he wouldn’t fit the Voice’s cartoon themed issue.
- A New York Times feature on Woody the Woodpecker tells a story of hidden Modern Art. According to Tom Klein, an animation professor at Loyola Marymount University, animator Shamus Culhane was influenced by avant garde film and fine art. I take issue with the thesis of this article — that within these cells exists “genuine art” whereas the rest of it was just animation — but it’s good to see the influences discussed regardless. “Maybe they were seeing their first glimpse of modern art.” Klein remarks in the closing of the article. Glimpse is right; the longest clip influenced by the like was only 7 seconds. That’s half as long as the average view time for the Mona Lisa.
- The Whitney announces Cory Arcangel’s upcoming exhibition Pro Tools. Come May 26 I’ll have more to say about the show.
- Paul Krugman writes a great post on micromotives and macrobehavior. As I understand it, it’s basically a defense of Keynesian economics, but knowing very little about the history of economics I found it fascinating. It has nothing to do about art.