Last Thursday rumors began to fly that professional actor Sylvester Stallone would be asked to head the National Endowment for the Arts. He has no experience in government, but in 2009 he made a splash at Art Basel Miami when his amateurish paintings were made available for sale. As of last night, he declined any position that might be offered at the NEA, saying he’d much rather play a role in helping military veterans “find gainful employment, suitable housing and financial assistance these heroes respectfully deserve.”
Art and the presidential race don’t often collide. Every once and a while we can report on an artist who’s rendered Trump with a small dick, or more recently, the bizarre Twinks4Trump art show. But mostly, the election replaces the art news on our feeds, rather than intermingles with it.
This past Wednesday I experienced a rare intersection of art and electoral politics in the most unlikely of places—Hillary Clinton’s campaign office.
It’s been about 35 years since we were first promised a viable, commercial virtual reality headset. The time for that promise to be fulfilled seems to be upon us with major technology companies going all in on the research and infrastructure that will be necessary to make it happen both as a technology and a product.
NEW INC, the New Museum’s ambitious effort to fuse artist residencies, coworking spaces and business incubators into one singular program, has had two years to become a fully-formed innovation. It’s tough to say whether that’s happened yet, but the latest “Public Beta” (on through July 31st, part 2 will run from August 4-7th) is certainly different than any exhibition going right now and indicates that what’s to come could be a weird and original niche between several disciplinary worlds.
One of the most common questions artists ask each other at openings is, “Where do you live?” Perhaps equivalent to the typical New Yorker’s “What do you do?”, most of the artists I’m meeting these days live in Brooklyn. On the rare occasion an artist like me answers “Manhattan,” eyebrows raise.
At least this has been my recent experience, so I quickly caveat with, “I won the housing lottery.” This usually provokes responses like, “Wow, that’s like winning the lottery!” Yes, it is. In fact, the odds were approximately 0.06%.
But being a lottery winner isn’t all limos and 6,000 square foot living rooms.
The prestigious Turner Prize shortlist has been announced, and true to precedent, provides plenty of fodder for the British tabloids. GIANT BUTT SCULPTURE UP FOR £25,000 ART PRIZE. RIDE A MODEL TRAIN AND CALL IT ART? But the four artists selected ,Michael Dean, Anthea Hamilton, Helen Marten, and Josephine Pryde, aren’t quite what we’ve come to expect from Britain’s highest-profile art circus. A lot of this work is dense, nuanced, and less overtly attention-grabbing than the butt cheeks would have us believe.
The prize won’t be awarded until December 2016, but in an effort to get out front of the nominations and award game, we’re debating the merit of these nominees today.
On Monday, luxury lifestyle website Amuse published an interview with Petra Cortright, in which she used the term “gentrification” to describe how the internet is now less weird.
“I think the internet is becoming this really gentrified place,” the LA-based digital artist told writer Iona Goulder. “Today’s forms of social media feels more like people’s personal brands. Now it’s just people promoting their shit constantly and it makes stuff on the internet less weird. Everything feels more censored.”
Boosted by the interview’s SEO-driven headline — ”Petra Cortright on the Gentrification of the Internet” — the story circulated through my social feeds this week, eventually provoking a dust-up within some of my internet art circles. Cortright is among the increasing number of artists whose practices were shaped by the surf club era and who have gained bricks-and-mortar gallery representation and Rhizome cataloguing, so an overarching criticism of her statement stemmed from the perceived entitlement of an early internet user. There is an enduring fondness that borders on immaterial fetishization for a time when the internet was this unfettered, non-indexed boon of online amateur cultural production.
For the past year, residents of Baltimore have been bombarded with hype about Light City, a free festival of music and “light art” in the Inner Harbor. The organizers have repeatedly compared it to South by Southwest and Art Basel (two extremely dissimilar events) and secured roughly $4 million in funding from a mix of public and private sponsors. But it seems like the only people excited about this thing are the people who paid for it.