Currently featured as part of the New Museum’s First Look: New Art Online series, Miao Ying’s “Chinternet Plus” takes on Chinese web censorship, corporate aesthetics, and propaganda with the power of .net art.
Okay, this GIF shouldn’t be considered NSFW at all, but today is Frida Kahlo’s birthday and it’s the only vaguely “inappropriate” animated GIF I can find, shockingly. It’s a scene from the 2002 biopic Frida, depicting a mostly-clothed Salma Hayek in the titular role painting a topless self-portrait. Why would this possibly be NSFW? Because Facebook hates art historical nudity. Paddy knows all-too-well how annoying violating Facebook’s decency rules can be.
You know who else would hate Facebook’s censorship rules? Frida Kahlo, who would be 109 today. She would probably come up with some incredibly original NSFW revenge tableau to post all over their servers. Because Frida was a badass. She was such a badass that a documentary about her life and work even sparked controversy in the supposedly-ultra-liberal Portland school district earlier this year. One can only imagine how escandalosa Kahlo must have been during the first half of the 20th century. And she probably gave zero fucks about it.
Turkish media fetishizes stories of sexual abuse, and that sensation is drummed up by manipulating imagery of victims, obscuring their faces with pixels and the black censorship band. Found covering the eyes of women, animals and even objects under sensational news headlines, the band creates an aura of authenticity around the spectacle of sexual violation, and even conjures shame.
Who would have thought 90’s nostalgia would have resurrected the Culture Wars? Following the Catholic League’s pearl-clutching over Mark Ryden’s perceived “very anti-Christian and anti-Catholic” paintings at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art’s exhibition Turn the Page: The First Ten Years of Hi-Fructose, a group of local Georgia politicians are up in arms over Art AIDS America at the Zuckerman Museum of Art at Kennesaw State University [NSFW image featured]
In response to a controversial Mark Ryden painting at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, The Catholic League President Bill Donohue sent MOCA Director Debi Gray a letter describing a painting to offend Muslims. It’s pretty weird.
If you’ve ever wanted to get up close to “The Port of Rotterdam” by Paul Signac without visiting the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, now’s your chance.
The Google Cultural Institute has begun archiving famous artworks with gigapixel images, which contain over one billion pixels. You can now zoom in on images of paintings by Van Gogh, Pissarro, and more down to the brushstrokes. Google sees these documents as a tool for conservators, and also a chance to replicate the experience of seeing an artwork “in person”. Walter Benjamin is rolling in his grave. [Google]
Art activist group “BP or Not BP” has staged an intervention at the British Museum, protesting BP’s sponsorship of the show “Sunken Cities”. Activists say that the sponsorship legitimizes the oil company as a leader of climate change. [Hyperallergic]
We haven’t listened to this podcast yet, but it sounds interesting. Museums are increasingly buying contemporary art, which some consider a gamble, as what does well on the art market might not have much cultural weight in a permanent collection in a decade or two. [Quartz]
Legendary LES squat/art space ABC No Rio will be demolished soon. The current historic building is structurally deficient, but the collective has raised funds to replace it with a new, hyper-energy-efficient structure, so all is not lost. [Curbed]
“The fragility of freedom is the simplest and deepest lesson of my life and work,” wrote Fritz Stern, a leading German Historian who died in his home in Manhattan at the age of 90. He spent a lifetime trying to understand the circumstances that lead to Nazi Germany. [The New York Times]
Arthur Fellig, A.K.A. “Weegee” was a crime reporter who captured a lot of New York’s colorful streetlife and nightlife in the twentieth century. An exhibition focused on his photos of the Bowery of yesteryear will be opening soon at Mana Contemporary, and it looks like it’s going to be a fun show. [ArtAsiaPacific]
Pyotr Pavlensky, the Russian protest artist who famously nailed his balls to the Red Square, has had a rough year. He’s in prison, where he alleges he was beaten by guards so severely they broke several ribs. [Artforum]
And today, Russian courts convicted Pavlensky for his involvement in protests agains the Putin regime’s invasion of the Ukraine. [ARTnews]
Cara Ober intervies Hans Haacke about art schools, the Cooper Union debacle, and institutional critique. It’s a good read. [BmoreArt]
To counter a $3 million budget deficit, director Anne Pasternak is offering Brooklyn Museum staff buyouts. The museum employs over 300 people, and is facing rises in operating expenses. [artnet News]
And in other Brooklyn controversies, social media is super pissed about news that Williamsburg’s Hasidim are receiving a disproportionate share of New York City’s Section 8 housing vouchers. This anger is largely attributed to the fact that the insular religious sect owns so much property in the city, and as landlords, are blamed for escalating rents and gentrification—particularly against people of color—all while providing low-income housing for members of their own religion who opt not to work. Here’s the exposé that started it all. [New York Daily News]
Some view Peregrine Honig’s restroom signs as insensitive.
Former Work of Art contestant Peregrine Honig’s “We Don’t Care” restroom signs—created in response to North Carolina’s discriminatory transgender bathroom laws—are sparking some heated social media debate that for once doesn’t involve the right wing. Some view the $150 signs as exploitative and dismissive, while others (mostly cisgendered people) support the artist. It’s spread to multiple threads, but in this one we get to watch AFC friend Molly Rhinestones and Jerry Saltz on opposite sides of the debate. [Facebook]
As the cost of riding the MTA continues to rise, fare evasion on the subway is now the number one cause for arrests in NYC, disproportionately affecting low income people of color. All those arrests cost the city $51 million annually. But it would only cost the city $40.5 million to offer those same 29,000 riders free metrocards instead of arrest records and a night in jail. Activists are trying to call attention to this absurd policy by giving out free metrocard swipes in low-income neighborhoods. [Elite Daily]
Hate read: this piece equates the late Tony Goldman’s art-branded gentrifications schemes with social practice and community arts. Like, not as a criticism of community arts’ vaguely colonial undertones, but as an endorsement of art as a tool for developers. Seriously? [The Huffington Post]
Related: a household now needs to earn $158,000 annually to rent a two-bedroom in New York City, according to HUD metrics. This is so unacceptable. [Curbed]
Who is Yusaku Maezawa, the handsome billionaire from Chiba who pretty much single-handedly rescued the market with almost $100 million in contemporary art purchases last week? He’s a fashion mogul, former musician, and philanthropist with a foundation in Tokyo and a guest house for artists in London. Dear Mr. Maezawa, please bring us to Japan to see your collection, love AFC. [Observer]
This is adorable. Virginia Beach Arts and Humanities Commissioner Ben Loyola is offended by the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art showing Mark Ryden, who uses Catholic imagery in subversive-cheesy ways, and “paintings of nude portraits in all positions.” He’s upset taxpayer money is funding this. Ben, if you need a theme for a party to raise awareness about your concerns, I suggest the 1980s. [WAVY]
Unsurprisingly, more powerful figures from the art world have been named in the Panama Papers. The latest are gallerist Dominique Lévy and Miami mega-collector Ella Fontanals-Cisneros. If you really need to stash assets in a non-taxable form, can’t you just buy more art for your personal museum? [artnet News]
Your animal video of the day: Panda & basket. Cleaning up leaves is a much harder job than it looks when there is a panda involved. [YouTube]
Hip-hop artist The Game commissioned a $65,000 portrait of Prince from street artist Madsteez. I want to see this on the hood of a car. [Complex]
Ben Davis thoughtfully reflects on Jordan Wolfson’s installation at David Zwirner, which focuses a human-like robot being tortured. Davis concludes that Wolfson has a violent need to command the attention of the viewer. [artnet News]
The Handicraft Building in Minneapolis, which was erected in 1907 to house women artists and craftspeople, is being partially demolished and renovated into luxury apartments. This is terrible. Dozens of artists will be displaced, in addition to artist-run galleries. This follows a pattern in downtown Minneapolis, in which small-scaled historic structures are being demolished to make way for larger developments. [City Pages]
In other real estate news, artist-run space Essex Flowers is relocating to Chinatown, where they’ll have a bigger space. [ARTnews]
A poster to promote a travelling exhibition in Germany, Homosexuality_ies by trans artist and activist Cassils has been banned by Deutsche Bahn AG. Deutsche Bahn claims the advertisement, which features a muscular, androgynous Cassilis in lipstick and a jockstrap is “sexist.” Pretty much everyone has called bullshit on that. [ART News]
Digital art enters the mainstream: the latest USA Today travel listicle rounds up the top 10 destinations for the stuff. Weirdly, the internet is not one of them. [USA Today]
UCLA’s abysmal MFA studios are about to get a big, fancy renovation. [Los Angeles Times]
Randall Szott and Shannon Stratton had a rambling conversation, often funny conversation about how one defines success, the amature, worth within the attention economy, and a host of other things I seldom think about (including whether or not “fake boobs” are more “real” than real boobs because they have intention). It’s so dense, and often bitter, but worth a read because there’s a handful of gems: “From the ArtForum point of view, it is more professional to have a day job and make work that finds its way into a group show that they might review than to actually support yourself as an artist in some god forsaken small town making “trite” landscape paintings.” But also, Randall Szott, are you really an “outsider” if you have your own Wikipedia page and two masters degrees? [Temporary Art Review]
Borderline-creepy photographer Spencer Tunick (who is known for posing hundreds of nude models in public spaces) is planning one such intervention at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this summer. Based on the handful of often-contradictory statements he’s made about this (Tunick claims this isn’t a protest act, but then tweeted “For our daughters, I just couldn’t stand by and do nothing”) it kinda seems like the RNC is just the latest excuse to photograph some naked ladies. [artnet News]
Cara Ober notes that women “dominate” the Baker Artist Awards this year, with Joyce J. Scott taking home the big $50,000 prize. [BmoreArt]
The oldest person in the world, Susannah Mushatt Jones, died today in Brooklyn at 116. Jones was born in 1899, before the Wright Brothers flew the first aircraft and while Queen Victoria was still on the British throne. Her grandparents were slaves, she was born before women could vote, and she lived through 20 U.S. Presidencies. Unbelievable. [BBC News]
Fan Binxing is the guy behind China’s loathed internet censorship. And he just had to use a VPN in front of a live audience of students during a presentation about internet safety. [Shanghaiist]
Dutch researchers have created a 3D printed, extremely convincing fake Rembrandt using newly developed software. Critic Jonathan Jones has such a vitriolic reaction to this that you’d swear they had invented a machine fueled by burning the works of old masters. [The Guardian]
London’s Maddox Gallery plans to show Ilma Gore’s portrait of Donald Trump with a micropenis after the artist faced censorship and threats in the U.S. [Artlyst]
An interview with Daniel Hug, the director of Art Cologne, touching on the conflict with Berlin Gallery Weekend and the controversial German patrimony laws. [artnet News]
The director of SUNY Purchase’s Neuberger Museum of Art will not be attending the opening of When Modern Was Contemporary: Selections from the Roy R. Neuberger Collection at the Mississippi Museum of Art in protest of that state’s new LGBTQ-discriminatory legislation. This comes on the heels of numerous businesses, events, and even governments pulling out of or boycotting North Carolina for similar legislation. [ART News]
“He also got some notes on perspective growing up in a modernist house in Westchester. There, he and his brother (who became an astrophysicist at NASA) were raised by a psychiatrist mother and a neurologist father, both atheist Jews. His mother volunteered at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and his father became a headache specialist in order to cure his own migraines.” You know how sometimes a piece of nonfiction sounds like an aside from the narrator of The Royal Tenenbaums? I think that’s why I love this piece on Adam Green by Michael Slenske. It’s an honest look at artwork that sounds a little bit amazing and a little bit stupid and mostly fun. [Blouin Artinfo]
To protest India’s caste system and discriminatory attitudes towards people with dark skin, artist PS Jaya has been painting herself black before leaving the house every day for 100 days. I do not recommend recreating this performance in the United States. [the quint]
Reading this will make you want to cry and punch a wall or light a car on fire or something. It’s the maddeningly tragic story of Alejandro Nieto, a San Francisco native murdered by police after new tech-industry transplants reported him looking “suspicious” and “foreign” while sitting in the park in his own neighborhood. Unsurprisingly, none of the cops faced criminal charges. It’s appropriately titled “Death by Gentrification”. [The Guardian]
The public is invited to help nominate artists for the prestigious Turner Prize via an online form. [artnet News]
China is in the midst of a private art museum building boom. Unfortunately, this means China gets a lot of starchitect-designed spaces in fringe locations with very little worthwhile art inside. It seems like collectors prioritize having their own museum before, you know, assembling an actual collection. [CNN]
Maybe Art Basel Hong Kong can change that? A theory’s being floated that the market slowdown is misrepresented by crappy auction sales. Chinese collectors might be moving away from investment-style bidding and developing relationships with artists and gallerists to buy contemporary art at fairs. [Barrons]
For moths, Bushwick residents have been complaining that the Morgan L train station smells like shit. Finally, the MTA has admitted that a sewer pipe has been leaking into the tunnel. Great. [Pix 11]
You know those Hilary Clinton emails people care so much about for some reason? Wikileaks has published ten of thousands of them and made the archive searchable. But in the latest chapter of Facebook censorship, the social media giant is accused of suppressing access to them. [Al Arabiya]
Censorship is having its moment globally, apparently. A report from Freemuse claims incidents of artistic repression have doubled between 2014 and 2015. [The Art Newspaper]