OPINION: Let’s Do “The Maybe”

Tilda Swinton performs Cornelia Parker's "The Maybe" at MoMAvia BLOUIN ARTINFO
Tilda Swinton performs Cornelia Parker’s “The Maybe” at MoMA
via BLOUIN ARTINFO

Tilda Swinton’s  narcoleptic performance of Cornelia Parker’s “The Maybe” will happen spontaneously six more times this month at unannounced locations within the MoMA.

Personally, I think this sort of spontaneous napping should become a sort of critique of unimaginative or overly subjective art shows:  I’m thinking of doing “The Maybe” at a few art openings here and there– and whenever I drop in to the New Museum–I’m thinking we need some flash mob maybe’s.

Perhaps we all go out to Dia Beacon and maybe it up in the midst of all that minimalist/conceptual cannonized dry-ass religiously guarded art history.

I’d like to maybe in front of every Rob Pruitt ever made in China.

What makes you maybe?

Unsurprising News

Richard Serra's Shift
Richard Serra’s Shift

• The art world was appalled by a recent decision of the Ontario Conservation Review Board which deemed that an obscure, yet academically lauded, bit of land art had no “heritage value to the ‘community” because it is out of the way and privately owned. The cultural think tanks are all on board with ways to perserve it and we predict that it will soon be properly owned and tickets will be sold to see it and coffee will be sold nearby:

Shift in heritage: Richard Serra sculpture has uncertain future: Micallef
Shawn Micallef, The Star
“The closest thing southern Ontario has to Stonehenge is Shift, a sculpture by Richard Serra in a King City farmer’s field. Serra is a superstar artist whose work is worth millions of dollars but Shift remains relatively obscure. Though many places would envy our big Serra, last month the Ontario Conservation Review Board decided not to support King Township’s request that Serra’s work be protected under the Ontario Heritage Act, so its future remains uncertain.”

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• Someone wrote the crucial annual Damien Hirst/plagerism exposé:

He’s a thieving magpie’: Unknown artist claims Damien Hirst copied his £800 painting
By Dalya Alberge and Chris Hastings, Mail Online

• Damien Hirst put a new spin on stories about his inspiration:

Damien Hirst inspired by John Noakes’s Blue Peter spin paintings
The Telegraph
“Damien Hirst said he got the idea for his spin paintings from Blue Peter, the children’s television programme he watched as a boy.”

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• A new artwork by a hated person proved so unworthy of note that it got lots of angry press:

Glenn Beck Makes Really Bad “Piss Obama” Artwork
hyperallergic.com
“Three years ago, New York magazine art critic Jerry Saltz challenged Glenn Beck to curate two exhibitions, one of work he disapproved of, another of work he liked. Beck ignored the offer. But this …”

Glenn Beck’s Obama Pee Stunt Shows He’s Still in Populist Huckster Game
Michael Moynihan, The Daily Beast
“Submerging an Obama doll in fake urine may have been a bid for attention, but out of the limelight the former Fox News host’s been building an empire that goes beyond right-wing paranoia to TV network TheBlaze, a $100 million radio deal, and 10-dollar bags of chocolate pecans.”

See Video on the Blaze:

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Yoko Ono is still milking the wack-a-doo cow:

Yoko Ono Unveils Her Ridiculously Raunchy Opening Ceremony Menswear Line
by Ann Binlot, Artinfo
“Opening Ceremony unveiled its menswear line with Yoko Ono today, based on a series of drawings she created for John Lennon as a wedding present in 1969. The items in the 52-piece collaboration, “Fashions for Men: 1969-2012,” are pretty raunchy.”

Courtesy Opening Ceremony via Artinfo
Courtesy Opening Ceremony via Artinfo

Fun Fun Friday

Olek: UNorthodox

“I do not expect to be a mother but I do expect to die alone” 27th January – 23rd March 2012

Congrats to Olek for inadvertently offending readers of Haolam Hacharedi,  an orthodox Jewish magazine which pulled issues containing a review of the artist’s latest coup off stands. Apparently when they decided to review Olek’s show at Tony’s Gallery in London, they were unprepared for the photographic contents of Olek’s texty wall weavings which contain intimate messages from the artist’s own mailbox, many of them of a sexual nature.

Isn’t that all men care about? Text, I mean.

Emergency measures were taken as head of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations in London, Rabbi Padwa, knocked out a dictum forbidding sale of the issue.

Read on JR: Orthodox magazine in porn shock
By Nathalie Rothschild, February 16, 2012

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Art Trends:

KRAAAP

Postmodern denial of authorship
Burying big things
Text (see above)
Juicy Colors and Subjects
Critic Art
Ugly Ass Biomorphic Stuff
Arrested Developement Nyah-Nyah Art

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Solidly in the WTF Category

The Press Release says: “THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART PRESENTS THE FIRST LIVE RETROSPECTIVE OF THE ELECTRONIC MUSIC PIONEERS KRAFTWERK” and promises “Entire Repertoire of Eight Conceptual Albums Performed Live Over Eight Consecutive Evenings from April 10 to 17.”

The evening will be comprised of the albums performed in chronological order along with “elaborate staging” “3D images” and (shiver) “new improvisations.”

In case you’re a nostalgic baby boomer or a young technophile:
Tickets are $25.00 and will go on sale to the public on Wednesday, February 22, at 12:00 p.m., only at MoMAKraftwerkTickets.showclix.com. Space is limited. There is a two-ticket limit per person for the series, with each individual order limited to one transaction. Tickets will be distributed exclusively via will call, with photo ID required.

THURSDAY SPOTLIGHTS

Hidden Treasure at the Met

“Sources” told the New York Post that the Metropolitan museum of art is housing, somewhere in it’s dark nether chambers, some not-so-great works that they’d rather the world didn’t see. Awkward.

So how’d it get there?

Well, Carrie Rebora Barratt, the Met’s associate director for collections and administration told the Post that the museum will sometimes take lesser works from donors, in order to secure a work they want. But she intimated that the donors would be made to understand that the “unsolicited” works “may have to go into storage.”

I believe this is common practice, actually, and hope to unearth some more info on these and other hidden treasures real soon.

Read More: ‘OK, fine’ art hidden at Met: Donated shlock stashed in cellar
By GARY BUISO Last Updated: 5:24 AM, February 12, 2012

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HANKSY

Wince-worthy

There are those, who, like the ever gracious Matthew Collings,  think that street art is for punks:

“Do you like adolescent entertainment? Do you have the mentality of a teenager? Do you find Cézanne a bit overrated? If the answer is yes, yes and yes, then I don’t know what to do with you. You are a childish philistine literalist. Get down to Bonhams (one of the world’s oldest and largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques) next Tuesday for their first-ever dedicated sale of “street art” – this is the experience for you.”
~ Matthew Collings

And then there are those who agree.

Also there are those who don’t give a shit.

Hanksy, who’s debut show at the Krause Gallery was, according to the gallery, a great success says,

“The internet and the general public know me as Hanksy. Some call me a street artist, others call me a bad pun. I take iconic images from the UK street artist Banksy and mash it up with a reference from Academy Award winning actor, Tom Hanks.”

Read More: An Interview with Hanksy By EA Hanks | February 8, 2012

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Kickstarter “Project” is very simply a store

Joshua Harker seems like a sweet guy, so I’m glad his Kickstarter project,  Crania Anatomica Filigre: Me to You, got 77,000 dollars worth of  “backing” —but, honestly, he beat the system.

Kickstarter is supposed to fund “projects” and is therefore not to be used for “for profit” business endeavors. Yet one of it’s most successful “projects” to date is, in all honesty, just a store.

This “3rd most funded Arts project ever”  was touted as a way “to help get [the arist’s]work seen & collected by more people.”

“The idea is to offer my work for a limited amount of time directly without the extraneous exhibition costs & markups…a sort of pre-release.”

“Backers” received sculptures in return for, money.

You know: like in a store.

Mike Kelly: “I see all art as being kind of a materialist ritual.”

f06pco1yMike Kelly’s work appealed to me.  For composition, for color, for nuances of meaning, and for being, as he put it “reactive” — a feedback loop to our zeitgeist. He was funny and sad and intellectual all at once.

He was discovered dead this Tuesday in his South Pasadena home. Those close to him suspect suicide but this is unconfirmed. He was 57.

Watch Memory on PBS. See more from ART:21.

“I knew by the time I was a teenager that I was going to be an artist. There was not doubt about that. There was nothing else for me to be.” ~ Mike Kelly

BITS: Prince’s Jokes (Explained) & $treet Art

It’s Not Funny if You Have to Explain It

RICHARD PRINCE Untitled Joke Painting, 2009 Collage and acrylic on canvas. 48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm.) Signed and dated “R. Prince 2009” on the reverse. ESTIMATE $350,000-450,000 PROVENANCE Gagosian Gallery, New York Photo via Phillips dePury & Company

Phillips dePury has topped past unintentionally funny catalog copy with a new gem describing Lot 30 in it’s upcoming Contemporary Art Auction.  Lauding Richard Prince’s “Untitled Joke Painting,” dePury opens with this dubious gusher:

“Richard Prince’s Joke Paintings have remained a constant high point within the artist’s output for over two decades.”

Mm-hmm: Yes. Yes they have remained the high point. Sadly.

Then, having prepped us with the bad news, dePury goes on to do the WORST thing you can ever do to a comic: they EXPLAIN his joke!

“The work is technically lush, utilizing both acrylic and collage. The centered block letters read, in nine rows, “I never had a penny to my name, so I changed my name. Again, I never had a penn.” Prince’s obvious joke is corroborated by letters cut in half, and even missing with respect to final “y” in penny. One must assume that he did not have enough to his name even to get the text set correctly.”

Yeah. Heh heh. That must be it.

Oh, but there’s a leetle bit more: in case you missed that other funny…

“Interestingly, the joke Prince prints across the present lot is entirely unrelated to the subject of nurses, and thus the viewer might be left wondering what the connection is between the subject and its background. …If what he has collected also amounts to the oeuvre he has amassed, perhaps it’s simply natural for one piece to pratfall over another.”

Thank you. We might otherwise have assumed that Richard Prince just had a few nurses to get rid of.

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“Street Art” is Just a Word for “Emerging Designer”

We’ve all seen it. Shep, Damien, Banksy… they started out hanging from the eves with a spray can, and ended up hawking t-shirts and limited edition art objects online.  Yet even the advent of “Mr. Brainwash” didn’t really force us to just come out and SAY it.

But hell, now it’s time: The streets are just a starter kit for emerging artists with “urban” flavor: the goal is a corporate brand like OBEY or Objective Criteria.

Still, The Guardian sought out, Jeffrey Deitch, for the final word on street art as “big business.”

“Today, somebody does a tag in Russia, China, Japan, or Africa, a friend photographs it and within a few hours it’ll be viewed on websites all over the world,” says Jeffrey Deitch, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, which recently opened a major show on the subject. “I think you can make a good case that street art is now the most influential art movement of the past 30 years. The penetration of urban culture is huge, and it’s influencing everything from skateboard design to high fashion. Some of these guys have even been hired to design Louis Vuitton handbags.”

BITS: Bad Luck Angels and Angry Catholics

LITTLE ANGEL  IN JAIL (AGAIN)

LA 2, in better days

Angel Ortiz, aka Little Angel, or, better known as LA II, or by his elaborate LA ROC tag which decorated many of his collaborations with Keith Haring, has languished in the shadows of his collossally famous mentor for 2+ decades. And now, he has been arrested for grafitti one time too many (three occasions) in a short period, and faces a felony charge.

Since his youthful adventures with Haring, Ortiz has waxed obscure, finding himself unacknowledged by Keith Haring’s dealers and biographers to the extent that he claims to have found some of his collaborations with Haring in sales and auction catalogs without any attribution to him and without receiving any compensation.

An unwieldy personality, Ortiz, who was very young when he began working closely with Haring, never managed to parlay his 15 minutes of fame into anything big enough to satisfy the star treatment he got when he toured with Haring at the age of 15. Promised that Haring was setting aside a trust for him, Ortiz found, upon Haring’s death, that no such fund existed. He has never recovered from this disappointment, nor from his subsequent struggles for acknowledgment.

This arrest comes simultaneous to receiving a VIP invitation to “Art in the Streets” where one of his collaborations with Haring is on display. It also comes upon the heels of a recent show at Dorian Grey Gallery, a rarity for Ortiz who has not shown often in the United States.

It is arguable that Ortiz has done fairly well. He even has a following in Italy and sells his works for prices between $500 and $5,ooo.

But a, perhaps bitter, Ortiz has been more than a little self-sabotaging. He has, for example, been arrested for painting an unauthorized mural on an Urban Outfitters in the East Village despite the fact that he is one of the company’s official artists.

He was also arrested recently for spraying the Kenny Sharf mural at Houston and Bowery Streets, a site he is fond of tagging ever since he added flourishes to the Kieth Haring trubute mural that occupied the wall in 2008.

However, these charges, which ironically add up now to a felony are not the worst of Ortiz’s rather startling list of past arrests, some of which have been for drug charges and car theft.

The story of Angel Ortiz is a sad and complex one. So young when he attached himself to Keith Haring, he was exposed to fame and to a world of promise which he found subsequently withheld for various reasons, many beyond his control. It has been argued that Ortiz’s influence on Haring was pivotal to Haring’s development and to his later, more decorative and intricate style. Indeed there are those who continue to champion Angel Ortiz and who feel a great deal of indignation over how history has treated him.

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ANGRY CATHOLICS DESTROY ART (AGAIN)

The most famous be-fouled toy cricifix in the world

Spew artist, Andres Seranno’s ‘Piss Christ’ met with violence yesterday at the museum of contemporary art in Avignon, France, when two crazed Catholics, not happy with mere spray paint, pulverized the work with instruments of violence, including an ice pick and a hammer.

It’s not a very original move. Paving the way for this quaint Catholic tradition, a copy of “Piss Christ’ was similarly demolished by two OTHER angry Catholics in 1997 as it hung in a museum in Australia.

Always ready to pick a fight when accused of idolatry, sensitive Catholics have been decrying the ‘Piss Christ’ ever since Seranno first emptied his bladder on it. But these holy renegades did not stop at ravaging the controversial photograph; they went on to vandalize another of the museum’s holdings before they ran away.

“I’m disgusted, Yvon Lambert, director of the museum told France Info, “Two works, dammit! They attacked the Piss Christ, that’s one thing, but they also attacked a beautiful photo of the hands of a nun. The ignorance of these people is unbelievable. ”

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Addendum:

The painting of a nun’s hands to which Mr. Lambert refers, is another work by Serrano, entitled ‘The Church(Sœur Jeanne-Myriam)’: it has been revealed that the work was damaged in a struggle as museum guards tried to pry a hammer away from one of three (3) assailants. I had cited two in the story above.

There is speculation that the attack may be connected to protests held outside the Collection Lambert the day before. They were demanding that, Serrano’s ‘Immersion’ as it is properly called, be removed from the currently running  “I Believe in Miracles.” show. The museum will continue to display the works in their damaged state.

A Find!

Well's pretty baby, a 1988 Keith Haring, 14 x 9 inches, oil on glass

Lee Wells, of Stratus Global Partners, suspects he may have landed on a very good deal while “manning the Dorian Grey Gallery” on Sunday:

The way  he tells it: “A guy walks into the gallery and says ‘I used to roll with Haring and have a piece I want to sell and if you’re smart this is your lucky day because I need the cash today.'”

So he buys it because “the confidence of the mark tells me it just may be real,” and because “the lower tag is by long time Haring collaborator LA2 (Angel Ortiz).”

He spent “$99” on it, so the risk isn’t huge, though–the windfall may be — still, I admire his confidence.

Asked what comes next, Wells replied:

“Once we get it authenticated we will figure out what to do. It’s my piece and should I decide to sell it, I’ll will most likely share proceeds with LA2 and give a little back to the guy who sold it to me (maybe the gallery too) Its a pretty little piece from 1988.”

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Curious about the possibility that a confidence trickster with a bit of niche art knowledge (and a confident hand) might be able to make a small pile of money by forcing hurried sales on galleries and collectors, I began a search for fake Harings — found nothing (so far) — but I did stumble upon a very fine site selling fake art to all the would-be collectors out there who scorn posters but must have a Keith Haring on their wall.

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On iFalsidiAutore.it, you can search for “replicas” by artist, title or subject. I would have posted an image of their Kieth Haring “Wolf” but they warn that “The image of the fake painting on sale is protected by copyright.”

Oh well then.

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