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.

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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.”

MOCA Treats Street Art Like Street Art

Blu's Blog

Begging the question of whether it’s still “street art” if you commission it for a Museum, Jeffrey Deitch, director of LA’s  Museum of Contemporary Art, had a freshly completed mural by Italian street artist, Blu, immediately white washed.

Looks like street art to me!

The rather heavy-handed mural depicting military coffins draped with out-sized dollar bills instead of flags (get it?), graced the north wall of the Geffen Contemporary Building for only the time it took to document it as part of the exhibit for the show’s catalog.

MOCA’s official statement says that the mural was “inappropriate” and pointed out that The Geffen Contemporary building’s north wall sits directly in front of the Go For Broke Monument that commemorates Japanese American soldiers and is very near the Veterans Affairs building.

Deitch told reporters that the issue is not censorship but timing: “Blu was supposed to fly out the second-to-last week in November, so we could have conversations about it in advance,. But he said he had to change his flights, so he ended up working in isolation without any input.”

Immediate comparisons to the Smithsonian/Wojnarowicz debacle show just how sensitive the creative community is these days to any hint of censorship.

But, Deitch dismisses any similarity in the cases:
“Look at my gallery website — I have supported protest art more than just about any other mainstream gallery in the country. But as a steward of a public institution, I have to balance a different set of priorities — standing up for artists and also considering the sensitivities of the community.”

Deitch also claims that he and the artist are “on friendly terms, ” but Blu’s blog features a photo of the naked wall with the capton, “A really nice, big wall, in downtown L.A.”

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Blu’s Blog

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ADDENDUM: Via Hyperallergic: Blu claims that Deitch’s mural kill is indeed “censorship”; airs e-mail exchanges that challenge Deitch’s statements. This, likely, will turn into a fine back and forth. And in this hypersensitive atmosphere where artists, arts institutions, and pressure groups feel they are at war, issues like this one are bound to escalate. It is my own opinion that MOCA may not have dealt honestly with the artist and the public, but that the removal of the mural was not censorship. The commission was a blunder and the PR has been less than honest: period.

BITS: Women and the Turner Prize, Piero’s Shit, Shepard Fairey Beleaguered

Toma Abts Ert
Tomma Abts Ert, 2003 Acrylic & oil on canvas 48cm x 38cm Boros Collection, Berlin

SHORTY AWARDS

Only three women have ever won the Turner Prize:

  • Tomma Abts
  • Gillian Wearing
  • Rachel Whiteread

In 1997 when the Turner Prize committee came up with the first all-female shortlist, newspapers instantly lept to attention with such classy headlines as:

‘A woman’s place – is in the gallery’‘The jury’s still out, but where’s the spice, girls?’
‘No sexism, Please; They’re British’

The five times that the short list was all-male were never noted.

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PIERO’S SHIT

There is still speculation about what exactly IS in the cans that Piero Manzoni labeled “freshly preserved” Merde d’Artiste. Some say it’s plaster. Some say pineapple. Some say it’s “something wrapped”. Some say it’s another can, perhaps with something inside it.

merde
merde

Most people are pretty sure it’s not shit, though. Even the artist once told someone that, as the son of a man who worked in a cannery, he certainly wouldn’t have risked canning shit since it would give off  methane gas and explode.

Because the work was apparently inspired by an insult from his father, who said Manzoni’s art was shit, one can assume that no matter what’s in the can, there are still some who will insist that the label’s authenticity needn’t be questioned.

www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=shitcanned

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NYC DEPT OF BUILDINGS CALLS SHEPARD FAIREY’S MURAL A ‘SMALL BUILDING’

Animal New York’s Bucky Turco , reports that the NYC Department of Buildings has apparently pasted STOP WORK papers to the side wall of Shepard Fairey‘s mural on Houston Street. The claim that the “small building” was put up without a license would seem to be a joke, but the papers, one signed by Deric Lee, Manhattan Borough Commisioner, look real enough (although I have my doubts about the Large Caps).

Meantime, the wall has been tagged already and even broken through, so that part of the previous Os Gemeos shows through.

But, alas, the beleagered artist can’t get an ounce of respect as even the destruction of his wall is held up as a possble publicity stunt.

Artsbeat quotes Fairey as stating:

“Because I’m straddling the line between all these different worlds — the fine art world, the street art world, commercial design, fashion — I think I’m a target for a lot of narrow-minded people who just aren’t comfortable with my multiplatform approach. If that’s how they express their view is by vandalizing my mural, that’s fair. I assume that they think that putting a bullet hole through it is a clever interactive addition, which I actually agree with.”

TREND: Street Art, Outsider Art, and URGENCY

With all the Banksy, Fairey hubub this year, all the Darger-loving last year, and the current, frequent calls by curators for art that’s made from a sense of “urgency,” I’m taking away the message that art’s new direction lies in a reaction against (<– always a good jumping off point for a convo about art) academic, heavily conceptual art on the one hand, and factory style, assistant/money-driven art on the other hand.

So, out with the Gregg Crewdson budget, the Jeff Koons assembly line, the Damien Hirst branding, and in with the heartfelt scrawls and scribbles, or hard-won wheatpaste murals.

Quote of the Day: Matthew Collings on Street Art

“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 (January 28, 2008 in a review for TIMES ONLINE)

OPINION | Mr. Brainwash: Ce n’est pas un Banksy

There’s a sucker born every minute.
~ P.T. Barnum

MrBrainwash
Mr. Brainwash always has paint on his hand.

Banksy’s latest assault is Exit Through the Gift Shop, a mockumentary or fauxdoc, perhaps, that alleges to be about one Mr. Brainwash, aka Thierry Guetta, madman filmmaker and god-awful artist.

Guetta, is, apparently a nutter who attached himself to the famous street artist, following him (and other notable street artists) around for ten years or so and obtaining enough undesirable footage to force Banksy pay some attention. When he did, the story goes, he turned the camera on Guetta himself  and told him to go make his own art.

Continue reading “OPINION | Mr. Brainwash: Ce n’est pas un Banksy”

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