Sunday, May 31, 2009

wait a second

A summary of Barack Obama's voting record on Second, yes that is Second, Amendment issues may be viewed here.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

school's out

A photo exhibit which included an image of a transgendered person will not be displayed at a Eugene Oregon elementary school, according to a letter sent by the school principal to parents. The principal said she met with the creators of the exhibit and decided the timing was not right to put the display back up at the school. 

An article which includes the text of the letter which was sent explaining the principal's decision, may be found here

gross anatomy

Dissection: Photographs of a Rite of Passage in American Medicine 1880-1930 contain hundreds of photographs of medical students posing with cadavers.  One of the authors suggests that the photographs were a way for the young students to deal with  palpable reminder of their own mortality. 

An article from Inside Higher Ed may be viewed here

Friday, May 29, 2009

nyet yet

A naturalized Frenchman has claimed that Night Cafe, which hung on the walls of Yale University for nearly 50 years, was illegally confiscated from his great-grandfather on the orders of Lenin himself.  The court ruling could affect the future of artwork plundered and seized by the Bolsheviks after the 1917 Revolution.  It could also force western countries signatory to the Washington Declaration of 1988 to widen the scope of the declaration.  It appears that much of the missing art stolen by the Nazis was subsequently looted by the Red Army and hidden in Russia.  

The article may be found here

tall shoes

Tracey Emin at the White Cube Mason's Yard features a short animation of a woman masturbating, 'The title for my show is self explanatory,' she explains. 'Love rarely comes easily and if it does, it usually goes quite quickly.  And there is death and loss..."

The exhibition coincides with the release of her book, One Thousand Drawings.  Those Who Suffer Love at White Cube Mason's Yard, London through July 4; the book drops  June 22.  An article incuding quotes from the artist may be viewed here

everyone she has ever

Tracey Emin's Everyone I have Ever Slept With 1963-1995 was destroyed in a 2004 warehouse fire;  she subsequently declined  a  £1m   offer from the Saatchi Gallery to reproduce the work, stating that it would be morally wrong.  Two brothers who are artists claim to have recreated her work, but not shown it; they claim that Tracey Emin has threatened to sue them if they show it. 

An article about the Chapman Brothers and their recreation of the works of other artists may be found here

Thursday, May 28, 2009

dead in the water

A planned exhibit of ancient religious manuscripts at the Royal Ontario Museum has been been protested by  the director-general of the archaeological department of The Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.  In a letter of protest sent by Palestinian officials, it was stated that the exhibition in its current form would entail displaying artifacts removed from the Palestinian Territories in violation of international law, according to Palestinian officials; at issue are the Dead Sea Scrolls, ownership of which has been a subject of longstanding dispute. 

Palestinian officials suggest the scrolls were illegally removed by Israel when the Jewish democratic state annexed east Jerusalem in 1967. Israel persistently asserts that it is the proper custodian of the scrolls.

An article may be viewed here


U.S. customs

An Iowa man has plead guilty of possessing child pornography because books he ordered to add to his collection of Japanese manga comics contained Lolicon. He is the first person successfully prosecuted under the Protect Act, which says that a drawing, cartoon, sculpture or painting showing children in sexual situations was illegal if local community standards consider it obscene.  The collector now faces 15 years in prison.  An article from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund may be viewed here

dirty dancing

The  chaccone, its roots in street dances in Mexico, and  its heydey in Spain before the Inquisition, was the most unbridled and passionate of dances--involving whole body undulations and exaggerated hip movements, accompanied by 'indecent' lyrics. It was banned by the Catholic Church, great publicity, even in the sixteenth century. The dance and the lyrics were in sharp contradistinction to the dignified music which came to accompany it in its Baroque ideation; this week in New York, it was Bach D Minor Partita for unaccompanied violin. 

An article about the New York performance may be viewed here

afrobeat goes on

A self-taught graphic designer has designed nearly 30 album covers for Nigerian activist and artist Fela Kuti.  A free exhibition of the artist's work launches the Bass Festival 2009.

A Reuters Africa Journal report, including a video of the artist, may be viewed here; an article may be viewed here

once bitten twice shy

A federal judge in Manhattan has permitted an art collector to proceed in a class action charging fraud and other misconduct against the Andy Warhol Foundation and the Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board.  The Plaintiff alleges that the Board has refused to authenticate works which the Foundation previously attempted, without success, to purchase. 'Self-Portrait,' purchased by the plaintiff in 1989 for $150,000, was certified as authentic by the executor of the artist's Estate, though the Board has subsequently declared it a fake on 2 occasions.

The ArtNewspaper reports the procedural posture of the case, in an article which may be viewed here

brussels sprouts

In 1973, this artist began a charicature series of drawings of [other] artist's procreative organs. The Ministry of Culture and Broadcasting of the Frenchspeaking Community of Belgium approved showing the drawings, in poster form, in the public spaces of Venice, during the upcoming Biennale. However, the director of the 53d Art Exhibition rejected the proposal, stating "...after careful evaluation ..not believe it is possible to include it in the collateral events." The rejection wa based on fear of offending Venetians as well as the artists represented.

The artist's statement about the project and its odyssey of rejection may be viewed here.

a model of decorum

A large (16'x24') black and white print of the First Lady of France, taken in 1994 before she was married to the President of the French Republic, will be auctioned in Berlin this week. 

An article may be found here

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

where the boys are

Michelangelo and Mapplethorpe in  juxtaposition in Florence, Italy, celebrating the human form.  An article may be found here

La Perfezione Nella Forma [Perfection in Form] at the Galleria de l'Accademia through September 27.

scotch, rocks

Before this well-respected Scottish artist made her an unwilling subject of his work, Madonna was an admirer and collector of his work; he claims to have created these paintings from memory and imagination. This piece, owned by a private collector, will be auctioned in Glasgow this week. An article about this painting and current circumstances which may affect its value may be viewed here.  

In 2002, when Howson first exhibited paintings of Madonna, the star's art consultant stated: "Famous artists don't paint famous people. We are not in the 18th or 19th century here. It's just not something that's really done.  It can be seen as voyeuristic, or the use of somebody's image to promote your work." An article from the time of the first showings, may be found here

The artist's website may be viewed here.

Update May 30: McTear's auction house in Glasgow had expected the work to sell in the rang of £22,000; however the painting did not sell at the auction this week and remains for sale. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


An Austrian-born author has been found guilty in  his homeland for wiederbetaetigung, a crime which translates roughly to 're-engaging in Nazi era beliefs'  or sometimes as 'glorifying Nazism,' for content in his book Absolucion Para Hitler? [usu. translated as Hitler Innocent? in English ] The writer had lived in exile in Spain and the book was published there, where no laws exist as to the expression of such views; he was extradited to his homeland to face these charges in 2007. His lawyers unsuccessfully argued freedom of speech/expression in his defense, and are now filing appeals on his behalf. In Austria, the crime has been broadly applied to include politicians and writers expressing doubt regarding the scope and technologies of the genocide of Jews in Europe, so-called 'Holocaust Denial,' Holocaust  from Greek neuter of holokaustosburnt whole.

A synopsis of the book may be viewed here; an article from Pravda about the trial and sentencing may be viewed here.

cool 1969

An article about the artist who created this image- with thoughtful comments about swagger and Byzantine icons- may be viewed here

Barkley L. Hendicks: Birth of the Cool, Paintings 1964-2007.  Santa Monica Museum of Art, through August 22. 

morning line pick

President Obama is said to have his shortlist: 2 federal court judges [Honorable Sonia Sotomayor of New York and Honorable Diane Wood of Chicago]; and 2 members of the administration, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. The president's pick must be confirmed by a majority vote of the U.S. Senate; confirmation questions from the right are expected to be aimed at exposing Judge Sotomayor's personal views on social issues. 

Sotomayor's first amendment record is summarized here.  

Monday, May 25, 2009


The trial on charges of kidnapping, torture and murder of a young French Jew by self-described barbarians ('les barbares') began in Paris, April 29. Due to the juvenile status of 2 of the 30 gang members accused, the trial is closed to the public and the press; notably the young woman who lured the victim to his abductors was 17  years old at the time of the abduction. Under French law, only the accused minors can request the secrecy be lifted, and they did not do so. The criminal trial is expected to involve over 200 witnesses and to continue through July 10. An article reporting the arrests, from 2006, may be viewed here

French Magazine Choc (oui, c'est Shock) published photographs of the victim taken by his captors. The victim's family sued the magazine in civil court, claiming breach of privacy, and prevailed; last week the Judge awarded damages be paid to the family of Ilan Halimi, as well as ordering the publication with the offending photograph on its cover off newsstands.  An article may be viewed here

hit a wall

In Arkansas, the Eureka Springs City Council is drafting a contract to take control of an outdoor art exhibit that some tourists find offensive. The exhibit's theme is icons, both religious and cultural, and they are posted on 4'x8' panels on a wall. The city owns the wall but does not jury the paintings nor manage the exhibit. Some suggest that censorship is afoot, but hizzoner says "It's not censorship as much as stewardship.'

An article from a local news source, explaining the history and identifying the players and some of the offending icons,  may be found here. The Artery's website may be located here

go figure

ABC broadcast censors required GoDaddy to show a graphic warning on its newest Danica Patrick commercial, aimed at warning about the 'continued content' shown on the advertiser's website during and after Sunday's live telecast of the Indy 500

An article about the ad may be found here. Castroneves won his third Indy and Danica Patrick came in third at Indianapolis yesterday; that story may be found here

skin in the game

This artist uses human skin from bodies donated by white men to medical science, to create artwork, sculpture and useful items such as lampshades, maps and flags. In July 2009, his complete body of work will be on exhibit at GV Art Galllery, London.  The Gallery obtained a license from the UK's Human Tissue Authority as a precondition to the displays. 

An article may be viewed here

on Her Majesty's Postal Service

Prototypes of these stamps, commemorating each one of the 179 British Forces personnel killed in the Iraq conflict have been proposed by a well-known British artist;  the prototypes have received public acclaim and it has been reported that most of the families (153/179) approve. When asked why the Royal Mail was dragging its feet on the project,  the artist who conceived the project suggested "You'll have to ask them." 

An article about these prototypes, the artist's new film and his representation of Great Britain at the Venice Biennale, which will run from June 7, may be viewed here. Pictured: Rifleman Paul Donnachie, late of Reading in Berkshire, aged 18 years.

memorial day

The artist was a member of the U.S. armed forces as well as the burial detail at Capas POW Camp, sometimes called Camp O'Donnell, Philippines, 1942. In the 9 months the camp was open, over 1,500 American servicemen and 22,000 Filipino prisoners died there of disease and starvation. An article about the artist and details of his service may be found here.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

capital gang

This photographer produced the 2 best known magazine covers of all time, one at RollingStone, and the one shown here, at VanityFair. Reports are that real estate-related delays and disputes, as well as a partner's death with estate tax implications, have impacted the artist's financial position.  She contacted a lending group which specializes in loaning to the arts community, and has borrowed approximately $10M, pledging all of her real and personal property, including image-rights owned by her individually, to secure the loan. 

The UCC financing statement filed with the New York City registrar by Art Capital Group as Secured Party (Lender) against the property of  Anna Lou Leibovitz, Debtor, encumbering copyrights, contract rights, and photographic negatives, in existence or to be created, may be viewed here.  An article speculating on the artist's financial situation may be viewed here

Saturday, May 23, 2009

got milk

A sixth grade student at a San Diego, California [Ramona Unified School District] elementary school was summoned to the principal's office to discuss a Power Point presentation she had prepared  about the life of  Harvey Milk. The principal concluded that the presentation triggered a school policy requiring parents to be notified in writing before their children are exposed to lessons about sex. 

The ACLU has become involved, threatening suit and  demanding an apology be made to the student; a short article may be here

Friday, May 22, 2009

no offense to drunken sailors

Charles Darwin suggested that all aboriginal people had tattoo of some description, though British seafarers are widely credited with democratizing the practice.  In the young American nation, it seemed, drunken sailors, prisoners and carnival workers appreciated the art form first; today, it would be a challenge to find a truthful twentysomething kindergarten teacher un-inked or un-pierced.   An article from the New York Times about this exhibit may be viewed here; while the United States Navy's currently published Tattoo and Body Art policy may be viewed here

Skin and Bones, Tattoos in the Life of the American Sailor,  continues at the Independence Seaport Museum-Penn's Landing [Philadephia Pennsylvania] through January 3,  2010.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

daisy chain

The Republican National Committee has dusted off and appropriated images from one of the most controversial political ads ever made, for use in an ad about Guantanamo prison. The Democrats had run the inspiration ad "Daisy" only once in 1964;  its final image of a mushroom cloud (foregone in the redux) was deemed too controversial to repeat. 

An article about the impending web ad may be viewed here;  the ad itself may be found here.  

politics as usual

A Chicago alderman ordered a mural on private property [Morgan and 31st] painted over, stating as his reason that some constituents considered it graffiti;  he was subsequently  quoted elsewhere as saying the image was a threat to the community, because everything in it was death. An article which describes the mural may be viewed here

jerry lee lewis would be proud

A Carleton College [Shorewood, Minnesota] senior restaged a pioneer 1968 conceptual work for the Piano,  called Piano Burning. A permit had to be acquired from the campus fire department. In addition to the bonfire, the student created a visual installation of images of the piano in the 20th century.  An article from the College's newspaper, providing details about the original avante garde artist, may be found here

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

that 70's show

Nearly 40 years ago, Tate Britain had its first interactive exhibition, featuring inter alia ramps, tunnels and climbing walls, resulting in a near riot; newspapers recorded some of the artworks were trampled to bits.  So the Tate is re-mounting the exact exhibit, May 22-25.   Both the gallery and the art-viewing public have more experience with interactivity,  and new health and safety regulations have altered some of the elements.   An article may be found here

blue goofus

An architect in Klagenfurt, Austria has painted the interior and the exterior of his residence a single color. He claims he was investigating the psychological effects on human beings of being surrounded by one color. Neighbors are complaining about increased traffic and lack of parking, due to spectators wishing to photograph the home.   The home is located close to the Botanical gardens on a hill called Kreuzbergl.  An article may be found here

Mrs. New's house of blues

A woman who painted her 230 year old cottage a color unapproved by the governing town council faces court action in the peaceful hamlet of Crewkerne, Somerset UK.  That is St. Bartholomew in the rear. A Somerset Distric Council government planning inspector gave the owner a palette of approved choices -creams, buffs, beiges, and golds- which she did not utilize. The story of Ms. New may be viewed here

ulysses annotated

This small -20x24- intimate painting of this American artist's lover has been acquired by the Toledo (Ohio) Museum of Art. In the 1930's the artist painted the male nude, an uncommon subject for the times.   By the end of the decade, he had begun to inject social satire into his paintings, however this small but techniqued painting predates that accommodation. His paintings of defined male forms were occasionally censored by the government, notably Fleet's In.

The model is holding a book published in France in 1922 though banned in the United States by the U.S. Customs Court, as 'obscene' and 'radical.'  That ban lasted through 1933. 

gone baby gone

A Kalamazoo Michigan artist has reported this effigy sculpture stolen out of a tree at a public intersection where it had been installed; local authorities confirm they are investigating the loss as a larceny. The artist claims to have had an interested collector in California willing to pay $45,000 for the artwork.  The inspiration for the piece, according to the artist,  is Nadya Suleman, of California.   An article from the Kalamazoo Gazette may be found here

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

in total meltdown

A reclining bronze figure sculpture by Henry Moore was stolen from the 72 acre estate of the artist's foundation in Much Hadham, Hertfordshire, in December 2005, never to be seen again. The Hertfordshire Police today revealed the results of their investigation: the artwork went through a Dagnham scrap dealer, and an Essex scrapyard before being shipped abroad, possibly Rotterdam and then points east.  The sculpture, valued at 3 million pounds,  is estimated to have brought 1,500 British pounds (about $2300 US) as scrap. 

A New York Times article may be viewed here

Monday, May 18, 2009

ice cream social

This image, part of an ad campaign for Italian gelato, is being investigated by a UK advertising standards agency after a single complaint was made, suggesting the image is demeaning to people who have chosen a religious vocation.  Foodie magazine Delicious has declined to run the ad. An article may be found here. An article about a real life 'kissing priest' may be found here

Gelato has significantly less butterfat than ice cream.

sex flags over china

A proposed sex theme park in southwestern China that was to feature exhibits, as well as sex technique workshops, has been demolished today by the government, before it was ever opened to the public. Photographs of the construction of the adult-only park had circulated over the Internet in past days, causing widespread condemnation.  An article may be found here.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

ask any girl

The ABA Journal reports one source's shortlist, which may be viewed here


A restaurant group in San Antonio installed a 14' tall aluminum sculpture, drawing the attention of the property owners association which viewed the piece as unpermitted 'advertising'; the restaurant group contends it is art. An agreement in principle was reached for the piece to be hidden from street view by a 12'x14' wall consistent with the structure and aesthetics of the building; however the restaurant group then announced it would cover the wall with art. The association has not agreed to an art-covered wall.  

The question of whether the sculpture is art or advertising is discussed in an article which may be viewed here

Saturday, May 16, 2009

the wonder years

In 1489 when Lorenzo de Medici asked Domenico Ghirlandaio to refer his best pupils, Ghirlandaio referred a youthful (b. 1475) Michelangelo Buonarroti; from 1490 to 1492, Michelangelo attended the Medici Academy, with access to the most prominent thinkers and artists of his day. When Lorenzo the Magnificent died in 1492, Michelangelo left the court and returned to his father's house. He would re-enter the house of Medici at the request of Piero, in 1494, leaving again shortly thereafter. He was he was to cross paths with the familia for the rest of his life, always proud of his early education in the Medici household, in the service of a patron, as it removed him from the hardscrabble apprentice-system.

The Kimball Art Museum in Fort Worth Texas has acquired an 18"x13" oil and tempera painting on a wood panel, depicting the Torment of St. Anthony. It is known that a young Michelangelo painted the composition, but whether this painting is the work of the master has been debated. When auctioned at Sotheby's in London, it was catalogued only as from "the workshop of Domenico Ghirlandaio." However the Kimball's chief curator became intersted in it; Kimball's board was ultimately persuaded to buy it. The price has not been disclosed but is thought to be in the range of $6M. An article presupposing its attribution may be read here.

murder in the cathedral

This wall painting in a ruined Catholic Church, St. Nicolas in Soria Spain, tells the story of the death of a medieval Archbishop by knights acting at the direction of a King of England.  The wall painting was discovered 30 years ago as tradesmen attempted to stabilize the church ruins. An article describing the history of the event, and the painting,  may be viewed here.  The article does not state the age of the painting, however, if the explanation of the origin of the painting is correct, then inferentially the painting would predate the death of Eleanor of England, called 'Lenora' by her Spanish subjects, in 1214. 

monster garage

This piece is displayed at L'Eglise de Ste. Eustache, in Paris,  one of the La Force de l'Art satellite exhibitions around the city.  A single kneeler is before the installation, a classic Madonna and Child portrait. An ArtSlant article about this piece may be viewed here; an online gallery hosting 107 images of the Madonna in the History of Art may be viewed here

Friday, May 15, 2009

holy not

Apple has rejected an iPhone application which would enable users to scale and crop photo 'headshots,' and superimpose them over Jesus' face. Apple rejected the application saying it contained "objectionable material," according to the  Me So Holy developer. 

cover up

The cover of a new Manic Street Preachers CD will be censored in 4 British supermarkets, as its artwork is deemed 'inappropriate' by the store buyers; the supermarkets will display it in a plain slip case, covering the original artwork by YBA Jenny Saville. The artist's work at the Saatchi online may be viewed here; an article about the sleeve controversy may be found here.   Journal for Plague Lovers drop date is May 18. 

what have you done for me philately

The Iraqi government has banned stamps containing the image of Saddam Hussein from the country's first stamp exhibit since 2003, being held at Baghdad Central Post Office. The government rejected stamps showing Saddam Hussein, saying they represent the blackest hours of Iraqi history, according to the director of the office of stamps.  Stamp collectors are expressing that history should not be denied.