Tuesday, June 30, 2009

blue turban

A five year restoration of one of the last frescoes painted by Michelangelo in the Pauline Chapel, Vatican City, has revealed what some experts believe to be a self-portrait of the artist. The Pauline Chapel is not open to the public; it has been used only by the popes, and their attendants. After the Pauline Chapel was complete, Michelangelo devoted himself to architecture and sculpture.

The frescoe technique is described here; an article including a copy of the entire mural may be viewed here.

pulp fiction

A magazine produced by a student journalism class in Orange High School (Orange, California) featured a cover story on tattoos, which utilized a font deemed by the principal to be "gang-looking." The font is Old English, occasionally employed in goth culture and on print newspaper mastheads. Mr. Johnson is holding all 300 copies of the magazine in his office.

An article from the National Coalition Against Censorship, may be viewed here.

Monday, June 29, 2009

bum's rush

A British artist has been awarded a $35,000 (equivalent) grant from the Arts Council of Wales to explore cultural attitudes toward female buttocks. Additionally, the artist will create cast molds to try to understand their place in contemporary culture.

A member of Parliament's Culture Committee questioned the wisdom of the grant. An article from UPI may be viewed here.

family guy

In the week following the death of entertainer Michael Jackson, BBC Three has dropped a repeat episode of Family Guy because it showed his likeness in bed with Stewie the baby, who was singing "When Michael Jackson wants a rush, he humps a guy like me." Jackson was acquitted by a California jury on 14 counts including child molestation, conspiracy and alcohol charges, after more than 500 days of hearing evidence and 32 hours in deliberation over a week's time, in 2005; a CNN article may be read here.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


This artist's mural (in background), on exhibit at the Sydney (Australia) Park Authority is titled F**k LeWitt, a reference to American artist Sol LeWitt. Though exhibition organizers have curtained the mural off from the rest of the exhibit, and not included it in the catalogue, it remains on display through September 27. An article may be viewed here.

L'Origine du Monde, by Gustave Courbet, was painted in 1866; the power of the painting can only be apprehended at the Musee d'Orsay, Paris.


Nastassja Kinski and Serpent to be auctioned at Christies this week, here. Richard Avedon (1923-2004) at the ICP in New York City, through September 20.

pride goeth

This figure has been banned by the European Agency of Harmonization for the Internal Market, or OHIM. The agency had previously approved registration of this action figure, one of its Seven Deadly Sins series, however has now banned it as contrary to good behavior and public order. 

A brief article on the manufacturer's website, may be viewed here; on the seven deadly sins, here


The sign in the window of the Stonewall Inn, taken 40 years ago this week, reads: "We homosexuals plead with our people to please help maintain peaceful and quiet conduct on the streets of the Village."

An article about the renovation of the Inn location (Christopher Street, Manhattan) may be viewed here; an article reflecting on the 40th anniversary of the event which launched the gay civil rights movement in the United States, may be viewed here.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

take it inside, boys

This week, a sculpture of a nude male figure was removed from a public space in front of the Anton Art Center in Mount Clemens, Michigan. Titled "Walking Man" the sculpture was installed on Monday, and moved to an interior space at the center on Tuesday, due to individual complaints.

An article may be found here.  A full-length image will be posted, if obtained.  Even the NCAC posted only the truncated image shown here.

Friday, June 26, 2009

cross cultural studies

Shown here at a news conference in Dubai UAE, with the chief executive officer of D-Seven Motion Pictures production company, Paris Hilton (in green, at left) said she has studied the culture of Dubai and promised that the middle east version of her reality show will omit the drinking and swearing viewers witnessed in London and Los Angeles. 

give me the keys

In Britain, the ASA has instructed the world's largest game-developer/publisher not to reuse an ad poster for a driving game, claiming it encourages dangerous driving, anti-social behavior and is irresponsible. The game was in release in March, so the poster ad campaign has largely ended, however the developer was told not to reuse the poster in its current form.

An article about the art being restricted may be found here; get the wallpaper here.

come back

In Fall 2008, it was reported that Michael Jackson (1958-2009) would release a group of recordings in July 2009; the working title of the album was MJ09. The artist had been quoted as saying 'I won't tour, but I will release every single from this record; my fans deserve it, I deserve it.' Some track titles: the Kid, Broken, Systematic, MJ09 Interlude, They Keep Talking, Girl of My Dreams, Never Touched, Wonderland. But then, in early Spring, he announced an intention to perform 10 live dates--within a short time, his promoters, AEG, had expanded the concert schedule, booking 50 tour dates, all of which were to be held in London, and all of which sold out within hours. A Rolling Stone article about suspected secondary ticket market practices for Michael Jackson, This is It, may be viewed here; the magazine also presciently asked the musical question whether the artist, plagued by health issues including performance-related injuries and stress, as well as rumors, postponements, and finance-related lawsuits, would be able to take the stage opening night in London on July 13, here.

The artist's website may be viewed here. A CNN article exploring the financial costs of the cancelled tour may be viewed here.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

spinach kitsch

A solo exhibition of Jeff Koons Popeye series will open in the UK, July 2 through September 13. The co-director of exhibitions at the Serpentine Gallery, Hyde Park (London) was quoted as saying, "This show is incredibly urgent." Quickly! Go here!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

squatter's rights

A life-sized bronze female nude has been installed at B/IAS in Burien (Washington State). B/IAS, despite visual assumptions to the contrary, is a private art space.

An article may be found here.

Monday, June 22, 2009


There have been incidents of paintballed alterations of street art in and around Banksy's hometown of Bristol, coinciding with the opening on June 15 of an exhibit featuring his art at the Bristol Museum. An article about one of the paintball incidents may be read here. There was also an incident of textual alteration last March; an article describing that incident may be found here.  

Banksy versus Bristol Museum, free to the public, through August 31.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

Following protests--some  turned violent-- of the national elections on June 12, the Republic of Iran  imposed strict media controls. Journalists were banned from reporting on the streets, and not permitted to use images or eyewitness reports of violence; an article may be found here. However, images have been streaming out of the country via Social Media [such as twitter and Facebook] including these images showing the killing of an Iranian woman.  She was walking among a crowd of protesters, when she was shot in the chest allegedly by a Basiji paramilitary. The young woman, a native of Tehran,  loved, and was a student of, music and it is reported that her name means 'voice' in Farsi.  She was accompanied by her music teacher and, reportedly, her father when she was shot.

Neda Agha-Soltan (1982-2009) is buried in Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery in southern Tehran, in a space set aside by the authorities as graves for those killed in the violent protests following the national elections. 

tweet victory

The world turns to twitter and emails to confound Iran's media ban.  An article may be found here.

kiss and control

One of the most-recognized paintings on the Berlin Wall has been erased as part of a clean-up of surviving sections of the wall. The artists have been asked to return to 'repaint' their famous works. This artist has threatened to sue Germany. 

An article about the process may be found here.

royal fisking

A London-based architect whose plans for redevelopment of Chelsea Barracks (former military housing) were scrapped after Prince Charles wrote a letter to the chair of Qatari Diar (the Gulf state's property investment arm) expressing opposition to the modern design.  The lead architect, whose other work includes the Pompidou Centre (Paris) and Barajas Airport (Madrid) called the Prince's interjection 'totally unconstitutional.'

An article from the Entertainment section may be viewed here

Saturday, June 20, 2009

what kind of fakery is this

A Russian government culture agency has listed this painting as a fake; it was sold at Christie's International for $3M. Since publication of "The Catalog of Fraudulent Art Works," some experts are reporting that fakes now comprise the majority of Russian artworks they are asked to evaluate.

A Bloomberg article on this subject may be found here.

I like your hat

The Kinsey Institute is displaying for the first time its extensive collection of erotic art from Asia. In the 1940's and 1950's,  Dr. Alfred Kinsey collected visual images from many countries to enable him to study sexual bevior and attitudes, and the Institute has preserved his collection and added to it. Shown: work on paper, anonymous artist, 20th century, from Iran.

Eros in Asia, at the Kinsey Institute Gallery, Morrison Hall, University of Indiana (Bloomington), through July 2. Visitors should be 18 years old, or older, unless accompanied by an adult.


This fashion photographer chronicled celebrity, objectification, fetishism, haute couture and base desire. Forever associated with The Story of Ohh--a spread in May 1975 Vogue Magazine featuring violent images, he was ultimately censored by both British and Italian Vogue, and fired by French Vogue for two-timing. A brief interview with the artist, from 1977, on the subject of photographing nudes, may be viewed here.

Helmut Newton (1920-2004): Fired, at the Museum fur Fotografie, Berlin.

Friday, June 19, 2009

patchwork nation

An exhibit opening this week in Chelsea offers a sweeping survey of new work by more than 50 Iranian artists, most of whom work from there.  The young artists are confronting topics once taboo. A Wall Street Journal article about the exhibit may be found here

Iran Inside Out, at the Chelsea Art Museum, June 26-September 5.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

lost marbles

Representatives of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures urged the UK to begin the process of returning the Parthenon Sculptures to Greece. The New Acropolis Museum would provide an ideal venue, as it is within sight of the Parthenon. The statues were expropriated from Greece to Britain at the beginning of the 18th Century and sold to the British Museum. Copies of the Marbles have been made and offered to the Acropolis Museum.

A copy of the letter from the IARPS to the British government may be viewed here; an article about the new museum, which cost $181 M to construct,  may be viewed here

mission accomplished

The NY Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit in the Northern District of New York, against the City of Troy (NY) and its Public Works Commissioner, for shutting down the Sanctuary, a local art and media center on purported 'code violations' last year, after an exhibit called Virtual Jihadi opened in the space. The day after the exhibit opened, the public works official denounced its content, and city officials notified the operator of the space that the building was unfit for occupancy.  The lawsuit alleges that the public official used his powers in violation of the First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.  A copy of the complaint is available for viewing on the NYCLU website in PDF, here

An article from the local Gazette may be viewed here

star baby

Police in Belgium are investigating a complaint from an 18 year old woman who claims she asked for 3 stars to be tattooed on her forehead, then fell asleep during the procedure. The artist said the young woman did not fall asleep, looked in the mirror several times throughout the procedure, and received exactly the ink images she requested.  He is further quoted as saying that the trouble started when the young woman's father saw 56 stars. The legal age in Belgium is 18.

An article including a video may be viewed here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

right between the ayes

A legislative aide for Tennessee state Sen. Diane Black (R-Gallatin) republished an email containing this image;  she has received a letter of reprimand and will stay on the job. The aide made this statement in explanation:  "I went on the wrong email and I inadvertently hit the wrong button; I am sick about it and it is one of those things I cannot change or take back."

A summary may be viewed here

forbidden city

This week's Beijing Queer Film Festival was held without incident, however the affilaited art show curators encountered problems with local authorities which resulted in 4 pieces being officially censored, just before opening day last Sunday.  One photo reportedly depicted a man holding a fish over his crotch and another depicted 2 men in a sexual act.  Organizers removed the works, but not the frames, as shown. 

An article about the events of the week, may be read here.

seal the deal

A post-disposition memo by a U.S. District Court Judge, Southern District of New York,  has brought attention to a confidential settlement of lawsuit alleging looted art [the painter, a recognized Spaniard] by a German national against MOMA and the Guggenheim. Trial was scheduled to begin Feb.2; the settlement which contained confidentiality provisions, was announced of even date.  The reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press issued a statement saying that a press challenge to the confidentiality of the settlement could take years and would likely fail, based on precedent in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in New York.

Bloomberg article with details may be found here

Monday, June 15, 2009

too sexy for my shirt

A US clothing retailer, trading in Australia for just over a year, has been accused of using pornographic images of women to sell clothes. Some of the images have been used in banner advertisements on websites and in print magazines.

An article may be viewed here.


This billboard was installed in New York (Soho) this week.  It may be a still shot from a television advertisement banned in the US last Spring, though shown in Europe and online.  In 1995, Calvin Klein was investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice for child pornography in his use of young models in jeans ads; the ads were withdrawn prior to any finding being made.  In the US, five criteria are thought to be employed in assessing possible pornographic content in photographic situations involving minors: focussing on the genital area, unnatural poses, depicting children as sex objects, implying that the children are willing to engage in sex, and suggestive settings.  

A research report called Selling Jeans to Teens may be viewed here.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

hello dali

This work was shunned by Melbourne's major gallery in 1939, after engendering discussions about satanism and degenerate art; it was termed 'putrid' at the time. This week, 70 years later, it will be exhibited in The National Gallery of Victoria (Australia), beginning on Saturday and continuing through October 4, part of the Liquid Desire exhibit.

An article about the earlier removal and the present exhibit may be viewed here.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

carry on

Charles Saatchi pre-bought this piece at an art fair in Dubai last year, where it was exhibited for a short time; he intends to feature it in an upcoming exhibition at his gallery in London. Coordinators of the fair in Dubai were persuaded that the camel, their national animal and a symbol of pride, was being shown in a derogatory way.  The piece is made from an actual camel and an actual rexine suitcase. 

Anticipating an uninterrupted display in the UK at the end of the summer: The Empire Strikes Back, Indian Art Today September 30, 2009 through January 10, 2010, Saatchi Gallery, London.

Friday, June 12, 2009

blood red

A Labor Minister in Great Britain has requested that a new symbol be used by the International Committee of the Red Cross, because of associations between red crosses and the Crusades. He stated that continued use of the historic emblem risked undermining the work of the humanitarian organization, suggesting substitution of a 'crystal,' to avoid the religious connotations of the cross and crescent; there is a related International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. An article about the changing role of the organization may be viewed here.

An article about the symbols employed by the group, may be found here

Thursday, June 11, 2009

not OK

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver unanimously ruled this week that a monument installed on the front lawn of the Haskell County (Oklahoma) Courthouse, and featuring the words of an ethical decalogue from the Judeo-Christian tradition, was unconstitutionally violative of the establishment clause.

A copy of this weeks ruling may be viewed online here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Palestine has a slot at the Venice Biennale and conference for the first time this year, though it is not a pavilion; an article may be found  here.  This installation is called 'Stateless Nation.'  A spot about the installation in Venice with an attendant symposium featuring the artists, may be viewed here.

russian icons

In Moscow, a human rights activist and a museum curator have endured a lengthy criminal prosecution for their involvement in an Exhibit called "Forbidden Art" mounted at the Andrei Sakharov Museum in 2006-2007. In June 2007 Narodnyi Sobor filed a complaint with the public prosecutor's office, which led to charges against the 2 men for 'inciting religious and ethnic hatred' under Article 282 of the local penal code.  The accused men each face 5 years of imprisonment. The Tagansky District Court (Moscow) resumed the hearing of the case on June 5, 2009, behind closed doors.

An article from Human Rights First may be found here

dangerous character

This young artist, also a cameraman and activist, was arrested May 15 by officers of the Center for Extremism Prevention in Novosibirsk (Russia) and is being held at a police station, charged with drug possession, and with organizing a group for mass disturbances, vandalism of shops and offices, arson and the defacement of private property. Artem Loskutov is best know as a leader of a street performance called Monstration

An article about his art and incarceration may be viewed here

Monday, June 8, 2009

smelled like victory

On June 8, 1972, at Trang Bang, Tay Ninh province[Vietnam], South Vietnam's airforce conducted an airstrike with napalm bombs against North Vietnamese army troops hiding in the village. This scene was photographed by a Vietnamese AP war photographer;  the image won a Pulitzer Prize and was voted World Press Photo of the year 1972.  In an interview many years later, the naked child recalled yelling "nong qua, nong qua"  (too hot too hot.)  An article touching on the subject of ethical journalism, and featuring a recollective quote from the photographer, may be viewed here

Sunday, June 7, 2009

the jump

A Missouri-based (US)  architectural firm with experience designing dozens of professional sports arenas has been called in to re-evaluate Frank Gehry's arena design for the stalled Atlantic Yards' project; the arena concept in the project is generally understood to be part of a larger effort to lure the (NBA) Nets to Brooklyn. The developer insists that it is not substituting design professionals, and that the Missourians were only called in to implement cost-cutting measures on the ~$800M area;  however person's with understanding of Gehry's culture suggest a turnover would be imminent. An article may be read here.  

too close for comfort

Protesters from Topeka-based Westboro Baptist Church (the church family which in the past has expressed thanks to God for dead U.S. soldiers, as well as the opinion 'God hates fags') demonstrated this week during a funeral service for a murdered physician at College Hill United Methodist Church in Wichita, Kansas.  The victim was shot in the head as he acted as an usher at his own church, Reformation Lutheran Church, also in Wichita.  In March of this year, the victim had been acquitted by a Kansas state court on 19 misdemeanor charges of failing to obtain a second opinion in circumstances where to do so was required by state law. Within days of that verdict, Kansas' medical board announced it would investigate similar allegations.

A suspect with an ideological motive has been taken into custody, and is being held without bail; an article may be found here

inquiring minds want to know

An art exhibit entitled 'Newsroom 2009' was installed in the newpaper's public room, and some employees took offense. The exhibit was removed 'off-premises;' it has been reported that it will be installed at a new location, to be determined.

An article about the unplanned relocation may be viewed here.

Friday, June 5, 2009

well- heeled and hung

This artist's MFA thesis project Femmes Front and Center from the University of Michigan's School of Art and Design was successfully exhibited in March, 2009, on campus.  When the artist was scheduled to move many of the same works to a private gallery last month, for Femmes Front and Center II, the gallery pulled the photographs from the wall after installation. Discussion ensued.  The exhibit was hung, with caveat notices at all entrances,  and continues through June 12 at Affirmations, in Ferndale.

An article about the origin of the concept for the thesis may be viewed here; an article from Pridesource about the de-installation threat and resolution, may be found here.

historic facade

In Washington state, a private property owner commissioned a black and white rendering of the United States flag, on the facade of a building he owns which happens to have been a former American Legion post building. The building lot is within the town's historic district.  The property owner says the flag is intended to honor the military, including the memory of his late father, a WWII veteran.  A local Korean war veteran has been distributing posters stating that the owner of the property had desecrated the flag.  The mayor contacted the White House and the U.S. Department of State, and was told that a black-and-white rendering was not desecration.

The U.S Code, Title 4 Chapter 1, respecting the flag may be viewed here;  an article about the debate in Walla Walla may be viewed here.

black hat

The French government failed to bar Dieudonne's AntiZionist party from European elections to be held this week. French polls put the party's support at 4%. As French Jews and wider society experience concerns with mounting AntiSemitism, the former stand up comedian is presenting an AntiZionist list of candidates. He has been linked with Holocaust deniers [a crime in France under the Loi Gayssot] and the French Far Right, la Pen in the extreme. 

An article from Israeli National News may be found here

got 'stache

This Danish politician is running for European parliament as the Danish People's party's candidate, in European elections to be held on Sunday June 7.  According to Danish newspaper BT, he was noticed in a bar in 2007, making a certain gesture with his outstretched arm, while singing German war songs.   He denies making the gesture but admits to drinking Danish lager and singing Deutschland Uber Alles in a public place. Known as having a strong nationalistic stance, his campaign slogan translates as "Give Us Denmark Back."  Some of his campaign posters have been vandalized and the Danish People's party has reported the incidents to the police. 

An article from Vanity Fair chronicling the introduction  of the toothbrush mustache to central Europe in the early 20th Century may be viewed here; an article about the posters may be viewed here