Thursday, July 30, 2009


In the month of August, Incheon (Korea) will be the site of the 2d Annual Women's Biennale; 300 artists from 40 countries will exhibit in a city known for its seaport, airport and Pentaport Rock Festival.

This mixed media installation references the thousands of young women forced into sex slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army during WWII. The photos are accompanied by audio recordings with former sex slave survivors, talking about their hopes and dreams, and singing songs in Korean, Taiwanese, Chinese, Hakanese, and Japanese.

An article about the Biennale may be found here.

only the good

Yasmin Ahmad, whose films about inter-racial romance and religious attitudes invited outrage in her native Malaysia, died from a brain hemorrhage this week; she was 51 years old. Her films were censored in her homeland, often cut severely due to scenes discussing sex, racial stereotypes and some nudity; nonetheless they won awards at film festivals in France and Japan.

An article from the Malaysian Insider may be viewed here; about the artist's early years, here.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

*not to scale

An advertisement promoting a wind farm misled the public by featuring turbines much smaller than those planned. there were plans to build 8 giant turbines in the heart of Northumberland (UK). Facing local opposition to the project, E.On. published leaflets and placed tv advertisements illustrating how the 377 foot tall turbines would blend into the landscape.

An article may be viewed here.

spokes men

"As the Toto Turns" is a satirical comic of professional cyclining and cyclists, featured every Tuesday on Not all star racers are fans; Lance Armstrong blocked it on Twitter.

put your big pants on

A Sudanese activist/journalist has been sentenced by a Khartoun court to public flogging (40 lashes) for violation of Article 152 of Sudanese law, 'sensational dress;' the woman appeared in public wearing trousers. The Article says: "Whoever commits an indecent act or an act that breaches public morality or wears clothes that are indecent or would breach public morality which causes annoyance to public feelings is liable to forty lashes or fin or both punishments."

Photos were withheld by the National Intelligence and Security Service; an article may be viewed here.


For the second consecutive year, organizers of the India Art Summit have banned the works of this artist, due to his paintings of Hindu goddesses Durga and Saraswati without their clothes on. Summit organizers posted this notice: 'While we acknowledge the lifelong achievements and the iconic status of artists like MF Husain in Indian art, we are unable to put the entire collective concern at risk by showcasing artists who have, in the past, been received with hostility by certain sections of the society unless we receive protection from the government and the Delhi police.' Husain, a Muslim, went into self-imposed exile in 2006 due to threats on his life from right-wing Hindu groups, and now spends his time between London and Dubai.

The summit is set for August 19-22, at Pragati Maidan Exhibition Center, New Delhi.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Merce Cunningham died Sunday night at his home in Manhattan; he was 90. His vision and impact went beyond dance to the arts as a whole. He was known for collaborations with artists of his day; Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jasper Johns created costumes and sets for his dance performances.

Earlier this month it was announced that Merce would discontinue his company in a year; his plan was to transfer posthumous rights to his dances to a trust which would license them for performance by other companies. An article about his "Living Legacy" succession plan may be viewed here. Survival of dances is unique in that choreographers seldom use 'dance notation' and few dancers know how to read it; rather a choreographer goes to studio and teaches the movements to dancers, who then perform from memory on stage. No other art form perpetuates in this way.

The artist's website may be viewed here.

witch craft

A seventeen year old graffiti artist painted the underpass of March Street Bridge, Salem (Mass.) under the supervision of the local police department as part of his community service project. He had been arrested for graffiti vandalism. Reviews have been mixed.

An article may be found here.

hula who

The (Chinese-born) director of Waikiki's newest musical production, Heartbeat Hawaii, hosted by the Royal Hawaii Theater, was told during dress rehearal that the dancers were not performing the traditional hula correctly, that his version was not a proper tribute to the beauty of the dance, and should be removed from the show. The director agreed only under threat that the entire show would be shut down.

Monday, July 27, 2009

facebook me

Ads on Facebook using member profile pictures without permission provoked online chatter about how to avoid unwittingly becoming a spokesmodel for products on the social networking site. Facebook policies require developers to obtain permission from users before using their photo in an ad, and ad networks which violate Facebook policies are subject to being banned from the site.

An article shedding light on the interplay of Facebook ads and user privacy may be found here.


J.M. Antolin spent the last 8 years painting Denial of Masquerade (subtitle: The Archons). The 13X8 foot canvas has as its subject the United States' post- 9/11 history in relation to war and terrorism.

At the 2/20 Gallery, 220 W. 16th Street, New York: July 16-August 16.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

no time for sargents

In the 1970's, a self-taught art student purchased this painting at a Middletown Connecticut rummage sale and spent a dozen or so years trying to prove it was the work of John Singer Sargent. The art student died in 1992; the painting was authenticated in 1996. An article about a competing claim to the painting, denied in probate court, and on procedural grounds in an appellate court in Middleton, may be viewed here.

The title is 'sketch of Carmencita Dancing;' both William Merritt Chase and James Beckwith painted portraits of the same subject.

pond scum

China's auction law was issued in 1997. Chapter 5 Article 61 states that where an auctioneer and client declare, prior to an auction sale, that they cannot guarantee the genuineness or quality of an object of auction, they shall not be liable for the guaranty of the object.

There is a court case in China involving an alleged forgery of "Pond" by Wu Guanzhong. An article describing the factual background of the court case may be found here.

last man standing

This martial art form is being preserved through the efforts of one master, who instructs his fellow British citizens in the discipline of Shastar Vidya. When the British ruled the Punjab, it was in their interest to ban the art, once practiced by the Sikhs, and reduce it from a successful battlefield strategy to a ceremony; even the blue turbans were forbidden.

The master has established classes in Berlin and America; an article may be viewed here.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Jamba Juice's ad campaign contains a clear appropriation from the cult cartoon strip, 'Get Your War On;' an article including interviews with the CEO of Jamba Juice as well as with the cartoonist, who has asked his readers for a boycott of the smoothie product, though is not threatening suit, may be viewed here.

little terror

This 3 foot tall sculpture is displayed in the front window at Gallery 90 in Finsbury Park, North London, less than 1 mile from the mosque where Abu Hamza used to hold forth. An article may be viewed here.

in the beginning

Part of a larger exhibit, this volume, with a container of pens nearby and a notice which reads: 'If you feel you have been excluded from the Bible, please write your way back into it,' is the work of the artist in residence at GOMA, Glasgow; an article may be viewed here.

Made in God's Image, at the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow.

take off

A group of Russian artists took their art to the street, turning their exhibits into political protests and supplementing their protests with artwork, in Moscow. The take-off on Luncheon on the Grass was reportedly one of the most controversial pieces.

An article identifying the subject of their protest may be found here.

image makeover

Worth 1000 sponsored an online art contest, in which image-editors were challenged to reinvent classic paintings with recognizable faces. This result obtained from the body of Princess Albert de Broglie (by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres) and the tattoos, eyeliner and beehive of Amy Trouble Winehouse.

An article may be found here.

Friday, July 24, 2009

skirting the rules

Zulu virgins have performed this dance in this dress for centuries. The dances are performed annually in honour of the king, who chooses a wife from among the virgins; this dance is at Nongoma, northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Photography at the event has historically been regulated and only bona fide members of the press are authorized to take photos.

King Goodwill Zwelithini decreed in a recent media briefing that virgins will dance wearing sarongs or traditional undergarments called umuntsha. Apparently some tourists were posing as members of the press and taking photographs with zoom lenses of the dancers. It is reported that the young women are angry that they are unable to dance in their traditional dress.

Last year, the King banned female visitors from wearing pants to the ceremony, on the grounds that modern attire clashed with traditional Zulu culture. An article about an effort by the provincial government to restore dignity to the royal house and improve its image 'as an important tourist brand and symbol of unity', may be viewed here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

american dream

This university professor was arrested on the front porch of his Cambridge Masssachusetts home, for disorderly conduct, though charges were shortly dropped. While being interviewed and then detained, he accused the arresting officers of profiling; arguably such comments are protected political speech. An article touching on helpful police protocols may be found here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


On today, July 22, 2009, a total eclipse of the Sun is visible from within a narrow corridor that traverses half of Earth. The path of the moon's umbral shadow begins in India and crosses through Nepal,. Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and China; it then leaves mainland Asia, crosses Japan's islands and curves southeast through the Pacific Ocean where the maximum duration of totality reaches 6 minutes 39 seconds. NASA's eclipse website may be viewed here.

Astronomers Studying an Eclipse or Dionysius the Aeropagite Converting the Pagan Philosophers by Antoine Caron; Oil on Panel (1571)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

off leash

This sculpture is three meters tall; the figure's most-discussed appendage is 40 cm. A metric conversion table may be viewed here. The sculpture, titled 'good boy,' caused controversy when installed on a public footpath in Sydney; it is currently generating discussion in a private gallery in the Subiaco area, Perth. An article may be viewed here.

The Dog in Us All, at Linton and Kay Contemporary Gallery, Hay Street, through August 5, 2009.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

transfer case

The remains of Sergeant Michael Heede Jr., (USMC) aged 22, being returned to Edgewood, Maryland; he died while serving in Helmand province, Afghanistan. The photo was taken at Dover, July 15, 2009. The vessels are commonly called 'coffins' or 'caskets' in the media, however the military name is 'transfer case.' They are made of aluminum, and packed with ice to keep the bodies from decaying over the course of flights from Iraq or Afghanistan. They fly into Kuwait or Germany; then on to Dover. After the service- man or -woman is lifted onto a slab in the Port Mortuary, the transfer case is cleaned, disinfected, and sent back to the front.

wind advisory

Three large inflatable sculptures, including Santa Butt Plug, have been taken down due to high winds. In the Netherlands, Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas) is revered on December 6.

Air Pressure, De Uitholf Utrecht, The Netherlands, July 4-September 13, 2009; the artist's biography may be found here.


Picasso's sketchbook, which has been displayed in an unlocked display case at a museum in Paris, has turned up missing. An article may be viewed here. If anyone knows anything about this, please contact Interpol.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


A 6 1/2' x 16 1/2' painting of the FBI gunning down the Brady Gang hangs above the deli case in a Bangor (Maine) specialty cafe. The owners intended to hang the painting on the back wall, but the painting was too large for that space. An article may be found here.

At Giacomo's, 1 Central Street, Bangor, until further notice.


Prosecutors in Nuremberg (Bavaria, Germany) are investigating whether the display of this garden gnome in a local gallery violates the strict law banning nazi symbols and gestures. An article may be found here.

Nuremberg, the site of the Nuremberg War Crime Trials, hosts the Nuremberg Toy Fair each year.

Update July 22: German prosecutors have decided to take no action; an article may be viewed here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

can't tell a book

The British cover to this book--a story of the experiences of black maids in Mississippi in the early 1960's--was found in the National Congress archives, however was deemed too controversial to be used on the American cover; the American cover features illustrations of birds.

A review of the book, may be found here.

who's your daddy

An animated short film has been created by consensus on the internet; an article may be found here.

money for nothing

This sculpture at the Penn Hill crossroad (Britain) is reported to have been inspired by water carrying fragments of rock; locals have questioned its relevance and value for money.

An article may be found here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

holy moses

A photogallery from the Miami Herald may be viewed here; Freedom Fighters; Re-Imagined: through July 19 at Artcenter/South Florida, 800 Lincoln Road, South Beach.

think snow

A young New York artist died on July 13 at Lafayette House, a hotel in Lower Manhattan, his grandmother has confirmed. An archived article about the artist and his early promise and achievements may be found here.

Dash Snow, dead at 27, of a suspected drug overdose. A Bloomberg article may be found here.

off off broadway

An artist/gallery owner has painted a mural on the facade and front window of her new gallery in Nyack, New York. A stop work order has been issued and the entire matter is before an architectural review committee.

An article may be found here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lego me

Flickr user Legofesto recreates images of torture, to draw attention to the withholding of the actual photographic images by the Obama administration. An article about the artist may be found here.

The reason tendered by the administration for the withholding is, "their release would endanger the troops." Failing to prosecute war crimes is a violation of the Geneva Convention.

down in Lousiana

A local Louisiana artist says one of a pair of correlated photographic panels was removed during an art show last week. The artist claimed that the action destroyed the entire intent of the work.

An article about ArtMelt and a description of the artist's work and the removed panel, may be viewed here.

Monday, July 13, 2009

pride and prejudice

GLAAD claims a new film starring this actor reinforces negative stereotypes and decreases the public's comfort with gay people. Universal Pictures sought GLAAD's input on the film, inviting staff members to advance screenings. The organization shared concerns about a number of scenes, including one featuring the title character in a hot-tub with his adopted infant, in the presence of 2 men engaged in a sex act. The scene remained in the film.

An article from the New American may be viewed here; an article with a different slant, here.

Update July 19, 2009: This film has been censored in Ukraine. The Ukranian ministry of culture has banned all showings in Ukranian territory, on the grounds that it contains an unjustified showing of genital organs, and depicts homosexual perversions in an explicitly realist manner; an article may be found here.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

ding dong

The Indian government has banned and blocked Savita Bhabhi, pursuant to national security legislation. The Information Technology Act permits the government to ban sites which could possibly impact upon "the sovereignty or integrity of India, defense and security of the state" or which might damage "friendly relations with foreign states."

An article from the Examiner, may be found here.

green light

It has become traditional for residents to line the streets when hearses carrying the remains of dead British soldiers pass through the village of Wootton Baskett on the way from RAF Lyneham military airport to be delivered to the coroner at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford. Defense secretary Ainsworth and P.M. Gordon claim that Britain's continued role in Afghanistan is necessary to prevent a potential terrorist attack in the UK, and to prevent Afghan heroin from reaching British streets. An article regarding access of the British media to the repatriation of remains of the Kingdom's dead servicemen, may be found here.

This week, in the same 24 hours-the bloodiest since operations commenced in 2001- eight British soldiers were killed in Afghanistan. Three of the dead were aged 18 years.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

haute hijab

It has been suggested that designer Christian LaCroix' new headwraps (Winter 2009-10) may be a nod to evolving acceptance of hijab in Europe. A thoughtful article about recent events in the news, and the demonizing of this form of women's traditional dress in the west, may be viewed here. The Muslim Woman's Style examiner covers it, here.

wow, they'll let anybody in here

Edward Hopper's 1942 "Nighthawks" has been parodied, famously by Gottfried Helnwein. Helnwein's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" featured Marilyn Monroe, Bogart, James Dean and Elvis. Here, the editorial cartoonist from an Indiana newspaper gives it another go, withh attribution to Helnwein.

The cartoonist reveals "I am not the first to use this image;" his blog, at the IndyStar, may be viewed here.


"The Bird" by Karel Appel (1921-2006) which hangs in the Groninger Museum (Netherlands) is being called a fake by an art dealer who sold an authenticated piece titled "L'Oiseau" for 300,000 euro an an art fair last year. An investigation is being undertaken by the Groninger.

An article about this mystery may be found here. Geert Jan Jansen, who served a six month prison sentence in the 1970's for making Appel forgeries, says he did not paint either piece.

the water is fine

This young Indian actress (top) had contracted to appear in a photo shoot for a magazine called The Man. During the shoot, the crew and subjects were verbally attacked by onlookers, who insulted the young actress and other model, and accused the crew of 'promoting lesbianism.' An article about the confrontation may be viewed here. The photos appeared in June's edition of The Man; the actress has defended the images as art.

Sculptures in ancient Hindu temples such as the one in Khajuraho include lesbian depiction. An archived article about how lesbianism is viewed in India may be viewed here.

a lot on your plate

Specialty license plates offered by Sen. Rhonda Storms (R-Valrico) and Sen. Gary Siplin (D-Orlando) made it onto a state bill; an article may be viewed here.

against the wall

Street art in Tehran, in the wake of recent protests and unrest. An article may be found here; the artist's flickr stream, here.