Friday Links: Taking the silly with the bad

There’s rotten business about in both the United States and the United Kingdom these days, so while I feel obliged to link to the nitty gritty bits, I’ve attempted to lighten the mood with a couple downright silly art-world jokes. This is Friday, after all.

Also, while my Top Five Hamilton Exhibitions of 2010 will still be pending next week, this will be the last of the Friday Links until 2011, because compiling links on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve would be just plain ridiculous. Happy Holiday, everyone, and thanks for reading!

A.A. Bronson, Felix, June 5, 1994, part of the collection of the National Gallery of Canada and currently on show in Hide/Seek at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

Updating the Wojnarowicz fiasco: Protests against the removal of A Fire in My Belly from the National Portrait Gallery’s Hide/Seek continue. The Warhol Foundation has threatened to withhold funding from any future Smithsonian projects until the video is reinstated in the show – a meaningful but ineffective gesture as the Warhol Foundation’s support is a fiscal scoop of creamed corn in the vast banquet that is the Smithsonian’s government funding – and kick-ass Canadian artist A.A. Bronson has recently put in motion a request for the National Gallery of Canada to withdraw his painting Felix, June 5, 1994 from the exhibition. In this case, existing loan agreements may make this protest equally futile, though Bronson’s action has proven an effective counter-censorship strategy in much the same way the initial removal has benefitted Wojnarowicz’s cause – both these disputed works are now being widely distributed across the internet, proving that censorship of art in this age doesn’t make the image go away, but rather increases its public scope.

What increased UK tuition fees will mean for the arts: The English parliament’s misguided decision to triple tuition fees for university students to a maximum of some £9000 is bad enough, but Ben Street narrows in upon the specific consequences for the UK’s excellent track record in the arts. When faced with such a terrible financial burden, how many kids from less than wildly wealthy backgrounds will still have the courage or even the means to choose a fine art education over vocational training?

Censorship is the new black: Those crazy Americans can’t get enough of repressing art these days. This time, it’s LA MoCA’s Jeffrey Deitch whitewashing Italian street artist Blu’s commissioned mural within 24 hours of its completion, in this case for fear of negative criticism that hadn’t even had a change to manifest. Just as Modern Art Notes has been the single best source for Hide/Seek related news, Hyperallergic has stayed on top of this including today’s useful update.

If Picasso flogged his paintings on eBay (via Hyperallergic): Thankfully, it hasn’t been all doom and gloom this week; this parody email correspondence between Picasso, Metropolitan Museum of Art chief curator Jeff Rosenheim and Gertrude Stein is simply LOLtastic.

Because “Christo’s back on the market, and he’s got an ass ready to be tapped”: I’ve never watched Millionaire Matchmaker but apparently AFC’s Paddy Johnson does, and she’s determined to set up contestant publishing maverick Judith Regan with some hot, not-necessarily-eligible artists. Even more hilarity ensues.


Of course freedom of expression in the arts has dwindled steadily. We see that in the rise of abstraction, but wait a moment… let’s look at Bruegel and Bosch, even Heyden and a few of their contemporaries. Then lets look at what Dali did in fascist Spain. Let’s look at Picasso’s famous Guernica. Do we see a trend in terms of the greater freedom to expression in the earlier works, compared to what is evolving today ? Surely we are not becoming more free when it comes to commenting on the current socio political realities. Soon we will be forced into complete abstraction and anything more than that will be simply white washed away.

Robert Morpheal added these pithy words on Dec 17 10 at 7:40 pm
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