Weekend Links: In the face of adversity

In both the online art scene and the wider arena of the world, we have lived in interesting times this past week. In recognition of all these battles being fought, this weekend’s links document the hardships of war, nuclear meltdown and, coincidentally, the death of the white male masterpiece.

MichaelFay_carpenter3.jpg
Michael Fay, Lance Cpl. William “Kyle” Carpenter. (Source: New York Times)

Drawings of war: Being a huge proponent of drawing myself, I can fully appreciate Jonathan Jones’ post on Michael Fay’s drawings of soldiers wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq, particularly his observation that Fay’s “strong and sensitive” use of the medium captures essential observations that are often lacking in the crisply detailed images of war photography.

The lapsed meaning of the message (via Art Fag City): In a related and timely observation, Joerg Colberg at Conscientious comments on the distinction between official and amateur photographs of the poetically named Operation Odyssey Dawn, a.k.a. the allied bombing of Libya, and questions the faulty assumption that a proliferation of images is equal to a proliferation of factual information where war is concerned.

Paying the price for appropriation: This week’s court ruling against Richard Prince and Gagosian Gallery, which finds both the artist and dealer guilty of infringing the copyright of photographer Patrick Cariou when Prince appropriated his “Yes Rasta” series in his 2008 show, could have chilling consequences for both Prince’s now-illegal works – which may yet be destroyed – and any artists working in the realm of collage and appropriated imagery. It’s a delicate situation in which Prince is frankly not entirely blameless, so it’s well worth reading up on the links provided at Hyperallergic’s post, especially Paddy Johnson’s breakdown of the ruling into its four main arguments.

And another blow to the American white male artist: Further strife has exploded in the art blogosphere over Tyler Green’s 64-seed tourney to find the single greatest work of art made since 1945. What was originally intended as a bit of frivolity has become a serious indictment of enduring art-world conservatism when Green and his five guests produced a list that included only three works by women and two by artists of colour, with Maya Lin pulling double-duty on both counts with the inclusion of her Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Sharon Butler provides the most extensive analysis of this debacle, and while her second post of alternate lists from various contributors feature many notable women artists who deserve due consideration in this debate, it still feels like a forced and arbitrary reconciliation. I far prefer what Star Wars Modern has to say on the point of why we’re still talking in terms of the singular masterpiece in the first place.

Child-friendly Fukushima: This educational cartoon posted over at Street Anatomy was created to explain Japan’s current nuclear crisis to the younger children who are no doubt terrified at the incomprehensible waves of fear emanating from their television screens. The extended scatalogical metaphor for “Nuclear Boy”‘s possible meltdown is plenty lighthearted and kawaii enough to ease those fears with a relatable explanation, but from a Western perspective it’s also just plain bizarre.


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