Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

TMQ Watch: December 5, 2017.

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

The headline tells you all you need to know, in this week’s TMQ


Art, damn it, art! watch (#54 in a series)

Saturday, October 28th, 2017

The National Park Service is denying a permit to a group wanting to place a 45-foot statue of a naked woman on the Mall near the Washington Monument.

The massive artwork would have been the main attraction at the annual “Catharsis on the Mall” in November – a festival in the nation’s capital dubbed a “Burning Man” in Washington. Burning Man, the annual desert festival outside Reno, Nev., is known for building a hippie-like community that promotes art, self-expression, inclusiveness and civic engagement.
The festival will run Nov. 10-12, the third year for the event in Washington. Each year, the event has revolved around a different theme, with the first two years focusing on healing from the drug war and recovering from trauma. This year’s theme is “nurturing the heart” and equal rights.

Obit watch: August 24, 2017.

Thursday, August 24th, 2017

Still no NYT obit for Brian Aldiss.

But the paper did run one for outsider artist M. T. Liggett.

He built a sculpture of Hillary Clinton, with a swastika for a torso, that he called “Our Jack-Booted Eva Braun.”

But before you jump to the conclusion that he was a Republican (he actually ran for local office several times as one, but was never elected):

One of Mr. Liggett’s signs links former President George W. Bush to Big Oil and asks for the return of his predecessor, Bill Clinton: “Bring Back Slick Willie.” But he also depicted Mr. Clinton as a bright red hog; he called that work “Razorback Draft Dodger.”

Apparently, he pretty much hated every politician:

Mr. Liggett could sound as angry as Howard Beale, the unhinged anchorman of the movie “Network.” He hated political stupidity, was suspicious of government intrusion into people’s lives and held “turkey politicians,” as he called them, responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

“I got this thing about me,” he said in “Moon Tosser of the Prairie” (2010), a documentary about him that was produced by Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kan. “If you walk up to me and say you’re a Democrat, I’m a Republican. If you’re a Buddhist, I’m a Shinto. If you’re a Catholic, I’m a Protestant.”

Now I’m only falling apart…

Monday, August 21st, 2017

Hello, Dali.

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

Headline of the day:

Exhumation of Dali's remains finds his mustache still intact

Art, damn it, art! watch (#53 in a series)

Friday, July 7th, 2017

Been a while since I did one of these, but there hasn’t been that much noteworthy art news (in my opinion).

This is odd and significant, though:

Cirque du Soleil, the global performance juggernaut best known for its acrobatic circus displays, on Thursday announced that it had acquired Blue Man Productions, with the mutual aim of expanding Blue Man’s reach beyond its five permanent United States shows (in New York, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas and Orlando, Fla.), a world tour and one permanent international show (Berlin).

“We saw the potential for a marketing and distributing powerhouse like Cirque du Soleil to be able to distribute Blue Man Group and make their brand better known internationally,” said Daniel Lamarre, Cirque’s chief executive, in an interview. Cirque currently has 18 live shows worldwide.

Specifically, Cirque (and Blue Man Group) are looking at expanding into China.

I don’t think this is a bad idea, but I do wonder: are we on the verge of a Cirque/Blue Man over saturation?

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Thomas Campbell out as director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Met said that Mr. Campbell, 54, had made the decision to leave the job he had held for eight years. But the circumstances surrounding his departure point to his being forced out. As The New York Times reported extensively in an article in early February, Mr. Campbell’s financial decisions and expansion plans had been criticized by some trustees, curators and other staff members. During the last couple of years, despite the museum’s record attendance, much of his original agenda was rolled back because of the museum’s economic difficulties, including a soaring deficit.

Obit watch: January 30, 2017.

Monday, January 30th, 2017

I didn’t become aware of this until I saw it on the NYT obits Twitter feed, but: J.S.G. Boggs, one of my favorite visual artists, has died.

..he painstakingly reproduced British pounds, Swiss francs and American dollars, with quirky deviations.
On American currency, for example, he might use the signature “J. S. G. Boggs, Secret of the Treasury,” or inscribe “Kunstbank of Bohemia” on a $5,000 bill, or append the motto “In Fun We Trust.” At first he created the notes one by one, a time-consuming process. Later he ran off limited-edition prints.

In the mid-1990s, when Worth magazine asked him to design a note using the Treasury Department’s new guidelines, Mr. Boggs produced a $100 bill with the image of Harriet Tubman as a young girl, anticipating by 20 years the announcement that Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson as the new face of the $20 bill. In 2001, he ran off a series of 100,000 plastic Sacagawea dollars, stamped with his own mint marks and paid for with a $5,000 Boggs bill.

A very quick Google search does not turn up any indication of how much the Boggs dollars are currently going for. Which is a shame: I’ve always figured I’d buy a Boggs artwork when I got filthy rich.

(On a side note: Canadian Tire money is available for surprisingly reasonable prices on eBay.)

The obit mentions Lawrence Weschler’s Boggs: A Comedy of Values, which I think is a fine (though dated) book. But I’d also put in a plug for Weschler’s Shapinsky’s Karma, Bogg’s Bills: And Other True-Life Tales, the essay collection that was my first introduction to Boggs.

Speaking to ARTnews after Mr. Boggs’s death, Mr. Weschler said, “He was just short of being a con man, but no more than anyone in the art world, or for that matter in the world of finance — which, of course, was his whole point.”

Art update.

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

The Jerry Orbach Memorial Art Car is funded.

I’m looking forward to getting my bumper stickers.

Questions: which one should I put on? I’m kind of partial to “My child is a honor student…”, but feel free to argue your case in the comments.

And which one should I take off to make room? Right now, I’m thinking: as much as I liked CHeston, and as much of an NRA supporter as I am, the “My President Is Charlton Heston” one is faded almost to the point of being unreadable. It might be time to let go. (And I’ve got window stickers out the wazoo.)

Art, damn it, art! watch (#52 in a series)

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

I am backing the Kickstarter for The Jerry Orbach Memorial Art Car.


1) He’s not asking for a (relative) lot of money, and the rewards tiers are reasonable. $10 for four bumper stickers? I don’t think you can get bumper stickers for that price at the gun show.

2) Brandon Bird, who I have written about before in this space, is the person behind it. I have faith in his ability to deliver.

Consider this an endorsement. Let’s make The Jerry Orbach Memorial Art Car a reality. You’ve probably blown $6 this week on a bad lunch: why not brown bag it one day and throw a few bucks to the memory of Jerry Orbach?

(Shame he lives in LA, though. There’s a pretty active art car scene in Houston, and he could get an old DPS car from the state surplus store.)

Edited to add: Mike the Musicologist made a good point to me: Orbach seems to mostly be remembered for his LawnOrder work, but he did a lot of stuff before that (as the true cognoscenti know).

On the one hand, I understand why Brandon Bird focuses on Lennie Briscoe (and I find his story about how Briscoe changed his life oddly touching). On the other hand, I agree with Mike too, and wanted to find something non-Lennie to throw in here: I just couldn’t find anything I liked.

Fortunately, Mike saved me the trouble.

(And I’d really like to see that production of “Chicago” with Orbach as Billy Flynn.)

Art, damn it, retraction watch!

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

A while back, I linked to a story that claimed Damien Hirst’s formaldehyde filled tanks were giving off formaldehyde fumes at a level above the regulated exposure limit (5 parts per million when the exposure limit is 0.5 ppm).

Well. I was browsing Retraction Watch for unrelated reasons (looking for some information on another scientific scandal) when I discovered that one of the authors of that paper has retracted it.

I, the corresponding author, hereby wholly retract this Analytical Methods article. Further testing has been carried out and clear evidence was found that the reported findings presented are unreliable as a result of errors made in the data analysis.

So. Guess I owe Damien Hirst an apology. Sorry, Mr. Hirst.

But here’s the other funny thing: that retraction was written by one of the authors.

It should be noted that co-authors Gleb Zilberstein, Emmanuil Baskin, Uriel Maor and Roman Zilberstein do not agree to this retraction and the following author was contacted but did not respond: Shoumo Zhang.

Kind of makes you go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”, doesn’t it? But then a lot of stuff on Retraction Watch makes me go “Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm”.

Obit watch: May 12, 2016.

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Jok Church, creator of the “You Can With Beakman & Jax” comic and the “Beakman’s World” television show.

I know a lot of people who loved “Beakman’s World” and anybody who teaches science to children is doing the lords work, as far as I’m concerned. Thing I didn’t know: Church was also Christo’s webmaster.

Mark Lane, noted JFK assassination conspiracy theorist.