Blogs Centerpoints

French curators charged for “pornography” in 2000 exhibition

In 2000, Bordeaux’s contemporary art museum, the Centre d’Arts Plastiques Contemporains (CAPC), launched the exhibition Presumed Innocent: Contemporary Art and Childhood, featuring work by 80 artists including Jeff Koons, Wolfgang Tillmans, Ugo Rondinone, and Cindy Sherman. Shortly after the show closed, a French child-protection agency filed suit against the museum’s then-director Henri-Claude Cousseau (now director […]

In 2000, Bordeaux’s contemporary art museum, the Centre d’Arts Plastiques Contemporains (CAPC), launched the exhibition Presumed Innocent: Contemporary Art and Childhood, featuring work by 80 artists including Jeff Koons, Wolfgang Tillmans, Ugo Rondinone, and Cindy Sherman. Shortly after the show closed, a French child-protection agency filed suit against the museum’s then-director Henri-Claude Cousseau (now director of Paris’ Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts) and the exhibition curators Marie-Laure Bernadac and Stèphanie Moisdon for showing “violent images of pornographic character.” At issue were three works: a Gary Gross painting of a girl taking a bath, an Elke Krystufek video showing a masturbating girl, and photos by Annette Messager of children with their eyes scratched out. This week charges were finally filed against Bernadac and Moisdon; Cousseau’s charges were laid November 14.

A lawyer for the organizaton, La Mouette, accused CAPC of “displaying pornographic images of children that are an attack on human dignity, and of allowing children and adolescents to see them.” She added, “There is no question of trying to limit freedom of expression. Our case rests entirely on the issue of protecting children. If the show had been adults-only, we would not have gone to court.” (The museum reportedly did have warning language and had cordoned off explicit sections of the exhibition.)

But a group of prominent museum directors–including the Tate’s Nick Serota, Hayward gallery director Ralph Rugoff, Yale Art School dean Robert Storr, and curator/critic Hans-Ulrich Obrist–think it is about limiting speech. They and nearly 100 other curators, historians, and museum directors have come out in support of the 60-year-old Cousseau and the show’s curators. Paris-based artist Thomas Hirschhorn, in an email to colleagues, writes:

It is the first time in France that charges are laid against a museum director and curators in the frame of their professional activity, for the content of an exhibition. There is no jurisprudence for such a case. They face 5 years of prison and 75’000 euros penalty.

We, citizens, artists, creators, intellectuals, researchers, and above all men and women with the freedom to think, create and express ourselves, wish to assert hereby our unconditional support to Marie-Laure Bernadac, Henry-Claude Cousseau and Stephanie Moisdon, and we whish to express how appalled we are by this laying of charges that represents a serious step back, taken against hard-earned liberties.

These liberties, which are the ground of democracy, are endangered today, and we wish to forcefully express our indignation at the seriousness and the injustice of this situation. We all feel concerned and wish to mobilize.

By undersigning this petition, we assert our full solidarity with Marie-Laure Bernadac, Henry-Claude Cousseau and Stephanie Moisdon. If you wish to join this petition, please indicate your Name, Profession, Town and Country and send these informations to :

presumesinnocents@lamaisonrouge.org

Cousseau says, “The show was about the fragility of children and how their image can be exploited.”

For more links about this case, visit NEWSgrist.

Pac-Man: Guerrilla art or social engineering?

Both, as it turns out. Guerrilla artists in Wright County, Minnesota, have painted a huge Pac-Man on Highway 55, as well as a series of seven-foot dots for it to gobble up. The hand-painted character (which is about a month old, but has been touched up several times) comes with accompanying signs–and a message: The […]

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Both, as it turns out. Guerrilla artists in Wright County, Minnesota, have painted a huge Pac-Man on Highway 55, as well as a series of seven-foot dots for it to gobble up. The hand-painted character (which is about a month old, but has been touched up several times) comes with accompanying signs–and a message:

The 7-foot dots are 225 feet apart, the distance needed at the 55-mile-an-hour speed limit, to stop in three seconds without rear-ending the vehicle ahead. Accompanying signs tell drivers to keep two dots apart in the stretch, traveled by an average of 16,000 vehicles a day.

Project traffic data collected on three July weekdays by the state Office of Traffic Safety showed that the dots had slowed drivers by almost a third of a second, to 2.6 seconds between vehicles monitored halfway through the two-mile section of dots.

And the space between vehicles increased by nearly 23 feet compared with gap data collected before the dots were added in June. Average speeds at the dots midpoint decreased about a mile per hour to 58.6 and remained about that speed a mile after the dots ended.

That makes more sense: A reader writes in to correct me: the Minnesota highway department created the spots, but the Pac-Man was added later. Even better!

Earlier: Walker groundskeeper plays Pac-Man.

Centerpoints 4.5

Better bidding: The nonprofit People for the American Way has sweetened the pot in their new fundraiser: an eBay auction, ending tomorrow, includes a nice supply of limited edition art, plus celebrity doodads from a guitar signed by Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor to a signed copy of Cornell West’s Restoring Hope. Of note: the […]

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Better bidding: The nonprofit People for the American Way has sweetened the pot in their new fundraiser: an eBay auction, ending tomorrow, includes a nice supply of limited edition art, plus celebrity doodads from a guitar signed by Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor to a signed copy of Cornell West’s Restoring Hope. Of note: the limited edition Warhol print Dracula (silkscreen with diamond dust, current bid: $14,188); Compass, a signed print by Ed Ruscha (top left); and a C-print of Cindy Sherman’s photo Untitled (Bathing Suit).

“Woodstock for geeks.” Described in the St. Paul paper as a cross between American Idol, Animal House and a Star Trek convention (?), the local version of the tech conference BarCamp featured New Media designer Justin Heideman last week. During December 11′s MinneDemo beer-and-tech day, Justin and his Co-Op Media partner Paul Wenzel demonstrated their new “reactive video utility”; according to the Pioneer Press it “makes video or animation move to music in a way that is more spontaneous than similar programs.”

Engaged Art: After all its trendwatching and cliquish coverage of Art Basel Miami Beach, the New York Times‘ story on Rick Lowe’s Project Row Houses on Sunday was refreshing. Written by Michael Kimmelman, the piece quotes Lowe on how he began converting derelict row houses in Houston’s Third Ward into arguably “the most impressive and visionary public art project in the country“: “[In 1990], a group of high school students came over to my studio. I was doing big, billboard-size paintings and cutout sculptures dealing with social issues, and one of the students told me that, sure, the work reflected what was going on in his community, but it wasn’t what the community needed. If I was an artist, he said, why didn’t I come up with some kind of creative solution to issues instead of just telling people like him what they already knew. That was the defining moment that pushed me out of the studio.”

Commence strutting: In a profile by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Yale art school dean and 2007 Venice Biennale curator Robert Storr describes himself as an “internationalist,” derides the art world’s New York “filter,” and praises the Walker as “probably the best-run museum in the country.”

The Art of Walking: This YouTube video is simply amazing, illustrating exactly how walking (and running and jumping and flipping) can be transformed into the acrobatic art of Le Parkour. Just watch.

The Lists.

As Off Center prepares for a Top 10 extravaganza of its own (look for best- and worst-of lists compiled by Walker staff as well as a few special guests in the next two weeks), here are a few lists that caught my eye: Architectural Wonders of 2006 by BusinessWeek: Refreshingly, not a rundown of the […]

As Off Center prepares for a Top 10 extravaganza of its own (look for best- and worst-of lists compiled by Walker staff as well as a few special guests in the next two weeks), here are a few lists that caught my eye:

Architectural Wonders of 2006 by BusinessWeek: Refreshingly, not a rundown of the usual suspects.

2006 Year-End Google Zeitgeist: Top 10 Google and Google News searches. (X-rated search strands excluded, I’m guessing.)

Best Book-Cover Designs by Book Design Review: Kinda liking the cover of Martin Amis’ Koba the Dread.

Stephen King’s Top 10 Books: Includes Philip Roth’s amazing American Pastoral.

Top 10 Archeological Discoveries of 2006: 5,000 year-old Bulgarian dagger! Boggy book of Psalms! A really old canoe!!

TIME‘s Best News Photos of the Year: Grim and sometimes moving, this series makes me wish for a better ’06.

Best (and Worst) 10 Movie Trailers of 2006 according to iFILM: But why watch the worst trailers of the year?!

Top 10 Winter US Museum Shows by Museums New York: To throw a monkeywrench in the works, it includes winter 2007 shows, including our Kara Walker survey.

Top 10 News Stories of 2006 You Probably Missed by Foreign Policy.

Top 10 Christian Tourist Traps: As an afficionado of roadside attractions, outsider environments, and monstrous fibreglass fish, I object to the term “traps.”

Top 10 YouTube Videos. Ever. According to some guy called FatAdam.

For more Top 10s check out link central: Rex Sorgatz’s Fimoculous.

Also, if you’ve found lists of substantive, interesting, overlooked year-end lists, please post them in comments.

Sonic Seniors.

Imagine the Langley Schools Project kids in, like, 50 years, and you start to get an idea what the senior choir Young@Heart sounds like. Can’t imagine it? Then watch this video of the group performing Sonic Youth‘s “Schizophrenia.” (Thanks, Witt.)

Imagine the Langley Schools Project kids in, like, 50 years, and you start to get an idea what the senior choir Young@Heart sounds like. Can’t imagine it? Then watch this video of the group performing Sonic Youth‘s “Schizophrenia.” (Thanks, Witt.)

Props.

Assorted shouts-out: Teen Programs‘ Witt Siasoco, featured in the new issue of Giant Robot magazine, offers his top-five “Suburban Art Gods.” In ascending order of godliness: Dale Chihuly, Kenny G, Yanni, Thomas Kinkade, John Tesh. The magazine’s cofounder, Martin Wong, includes the Walker Teen Arts Council (WACTAC) in his top-10 list. “The kids are all […]

Assorted shouts-out:

Teen ProgramsWitt Siasoco, featured in the new issue of Giant Robot magazine, offers his top-five “Suburban Art Gods.” In ascending order of godliness: Dale Chihuly, Kenny G, Yanni, Thomas Kinkade, John Tesh. The magazine’s cofounder, Martin Wong, includes the Walker Teen Arts Council (WACTAC) in his top-10 list. “The kids are all right,” he writes. “And so is Minnesota.”

Walker New Media experts Nate Schroeder, Brent Gustafson, and Justin Heideman will be presenting at Museums and the Web 2007. The topic: “Beyond Blogging: Is it Community Yet?

Speaking of Brent, his wedding cake–inspired by Super Mario Brothers–was quite popular this year, and the site YouNEWB just named it #1 gamer-themed cake.

The New York Times, featuring a beautiful reproduction of our 1959 Ellsworth Kelly sculpture Gate, quotes Walker development director Christopher Stevens on Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley’s attempts to do away with the “partial gift” rule that allows art benefactors to donate art to museums over time (and with tax benefits). Tax law might be one of many topics Kathy Halbreich, Nick Serota, Glenn Lowry, and other museum directors will address at a February 24 ADAA Collector’s Forum at MoMA called “The Museum as Collector.”

Eungie Joo, former Walker curatorial internal (and a curatorial assistant when she organized our 1998 show Regards, Barry McGee) and current REDCAT director, has been selected by the Menil Collection to receive the Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement.

Minnesota Public Radio recently interviewed Peter Bigg, administrator of the British Television Advertising Awards, which is on view here now (and quickly selling out). Listen here.

Centerpoints 4.4

Oh, really? Two more lists to weigh in on: “50 artworks to see before you die” and “40 best directors.” What best-of list would you like to see? December 8: On the 27th anniversary of John Lennon’s murder, Yoko Ono says she’s still struggling with forgiving his killer, and The Nation remembers Lennon’s 1969 song […]

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Oh, really? Two more lists to weigh in on: “50 artworks to see before you die” and “40 best directors.” What best-of list would you like to see?

December 8: On the 27th anniversary of John Lennon’s murder, Yoko Ono says she’s still struggling with forgiving his killer, and The Nation remembers Lennon’s 1969 song “Give peace a chance” and “the mainstream media’s relentless hostility to Lennon’s peace activism.”

Bounty in Bamiyan buddha bombing? Asking whether the Bamiyan buddhas bombed by the Taliban can be rebuilt, the New York Times writes on the unexpected and fascinating finds uncovered by the explosions, including a reliquary hidden behind the horsehair-and-mud facades that contained “three clay beads, a leaf, clay seals and parts of a Buddhist text written on bark.”

Dueling Diggers: Archaeologists have been busy elsewhere too: some in the West Bank think they found one of the world’s oldest churches–on the site that once housed the Ark of the Covenant. And Vatican archaeologists believe they’ve found a sarcophagus dating to AD 390 that contain remains thought to be those of the Apostle Paul.

Of guards and gas: The recently opened Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) can boast ten missing things, writes the Detroit Free Press. Among them, no admission, no guards, no white walls (it’s housed in a former car dealership), no restaurant, and no shop. Meanwhile, the blogosphere’s atwitter over something the new ICA Boston–opening Sunday–does have: a commissioned Chiho Aoshima mural depicting a flatulent goddess.

Found on Flickr: File under “Not my job.”

Futurist warning signs

A new generation of warning signs, via Fallon.

First of the “Best ofs”

With 27 days remaining in 2006, the year-end lists are starting to come out. Artforum‘s just-published December issue includes kudos for the Walker in its top-ten lists: Mike Kelley put the Philippe Vergne-curated exhibition Cameron Jamie at number 7, and artist Thomas Lawson, focusing on the work of Rodney McMillian, included the show Ordinary Culture: […]

With 27 days remaining in 2006, the year-end lists are starting to come out. Artforums just-published December issue includes kudos for the Walker in its top-ten lists: Mike Kelley put the Philippe Vergne-curated exhibition Cameron Jamie at number 7, and artist Thomas Lawson, focusing on the work of Rodney McMillian, included the show Ordinary Culture: Heikes/Helms/McMillian, curated by Doryun Chong, as his eighth pick. Curator Francesco Bonami included Thomas Hirschhorn‘s Gladstone Gallery showing of Superficial Engagement, which included the installation Abstract Resistance, a Walker new acquisition. “The best CliffsNotes to America’s macabre folly in Iraq,” he writes, the show might not change the world, but proves that “the world can change art.”

In online accolades, Off Center earned a mention at #24 on Fimoculous’ list of 30 “Best Blogs of 2006 You (Maybe) Aren’t Reading.”

Centerpoints 4.3

“Top Travel Destination.” Frommer’s has included Minneapolis in its list of “the most unique and enticing destinations” for 2007 travel. Thanks to our “cutting-edge design boom,” which includes the Walker expansion and Jean Nouvel’s Guthrie Theater, we made the global list along with Ethiopia, British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, Krakow, Tokyo and a handful of others. […]

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“Top Travel Destination.” Frommer’s has included Minneapolis in its list of “the most unique and enticing destinations” for 2007 travel. Thanks to our “cutting-edge design boom,” which includes the Walker expansion and Jean Nouvel’s Guthrie Theater, we made the global list along with Ethiopia, British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, Krakow, Tokyo and a handful of others.

MNdirt. Anyone taking Frommer’s advice might want to check out one of these unauthorized and cheesily designed keepsakes (top right)–a plastic-encased pinch of genuine Minnesota dirt, by the looks of it dug from Minneapolis Sculpture Garden turf.

Vlogging mnartists: NYC videoblog Rocketboom has picked up the next installment of Chuck Olsen’s mnartists.org series on area artists. Featured this time around, animatronic toymaker and sculptor Anastasia Ward.

Ikearchitecture? Ikea recently announced plans to construct 500 identical modernist homes in the UK each year. The exterior colors? Lingonberry, I presume.

On NEED: Stephanie Kinnunen went from doing a catering gig with Wolfgang Puck for the Walker grand opening to being the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the beautifully designed Minneapolis-based magazine NEED, a LIFE-meets-COLORS quarterly focused on humanitarian success stories. Read my interview with Kinnunen here or today’s City Pages story here.

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