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Centerpoints: Raindrop tracking, Urbanized’s omission, Occupy Wall Street

Today’s roundup of art news looks at a raindrop-tracking smartphone app, the Occupy Wall Street protests, Gary Hustwit’s new film and a new show of Australian Aboriginal art at a museum dedicated to the African Diaspora.

• Of the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts’ new show, Saying No: Reconciling Spirituality and Resistance in Indigenous Australian Art, Hrag Vartanian asks, “Is Australian Aboriginal Art Part of the African Diaspora?” The reply from MoCADA: They’re not claiming, as some do, that Aboriginal Australians come from Africa, but they are linking the spiritual and civil rights issues of that group and African Americans. MoCADA’s Kalia Brooks:

There has existed a Black Panther Party in Australia as well as a Black Power Movement. It is the recognition of blackness and the struggle over the rights to representation that fuel our interests in the exhibition. Both of these themes are issues that are embedded in the concept of an African diaspora.

• Tyler Green wonders why Woman IV isn’t in MoMA’s big de Kooning retrospective, which shows five other paintings of women from the ‘5os (here’s our piece, Woman, a pastel and graphite work on paper from 1952). Owned by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the 1952–53 painting is too fragile to handle the move. Says museum conservator Elisabeth Batchelor: “De Kooning used charcoal to draw and scratch into the paint on our painting, so there are little chunks of charcoal lodged into and stuck into the paint surface. They could fall off. … The second problem is where he painted on the jute. The fiber is like a kind of burlap — it’s not linen or cotton and it’s a very cheap material. It becomes very brittle with age. Where the canvas wraps around the stretcher, one can see small slits that have started to appear. The slits could get bigger with vibration. Furthermore, this [Woman] hasn’t been lined, which, on one hand, makes it very prisitine and original. But on the other hand, yes, it’s much more vulnerable to vibration.”

• The Centre Pompidou’s new Patrick Bouchain–designed mobile museum is hitting the road, bringing its first exhibition, Color, around France, starting in Chaumont next month. The show will include an Olafur Eliasson installation, plus works by Leger, Braque, Matisse, Picasso and Calder. The center’s director Alain Seban discussed the idea with ArtInfo last year.

• MoMA, like LACMA and MFA Boston, acquires Christian Marclay’s The Clock, a 24-hour moving-image work made up clips from TV and film that reference time or timepieces.

• The first reviews of Gary Hustwit’s new film Urbanized — which screens at the Walker next Tuesday, followed by a Q&A with the director — are in. The LA Times‘ Christopher Hawthorne calls it a “sharp, good-looking documentary” that’s “both a love letter to urban life and a cautionary tale about what happens when more newcomers crowd into a city, or the slums on its outskirts, than the place can begin to comfortably absorb.” He also notes a “blind spot” in the film: Sprawling Los Angeles doesn’t get a mention. “But it’s not the omission itself that’s worth pointing out; it’s that Hustwit seems not to have made even theoretical room in his otherwise wide-ranging approach to cities and architectural history for megalopolis like ours, with its decentralized, medium-density and freeway-linked character.” Here’s the trailer.

• For its exhibition FLOW: Can You See the River — “a city-wide public art project that reveals how the ordinary activities of citizens affect the health and future of the White River water system” — the Indianapolis Museum of Art has developed a smartphone app to illustrate the point that “all property is riverfront property.” That is, the app tracks the route of raindrops after they hit the ground and make their way to the local river.

• Video: Dr. Cornell West tells activists from at the ongoing Occupy Wall Street protests their presence has got him “spiritually breakdancing.” A look at the sign he carried.

• Occupy Wall Street members also infiltrated an auction at Sotheby’s last week as a statement of solidarity with members of the art handlers union who have been locked out since Aug. 1.

• From MCAD students: Rick Poynor animated gifs.

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