Blogs Centerpoints

Centerpoints: Borges at the Falls, Occupied Hirst, Victorian LOLcats

• We’re up for a Webby! The nominees list for the 2012 Webby People’s Voice Awards—honoring the best of the web—has just been released, and the Walker’s “gamechanging” new website makes the cut, in the category of best art site. Voting is open to the public through April 26. • “A casual treatment of death […]


• We’re up for a Webby! The nominees list for the 2012 Webby People’s Voice Awards—honoring the best of the web—has just been released, and the Walker’s “gamechanging” new website makes the cut, in the category of best art site. Voting is open to the public through April 26.

• “A casual treatment of death is central to Mexican cultural identity,” writes Julia Cooke, who cites designer products made out of grenades or gunmetal. Only a few, though—like Pedro Reyesshovels made from melted-down gang handguns—move beyond glib one-liners.

• After being slapped with a 15 million yuan ($2.4 million) penalty for alleged tax-law violations, Ai Weiwei is suing Chinese authorities. He argues that the fine for tax evasion was unlawful, as he wasn’t given access to witnesses or evidence used against him.

• For their first solo show in London, art provocateurs Eva and Franco Mattes—aka 0100101110101101.org—present a show with a title that changes daily and offers a display of works the duo claims includes fragments stolen from masterworks by Duchamp, Warhol, and others. “A lot of the works were so crazy, strong and powerful when they were made, like Duchamp’s Fountain, but became so accepted and it was like energy had been sucked out of them by being put in a museum,” the pair said. “The work maybe dies a little bit. We consider what we did a tribute to these artists – it is like a medieval relic, you keep it because you want to protect it and preserve it. We were acting out of faith, not anger.”

• There’s nothing like Minneapolis’ Minnehaha Falls in springtime, writes Andy Sturdevant, who shares a photo from an 1983 visit there by Jorge Luis Borges. Wrote the late Argentine poet:

The wry mythology of the Wisconsin and Minnesota lumber camps includes remarkable creatures – creatures that no one, surely, has ever believed in. The Pinnacle Grouse had just one wing, so it could only fly in one direction, and it flew around one particular mountain day and night. The color of its plumage would change depending on the season and the condition of the observer.

• While last Friday’s Cat Break showed us LOLcat/architecture mashups, today’s demonstrates that wacky cat photography predate the internet by a century and a half: “Probably the progenitor of shameless cat pictures was English photog Harry Pointer (1822-1889), who snapped approximately 200 photos of his perplexed albeit jovial ‘Brighton Cats.’

• Damien Hirst’s sculpture Hymn, installed outside Tate Modern, was tagged with the word “Occupy” after a writer at The Occupied Times of London identified him as “the man who has defined the capitalist approach to art more than any other.” Kester Brewin writes:

Sharks. Death. Love. God. Money. If Hirst is anything, he is the brash Goldman Sachs of the art world. He has a vast personal fortune of over £200m, accumulated through an alchemy that would leave even the most brash bankers in awe: stock medicine cabinets, spots of paint, flies, butterflies and severed cows heads transformed into pieces that sell for millions.

• Want more links like this? Follow Art News From Elsewhere on the Walker homepage.

Centerpoints: Foreclosure Quilts, E-Lanes, Cat Architecture

• After being disqualified from his own presidential run, singer Youssou Ndour finds himself in politics nonetheless: He’s been named Senegal’s new minister for culture and tourism. The Grammy winner is part of new president Macky Sall’s cabinet. • Andrew Bird, Laurie Anderson, and Amadou & Mariam are among artists invited to perform in A […]

• After being disqualified from his own presidential run, singer Youssou Ndour finds himself in politics nonetheless: He’s been named Senegal’s new minister for culture and tourism. The Grammy winner is part of new president Macky Sall’s cabinet.

Andrew Bird, Laurie Anderson, and Amadou & Mariam are among artists invited to perform in A Room For London, a small “boat” overlooking the Thames. Winning a design contest, Fiona Banner’s proposal is based on the boat Joseph Conrad captained in the Congo in 1890.

• The “Contact & News” page of Richard Prince’s website has turned into a blog, of sorts. The artist has been musing since March on topics from his reading recommendations (Mary’s Mosaic by Peter Janney) to hairy women to his wonderment about Victor Hugo’s real name.

• For former urban planner Kathryn Clark, charts and statistics on foreclosures fail to convey the hardship so many families are facing. Her Foreclosure Quilts are delicate fabric collages that tell the story of our fraying neighborhoods.

• When proofing the reproductions of art in the catalog for its forthcoming Roy Lichtenstein retrospective, the Art Institute of Chicago had some help: the artist’s foundation lent “color swatches made from the very paints Lichtenstein used throughout his career.

• A new single-theme Tumblr by Jason Foumberg aims to catalog the last works made by famous artists. A few poetic inclusions: Keith Haring‘s Unfinished Painting of 1989, Paul Thek‘s Dust (1988), and Basquiat‘s 1988 work Riding with Death.

Ai Weiwei, who once carved a security camera in marble for an art project, one-upped himself this week: in a nod to China’s ever-present surveillance system, he set up cameras to live-stream all the activity in his studio. It didn’t last long: the next day, authorities told him to pull the plugs.

• On Sunday, Philadelphia announced it’d be the first American city to create “E-Lanes,” delineated Electronic Device Lanes reserved for those who chronically walk and text. John Metcalfe dubs it one of 2012’s best April Fool’s joke by a US city.

Cat Break: Cats + architecture = Internet gold. Here’s a Tumblr blog that pairs reader-submitted mashups of famous architecture—including Snøhetta’s Opera House in Oslo and Jørn Utzon’s Sydney Opera House—and cats.

• Want more links like this? Follow Art News From Elsewhere on the Walker homepage.

Centerpoints: Close on Tebow, Fairey on Orwell

• In a “heartwarming display of New York crankiness,” Chuck Close grumbled about the trade of vocally Christian quarterback Tim Tebow to the Jets. “He’s going to be in the end zone praying? This is New York. He should go do that in, uh, the Midwest somewhere.” • Shepard Fairey, who was asked by Penguin […]

• In a “heartwarming display of New York crankiness,” Chuck Close grumbled about the trade of vocally Christian quarterback Tim Tebow to the Jets. “He’s going to be in the end zone praying? This is New York. He should go do that in, uh, the Midwest somewhere.”

Shepard Fairey, who was asked by Penguin Books to do cover art for George Orwell‘s 1984 a few years ago, is now reportedly teaming up with Brian Grazer and Ron Howard to produce an adaptation of the 1949 work for the big screen.

• Money is often a theme in Damien Hirst‘s art (think: his infamous diamond-encrusted skull), but sometimes it transcends the art: LA MOCA postponed plans to host Tate’s Hirst survey because its $3 million cost was deemed too expensive.

• In a conversation with the UK’s CRACK magazine, Minneapolis-based designer and MCAD professor Erik Brandt discusses, among other topics, how living in Egypt, Cameroon, Germany, and Malawi affected his love of language and typography.

• For this year’s Northern Spark, a Minneapolis dusk-to-dawn art festival June 9-10, David Rueter is creating a bike “synch mob.” The Kuramoto Model (1,000 Fireflies) will synch up LED lights on 1,000 bikes to mimic firefly behaviors.

Inside/Out gives a tour of Lester Beall‘s posters for the Rural Electrification Administration in the ’30s and ’40s: While nationalistic, the work highlights Beall’s “modernist design, which far outweighs the propagandist implications.”

• Noted performance artist Alison Knowles will stage her landmark Fluxus score Make a Salad (1962) on New York’s High Line for an April 22 commemoration of Earth Day.

Screenshots of Despair: “Let’s get the crowd involved in documenting these weird, almost accidental moments, when the default algorithms that undergird the realm of the connected remind us, quietly but somewhat naggingly, that we’re all alone.”

• Want more links like this? Follow Art News From Elsewhere on the Walker homepage.

John Cowles, Jr.: An Appreciation

Sage and John Cowles with Olga Viso at a 2010 benefit for the Cunningham Dance Foundation The Walker, along with the entire cultural community in Minnesota, lost a great friend and an unparalleled champion with the passing of John Cowles, Jr. last Saturday. While I admired his steadfast commitment to the arts, John was also […]


Sage and John Cowles with Olga Viso at a 2010 benefit for the Cunningham Dance Foundation

The Walker, along with the entire cultural community in Minnesota, lost a great friend and an unparalleled champion with the passing of John Cowles, Jr. last Saturday. While I admired his steadfast commitment to the arts, John was also one of the most elegant and inspiring individuals I have had the pleasure of knowing. I was drawn to his probing and inquisitive mind, his generous spirit and intellect, and learned much from his experience and savvy as a passionate and vital community leader. He was never afraid to take risks, and encouraged risk-taking and freethinking in others—a characteristic embodied by his performance in Bill T. Jones’ Last Supper at Uncle Tom’s Cabin: The Promised Land in 1990.

John’s adventurous spirit carried over to his role as a longtime Walker Trustee, who with his wife, Sage, made the Cowles Conservatory possible in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. They were also longtime members of the Patrons’ Circle and founding members of the Walker Producers’ Council, which supports our performing arts program. Their gifts to the Walker included support for the 1998 Art Performs Life exhibition, the 2005 expansion to our building, and numerous performances, including the once-in-a-lifetime production of Merce Cunningham and John Cage’s monumental Ocean in 2008.

As a civic leader whose support for the Walker extends back to the early 1970s, John offered counsel and perspective that were of enormous value to me. We will miss him deeply at the Walker, where he and Sage have left many indelible marks that will inspire us for decades. We extend heartfelt condolences to Sage, their children, Jay, Fuller, Tessa, and Jane; his brother Russell and sister Sarah; and extended family and friends.

Rock the Legislature, Preserve the Garden

If you’ve been to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, you’ve probably taken some time to take some pictures like the one above. Did you know that 93 percent of all metro area residents have a picture of themselves at the Spoonbridge and Cherry?* (And probably quite a few of them look something like this.) But here […]

Giant Spoon and Cherry

If you’ve been to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, you’ve probably taken some time to take some pictures like the one above. Did you know that 93 percent of all metro area residents have a picture of themselves at the Spoonbridge and Cherry?* (And probably quite a few of them look something like this.) But here are some snapshots you probably haven’t taken:


This is why the Walker is supporting the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board in its request for $8.5 million in restoration funds from the State Bonding Bill. The funds will allow us to strengthen and repair aging infrastructure, increase energy efficiency, and expand accessibility and safety—preserving this Minnesota icon for future generations.

Here’s an update on the legislation:
Governor Dayton placed the project into his bonding recommendations. The next step in the process is working with both the Senate and House Capital Investment Committees to ensure that they include the Garden in their bills. To that end, Walker and Park Board representatives presented to the Senate Capital Investment Committee this week and now we are asking for you to help!

Visit garden.walkerart.org and click “Take Action” to send an email of support to your legislators, encouraging them to fully fund the renovation project.

For more information on the Garden restoration, read the FAQ and become a fan on Facebook. We will update this blog as the Sculpture Garden funding makes its way through the legislature.  Thank you!

KARE 11 visits the Garden:

* This is not a factual statement, but it’s probably not too far from the truth.

Centerpoints: Serra’s Labor, Favela Typography, Dalí Pops

• In addition to being surrealism’s mustachioed poster child, Salvador Dalí had his side gigs doing commercial work—like the iconic daisy logo for Chupa Chups, the popular Spanish lollipops, he made in 1969. • For the Brooklyn Museum’s Keith Haring show, opening Mar. 16, the late artist’s foundation has been scanning pages from his journal. […]


• In addition to being surrealism’s mustachioed poster child, Salvador Dalí had his side gigs doing commercial work—like the iconic daisy logo for Chupa Chups, the popular Spanish lollipops, he made in 1969.

• For the Brooklyn Museum’s Keith Haring show, opening Mar. 16, the late artist’s foundation has been scanning pages from his journal. Today we see the page from Haring’s birthday in ‘77, when he met a former Minnesota Viking.

• Spanish collective Boa Mistura recently led a “typographic intervention” with residents in the São Paulo favela of Vila Brâsilandia. Playing tricks with perspective, they made words like “sweetness” and “tenacity” appear to float above the winding pathways.

GIFs have come a long way since 1987, when the web-based image format brought us animated flames and “Under Construction” signs. Today, as PBS tracks, they’re the basis of a new kind of art, with Tumblr and Reddit helping to spread GIF-based memes.

• Sculptor Richard Serra developed a “union solidarity” working in a steel mill as a teenager. “That’s never left me, the notion of the effort the working class puts in every day,” he tells Tyler Green. “The split in the country right now is not good for either class.”

Chattanooga, Tennessee, sees itself on the rebound, with a boom in arts and industry. Designers Robbie de Villiers and Jeremy Dooley think they can telegraph these gains with a custom-designed typeface for the city: Chatype.

• An “ebullient, graphic, homoerotic, black-and-white” mural made by Keith Haring in the former mensroom of New York’s Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center in 1989 is open to the public all month long following a $25,000 conservation effort.

• Want more links like this? Follow Art News From Elsewhere on the Walker homepage.

Centerpoints: Underground Parks, Facebook IDs, Superflex’s Tools

• Tobias Leingruber has shut down FBbureau.com, a satirical art project in which he proposed official Facebook ID cards, after the online giant had its lawyers send him a cease-and-desist letter claiming trademark infringement. • “You can use an object as a sculpture, but also you can also smash a window with it, or break […]

Tobias Leingruber has shut down FBbureau.com, a satirical art project in which he proposed official Facebook ID cards, after the online giant had its lawyers send him a cease-and-desist letter claiming trademark infringement.

• “You can use an object as a sculpture, but also you can also smash a window with it, or break into a bank,” says Bjørnstjerne Christiansen on why Superflex calls its art (like the work Bankrupt Banks) tools. “It invites participation, and also criticality.”

Ai Weiwei, Burmese poet Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi, Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat, and Russia’s Voina collective are nominees for the 2012 Index Awards, which highlight creators “whose work asserts artistic freedom and battles against repression and injustice.”

• Inspired by the High Line, the elevated park in Lower Manhattan, organizers are fundraising on Kickstarter to build a LowLine on the Lower East side: a 1.5-acre, solar-lit public green space in an abandoned underground trolley terminal.

• After printing a $100,000 bill on a billboard—a John Baldessari work commenting on the financial crisis—the second project selected by High Line art curator Cecelia Alemani is a giant eye by Anne Collier. “There’s so much voyeurism here,” she says.

Ikea is teaming up with Oregon-based architectural firm Ideabox to get into the prefab housing business. The Swedish-themed one-bedroom abode, which has a design focused on efficient space use, will retail for just shy of $87,000.

• After Occupy Wall Street sent a letter calling for an end to the New York institution’s signature biennial, the Whitney got pranked Monday: a faked Whitney website and release claimed the museum was rejecting sponsor money from Sotheby’s and Deutsche Bank.

• Occupy is alive and well in the realm of comics. The July issue of Archie will address the global protest movement, according to leaked artwork that shows banners that read “Occupy Riverdale” and “We are the 99%.” It follows up an equally political issue of the comic: #16, an issue protested by conservative groups, featured the same-sex marriage of gay character Kevin Keller. Copies of the issue sold out.

• Want more links like this? Follow Art News From Elsewhere on the Walker homepage.

Centerpoints: Buddhism and Art, Translating Peace

• “The main thing that attracts me to Buddhism is probably what attracts every artist to being an artist—that it’s a godlike thing,” says Laurie Anderson in an interview with The Believer. “You are the ultimate authority. There is no other ultimate authority.” • When Chris Burden’s Metropolis, a kinetic sculpture/mini-cityscape, opens at LACMA on Saturday, […]

“The main thing that attracts me to Buddhism is probably what attracts every artist to being an artist—that it’s a godlike thing,” says Laurie Anderson in an interview with The Believer. “You are the ultimate authority. There is no other ultimate authority.”

When Chris Burden’s Metropolis, a kinetic sculpture/mini-cityscape, opens at LACMA on Saturday, it’ll whiz some 1,100 tiny cars through its 18 lanes of traffic at speeds of around 240 miles per hour.

For a show opening in New Delhi Friday, Yoko Ono has produced new versions of the WAR IS OVER! poster she created with John Lennon in 1968. Now translated into 108 languages (including Klingon), the series’ newest additions include Telugu, Urdu, Tamil (pictured), and Kannada.

Rest in Peace: Dara Greenwald. The artist, community organizer and Just Seeds member succumbed to cancer at age 40. Co-author, with partner Josh MacPhee of the book, Signs of Change: Social Movement Cultures 1960s to Now, Greenwald spoke about activism and participatory art at the 2009 Creative Time Summit.

• Among the tens of thousands of Nigerians protesting subsidy cuts that have brought a doubling of gas prices is Seun Kuti, son of afropop legend Fela Kuti. “Our grandfathers had their chance. Our fathers had their chance” he said at a rally in Lagos. ” If we don’t take a stand for corruption in Nigeria now, then we too have lost.” Seun, who performs in Minneapolis in April at a Walker-sponsored event, was joined in protest by his brother, Femi, author Chinua Achebe, and others.

Jenny Holzer’s “Truisms” get a motherly tweak in a spoof Twitter account, @JennyHolzerMom. A sampling: “BEAUTY IS A MOVING TARGET BUT SWEETIE THAT IS A LOT OF EYE MAKEUP.”

“The revolution brought everybody’s talents into light. People started to talk from their hearts,’ says Egyptian musician Shaimaa Shaalan in a forthcoming documentary about the post-revolution arts boom. Here’s the trailer.

•  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences plans to change eligibility requirements for nonfiction films: Starting in 2013 only documentaries reviewed by the New York Times or Los Angeles Times will be considered for Oscars. Thom Powers, who programs documentaries at the Toronto International Film Festival, says it’s “a strange thing indeed” for the Academy to cede powers to outsiders–namely newspapers–in considering eligible films.

Ryan Gosling gets museums.

• Want more links like this? Follow Art News From Elsewhere on the Walker homepage.

 

Send in the Cats: An Open Call

As you may have gathered, I’m a dog guy. But seeing as the internet is especially fond of cats, we’ve been doing a weekly (more or less) nod to feline fanciers in the Walker homepage’s Art News From Elsewhere section. Our art-linked Friday Cat Breaks have shown us Ai Weiwei’s cats; the increasingly abstracted cat […]

As you may have gathered, I’m a dog guy. But seeing as the internet is especially fond of cats, we’ve been doing a weekly (more or less) nod to feline fanciers in the Walker homepage’s Art News From Elsewhere section. Our art-linked Friday Cat Breaks have shown us Ai Weiwei’s cats; the increasingly abstracted cat art of Louis Wain (pictured), a World War I–era illustrator institutionalized with schizophrenia; and HTML server errors, in cat, to name a few.

But we need more. And we need help. So if you come across contemporary art–related cat links, leave them in comments for consideration for future editions. Thanks!

Centerpoints: Face Replace, Hockney v. Hirst, Polish Banksy

• Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, Steve Jobs: These are some of the figures Kyle McDonald and Arturo Castro use in their face-substitution experiment, which uses face-tracking technology and color interpolation to create creepy mashup visages. • David Hockney confirms: Language on posters for his Royal Academy of Arts show are a dig at Damien Hirst. […]

Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, Steve Jobs: These are some of the figures Kyle McDonald and Arturo Castro use in their face-substitution experiment, which uses face-tracking technology and color interpolation to create creepy mashup visages.

David Hockney confirms: Language on posters for his Royal Academy of Arts show are a dig at Damien Hirst. “All the works here were made by the artist himself, personally,” it reads. He says Hirst’s use of assistants is “insulting to craftsmen.”

• Once controversial, Zbigniew Libera‘s 1996 artwork rendering of a concentration camp in Legos has been acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, which dubbed it “one of the most important works of contemporary Polish art.”

• It’s important “to situate an institution as a civically engaged place that has a stake in the political–or even just empathetic, compassionate–constellation of a city,” says Dan Byers, associate curator of the Carnegie International and former Walker curator.

The Village Voice has laid off celebrated film critic J Hoberman. New York Times critic A.O. Scott notes that the paper “has been mostly irrelevant for years, EXCEPT for J Hoberman and a few others.” Hoberman has been a writer for the paper since 1983.

• Urban swings, trashcan basketball, and subway-stair slides are part of a trend Joop de Boer predicts for 2012: urban interventions that realize playful ideas within urban environments.

• Rest in Peace: Modernist ceramics artist Eva Zeisel, jazz saxophonist Sam Rivers, Color Field painter Helen Frankenthaler.

• PBS’s Art:21 released its trailer for Season 6, which will feature artists Ai Weiwei, Marina Abramovic, Lynda Benglis, Glenn Ligon, Sarah Sze, Catherine Opie, and others.

• An art student has Banksied the Polish National Museum, sneaking one of his portraits onto the wall in imitation of the UK street artist. “I decided that I will not wait 30 or 40 years for my works to appear at a place like this,” he said.

• Want more news like this? Check out Art News From Elsewhere, updated throughout the day on our homepage.

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