The voice of the institution at its core, presenting news and views from across the Walker.
Many of us at the Walker are disappointed by Monday’s news that Kevyn Orr, emergency manager for the city of Detroit, has contracted with the auction house Christie’s to assess the value of artworks in the Detroit Institute of Arts’ collection that might be sold to settle the city’s municipal debts. While such a sale […]
Many of us at the Walker are disappointed by Monday’s news that Kevyn Orr, emergency manager for the city of Detroit, has contracted with the auction house Christie’s to assess the value of artworks in the Detroit Institute of Arts’ collection that might be sold to settle the city’s municipal debts. While such a sale is not inevitable, Orr has said he wants all options “on the table” in dealing with Detroit’s bankruptcy. We’re in agreement with the American Association of Art Museum Directors — of which Walker executive director Olga Viso is a member — in opposing such a course of action. “A museum’s collection is held in public trust for current and future generations,” AAMD said in a recent statement. “This is a bedrock principle of the Association of Art Museum Directors and of the museum field as a whole. Art collections are vitally important cultural and educational resources that should never be treated as disposable assets to be liquidated, even in times of economic distress.”
Today we join with more than a dozen art websites in observing A Day for Detroit, spearheaded by Modern Art Notes’ Tyler Green as a way to showcase works in the DIA’s collection that could be threatened by such a sale. Below, favorite DIA artworks as selected by Walker staff, along with a few reflections on the art and the institution that’s given it a home.
“As a prescient City of Detroit purchase, van Gogh’s self-portrait would be among the most vulnerable masterpieces should any sale move forward,” says Andrew Blauvelt, the Walker’s design curator and Chief of Communications and Audience Engagement. “It is one of just a handful of van Gogh’s self-portraits that the public can see in the United States, which, if sold, would likely enter a private collection. One more transfer of wealth from a public trust to private hands.”
Associate registrar Pamela Caserta says a different van Gogh — The Diggers from 1889 — as her favorite piece in the DIA collection. She writes:
“The Detroit Institute of Arts is energized, lively, and essential. The arts could be Detroit’s saving grace, but not if the state sells away one of the city’s most impressive traits. To dismantle Detroit’s most prized collection would be a disservice, not only to the people who live an love Detroit, but to the future of its position as a cultural center, and to the international communities public access to important masterworks. Detroit is already attracting artists who are working to transform its terrain, perhaps around ideas like urban farming, clean energy, and creative expression.”
“It’s hard to select just one favorite in the DIA collection, but I’m going old school by Walker standards with John Singer Sargent’s Mosquito Nets. Sargent’s portrait—of what its provenance suggests may be his sisters Emily and Violet—feels a little like Downton Abbey crossed with Minnesota summer,” says Robin Dowden, director of New Media Initiatives.
Scott Lewis, supervisor of the Walker’s frame shop, has deep ties to Michigan: He grew up in Jackson, went to college near Pontiac, and lived in Detroit for six years, where he and his wife had their first daughter. A great fan of the DIA collection, he points to two “stunners”: Judith and Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi and The Wedding Dance by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. But his favorite painting is The Nut Gatherers by William-Adolphe Bouguereau. “I would make it a point to visit the work every time I went to the DIA, even if for a minute,” he says. “For a long while it hung beside the Farnsworth Entrance beside the Visitor Services desk, a testament to its popularity. Many think the work of Bouguereau is sentimental, but perhaps that’s why I like it. I liked the innocence of the subjects, the brush work, the color and shading – it’s a work of real craft. Later, my wife and I produced two daughters: one blonde and one dark haired. I’ve felt that The Nut Gatherers was a window to my future.” He notes that his daughters gave him a Father’s Day gift years ago: a photo of the two of them reenacting the image.
Mia Lopez, a curatorial fellow for Visual Arts, often visits family in Detroit. “Whenever we visit, my mother and I love to stop by the DIA. She enjoys photorealism and had an early influence on my taste: Richard Estes is someone we both appreciate.”
“I enjoy the opposing sensations of getting lost and grounded in the Rothstein photograph,” says Walker photographer Gene Pittman. “The persistence of the subjects to continue on their path in this storm feels like a portrait of Detroit.”
Pittman offers a second pick, from the DIA’s extensive collection of objects and ephemera related to the performing arts. “I want to photograph this face and listen to his story,” he explains. “I want my son to see this puppet and tell me what he is saying.”
“When I finally saw Whistler’s Nocturne in Black and Gold in person last year, I was literally left breathless by its beauty,” shares Sarah Schultz, the Walker’s director of Education and curator of public practice. “That memory will never leave me.”
“A beautiful example of John Sloan’s work which captures the street life of New York,” says archivist Jill Vuchetich of her pick. “The work was purchased for DIA directly from the artist in 1924! That’s a wonderful legacy and would be a great loss to DIA.”
“Diego Rivera’s stunning Detroit Industry Murals, painted on the north and south walls of the museum, are one of the unquestioned masterpieces at the DIA, that virtually no other US museum can boast,” says Olga Viso, Walker executive director. “Depicting laborers working at the city’s Ford Motor Company River Rouge Plant in the 1930s, Rivera saw and painted the significance of Detroit as a world city. His vision of Detroit in the early 20th century provides not only an important historical record of the city’s past achievements that is paramount to preserve, but also offers an important touchstone from which to consider and imagine its future.”
What are your favorite works from the DIA collection? Share your thoughts in comments, and please consider supporting this valuable cultural institution however you’re able.
It’s fair to say the Walker–and, indeed, downtown Minneapolis–might not look the way it does today without the influence of Tom Crosby, who passed away Sunday at age 74 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. A board member for 45 years, Crosby was close advisor to three Walker directors, served as president of the board […]
It’s fair to say the Walker–and, indeed, downtown Minneapolis–might not look the way it does today without the influence of Tom Crosby, who passed away Sunday at age 74 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. A board member for 45 years, Crosby was close advisor to three Walker directors, served as president of the board of trustees at key moments in the Walker’s history, and contributed, with his wife Ellie, generously to help the Walker realize some of its most important projects, from the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden in 1988 to the Herzog & de Meuron expansion in 2005, the 2012 exhibition Lifelike to our current project restoring the building’s façade, to name but a few. Throughout nearly five decades, Crosby was at the center of many of the Walker’s biggest moments.
The great grandson of John Crosby, a founder of General Mills Corporation, Crosby specialized in real estate law, becoming a partner, and later managing partner, at Faegre & Benson (now Faegre Baker Daniels). He joined the Walker board of trustees in 1967 and quickly grew close to then-director Martin Friedman. He was president of the board in 1976 when the T.B. Walker Foundation agreed to transfer $27 million to the Walker Art Center, an important moment that brought more community members into Walker governance, making the institution a fully public museum.
The Crosby family’s generous giving to the Walker’s Annual Fund helped make recent exhibitions–including Sol LeWitt: 2D+3D and 1964–possible, and the couple’s gifts of artwork–including Ellsworth Kelly’s 2001 lithograph Dark Blue–have bolstered the Walker’s collection (this summer the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden will see the installation of a new sculpture, the conceptual work, For Whom, by Kris Martin, which the Crosbys and other Walker board members purchased on the Walker’s behalf and in honor of Friedman). And in coming years, it will help reinvent the Walker’s four-acre green space, host to Rock the Garden and Open Field. Active since his first moments with the Walker, Crosby served as chair of a range of committees over the years–from Government Relations to the Park Board–as well as serving as president, vice president, and chair of the Walker board. He also ensured the solid legal counsel of his firm.
The neighborhoods abutting the Walker and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden have also been transformed with Crosby’s help. Active in downtown commercial real estate, Crosby was involved with the acquisition, financing, and disposition of major Twin Cities properties such as the IDS Center, Baker Center, and Minneapolis City Center. He also served on the board of directors of Oxford Development Group Limited, a real estate developer with major downtown projects in several Canadian cities and in the Twin Cities, Denver, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
Crosby’s civic enthusiasm extended to other organizations and municipalities where he shared his passions and skills. The mayor of Medina just prior to his death, and a past city council member there, he served on the boards of Greater Twin Cities United Way, The Minnesota Orchestral Association, The Blake School, and Abbott-Northwestern Hospital, among others.
But it’s Crosby’s personal counsel, on issues of varying degrees of magnitude, that will most be missed by those of us who knew him through the Walker.
“Tom was always the voice of calm and reason, even in the most difficult situations,” notes Olga Viso, executive director of the Walker. “I so appreciated how his mind worked–his probing questions, how he could parse and dissect the relevant issues, and the way he always kept the highest possible end goal and aspiration in mind. He was absolutely brilliant at finding solutions that worked for everyone, and he was especially savvy at finding ways to confidently realize challenging artistic projects in public space, even if they might at times test the bounds of state or city ordinances!”
“During my first weekend living in Minneapolis, Tom and his wife Ellie invited me to their home,” she recalls. “I will never forget the subzero temps that Sunday morning in January as they took me on a hay ride around their gorgeous property. While I at first thought that he might be testing my fortitude in those first days as director, I knew when he and Ellie handed me a pair of wool mittens with warmers inside that he would be a great friend and partner.”
The Walker’s past directors concur. “Tom was always at your side when you needed him, personally and professionally,” says emeritus director Friedman. “He was devoted to the Walker and saw us through many a crisis. He is irreplaceable.”
“Tom was two things which are becoming increasingly rare: a great citizen and a thoughtful friend,” says Kathy Halbreich, Walker director from 1991 to 2007 (now associate director at the Museum of Modern Art). “He just had a natural gift for knowing the right set of questions regardless of whatever the dilemma. He never panicked and always answered with what I initially thought was common sense and came to understand was wisdom delivered without pride.”
She recalls an incident when a conservative group had singled out books for sale in the Walker Shop as pornography. “His response was to ask where else the books were sold which, after a couple ofhours of research, turned out to be quite a comprehensive list including the Harvard co-op,” she recalls. “Tom and Ellie even got me to go camping. Once. Good friend, great guide, indispensable civic leader. Both Walker and I are in his debt.”
We extend our sympathies to Ellie and the entire Crosby family, their friends, and all those touched by Tom Crosby’s remarkable life. He will be missed.
Twenty-Twelve was a big year for our blogs: we redesigned them, renamed them, and added a few new ones–including Centerpoints and Walker Seen. We also grew traffic. Here’s a look at some of the posts that best took hold across the interwebs. 1. Cats! Cats! Cats! This just in: folks on the Internet like them. […]
Twenty-Twelve was a big year for our blogs: we redesigned them, renamed them, and added a few new ones–including Centerpoints and Walker Seen. We also grew traffic. Here’s a look at some of the posts that best took hold across the interwebs.
1. Cats! Cats! Cats! This just in: folks on the Internet like them. So the wild success of our Internet Cat Video Festival shouldn’t have been a surprise, especially given how much traffic our blog posts got. Hands down, our most popular post was our May announcement about the festival, but people also really wanted to know about voting for “best in show,” nominating videos, and details on attending the summer festival, which drew 10,000 people to our lawn the last day of August. Missed it? Here’s a video recap.
2. For Those About to Rock: The annual spring reveal of bands in our annual Rock the Garden concert has become a not-to-be-missed event, and the 2012 edition glued listeners to the radio as the Walker and 89.3 The Current named off the lineup at a live event at the Fitz in St. Paul. Livestreamed on the blogs, we revealed the names as well. Here’s who played our tenth Rock the Garden in June: Howler, tUnE-yArds, Doomtree, Trampled by Turtles, and headliner The Hold Steady. Missed it? Here’s a time-lapse of the entire day.
3. Designing About Design: The designers behind the exhibition Graphic Design: Now In Production share glimpses of what went into the design of the exhibition catalogue on the popular design blog, The Gradient. The show is on view until January 6, 2013, at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and then it moves to the Grand Rapids Art Museum on Feb. 1 and the Contemporary Art Museum Houston on July 20.
4. Puzzling Over Design: Maybe it was the interactive quiz or the Draw-Tippy illustration, but designer Andrea Hyde’s post calling for applicants for the Walker Design Studio’s annual design fellowship really packed ’em in. No word on how many young designers aced the “art test.”
5. Now Screaming: Kim Beom’s video work Yellow Scream (2012), spotted by Walker curators at the Gwangju Biennale, came into the Walker collection late this year. The piece–in which an actor gives a Bob Ross–style demonstration of a painting technique in which brush strokes are accompanied by various kinds of screams, thus altering the makeup of the applied paint–was made available on the Walker Channel for a limited time (Dec. 6-18, 2012), yet still generated enough buzz to be among our most popular posts all year.
More posts that blew up this year:
Vintage Makeover Ideas for a Downtown Thoroughfare, Centerpoints
“Vote No”: A Walker Family Photo, Centerpoints
Since relaunching last December as a hub for sharing original ideas about art and contemporary culture, the Walker homepage has published more than 100 original pieces, from articles and interviews to slideshows and visual essays. Here’s the work that our readers responded to most over the last 12 months. 1. Buoyant Boulders: The addition of […]
Since relaunching last December as a hub for sharing original ideas about art and contemporary culture, the Walker homepage has published more than 100 original pieces, from articles and interviews to slideshows and visual essays. Here’s the work that our readers responded to most over the last 12 months.
1. Buoyant Boulders: The addition of four, shining steel-clad boulders to the Walker hillside has brought us a new icon, and the announcement of the acquisition of Jim Hodges’ Untitled (2011) presaged later looks at the installation and thinking behind the mammoth works. Dubbed “buoyant monoliths” by executive director Olga Viso, the works were purchased in advance of a 2014 retrospective of Hodges’ work, organized by the Walker and the Dallas Museum of Art.
2. More Real than Real: From a gigantic church-basement folding table and chair set to a tiny replica of a bee, works in the Walker-organized exhibition Lifelike entranced visitors with art that questions the nature of “the real.” Julie Caniglia’s keystone essay captured readers as well, traversing both through art history and through the exhibition, from Ron Mueck’s crouching boy to Ai Weiwei’s sunflower seeds, Jonathan Seligman’s gigantic sculptural homage to a carton of Vitamin D milk to a tiny (functioning) elevator by Maurizio Cattelan.
3. Haring in the House: Created a few months after the debut of Apple’s first Macintosh, Keith Haring’s mural of a computer-headed creature now seems prescient. This account of the residency that brought the famed NYC graffiti artist to the Walker 28 years ago includes a quick video of Haring at work, plus a Walker staffer remembering how Haring “drew a radiant baby in the schmutz on the back of my hatchback.”
4. Hot Couture: Costuming was one of many challenges faced by Obie-winning Out There 24 artist Young Jean Lee when creating the text-free–and ultimately clothing-free–work Untitled Feminist Show. “Nudity was the only way for us to de-objectify the performers,” she says in this interview. “No matter what we had them wear—say, if we had them wearing really frumpy clothes—that could be hot, too. We had them wearing these astronaut uniforms, and that was hot. Everything we put them in was hot, and I wanted them to be people and not these hot women.”
5. Fill-in-the-Blank: A graphic designer, guerrilla artist, and urban planner, Candy Chang has spearheaded interactive fill-in-the-blank projects from the Before I Die wall (installed on a vacant building in post-Katrina New Orleans) to her latest, Neighborland (in which residents can share their dreams for their neighborhoods, online and in the streets). How she answered for us one of her signature questions: “Before I die I want to hole up and read books in soulful hotels.”
Other popular stories from 2012:
The Walker has been vocal about its opposition to a constitutional amendment on the Minnesota ballot today that would restrict the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. We join more than 120 other nonprofit cultural organizations across that state that are taking this stand. As executive director Olga Viso wrote back […]
The Walker has been vocal about its opposition to a constitutional amendment on the Minnesota ballot today that would restrict the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. We join more than 120 other nonprofit cultural organizations across that state that are taking this stand. As executive director Olga Viso wrote back in May:
“We affirm that love is love, and that the Minnesota Constitution—a document created to define rights instead of impose restrictions—should not be amended to make value judgments about love… But beyond that, we realize that creative communities like ours thrive when we can all be ourselves. The immensely talented people we work with include many who are gay and lesbian, and we support them and see them as friends and equals. We also recognize that the healthiest creative climates are open to all. To foster creativity, to attract artists and audiences, and to grow the state’s economy during difficult times, we believe we must be welcoming to all, regardless of the gender of their loved ones.”
This morning, we visually reiterated these values. We turned over the lawn beside our building to 100 or more “Vote No” signs–provided by staff, friends, neighbors, and the Minnesotans United for All Families campaign–to give those who pass through our busy intersection a bold reminder of where we stand (and a colorful reminder to get out and vote). Then we invited staff and members of the community–not to mention a wandering Gandalf carrying a “You Shall Not Pass” marriage amendment sign–to join us for a “Vote No” family photo. Despite blustery weather, several dozen people showed up from all Walker departments, the neighborhood, and beyond.
Update 11.07.12: We’re pleased to report that the marriage amendment–along with the voter ID amendment–were defeated by Minnesota voters Tuesday.
Update 06.26.15: In a 5-to-4 vote, the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that the Constitution guarantees a nationwide right to same-sex marriage.
Nate Solas, the Walker’s head technologist, came in on his day off to share Minnesota-shaped “Vote No” cookies he and his daughter Isla made:
Digital marketing associate Kristina Fong and artist Sam Gould of Red76 give the constitutional amendment the thumbs down:
Walker performing arts intern Anat Shinar, with husband Sam Baker and daughter Miri, braved the winds…
…and later posed with Sheila Smith (at left below) of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts:
Following our photo shoot, “Gandalf”–aka Adam Sharp–continued canvassing Hennepin Avenue for at least two hours:
Walker director Olga Viso, who wrote that the Walker believes the amendment is “an unnecessary measure, but also one that would make our state a less welcoming place.”
We’d like to thank all those who came by for the photo, all those who dropped off signs in our front yard, and–most importantly–all those who vote against this constitutional amendment.
More photos from the morning:
All photos by Paul Schmelzer unless otherwise noted.
It’s been seven years since we launched the Walker Blogs, and with the release of our new homepage back in December we thought it was finally time for a refresh. Formerly called Off Center, Centerpoints changes this blog’s mission. Now that we’re aggregating the best of news about art and culture on our website’s new […]
It’s been seven years since we launched the Walker Blogs, and with the release of our new homepage back in December we thought it was finally time for a refresh. Formerly called Off Center, Centerpoints changes this blog’s mission. Now that we’re aggregating the best of news about art and culture on our website’s new Art News From Elsewhere feature, we have less need for a blog that brings–as Off Center‘s tagline once read–“outside ideas from inside the Walker.” What we do need is a space to share ideas about the Walker that transcend our artistic disciplines or address the center as a whole. Now you’ll find cross-departmental news and updates on our neighborhood, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, the Shop and restaurant, and our staff. In addition to a new name, we have a new design, which brings our blogs into alignment with the new Walker homepage. All of our core blogs have new names and identities as well, so check them out to get the latest on what’s going on in our Design, Education & Community Programs, Film/Video, Performing Arts, Visual Arts, and New Media departments, as well as at the mnartists.org blog and Walker Seen, our new blog geared toward making the social seen.
• Taking a keen interest in caring for feral cats, photographer Sandy Carson set out to document the people and processes related to TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return). “You don’t have to be a crazy ‘cat person’ to be a certified trapper,” he assures, “but cat attire is optional.” • Here’s 4 minutes 33 seconds worth of clips […]
• Taking a keen interest in caring for feral cats, photographer Sandy Carson set out to document the people and processes related to TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return). “You don’t have to be a crazy ‘cat person’ to be a certified trapper,” he assures, “but cat attire is optional.”
• Here’s 4 minutes 33 seconds worth of clips of a non-speaking Nicholas Cage in which only ambient noises are audible. Created by Adam Lucas, Cage Does Cage is an homage to John Cage’s 1952 conceptual art piece 4‘33”, performed by the Ghostrider star.
• April 21 is Record Store Day, a great chance to support some of America’s 700 independently owned bricks-and-mortar records stores — and a fine excuse for us to point out one of Christian Marclay’s “Body Mix” collages.
• A new edition of Lewis Carroll’s surreal fable Alice in Wonderland is, aptly, designed by an artist known for creating mind-bending visual worlds. Penguin Global has just published a Yayoi Kusama-designed version of the 1865 tale.
• Craig Finn, who headlines Rock the Garden 2012 with the Hold Steady, got dudded up in the desert for a photoshoot as part of the Esquire Songwriting Challenge, in which he and four others each wrote a song, on the spot, inspired by the phrase “Pacific Standard Time.”
• “Our 1,000 artworks are headed for destruction anyway because of the government’s indifference,” says Antonio Manfredi, director of Italy’s Casoria Contemporary Art Museum, who says he’s begun burning paintings in protest of cuts in arts funding.
• Pedro Reyes follows his 2011 Walker exhibition Baby Marx with Rompecabezas, a show in Mexico City that includes his adjustable hand-shaped chairs. “Functional and comfortable, you can use it to communicate to the people you live with,” he says.
• All art installation shots all the time. This dedicated Tumblr site chronicles art handlers–including Walker staffers installing Jim Hodges’ gigantic boulder/sculptures and Robert Therrien’s mammoth folding chairs–doing their thing.
• The Walker took home two prizes at the 2012 Museums & the Web conference, held in San Diego over the weekend, including Most Innovative and Best Overall. Congratulations to the Walker web and design teams, and to all 2012 winners! (We’re getting drubbed, but you can still vote for the Walker in the People’s Voice section of the Webby Awards.)
• 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 Reyes’ shovels 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.
• 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.
• 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.”