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Archive for the ‘Museum’ Category

An incredibly fascinating discussion is circulating around in the art world. As the presence of New Media art forms extend from the esoteric and rarely seen – in the case of Jst Chlln – into the light of the everyday, with online exhibitions presented on Youtube and the option of replacing Firefox ads with art, there comes into question the redefined role of the curator. Enter last month’s “New Style Curators” panel discussion at the New Museum featuring Paddy Johnson of Art Fag City, Ceci Moss of Rhizome at The New Museum, online media consultant Rex Sorgatz, and moderator Joanne McNeil of the Tomorrow Museum. In this influencial group’s attempt to answer the question of what online curating means, it only seems to stir up more questions – for them as much as for us. Do tweeters, re-tweeters, long-form bloggers, and folks with Tumblr accounts count as New Style Curators in their own right? They are, after all, selecting the images, words, and multimedia content that have special significance to them. What I’m curious to know, is what this means for the future of the traditional gallery space and the displaying of web-related art content? Will the “white space” be replaced with “no space”? I can’t wait to find out!

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“Bottom line, if people don’t say what they believe, those ideas and feelings get lost. If they are lost often enough, those ideas and feelings never return.” – David Wojnarowicz

This quote is from the website of David Wojnarowicz; a posthumous warning that foreshadows the recent ethical plight between the National Portrait Gallery and “A Fire in My Belly”, a video by Wojnarowicz that was recently censored from the museum’s “Hide/Seek” exhibition. In the first major museum exhibition to focus on sexual difference in the making of modern American portraiture, “Hide/Seek” considers such themes as the role of sexual difference in depicting modern America; how artists explored the fluidity of sexuality and gender; how major themes in modern art—especially abstraction—were influenced by social marginalization; and how art reflected society’s evolving and changing attitudes toward sexuality, desire, and romantic attachment. Wojnarowicz created his video piece “A Fire in My Belly” as a response to the “agony and suffering” of his partner who at the time was dying of AIDS. The piece includes some fairly grotesque imagery to comment on the fragility of flesh but it’s the scene in which a cross is covered in ants that caused the video piece to be removed from the exhibition at the behest of Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League who deemed the work “hate speech”.

In an act of solidarity, TRANSFORMER, an alternative art space in D.C., as well as the New Museum in NYC have decided to take a stand on the side of freedom of expression and are looping the Wojnarowicz video for all to see. Argot & Ochre supports the expressive creative projects of all voices and has invited MANIAC Gallery curator and art writer, Petra Royale Bibeau to share her comments on this topic.

(rebuttal for the removal of Wojnarowicz work from SEEK/FIND exhibition at the NPG)

WORSE THAN A CULTURE WAR, THE ABSENCE OF ONE.

By Petra Royale Bibeau

The censoring of the Wojnarowicz piece at the National Portrait Gallery due to claims of an “anti-Christian” sentiment has highlighted the importance of the nations alternative spaces. While the Catholic League For Religious and Civil Rights, an organization along side House Speaker John Boehner, behind the claim of the anti-Christian sentiment, boasts a mission to ‘protect religion and its freedom of speech’, citing the First Amendment, TRANSFORMER, a DC alternative space, has taken up the slack by hosting the video on loop in their storefront window.

With the National Portrait Gallery’s decision to remove Wojnarowicz’s work, the idea of freedom of speech has again become limited and exclusionary, removing the same right for others, and worse, without any acknowledgement of the major flaw in reasoning. Most concerning, is what Christopher Knight of the LA Times pointed out regarding Smithsonian’s Secretary G. Wayne Clough’s act of removing the Wojnarowicz piece from the exhibition: “Clough’s unfortunate decision gave tacit credence to their claim that the censored art is “anti-Christian.”

If it is called anti-Christian, it is so in the sense that the Church does not appreciate the legacy of their judgements during Wojnarowicz’s time viewed now through a contemporary context. Wojnarowicz’s ‘Fire In My Belly’ visually establishes a haunting account of both American governmental and (largely Christian) religious resistance of the epidemic during the height of the AIDS crisis in America by using larger/global iconographical reference. Specifically, the work addresses the harsh global realities, more so than personal commentary. The fact that Wojnarowicz’s use of a cross covered in ants as a symbol relaying the sickness of the sheer amount of people dying due to the rapid spread of AIDS coupled with the dismissal of the epidemic by the Church, is being called into question as anti-Christian precludes the real issue of historic relevance and integrity. Not only an integrity loss for the millions of people effected by this particular point in time, but also the integrity of a secular institution to successfully curate and develop full exhibitions historically and culturally relevant to an audience. The unfortunate removal of the work is an insult to LGBT community, as it goes without saying that this work is both historically accurate and relevant to the whole of the exhibition and is an important part of American art history.

Adding insult to injury, Clough’s decision of removal came across as apologetic as cited on the National Portrait Gallery’s website in a letter apologizing for offending anyone. Whereas Boehner and the Catholic League expressed no hesitation asserting a gross demand on the claim that a portion of Wojanrowicz’s piece is considered ‘anti-Christian’, The NPG, a secular institution gatekeeping cultural relevance in the public sector did not provide an appropriate context and/or rebuttal to this claim. This negligence alone begs the question: what is more insulting, the fact that the work was removed, or the fact that no one provided the appropriate context and insisted on its merit and worth for inclusion in “the first major museum exhibition to focus on sexual difference in the making of modern American portraiture”?

This is a simple and obvious issue of censorship that esteems to alter and erase history and to replace with an edited version by the same institution that the art was being made to address in an educated manner. The removal of this work seeks to destroy and discredit the very real struggle and public plight of the LGBT community specifically from the late 1970s onward in the face of gross negligence and superfluous public hate campaigns.This is no different than removing atrocities dealt to African-Americans during civil rights to appease a white majority and calling any reference to said atrocities anti-American, for example. The integrity of American intellect and history is at great risk with these types of decisions, most especially when responsibility is not taken for specific acts and reasoning that have shaped the American psyche for the past 30 years. This is not an acceptable decision, nor is it appropriate to censor a real expression from the point in time where this work was conceived under very real conditions, in response to very real attitudes that permeate our society to this very day.

In 2010, this issue is not as closely related to the 1990s culture wars as expected. This isn’t simply a question of conflicting cultural values, as this issue has only really been unilaterally dealt with, it gives the appearance as there are no real conflicts with the decision or consequence, or as Knight argues, the label itself. There has been little to no rebuttal from Clough or the Smithsonian, and it has largely gone (critically) unaddressed. As gatekeepers of culture, if that is in fact the position defined, it is their job to assure cultural relevance and historic accuracy for the public. Political and/or religious bargaining is not on the agenda. For now, if you wish to see the entire HIDE/SEEK exhibition, including Wojanarowicz’s piece, the missing video is being playing on loop in the storefront window of Transformer, an alternative space in DC.

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Photo by Alan Lishness via Flickr

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts invites submissions from Bay Area artists for a new commission for a public art project at YBCA. One artist will be selected to create a large-scale artwork on the glass exterior walls of the forum/galleries building. This is one of two buildings that make up YBCA’s campus, the forum/galleries building is designed by world renowned Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki and opened to the public in 1993. It houses YBCA’s exhibition galleries, multi-purpose forum and administrative offices.

The commissioned public artwork must be visually compelling and dynamic, express the values of YBCA, and enhance the experience of those in the vicinity of YBCA’s facility, the adjacent Yerba Buena Gardens and Mission Street. The selected temporary artwork will remain on view for a period of time between 18 months and two years.

The selected artist will be asked to participate in outreach efforts meant to deepen the public’s engagement with their artwork, for example, an artist talk or presentation on the making of the selected work on view.

Mission

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts presents contemporary art from the Bay Area and around the world that reflects the profound issues and ideas of our time, expands the boundaries of artistic practice, and celebrates the diversity of human experience and expression.

Eligibility

Applicants must reside in the Bay Area.

Bay Area Counties include: Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Marin County, Napa County, San Francisco County, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County

Electronic submissions are preferred. Visit www.ybca.org to download an application form and instructions.

Awards

Three artists will be chosen to proceed to the second round and will be awarded $1000 each to develop a detailed design proposal.

The selected artist will receive an honorarium in the amount of $5000. In addition, under YBCA proposed guidelines, YBCA will pay for costs associated with the fabrication and installation of the work.

Deadlines & Dates:

Submissions must be postmarked, Friday, January 7, 2011

Three finalists will be notified by February 1, 2011

The final selected artist will be notified by April 1, 2011

For further information, please visit www.ybca.org

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Larry Clark‘s retrospective exhibition opens today at Musée d’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.  The artist is known for his talent in depicting both fictional and true stories of disturbed youth through a raw and glaringly graphic eye.  His photo documentations  (Tulsa, Teenage Lust) and his films (Bully, Kids, Ken Park, Wassup Rockers) have that certain “ewww” factor that makes you think you are smelling something disgusting, want to take 2 showers and think “I should watch  Little House on the Prairie right now”.  However, regardless of the  “ewww”, his work offers something more than just a superficial visual assault; his work heavily permeates the viewers’ thoughts, sensations and emotions not just when viewing but even at the mere thought of it.  That’s what I would call powerful work. However, “powerful” is not the word chosen by the mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, I believe that word would be “censor”. The mayor is imposing the first ever age restriction on an art exhibition in Paris. Minors are prohibited from seeing his retrospective.   To read more >>

“Larry Clark: Kiss the Past Hello” runs from October 8, 2010 until January 2, 2011

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Just announced! An artist’s reception will be held for Jesse Hazelip on Saturday July 10th from 2-7pm in the Earth Bar at the Temple Nightclub. Be sure to check out Jesse’s installation that day at the SFMOMA garage windows at 147 Minna and 150 Natoma and then come on by to celebrate with the artist. 21 and up only though!

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Jesse Hazelip is currently installing the work for his next major exhibition opening this Saturday, July 10th in conjunction with the SFMOMA Artist’s Gallery. This installation will be on display through November 13th and is visible in the SFMOMA Garage’s street-level windows on both the Natoma and Minna St. alleys between New Montgomery and Third St.

The work for this installation involves large scale mixed media pieces on wooden panels, each commenting on contemporary sociopolitical issues in a cause and effect statement. Topics of waste are addressed through the artist’s use of found, salvaged and repurposed materials. Capitalism and greed are commented on through the artist’s discussion of the recent BP oil spill, and the sort of rugged individualism that defines America while blinding us to our fellow humans’ plight is illustrated in a piece dedicated to the alarming statistic that names suicide as the number two cause of death amongst Native American adolescents.

Check out more preview shots here. (more…)

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Miné Okubo: Citizen 13660

Celebrate with OMCA! The newly transformed Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) opens Saturday, May 1, with 31 hours of continuous, FREE programs and events, including the opening exhibition of Miné Okubo: Citizen 13660. Below is the full list of scheduled events but for more info, visit OMCA’s website.

Saturday, May 1:
Watch the premiere of Project Bandaloop’s aerial dance performance, created for the Opening. Dance with Alice 97.3 DJ’s. Try Hula-Hooping. March to the drum beats of the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band. And more.

Saturday Night and Late Night, May 1
Saturday night goes adult-themed with live performances by Tommy Guerrero, LIVE 105, Freddi Price, Zoli Lundy, and Isabel Douglass. Nonstop Bhangra Bollywood Dance Party, California square dancing, and dance jam with the Schoolhouse Stringband. Plus a Sex, Drugs, & Rock ‘n’ Roll Gallery Tour, DJ’s, and palm-reading by Madam Z. Did we mention the YELP late-late night pajama party?

Special 8-10 p.m.
California Futures: Technology Tweet #CALIFORNIA with the social media staff from Bay Area museums, and a LIVE performance with the Stanford Mobile Phone Orchestra (MoPho).

Special 11 p.m.-1 a.m.
California Futures: Radical Start-Ups Join Dr. Carol Queen, Good Vibrations; Richard Lee, Oaksterdam University; Ron Turner, Last Gasp for an extraordinary conversation, plus radical interpretations of the conversation with visual artists Rob Reger (Emily the Strange), J Otto, and others.

Sunday, May 2
Start Sunday with a wake up yoga and chanting class with Ann Dyer. Enjoy a pancake breakfast with Oakland Firefighters, in a ($5) benefit IAFF Local 55. The dancing continues with Movin’ 99.7, Capacitor Dance Company, and a community drumming celebration with DRUMMM Rhythmic Events. Plus two special Sunday performances with the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir.

Special 10 a.m. – Noon
California Futures: Oakland and the Fight for Food Justice: Chef Robert Dorsey III, operator of the new OMCA café, Blue Oak, will lead a conversation with Brahm Ahmadi, People’s Grocery; Barbara Finin, City Slicker Farms; Eric Holt-Gimnez, Food First; and Keba Konte, Kijiji Grows.

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