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February 23, 2005

Book It, Dano

The past couple weeks have been spent drafting and then scrapping a series of unfortunate posts that will never see the light of day. I had been hoping to dazzle you folks with various pithy profundities on any number of pertinent topics but, due to whatever mental cloud that has managed to descend on me, I found that I just can't seem to get there from here.

High time for a vacation, I say.

And indeed, in something that holds the promise of clearing up my internets- and work-addled mind, I fly out from Midway in a matter of just a few hours, headed for eight fabulous days and nights of fun and sun on Oahu and Maui. Though the islands may not be the hot destination of the year for the boot and rally crowd, this could well turn into a rather decent excursion.

As I will be somewhat otherwise disposed, things will remain silent here for a spell (though readers are certainly encouraged to register their intense jealousy in comments below).

In the meantime, read some elsewhere...

... Fresh Paint trolls the galleries of the West Loop.

... MAN points to Chicagoans writing on the MCA's Universal Experience: Houndstooth and Daily Dose. Also check out Folding Chair. And in print: Artner, Hawkins, Workman.

... Terence Hannum discusses his dissatisfaction with Artnet along with broader issues in art criticism.

I shall return anon, but until further notice...

Aloha, suckers.

"Book It, Dano"
Posted by Dan at 01:29 AM | Referenced URL's | Comments (1)

February 21, 2005

Hunter S. Thompson Commits Suicide at 67

The Tribune has it off the AP wire:

"Fiction is based on reality unless you're a fairy-tale artist," Thompson told the AP in 2003. "You have to get your knowledge of life from somewhere. You have to know the material you're writing about before you alter it."

Denver Post
BBC News
BBC News
New York Times

"Hunter S. Thompson Commits Suicide at 67"
Posted by Dan at 03:43 AM | Referenced URL's | Comments (0)

February 20, 2005

They're Copyrighting the Commons, Again

In the wake of the big to do over the 'copyrighting of Millennium Park', TWhid of MTAA wondered about the implications for Christo and Jeanne-Claude's Central Park ballyhoo:

I wonder if Christo and Jeanne-Claude have security guards keeping professional photographers away from "The Gates"? I would really be interested to know their official stand on the copyright of images of “The Gates,” especially since they make all their money from images of the sculptures as opposed to the sculptures themselves (which many times cost them money). Part of this answer is at the bottom of this page. The artists say that they "have donated all merchandising rights" [emphasis theirs] to a charity and Central Park.
Granted, the two situations are totally different in terms of politics needed to be navigated in order to realize the piece. (Perhaps Christo and Jeanne-Claude had their arms twisted to donate the merchandising rights.) But in terms of copyright issues I don’t see that there would be much of a difference.

Well, as it should happen, the two situations are now looking strikingly similar.

Via the MAeX Art Blog [Update: it seems James and Barry were all over this a couple days ago], we find Robert Lederman (of the street artist advocacy group ARTIST) checking in at InfoShop News a few days back with this:

Today, 2/17/05, a representative of Christo's German publisher informed street artists, photographers and art vendors around Central Park that they would be subject to arrest for selling any images of The Gates. I got the number of this person, Dr. Fils, and had a lengthy talk with him.
Christo's publisher claims a vast new degree of copyright and trademark protection. They claim they will prosecute anyone who sells their own original photos of The Gates; who makes and sells a drawing of The Gates or who even uses the words, The Gates, without their permission. They claim to have copyrighted the words, The Gates. They also claim to have an agreement with the media that media sources may only use news photos of the gates for the period the installation is up. That after that the media will only be allowed to use "official" photos of The Gates.
They also claim that all of Central Park is now "private property."

I can't, at the moment, find any other reports that will verify this.

Update: In a breaking development, Audrey Tiernan, a New York Newsday photojournalist, had her foot stepped on today by C&J-C's personal photographer, Wolfgang Volz. While apparently no injury resulted, an article on the incident was filed, which offers us the following tidbit:

A moment later, Jeanne-Claude sternly warned Tiernan that pictures of the artwork are trademarked and can't be sold. Vendors have been selling pictures of the outdoor exhibit to tourists.

Full story, in all of its riveting detail, here.

"They're Copyrighting the Commons, Again"
Posted by Dan at 12:45 PM | Referenced URL's | Comments (1)

February 16, 2005

Smithsonian to Receive $3.6 Million Grant from Terra

Although Chicago's Terra Museum of American Art closed its doors for good this past October, the Terra Foundation remains with us and boasts a newly refocused mission.

On February 11 the Terra Foundation for American Art announced that, in its largest grant to date, it will be cutting a check for $3.6 million to the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art for the digitization and online archiving of "a substantial cross-section of the Archives' most important holdings, including the papers of a highly diverse range of artists and arts-related figures from the eighteenth century to today."

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Archives is described as "the world's largest and most widely used resource on the history of art in America." Over the next five years "more than 1,200 linear feet of letters, photographs, sketchbooks, ledgers, diaries, business records, and writings" will be transmuted along with "more than 900 linear feet, close to 100 collections, that include records of selected art galleries, art organizations, collectors, art historians, critics, editors, museum directors, and others" into nearly 1.6 million digital files to be made publicly available, free of charge, over the Web at the Archives' new web site.

President and CEO of the Terra, Elizabeth Glassman:

The Terra Foundation grant to the Archives of American Art has the potential to revolutionize research in American art, creating free and open access to important documents not just for the academy, but also for schools, libraries, and homes, from St. Louis to Shanghai. The Terra Foundation is thrilled to be working with the Archives of American Art, so that together the two organizations can bring this wealth of crucial material to audiences worldwide.

The project is to include the Archives' collections from the American Watercolor Society, Cecilia Beaux, Albert Bierstadt, Isabel Bishop, Marcel Breuer, Alexander Calder, Joseph Cornell, Dorothy Dehner, Arthur Dove, Thomas Eakins, Martin Johnson Heade, Winslow Homer, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Jacob Lawrence, Reginald Marsh, Dorothy Miller, Louise Nevelson, Erwin Panofsky, Betty Parsons and Betty Parsons Gallery, Horace Pippin, Jackson Pollock, Charles Sheeler, Robert Smithson, Henry Tanner, Benjamin West, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, and Grant Wood.

Related: browse the Terra's collection of American art online.

[Via: Chicago Tribune, BigNewsNetwork.com]

"Smithsonian to Receive $3.6 Million Grant from Terra"
Posted by Dan at 04:53 PM | Referenced URL's | Comments (0)

February 15, 2005

Missed One

On top of the other recent additions to the rolls, we belatedly present yet another Chicago art blog: artist Erik Wenzel's Art or Idiocy?, up and running since September.

I ran into this some time ago and dutifully filed it for later perusal in my online bookmark service... which has since managed to lose all bookmarks entered since last May.


Word to the wise: stay far, far away from MyBookmarks.com.

Do check out Art or Idiocy, however, which features a veritable menagerie of dogs, dog-men, Madonnas and Screams. (And, really, how can I argue with this?)

"Missed One"
Posted by Dan at 10:14 AM | Referenced URL's | Comments (0)

February 12, 2005

Finishing the Stricture

Roger Kimball appears straight-up determined to make a one-man cottage industry of himself in the discipline of posthumous Commie roasts. In October it was Derrida, in December, Sontag.

Next up on the pyre... Arthur Miller: legendary playwright, unlikely babe-magnet, Stalinist stooge?

At Armavirumque Kimball bids his fondest farewell:

Let the bouquets begin. The playwright Arthur Miller died yesterday at 89. An icon of the left-liberal establishment for decades, Miller has already been showered with a diabetic's nightmare of saccharine eulogies from . . . well, from just about everywhere. I won't intrude into this love-fest except to note that a measure of scepticism about Mr. Miller's halo of sanctity is in order. In September 2000, we published a dissenting note about Miller in The New Criterion.

From that September 2000 Notes & Comments:

Some myths die hard. One of the most recalcitrant in recent times has been the myth of McCarthyism—the myth that America in the late 1940s and early 1950s was in the grip of a fearsome, paranoid "witch-hunt" against supposed Communists and other alleged traitors
Mr. Miller has always been a reliable source of radical-chic clichés and he does not disappoint in this new recollection. We can well believe him when he remarks that "Practically everyone I knew stood within the conventions of the political left of centre; one or two were Communist party members, some were fellow-travellers, and most had had a brush with Marxist ideas or organisations." But is it naïveté or something else when he goes on to declare that "I have never been able to believe in the reality of these people being actual or putative traitors any more than I could be, yet others like them were being fired from teaching or jobs in government or large corporations." Mr. Miller is especially incredulous that any of his fellow artists could have engaged in traitorous activities: "The unwelcome truth denied by the right was that the Hollywood writers accused of subversion were not a menace to the country, or even bearers of meaningful change. They wrote not propaganda but entertainment, some of it of a mildly liberal cast, but most of it mindless, or when it was political, as with Preston Sturges or Frank Capra, entirely and exuberantly un-Marxist."
Really? Mr. Miller concludes his piece by speaking of the black singer Paul Robeson, whose "declaration of faith in socialism as a cure for racism," he says, "was a rocket that lit up the sky." Robeson is widely considered a martyr of HUAC. In fact, he was a doctrinaire Stalinist who believed that only in the Soviet Union were blacks really free. At the World Peace Congress in 1949, Robeson publicly declared that American blacks would not fight for the American flag, least of all against Moscow: "It is unthinkable," he said, that his race "would go to war on behalf of those who oppressed us for generations." Russia he described as "a country which in one generation has raised our people to the full dignity of mankind." In the same year, like many other artists under Stalinist "discipline," he voluntarily gave up acting and singing, explaining that "I have no time in the political struggle of today to entertain people." Robeson received the Stalin Prize in 1953, the year of the dictator's death, and he signed a eulogy that contained the benediction "Glory to Stalin. Forever will his name be honored and beloved in all lands."
Mr. Miller writes that "The heart of the darkness was the belief that a massive, profoundly organised conspiracy was in place and carried forward mainly by a concealed phalanx of intellectuals, including labour activists, teachers, professionals, sworn to undermine the American government." But what he describes as a paranoid fantasy we now know to be the historical truth.
The real witch hunt
Speaking of witch-hunts, we cannot forebear to share with our readers a document sent to us by a friend from Naperville, Illinois, a suburb west of Chicago. Entitled "Ten Quick Ways to Analyze Childrens Books for Racism and Sexism," this preposterous little guide, originally devised by the Illinois School Library Media Conference in 1997, was distributed for the guidance of teachers in Naperville as part of their new "Diversity Plan." Among other things, "Ten Quick Ways" advises readers to "Check the Illustrations" of children’s books for stereotypes and tokenism, to "Check the Story Line": "Is 'making it' in the dominant white society projected as the only ideal? The standard for success?" (As opposed to what, becoming a welfare mother or crack addict?)
Here is a real witch-hunt in progress. A pity, isn’t it, that left-wing crusaders like Arthur Miller will not be picking up their pens to expose it?

The New Criterion... divorcing aesthetics from political agenda since 1982.

(Don't get them started on the evils of fluoridation, though...)

*Update: Grammar.police

"Finishing the Stricture"
Posted by Dan at 11:57 AM | Referenced URL's | Comments (0)

February 8, 2005

NOVA is Go

Michael Workman and the folks at Bridge Magazine have unveiled plans for a new indie art fair to be held concurrently with this year's two mainline fairs over this spring's art fair weekend.

The NOVA Young Art Fair, April 28-May 1, will find its home in the West Loop amongst the semis and forklifts on Fulton Market.

Offered forth as a relatively more affordable alternative to the bigger fairs ($2,500 for a 120 sq ft booth versus $10,500 for 288 and $8,800 for 240 with Art Chicago and Chicago Contemporary & Classic respectively), NOVA is also looking to stake out an ideological stance of sorts as a part of its "not-for-profit mission":

The NOVA Young Art Fair staff and committee will screen applications with an eye to work that seeks alternatives to our entertainment-driven culture. Similar to the New-York based New Art Dealers Alliance, NOVA will be an example of what not-for-profit and for-profit organizations can accomplish as partners rather than competitors, and NOVA planners intend for the selected exhibitors to reflect this philosophy. Programming at the NOVA Young Art Fair will reflect this genre-bashing approach to art exhibition. A portion of the exhibition space has been demarcated for performance and will include week-long showcases of performance art, live music, film screenings and more. A reading area will also be available for weary patrons to sit, relax and sample copies of art magazines and titles from art publishers while sipping coffee.

The selection committee is to include Charlotte Bonham-Carter, Stacie Johnson, Jason Lazarus, Krista Peel, Max Presneill, Sabrina Raaf and Melissa Schubeck.

[Hat tip: Caryn]

"NOVA is Go"
Posted by Dan at 07:09 PM | Referenced URL's | Comments (3)

February 7, 2005

The Internets Catch Me Up With the Weeklies

Not getting out for the past two weeks meant, among other things, not picking up my copies of either free weekly. Thank God I've got these here internets to read 'em for me.

All that and a bit of local housekeeping...

Can it be...

Another Chicago art blog? Meet Houndstooth.

"I have not told anyone about this online journal," writes its author, Jason, a self-proclaimed "student of the arts" (read: art history nerd).

Fortunately for us, though, Jason outed himself in a comment over at Modern Kicks.

As some are prone to say up north, "Howdy!"

Stirring Sterling

Another new local art blog, Folding Chair, points to Michael Workman's Newcity column from a couple weeks ago on the topic of Van Harrison's departure west east (Folding Chair posing Workman's take against Terence Hannum's).

In the midst of his remarks on Harrison and 1R, Workman lets loose on their season-opener this past fall, Sterling Ruby's Interior Burnout:

...much maladroit work has certainly hung on Harrison's ever-shifting walls. Not six months ago, the gallery flirted with a dangerously moribund if not borderline-embarrassing emulation of New York's Daniel Reich Gallery, an experiment that ended in the professionally tragic amateurism and homeless chic of Sterling Ruby's "Interior Burnout." Co-director Marc LeBlanc left the gallery the day after the show opened and the writing was suddenly on the wall (literally: for Ruby's show, he scribbled on the wall using black spray-paint--with a skull-fucking scene thrown in for good measure).

This prompted a response from Ruby himself in the form of a letter to the editor. His response can also be found at panel-house (unedited, with an additional paragraph in response to Kathryn Rosenfeld's artnet review from last fall).

The recent output from Workman in his column "Eye Exam" is yet another misinterpretation. For someone who I believe has a PhD (though I cannot find evidence of it on-line), he is considerably lacking insight as to what is actually going on. He, like Rosenfeld narrows my work down to the most basic insult instead of contemplating the likelihood that its construction is a sign of transience, which I feel is an accurate representation of making art in current society. The skull-fucking scene is going to be just that--a skull-fucking scene, if you do not take the work in its entirety. Possibly though, if seen in the right light it could be that the skull-fucking scene indicates where we are as artists; being afraid of yet obsessed with what went before and neurotically pursuing our own symptoms.

...and so on about the art historical implications of "the skull-fucking scene." He ends with a final salvo of "join me even though I have left Chicago at rejecting him from being Chicago's spokesperson."

Ahh, fireworks in winter.

I hope to have more to say on this later.

But who owns the skyline?

Via Art.Blogging.LA, New (sub)Urbanism discusses a January 28 Reader article on the copyrighting of Millennium Park.

In keeping with the contemporary trends of privatizing public space, Millennium Park is a copyrighted public space.
The Reader recounts the experience of photojournalist Warren Wimmer's attempts to photograph Anish Kapoor's sculpture, Cloud Gate (more commonly known as "the Bean"). When Wimmer set up his tripod and camera to shoot the sculpture, security guards stopped him, demanding that they show him a permit. Wimmer protested, replying that it's absurd that one needs to pay for a permit to photograph public art in a city-owned park.

Wimmer says that a guard told him that "This whole park is copyrighted." Clarification of the policy came to Reader author Ben Joravsky when he spoke to Millennium Park media contact Karen Ryan:

"The copyrights for the enhancements in Millennium Park"—meaning the Bean, the band shell, the Columbus Drive pedestrian bridge, the Crown Fountain, and Lurie Garden—"are owned by the artist who created them," she wrote. "As such, anyone reproducing the works, especially for commercial purposes, needs the permission of that artist." She added, "artists are increasingly sophisticated about copyrights and this is standard practice for today's artists. . . . This was not the case years ago (i.e., the Art Institute Lions, Wrigley Building, etc.)."

So the policy is merely out of regard for the artists' rights? Oddly enough, the concerns seem to go beyond those of Kapoor, Gehry and Plensa, as Ryan alleges that this is a parks-wide policy:

According to Ryan, a professional photographer has to buy a $325 media permit to shoot for any part of one day in any city park, not just Millennium Park. She did add, "The policy allows students, journalists, and amateur photographers to shoot in the park with no restrictions."

This sounds a whole lot closer to the aforementioned guard's assessment of things.

(An aside: As it is, I'm a bit fuzzy on the distinction between a "professional photographer" and a "journalist" as it pertains to freelance photographers. How does such a policy apply, for example, to a photographer working on spec?)

So it would seem that one needs a permit to photograph anything on park grounds. Setting aside any questions about the wisdom, ethics or legality of so extensively "copyrighting" public works or spaces (or however you wish to characterize this), or the suggestion that the same can be done for architecture, do the artists' copyrights for the park "enhancements" somehow extend to the park spaces in general? Or is the Millennium Park conservancy claiming the "copyright" over those portions of the park space not dominated by these works (or, for that matter, do those rights go to the respective corporate sponsors)?

Really, as it appears that they aren't going so far as to prohibit commercial photography outright (just charging for the privilege), can this be claimed to actually be about artists' copyrights at all? Or is it perhaps—dare I say it—just another revenue stream for the city?

In any event, I hope Catherine Opie has a good lawyer (warning: Real Audio).

NEWSgrist, as is quite often the case, offers the best link-around in town, including a pointer to this semi-related post by Free Culture guru Lawrence Lessig.


Finally, and returning to Workman for a moment... At the end of the column mentioned above he happens to make mention of a certain Chicago art blog. Its author sends out a hearty 'thank you.'

The blurb is a bit of an addendum to his previous column, in which he highlights Paul Klein's Art Letter and its forum. Around the same time as that earlier piece I noticed that Roy Boyd's front desk was showing off a printout of Klein's brief mention of their current show in his January 7 review. Though I'm sure Klein's stature as a local figure helped, it's still nice to suddenly see a gallery paying attention to the world online.

And what with someone at the Times apparently reading art blogs... do you feel what I feel?

That's creeping legitimacy right there, folks.

"The Internets Catch Me Up With the Weeklies"
Posted by Dan at 09:17 PM | Referenced URL's | Comments (2)

February 2, 2005

Bon Anniversaire à Moi

Though I find myself momentarily lost in the mire of real world hustle and bustle, I can't allow the anniversary of this here website to pass by without comment.

You see, it was one year ago this past Sunday that, after a couple months of test posts and template tweaks, I managed to finally throw up a legit post for all the world to see. It resides here still, though I haven't read it myself in some time. (Hmmm, maybe later... it's looking a tad tedious.)

It's a pretty verbose mission statement for something that was mostly intended as a replacement for talking to myself in traffic. And, as I sit here 12 months, 131 posts and 79,063 words (many of them my own) later, I remain as confused as ever as to just what the hell I think I'm doing. Still, the story of the past year is an undeniably pleasant one:

It begs the question, though: what brings you here? The short answer, if my site stats are to believed: Bea and nudity, mostly.

This snapshot of search engine queries from January '05 is pretty typical of what I've seen every month thus far:

I don't know whether to blame Maude reruns on Comcast or the 1994 Brendan Fraser/Joe Mantegna/Judd Nelson star vehicle Airheads. Whatever the case, the lady seems to be a hit with these bandwidth thieves over at LiveJournal. And at least I'm not pegged as a porn host by your firewalls.

The post that draws these folks out of the woodwork is right here, though I'd humbly suggest that those searching for "naked party" (if you're indeed looking for what I think you are) refine their search a bit. (In terms of helping out with that other "naked" keyphrase, I'm afraid I'd be of little help.)

As for some other searches...

Looking for Jurgen Teller? While I can't offer you a back door into Jurgen's world, Sarah at Forward Retreat has something that might be right up someone's alley. (With, ahem, sincerest apologies.)

Or, perhaps you seek angels, devils, good and evil. Then doubtless you're here for this.

With all that out of the way, and not to bury the lede too deep or anything...

To all who read, whencesoever you've arrived, a hearty 'thank you.'

And to those who've linked to me: all my love. I'll set aside extra love for Blogger Dean Tyler Green, who plugged this shit first—I've benefited from a few subsequent MANhandlings (being the kinder, gentler, art blog version of a Slashdotting, Farking, Drudging or Instalanche, etc.), as well, for which I'm also grateful.

Much appreciation, too, to Raphael Rubinstein for the recent Art in America blurbs, though I don't know if I, for one, deserve the attention.

As for all the Golden Girls fans out there: sit tight. I've got a lead on some hot Estelle Getty pics that you're never gonna believe.

"Bon Anniversaire à Moi"
Posted by Dan at 06:26 PM | Referenced URL's | Comments (10)