Now that 2009 is here I thought it would be good to take a look back at 2008 and some of the stories mentioned on the Myartspace Blog. Looking back it seems that 2008 was fueled by politics-- be it Barack Obama’s impact on art or the concern over the potential of the Orphan Works Bill being passed. Economic worries were plentiful in 2008. This will be the first of three entries covering 2008.
Orphan Works Bill -- Throughout 2008 I explored the dangers of the potential Orphan Works Bill. I asked Alex Curtis, the Director of Policy and New Media for Public Knowledge, about his position concerning the potential bill. I don’t support Public Knowledge’s stance on the bill, but I do like to offer opposing views on the blog.
A dead Barack Obama? -- I discussed “Who Killed Barack Obama” by Peter Fuss. This story interested me because of the backlash Fuss received for having created the piece. 2008 was a year that art and Obama walked hand-in-hand so it was interesting to see an artist mesh the two in a controversial way. Peter Fuss has stated that “Who Killed Barack Obama?“ is not a visual attack against Obama. Fuss suggests that many people see Obama in the same way as Kennedy, Lincoln, M.L.King and Malcolm X were viewed before their tragic demise. Fuss added that the piece is about the “global thought of Obama's unavoidable death“. The piece is about the stereotype of impending doom that is cast over leaders who strive for radical change.
Tattooed pigs were banned in China -- An exhibit involving living tattooed pigs by Wim Delvoye was banned in China. If they had been purchased by collectors the pigs would have been slaughtered and their preserved skins sold for over $10,000 a piece. I asked the question, “Should a line be drawn between branding animals for slaughter and consumption and tattooing and slaughtering animals in the name of art?”
Marc Quinn‘s gold Kate Moss -- I discussed UK sculptor Marc Quinn’s gold sculpture of British model Kate Moss. Quinn created the sculpture with over two millions dollars worth of gold-- a figure that is more absurd than I viewed it at the time considering the struggle that has gripped the global economy since then. I’m not exactly impressed with art that meshes with celebrity. It comes off as easy press in my eyes.
Serrano’s (not so) Humble Investigative Triumph -- I discussed Andres Serrano’s recent work involving human feces. Apparently it took Andres Serrano twenty years to discover that his own feces was a viable medium for expressive purposes. He went on to say that he was “done with piss” twenty years ago.
In my opinion the works in feces are not that huge of a leap from Piss Christ. Serrano has went on to proclaim that he is “wise” for exploring feces as a medium and that other artists will envy his decision to explore that aspect of bodily waste in the way that he has. Unfortunately for Serrano others had mastered feces as a medium long before he was born.
Banksy opened a pet store -- Banksy's Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill. Banksy's work in the space involved hot dogs, chicken nuggets, and other foods representing animals as if they were pets. Banksy utilized animatronics so that the 'pets' moved around. Apparently this was the first time that Banksy has used animatronics.
Obama’s Obedient Artist -- I discussed Shepard Fairey’s rise alongside the Obama campaign and mentioned some facts about the artist that very few sources in the media have done. It amazes me that Obama would associate himself with an artist who has a history of violating the rights of fellow artists. Something tells me that the Champion of Art and Culture should learn some basic information about art law and the need for copyright protection in general if he really wants to be our Champion.
Auction house sold -- Phillips de Pury, an auction house known for having a strong focus in the sale of contemporary art and photography, has been bought by Mercury Group. Mercury Group is a Russian luxury retail group that owns top shelf department stores selling Prada, Ferrari, Gucci, Rolex, Maserati, and other high end brand names.
Steve Lazarides shows art world traditionalists how it is done -- Gallery owner Steve Lazarides delivered blunt force trauma to the foundation of the traditional art world with his Outsiders exhibit. The exhibit, which featured Polly Morgan, Jonathan Yeo, Antony Micallef, Mark Jenkins and others, proves that an art exhibit can be successful without direct advertising and media hype. Lazarides and his artists reveal what can be accomplished by taking an unorthodox approach to exhibiting and marketing. In that I see great vision-- it is the kind of positive change that we need in the dynamics of the art world. I admire Steve Lazarides for what he has accomplished.
Frieze Endures Cash Freeze -- Foot traffic to the Frieze Art Fair was low this year-- so was the cash flow. There is no doubt that recent economic woes played a part in the cold market at the fair. However, many had expected worse going into the fair. Frieze did show that there is still a financial pulse in the art market even though the fair lacked the same collector involvement and cash flow as last year. The flame of art world stability is still flickering.
Take care, Stay true,