The Internet loves nothing more than cats, but it’s rare that we look beyond the cute photos and memes to more seriously consider their place in our world. Flavorwire’s Highbrow Cat Week is an attempt to remedy that, with a series of pieces devoted to analyzing their impact on the cultural realm.
Great news: all of your favorite artists have eagerly contributed to a gallery show about cats. It’s true! “Art isn’t only for a meditative, aesthetic experience,” artist and curator Rhonda Lieberman says in a a press release. “It can also be a conduit for the redemption of pussycats and people.” The show opens June 14 at New York’s White Columns Gallery and is presented in partnership with Social Tees Animal Rescue, a non-profit organization that takes over 3,000 at-risk animals from kill shelters every year, gives them veterinary care, and finds them loving homes.
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As an 1895 version of Edvard Munch’s The Scream heads off to Sotheby’s today, it could bring in as much as a record-breaking $200 million. Sotheby’s, the world’s largest auction house, is doing better than ever, with profits on the rise. And yet, the unionized professionals who handle the art are out of work. They’ve been locked out since July 29 of last year, after refusing to accept an unfair contract from Sotheby’s that called to cut pay, hours, and pensions; eliminate health benefits; and replace full-time employees with temporary, unskilled workers. For the people who have spent years — and some, decades — lending their specialized skills to handling some of the world’s most precious artifacts, it wasn’t acceptable.
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Allegedly David Hockney recently took a dig at Damien Hirst when a poster for his upcoming show at the Royal Academy of Art read, “All the works here were made by the artist himself, personally.” The Royal Academy of Art has since clarified that the phrase appeared on Hockney’s gallery wall, not their poster, and Mr. Hockney was not attacking anyone specifically.
This got us thinking. It’s not uncommon for artists to have assistants or employ experienced craftsmen to help with the production of their work. Sometimes, that’s the only way to bring their ideas to life. Sometimes, that process is part of the art’s conceit. Sometimes, they just want the money without doing much of anything. Here’s a brief and wide survey of classical and contemporary artists who conceive, but don’t or didn’t always “make” their own work. This is not exactly “in defense” of Damien Hirst. It’s a bit that, but more of … “in contrast,” just some thoughts to levy the hype and hate currently swirling around the artist. Let’s get to it!
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With the arrival the “Yoü and I” video last week, we have hit a historic moment in Lady Gaga’s bewildering career. The tense gap between the video’s visuals and its music has hit all time chasmic proportions — an avant-garde bondage mermaid surgery drag medley psychotically edited to a Taylor Swift-like rocky country tune. This chasm is, perhaps, only second to the one between Gaga’s “Born This Way” dance anthem and the clusterfuck of video art rip-offs that supported it.
Wait. Let’s not be too harsh here. There is a certain ruthless curatorial skill involved in the diva’s pillaging of existing cultural artifacts, stripping them of their original meaning, slicing and stuffing them into her glossy oeuvre. The result? A worshiped pop icon with documented interest in contemporary art playing Dr. Frankenstein on herself in front of the world. It’s kind of hard to look away, no matter how harshly some of us want to rant. The more we look, the more of these “artist rip-offs” we notice. Here are a few of her best hits, but we’re sure there are more. Care to join in on the fun?
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Appropriation, commodification, and the body are some themes from the ’80s art-world discourse that artist Marilyn Minter embraced in her paintings from that time period, a selection of which comprise a new exhibit at New York’s Team Gallery. The pieces on display are taken from two bodies of work, Minter’s Big Girls/Little Girls series and her Porn Grids, a representation of “money shots” from porn flicks. Minter’s ben-day dot images on enamel and metal surfaces of glamorous women, prim girls, and erect penises are suffused with an undercurrent of dark optimism. While her images were controversial when first shown in the mid-to-late ’80s, her intent was to explore the pro-sex feminism that was just beginning to take shape earlier in the decade. Click through for a slideshow of some of her best raunchy, glam, and always rigorous output.
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Four years after it was banned from US release for its explicit content, Destricted brings together creative — and graphic — musings on sex and porn by artists including Marilyn Minter, Matthew Barney, and Richard Prince.
Among the DVD’s eight film shorts are Barney’s “Hoist,” a decidedly erotic take on man vs. machine; Minter’s “Green Pink Caviar,” featuring a woman kissing, sucking, and licking in extreme close-up; Prince’s “House Call,” a revision of a voyeuristic 1970s porno; and Larry Clark’s “Impaled,” for which he interviewed Gen Y-ers on their experiences with porn, then presented the reality of their fantasies. Together, the films are sexy, disturbing, and beautiful, all at once.
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Art Chicago turns 30 this year. Once the preeminent art fair in the US, Art Chicago has seen its position usurped over the past decade by the Armory Show in New York and Art Basel Miami Beach, the American version of venerable Art Basel. But, since being acquired by Merchandise Mart Properties Inc in 2006, the “Windy City” show has been making an impressive comeback. Under the umbrella of Artropolis, which includes NEXT, showing emerging artists, and the Merchandise Mart International Antiques Fair, covering 20th century design and nearly everything else that’s collectible, the 2010 edition of Art Chicago features 150 galleries, exhibiting modern and contemporary art, from 55 cities around the world. Click through to view our own gallery of… Read More
Phillip de Pury & Company’s SEX auction of erotic artwork in London netted more than $2 million last Friday. Ironically, there was a 69 percent sell-through rate by lot; but in auction terms, that rate is considered modest at best. While some experts referred to the achieved prices as flaccid, the sale did… Read More
Rosy-cheeked, nostalgic, kitschy, clichéd: our feelings on Norman Rockwell are manifold. Though Rockwell’s depictions of America evokes a certain warm feeling for yesteryear, they are more akin to propagandistic advertisements than high art. It’s worth noting, however, that Rockwell referred to himself as an illustrator, not an artist, a fact that dovetails with his use of photography in creating his iconic images. NPR has a fascinating look at the process behind the lens; peep side-by-side comparisons plus other photorealist picks after the… Read More
Today at Flavorpill, we wanted to write our blog posts using 22 of the world’s most creative alphabets. We wandered into the studio of Flavorpill favorite Marilyn Minter. We were excited to hear that Jonathan Demme plans to make an animated adaption of Dave Eggers’ Katrina book, Zeitoun. We were intrigued by… Read More