Check out these enthralling, atmospheric, super-sinister art videos that were part of an installation at Galeria Animal, Santiago, Chile by the artists Niles Atallah, Cristobal Leon & Joaquin CociÃ±a. Those chilling whispered voiceovers are probably going to give me nightmares. Which reminds me – only two more days till Halloween, creeps! (Videos via Beautiful/Decay, natch).
On this week’s pick we bring you a clip from the 1930’s film ‘Le Sang d’un Poete’ or ‘The Blood of the Poet’ by Jean Cocteau.
“Technically, The Blood of a Poet reflects Cocteau’s trials and errors as a novice filmmaker who had to turn irreversible mistakes to his advantage and improvise every celluloid foot of the way. During shooting, he used the dust raised by studio cleaning men to enhance the mysterious atmosphere of the final scenes. Special weightless effects were obtained by camera trickery to show the little girl flying up to the ceiling and the poet moving painfully along the corridor wall. Once Cocteau discovered that he could turn shooting disasters into happy accidents, he was off on a career of making films that carried his cachet of surprises…”
GUEST POST BY DAMIEN JAMES
The Yes Men, hoaxsters who have elevated civil disobedience to an art form by taking on the biggest, most socially irresponsible corporations and the government that allows those corporations to screw the people, will be making appearances in Chicago this week for the local premier of their new film, The Yes Men Fix the World.
On Thursday, October 29th at 7:30pm, theyâ€™ll be hosted by Lumpen Magazine at Co-Prosperity Sphere, where The Yes Men will present their recent projects and hold a workshop to plan an action for Friday, October 30th, after the premier of their new film at the Music Box Theater.
If you havenâ€™t seen their work, you should. If you have, you probably understand how important it is. The Yes Men might just have the right amount of courage, conviction, and insanity (think Ralph Nader meets Philippe Petit) to truly enact some kind of positive social change, but they canâ€™t continue to do it without public support. In fact, they can barely afford to pull off their stunts, much less share them with us through their films.
The Yes Men recently posted a project on kickstarter.com to raise $30,000 for prints of their new film, which is in danger of not being seen by enough people. Through kickstarter, anyone can pledge from $30 to thousands, and pledges are only collected if the project gets completely funded. If not, no one loses a cent. If you can only pledge $10, convince two of your friends to do the same. If you can pledge more, you might just win a Survivaball! The project ends December 31st at 4:39pm EST.
Writing in Artworld Salon, Catherine Spaeth reflects on political nostalgia and Nancy Spero’s legacy:
“Nancy Speroâ€™s death the Sunday before last invites reflection upon what it means for an artist to be politically engaged at this time. Today the New York artworld appears to be more at home with the post-feminism of Lisa Yuskavage, Marylin Minter and Vanessa Beecroft. It may well be that, above all, it is Nancy Speroâ€™s importance in the history of political engagement and feminism for which she will be remembered.”
Read the full piece here.
You know, after giving it some serious thought, I think I’m coming to the surprising conclusion that newspaper articles about public art and the public’s reaction to it are my new favorite genre of art news. There’s just so much to chuckle over. Last week, a pair of articles in the L.A. Times told of skeptical police reaction to a recently-installed sculpture outside the L.A.P.D.’s new headquarters.Â On October 21st, Times columnist Steve Lopez, who has a direct view of this building from his office window, confessed his bemusement at the piece, which is titled “animaline.” But Lopez’s reaction was minor compared to the distaste expressed by outgoing police chief William J. Bratton. Writes Lopez,
The cast-bronze sculptures consist of six large black blobs, with two tall, skinny structures on either side. I wasn’t sure what to make of them, so I went straight to the top: It looks like “some kind of cow splat,” said Police Chief William J. Bratton, who sounded as if he were personally insulted by the installation. Bratton said he first drove past the work and later walked back to see whether “it’s as ugly up close as it is when you’re driving by.”The answer was yes, and he sounded mad enough to have the artist arrested.
Bratton said he was not alone in his opinion; it was the talk of cops and staffers who already have moved into the new police administration building. “I don’t think anybody can figure out” what the shapes are supposed to be, Bratton said. “Bisons and hippos maybe. I haven’t the faintest idea what the two tallest things are on either side.” Nor does he understand what any of this has to do with police administration, if anything. “I don’t get it,” he said. “It’s just a shame.” Myself, I didn’t see animals when I first looked at the sculptures. Peering down from my third-floor window, I thought they were giant molars. Not a good idea, I thought, to have a bunch of knocked out teeth on the grounds of the cop shop.
When I went outside for a closer look, I realized the molars were actually the torsos of animals with large rumps. Were the cops trying to tell me and my colleagues what they think of The Times, giving us a bunch of derrieres to look at? Not clear. But the animal on the northern end looked like a pig that had been knocked on its side. You have to wonder how that’s going to sit with the LAPD brass.
The same day, the Times published a more detailed story (by Yvonne Villarreal)Â on the L.A.P.D.’s new art collection, this one containing a tit-for-tat response to Bratton’s quotes by artist Peter Shelton, who was commissioned by The Department of Public Affairs to make the sculpture.
“I’d like to think he’d leave his post more graciously,” Shelton saidÂ in response to Bratton’s comments as he did the finishing touches on the pieces Wednesday afternoon. “He doesn’t need to bad-mouth something intended to be enjoyed by the city.Â I’m disappointed he thinks he’s an art expert.”
Shelton, of course, is a highly regarded L.A.-based sculptor who is represented by L.A. Louvre and has shown internationally, blah blah blah, facts I only mention in order to point out that even the so-called “good” artists make work that gets shit on sometimes. It’s outdoor sculpture, after all, and there are just as many birds in Los Angeles as there are anywhere else. I hope J. Seward Johnson takes some small comfort in that.
UPDATE: Last week the L.A. Times’ chief art critic Christopher Knight reviewed Peter Shelton’s new public sculpture series, titledÂ “sixbeaststwomonkeys.” That review placed Shelton’s sculpture, designed for placement near the new police headquarters downtown, in in a larger historical context with respect to public art in L.A. as well as nationally. Knight also recalled the furor caused in 1955 by a sculpture by Bernard Rosenthal (1914-2009) for the just-built Parker Center, the L.A.P.D.’s former headquarters.