Umanita (or humanity in Italian) is… or was six feet (1.8 meters) high and weighed over 170 pounds (77 kilograms). It stood outside the Newberry Library on the north side of the city of Chicago. That was until it was stolen late Feb. 16 and the afternoon of Feb. 18. Torn from its base and lugged away, Umanita is worth as much as $70,000, said Virginio Ferrari, who created Umanita in 1987 by cutting, shaping and welding stainless steel.
Sadly with steel prices near all time highs there is a real fear that the work is no more and has been melted down into a $300 cube easily sold on the open scrap market.
“The price of steel and metal is very high right now and historically when that happens people remove art,” said Elizabeth Kelly, director of Chicago’s Public Art Program. “Scrappers seize the opportunity.”
Police spokesman Marcel Bright said he can’t recall a work as big as Umanita getting snatched in the city, sometimes called the museum without walls because of its more than 700 pieces of outdoor art.
February 25, 2008 · Print This Article
After years of Redistricting in the State of Texas some polling places have been moved to incredibly distant locations in order to encourage voter apathy and lower turnout (if you are not real sure on how Redistricting works and why it happens then check out this Sim City inspired educational game ) .
Well the students of the Prairie View A&M University (The second oldest public institution of higher education in Texas, a historically black university ranked as one of the top producers of engineers & nurses) decided to go to their polling place (even though it is 7 miles away) by foot. Essentially shutting down the highway that feeds the town and making sure their voice was heard. Video was taken of the march and can be seen below.
This Thursday, Duncan and Brian spoke about Bad At Sports at the College Art Association 2008 Annual Conference in lovely Dallas, TX. The panel was titled “artblogging == global.exibit(local)” and was a part of the New Media Caucus at the Dallas Contemporary. The intrepid BAS representatives overcame a lack of audio support (important for a podcast…) and anchored the panel with an in depth look at how BAS positions itself as a tool for artists in the contemporary art world.
A supporting blog for the panel can be found at artblogging.org.
A debate between an Iraqi “Researcher on Astronomy” and a physicist on Iraqi television. This is not the only case of a debate of this nature, and you thought America could fill the 24/7 news cycle with some really odd debates.
February 19, 2008 · Print This Article
Japan’s Supreme Court has issued a landmark decision opening the way for the sale of a book of collected erotic photographs by the late Robert Mapplethorpe.
This would over rule a 2003 decision by the Tokyo High Court that banned the book’s sale because it was deemed indecent. Tuesday’s ruling is believed to be the first time the top court has overturned a lower court decision on obscenity.
Publisher Takashi Asai called it “groundbreaking” and predicted the ruling might “change [Japan's] obscenity standard.”
Justice Kohei Nasu said the black-and-white portraits were from an “artistic point of view” and led the majority opinion of the five-judge panel that Mapplethorpe was “a leading figure in contemporary art.”
The justices did, however, throw out Asai’s demand for government compensation of arround $20,000 US.
Japan’s domestic obscenity laws were relaxed in the 1990s but imported publications are handled by customs and the laws still ban images of genitals.
Asai, of Uplink publishers, had argued that the import ban was obsolete, pointing out the Mapplethorpe book was in the Japanese parliament’s library and that copies were offered for sale on the internet.
His company had been selling the Japanese version of Mapplethorpe’s 384-page book since 1994. The book, entitled “Robert Mapplethorpe”, contains 20 close-up photos of male genitalia.
Everything changed in 1999 when airport customs officials in Japan confiscated a copy of the book that Asai had been carrying.
Then Tokyo police visited him and gave him a warning, causing Asai to voluntarily suspend sales of the book in 2000.
Asai decided to go to court and in 2002, he won a case in Tokyo District Court. The government was ordered to give back his book and to pay $6,480 US in damages. But a year later, a higher court overturned that ruling. At that point, Asai took the case to the highest court in the land. Leading to today’s ruling.