Graffiti Artist Banksy who has been making the rounds throughout US cities recently (Los Angeles, Park City for Sundance, Chicago and Toronto) created a work in Detroit which has created a larger debate on the role of public art and its relationship to longevity, location & ownership. In short (and more can be read in depth at The Detroit Free Press) the work was created on one of the walls of the partially demolished Packard Plant in Detroit.
The stenciled work which shows a determined boy holding a red paint can next to the words “I remember when all this was trees” was discovered over the weekend of May 8th and by the 11th the 7′ x 8′ 1,500 pound cinder block wall was excavated by artist from the 555 Nonprofit Gallery & Studios to their grounds near the Ambassador Bridge in Southwest Detroit.
This has caused a stir in Detroit to an extent since it raises the question of did the gallery have either a legal or moral right to remove and relocate the work. What is the role of the work. Is it better to have it remain location specific in the old Packard Plant and risk/enjoy destruction or is it better off in care of some group who would put it on public display. Can that group make a profit on it & first of all can that group legally remove the cinder block material and claim ownership.
Many of these questions have either already legally defined answers that the art world might or might not like (regardless of it’s state the Packard Plant is owned by someone) and other questions as to the role of Banksy’s work in relation to the public are ripe for individual agenda. Regardless each of the questions are very good and lead to a greater debate as to how do we interact and relate to Graffiti Art which is not going away and is getting more refined and focused in it’s execution and voice.
It would be wonderful to hear from Banksy himself as to why he felt that location was optimal for the work and who he expected to see it there. Does he plan to coordinate in the future with galleries when the ownership of the work is in doubt and can easily be claimed? Does he prefer that his work have a limited shelf life or be location specific so as to have a greater contextual impact. I doubt we will hear either way but I am sure regardless of what happens he is loving the energy it has created & there is more to this story to be told.
The Chicago Tribune’s Live section has a profile today of Quinn Dombrowski, a photographer and University of Chicago grad who has a flickr site, and a self-published book, that captures the astonishing range of graffiti marking the interior of the Regenstein Library. The Trib notes that she has unearthed more than 1700 graffiti markings, some written in Arabic, Chinese, Egyptian hieroglyphics, and even dead languages.
Dombrowski’s project is amazing. I know I’m going to be thinking about it all day. Dombrowksi also has a website and a blog with additional details on the project, lots of images, and background musings on her graffiti findings, including her latest post, a really interesting analysis (including pie chart!) on the relatively low rate of homophobic graffiti appearing in the Regenstein Library. (All photographs taken by Quinn Dombrowski).
The City Museum and Art Gallery in Bristol has been taken over for an exhibition by home-grown graffiti artist Banksy. More photos can be seen here
A week has already gone by and it’s time again for the Art News Roundup, Yeeehaw! This week many great things happened that we would have loved to cover but Duncan died on the Oregon Trail from a snakebite and Richard got dysentery. Christopher and Amanda made it only to open a saloon in a local mining town where Amanda sings twice nightly and Christopher rigs the roulette wheel to never fall red cause you always bet on black.
What can a bankrupt art investor do after he/she looses their home? Sleep in the Guggenheim!
Called “theanyspacewhatever,” the Guggenheim’s latest offering includes a hotel room, created by Carsten Holler — one of 10 artists who make up the exhibition in which artists mix visual arts with other disciplines such as literature, architecture, design and theatre.
The Swedish-based Holler asked if the museum would consider the concept of a sleepover for his Revolving Hotel Room.
“We were very interested in it, because it does in many ways encapsulate the concerns of these artists to really stretch the parameters of what a museum can be,” chief curator Nancy Spector said.
“At night our guests will be able to stay in the museum and enjoy the exhibition by themselves.”
London council votes to paint over Banksy, then installs a camera to watch the camera that didn’t catch him”
Westminster city council in London decided Friday to paint over guerilla-artist Banksy’s largest work in the city.
The council ordered the removal to send a message to graffiti artists.
Robert Davis, deputy leader of the council and chair, told BBC News, “If you condone this then you condone graffiti all over London.” To that I say your right but damn if it isn’t better then any graffiti I have seen in a long while.
Sotheby’s Lost $15 Million Paying Guarantees
Sotherby undersold artworks in auction or failed to sell whatsoever to the tune of $15 million US on guarantees of a minimum price the auction house had with sellers, Sotheby’s said in a filing late yesterday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Good news? with the US dollar at it’s current rate it isn’t that much.
Bilbao’s Guggenheim overpays for art
Director Thomas Krens travels the world living like a playboy and overpaying (for no ulterior motive beyond he’s just a good guy I am sure) with no regard to the bottom line or profitability of the larger company? That is unheard of in the art world! I am [mock] shocked, surprised and amazed that someone can be that irresponsible?
Russians Turning To Art Market As Recession Looms
Russia decides now is the time to get into the Art Market and fair activities. It’s so crazy it brilliant! Now is the time to buy, when no one has the liquid cash. I guess sitting on the worlds diamonds makes that easier to do then most?
Christo and Jeanne-Claude fight to drape a 40 mile stretch of the Arkansas River in Colorado
[artist name] fights [city name] council to enable [cloth type] to be publicly displayed [fill with large dramatic environmental scenario] but some say it’s a stunt that has run it’s course and only props museums needs for tent pole events to get attention. Yet others say it’s an epic event that is shocking and helps elevate the cultural awareness of artistic institutions that glow in the presence of such temporary one of a kind installations over permanent collection additions.
For two days in December, Los Angeles residents were blessed with some of the best public art I’ve seen in quite a while.
A billboard for Takahasi Murakami’s retrospective was bombed by legendary writers AUGER/REVOK.
LA weekly is now reporting that the missing work didn’t get censored, but was actually was picked up by Murakami himself for his KaiKai KiKi studio. Link to LA Weekly Article.