Banksy Decends on New Orleans

August 29, 2008 · Print This Article

Bansky Decends on New OrleansSatirical stencil and graffiti artist Banksy has descended on New Orleans with spray can in hand and made a series of works on everything from abandoned buildings to levees.

In a recent interview he told the UK’s Sky News: “Three years after Katrina I wanted to make a statement about the state of the clean-up operation.”

Then went on to say that the levee wall offered “the best painting surface in the state of Louisiana.”

See more images here




EMERGENCY ANTI-ARTS WARNING! Call your Alderman Now!

May 13, 2008 · Print This Article

THIS WEDNESDAY the City Council will be voting on a proposed ordinance that would ruin small clubs, small theater companies, and basically anything put on at a small venue (less than 500 people) in the city.

The ordinance would require anyone putting on small shows (even garage bands just promoting their own gigs) to be licensed as a “promoter” subject to a $2000 license fee and requirements for $300,000 liability insurance for any event. Contact your alderman now and let them know you don’t want to see the arts strangled this way — Do you really want the only live art in Chicago to be comprised of performances of “Wicked” and farewell concert tours by 80s hair bands? Not that there’s anything wrong with either –but don’t you want choices, variety, and a city where artists are free to perform, struggle, succeed, and even fail? Whether you’re a fan of open mike nights, spoken word, small theater groups, whatever … You need to speak up now, because all of these will bite the dust if this becomes the law in the city.

Tell your alderman that an ordinance like this would have guaranteed that Chicago could never have been the home of Second City or the Lookingglass Theater, or the launching ground for countless musicians, actors, and playwrights and poets, and that audiences and artists alike will suffer, and our city will become poorer in spirit, if this proposed ordinance becomes law.

To find your Alderman, follow the following link:
http://www.chicityclerk.com/citycouncil/alderman/find.html

And do it before Wednesday’s vote!




Abdessemed Exhibition Closed Under Threats of Violence

March 30, 2008 · Print This Article

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San Francisco Art Institute has canceled closed the controversial Abdessemed exhibition as well as the public forum. The exhibition was curated by Hou Hanru, who was interviewed by us in Episode 129.

From the SFAI Website:

In response to a series of violent threats by animal-rights extremists, the San Francisco Art Institute announced today that the public discussion on Adel Abdessemed’s exhibition Don’t Trust Me, scheduled for Monday, 31 March, has been canceled. For the same reasons, the exhibition itself, which was temporarily suspended on Wednesday, 26 March, has now been permanently closed.

“We unconditionally repudiate these threats against SFAI,” stated President Chris Bratton: “My first concern is with the safety and security of SFAI’s students, faculty, staff, and their families, as well as members of the public that regularly visit the campus. In light of the violent threats by extremists against this institution, we are unfortunately forced to cancel any public discussion or display regarding this artwork.”

Soon after it opened, the Abdessemed exhibition became the subject of an orchestrated campaign by a number of animal-rights groups, including Animal Liberation Front (ALF), In Defense of Animals (IDA), and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). One result of this campaign was a parallel onslaught of explicit death threats and threats of sexual violence against SFAI staff members and their families. The swift escalation from controversy to credible threats has regrettably forced SFAI to make a decision unprecedented in its 137-year history.

“Though we’ve decided to take this action,” continued President Bratton, “SFAI stands behind the exhibition as an instance of a long-standing and serious commitment, on SFAI’s part, to reflection on, and free and open discussion of, contemporary global art and culture. As an institution, we take seriously our responsibility to encourage and promote such dialogue.”

“The artist,” continued President Bratton, “participated in an already-existing circuit of food production in a rural community in Mexico. The animals were raised for food, purchased, and professionally slaughtered. In fact, what causes the controversy is that Abdessemed, an artist, entered this exchange, filmed it, and exhibited it.”

“Here, then, is a case where highly local assumptions about how things are produced have come to inform how the world itself is seen. In general, consumption in the US is fueled by things produced out of sight and from far away. In many cultures, particularly those of the global south including Mexico, the killing of animals for food is often direct and present, not concealed from sight as is the case of industrialized food production here. This distinction is certainly relevant to Don’t Trust Me. Admittedly, this is an uncomfortable confrontation for some, but is nevertheless a real condition not only for animals, but also for the people whose lives are bound up with them. Simply stated, it is an outrage that threats of violence have, in this case, succeeded in derailing a public debate on issues that are critical to our everyday lives.”

The press release can be found here.




Controversial Exhibition Suspended In San Francisco

March 28, 2008 · Print This Article

Adel Show An exhibition at the San Francisco Art Institute’s (SFAI) Walter And McBean Galleries has been suspended after the gallery received over 3000 emails from students, faculty, and community members in protest. Don’t Trust Me is French artist Adel Abdessemed’s first exhibition on the West Coast. The controversial work consists of several monitors, each showing looped footage of a tethered animal – a goat, an ox, a horse, a sheep, a pig, and a fawn – being hit on the head with sledge hammer. In addition to the contentious footage, the exhibition includes a large neon brain, a series of wall drawings, and a large video installation that features the artist hanging from a helicopter while trying to draw Gericault’s Raft Of The Medusa (1818).

The institute is having an open forum at 12PM Monday at their lecture hall where concerned individuals will be able to discuss the issues surrounding the work with Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs and former BAS interviewee Hou Hanru, Dean of Academic Affairs Okwui Enwezor, and institute professors and artists John Rapko and Tony Labat. If you happen to be in the area, please come.

Mining the media fallout:

The San Francisco FOX affiliate KTVU did a short segment on the exhibition, watch it here.

SFAI has a statement out on Tuesday.

San Rafael-based animal rights organization In Defense Of Animals has referred to the videos as animal snuff films, you can link to their interpretation of the exhibition, here.

San Francisco SPCA has released a statement condemning the exhibition, read that here.

You can find a stream of comments on the show at www.nonstarvingartists.com, and of course on the PETA website, here.

The San Francisco Examiner published an article about the exhibition, read that here.




Iraq Breakdown by Key Indices

March 20, 2008 · Print This Article

Here is a visual breakdown (view image full size) of key indices in relation to the state of violence, oil production, death rate, phone subscriptions, prison population & most interestingly the electricity production.

The most interesting measurement is when you compare to pre-war states, especially the electricity output.

Read more here

Iraq Breakdown Graph