Category Archives: Artists

Serrano’s Piss Christ Upsets Again

Andres Serrano's 'Piss Christ' installed next to

Andres Serrano’s ‘Piss Christ’ hanging at the Fesch Museum, Corsica

Last week around 50 protesters stormed the Fesch Museum in Corsica brandishing a large sign emblazoned with the words ‘Piss Christ out’ – referring of course to Andres Serrano’s notorious work, Piss Christ; a photograph of a small plastic crucifix suspended in a container of the artist’s urine.  The photograph is currently included in a collection based exhibition, installed next to an 18th century painting of the Virgin Mary. While the protesters assert that the work is an affront to Catholicism, exhibition curator Eric Mézil thinks they’re being unreasonable, telling Le Figaro “We must see the works for what they are, not for intentions that the artists could be imagined to have had.” At least they haven’t resorted to a physical attack – in 2011 Piss Christ was slashed by vandals in Avignon and in 1997 another edition was beaten with a hammer at the NGV in Melbourne.

Koons Retrospective Vandalised

A triumphant Kantor is photographed

Triumphant performance artist Istvan Kantor stands in front of his unwarranted  ‘donation’ to Koons’ Whitney show

On Wednesday the current Jeff Koons retrospective at the Whitney was interrupted by an unscheduled intervention when a man splashed red liquid across one of the gallery walls before signing it with a marker.  The ‘performance’ was over in a matter of minutes: Koons’ big shiny things were unscathed, the man was led away by security, and the gallery was closed for a couple of hours while it was repainted.

Turns out the vandal in question is a Toronto-based performance artist called Istvan Kantor who goes by the pseudonym Monty Cantsin.  He works largely with body fluids and is best known for spattering large ‘X’s’ of his own blood onto gallery walls. Past targets include the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Canada’s National Gallery in Ottawa and the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, among others. Despite multiple arrests for these self-described ‘donations’, the artist has stated that his anti-institutional ‘blood campaign’ is ongoing…

Chapman Brothers upset children’s rights group in Rome

Jake and Dinos Chapman, 'Piggyback', 1997

Jake and Dinos Chapman, ‘Piggyback’, 1997

A controversial sculpture by the Chapman brothers has been removed from a permanent collection display at Rome’s contemporary art museum, MAXXI.  The work in question (above) that features two young, naked parasitic twins, one with a penis sticking out of her mouth, has come under fire from a children’s rights group who denounced the piece as child pornography.  MAXXI director Anna Mattirolo defended the work, stating: “Crudity is part of the Chapmans’ work, they are known for works that denounce a sick reality.  They want to generate discussion about false morality and provoke debate and we firmly believe and support the freedom of expression of the artists.”  Despite this, the museum ended up removing the work over the weekend.

Tortoises, iPads and Cai Guo-Qiang

Installation view of Cai Guo-Qiang's 'Moving Ghost Town', 2014

Installation view of Cai Guo-Qiang’s ‘Moving Ghost Town’ 2014, commissioned by Aspen Art Museum

Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang is in trouble for disrespecting the tortoise.  His new work ‘Moving Ghost Town’, commissioned as part of opening festivities for the new Aspen Art Museum, involves a troupe of live African Sulcata tortoises wandering around the museum’s new rooftop sculpture garden with ipads mounted to their backs.  The ipads display footage recorded by the creatures themselves (thanks to shell-mounted cameras) wandering through three local ghost towns, “retelling forgotten stories of the once prosperous towns from the tortoises’ perspective”, or so says the Aspen Art Museum’s website.

But local tortoise rehabilitator Lisabeth Oden is not impressed, stating “These creatures were not designed to carry 2-pound iPads”.  She’s even set up a petition to have the devices removed and has so far amassed over 400 signatures.  According to a statement released by Aspen Art Museum yesterday however, the exhibition will continue as planned.  The welfare of the tortoises Big Bertha, Gracie Pink Star, and Whale Wanderer is being monitored by a local veterinarian in consultation with the Turtle Conservancy, an organisation dedicated to protecting endangered turtles and tortoises.

Hot Photo Friday – Bob Mizer

Bob Mizer, 'Everett Lee Jackson with Two Horses, Los Angeles', c. 1959

Bob Mizer, ‘Everett Lee Jackson with Two Horses, Los Angeles’, c. 1959

Geez Marina…

Marina Abramović has re-made her 1978 performance piece Work Relation (originally staged with her then-partner Ulay), only this time everyone’s wearing….Adidas trainers.  This new iteration of the work is a ‘collaborative project’ with Adidas to celebrate the 2014 FIFA World Cup.  With it’s ‘arty’ black and white footage and authoritative artist voice over, the two and a half minute short is meant to celebrate the power of teamwork, but let’s call a spade a spade; it’s basically a big shoe ad.  Gross.

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