Ai Weiwei, ‘Droppin a Han Dynasty Urn’, 1995
Maximo Caminero has been charged with allegedly destroying an artwork by Ai Weiwei at the Perez Art Museum in Miami. The local artist picked up and smashed the million dollar work from Ai’s 2006 series Colour Vases in protest against the museum’s lack of local artist displays. He now faces felony criminal mischief charges. It’s a curious case of life imitating art; one of Ai’s most notorious works, Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn (1995) is a series of three silver gelatin prints featuring the artist doing just that. Describing his protest, Caminero stated: “I was at PAMM and saw Ai Weiwei’s photos behind the vases where he drops an ancient Chinese vase and breaks it. And I saw it as a provocation by Weiwei to join him in an act of performance protest.” The act was apparently spontaneous.
(And if you’re interested in seeing some of Ai Weiwei’s Colour Vases in the flesh, there is a suite of them in QAG/GoMA’s collection)
Tom Friedman, ‘Untitled’, 1999 (self portrait made from sugar cubes)
Antony Gormley, ‘Sublimate II’, 2004
In 1998 Mexican artist Joshua Okon made a video called Cock Fight
, featuring two young women uttering some particularly creative profanities. Their slurs and behaviour emulate some of the insults and dirty jokes on occasion directed at women. But Cock Fight
turns this problematic conduct on its head, with the female protagonists reclaiming bad language and aggressive posturing and transforming it into an oddly entertaining song and dance routine.
Mock up of David Shrigley’s Fourth Plinth proposal, ‘Really Good’
The 6 finalists for this year’s round of the Fourth Plinth commission have now been announced. Marcus Coate, Hans Haacke, Liliane Lijn, Ugo Rondinone, Mark Leckey and David Shrigley are all in the running, with the two successful proposals set to be determined by the Fourth Plinth committee in early 2014. Included in this year’s line up is a horse skeleton covered in stock exchange prices (Haacke), a pair of dancing robotic cones (Lijn) and LOL’s personal favourite, a 10 metre high ‘thumbs up’ sculpture by David Shrigley entitled ‘Really Good’. The winning works will go on display in Trafalgar Square in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Read more about the finalists here.
Alexander Calder, ’10-5-4′, 1958
Mobile by Carl and Evelina Kleiner
First there were art sandwiches, now there are food mobiles, thanks to Carl and Evelina Kleiner. The Stockholm-based duo have revisited the mobiles of American sculptor Alexander Calder, recreating his efforts with a range of edible ingredients. See more here.
David Shrigley, ‘Untitled’, 2011
Francis Upritchard, ‘Loafers’ (detail), 2012
David Bowie has marked his 66th birthday by unexpectedly releasing ‘Where are we now?’, his first single in over a decade. Accompanying the song is the video clip above directed by American new media artist Tony Oursler (represented in Australasia by Jensen Gallery). The video is set in Oursler’s studio and includes one of his typically surreal sculptures featuring projections of the distorted faces of Bowie and a mute female companion. Oursler and Bowie go way back. In 1997 the artist made screen projections and onstage sculptures for the musician’s rather excellent 50th birthday concert at Madison Square Garden that you can watch online here.
After years out of the spotlight (following a minor stroke in 2004) 2013′s proving to be a big year for the Thin White Duke. He’ll be releasing his first studio album since 2003 (‘Where are we now’ is the first single) and is the subject of a major exhibition, David Bowie Is, that opens at the Victoria and Albert Museum in March. Welcome back Mr Bowie!
Caribbean-born, Bali-based artist Ashley Bickerton was one of the guest speakers at this year’s ArtJOG12 ‘Special Presentation’, a panel discussion that also included FlashArt Magazine editor Nicola Trezzi and Wang Zineng from Christie’s Auction House. Bickerton’s perhaps best known to Kiwi audiences for his inclusion in Bright Paradise, the first Auckland Triennial curated by Alan Smith in 2001. Back then, Bickerton created his lurid visions of paradise gone wrong by hand, and recalled spending days crouched over canvases fastidiously painting out evidence of his brushstrokes. This way of working pained him so much that he developed a new technique which he explained in detail during the ArtJOG discussion.
Detail of Ashley Bickerton’s ‘SH(ME)_Gold_1′, included in this year’s ArtJOG
Disinterested in painting, sculpture and photography individually, Bickerton has instead combined the three to realise new and twisted visions of modern man in the tropics. He creates meticulously composed mis en scene including himself and others in paint-encrusted clothes as well as sculpting grotesque faces in tactile clay, inserting glass eyes, headdresses, prosthetic teeth. Each component is photographed, re-photographed, photoshopped and then printed onto canvas which is repainted entirely. The process takes months. Finally, the works are inserted into heavily decorated frames. Or in the case ‘SH(ME)_Gold_1′ (above), onto thick layers of ply that reassert the objectness of the work. The result, says the artist, is a ‘parody of painting’.
Witching Hour, 2010
Sermon (figure 1), 2011
Hany Armanious, 'Untitled Snake Oil', 1998
Nicholas Folland, 'Goodnight Sweetheart', 2010