Archive for the ‘Articles, Documents etc.’ Category

Yesterday I came across the following post by Austin Kleon.

Starting his article by the phrase “Declare it art”  he continues :

“I walked past this handicapped spot yesterday and thought of the “Make it art” assignment from Rob Walker’s The Art of Noticing:

Think then of some regular walk or drive or ride you experience often, or even that you’re experiencing for the first time. Imagine yourself a curator. Decide what, among the things you notice, you might declare public works of art.

Perhaps a disheveled pylon marking a street flaw that ought to have been fixed by now. Maybe a post that seems to be a lingering remnant of an otherwise departed fence. Possibly even a child with a piercing stare.

Grant yourself the superpower of making “art” wherever you go, and see how that changes what you perceive.

Art is everywhere, if you say so. “



It is true though that almost everything that surround us can be declared as art, the problem is we usually don’t have the time to appreciate it and admire it as we do with a piece of art.

When we visit a gallery or we go to the theatre we decide to slow down, we give time to ourselves to open our minds and our hearts and receive what the art piece has to offer. We want to understand, to feel and be amazed by what we see.

Imagine if we could confront the world as if we are in a gallery or an art museum or a theatre hall.  We look from a different perspective. We  feel, we see the beauty on things otherwise unimportant. Everything suddenly takes a different form , more valuable, more unique. Like a piece of art.

Let’s think that art is everywhere. Could be worth the challenge…


Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για birds on a wire photograph by Chris Cabral

On Peace Games.

Posted: September 28, 2018 in Articles, Documents etc., News, Notes

On PEAGE GAMES. Training Course in Slunakov, Czech Republic. 26 August – 3rd September.


It’s time I guess to write about a great experience I had about a month ago.

It all started on the 26th of August in Slunakov, an amazing ecological home near Horka nad Moravou village . A building based in the middle of a green preserved area functioning with respect towards the environment and the people. A  peaceful place to be.

There, I met up for the first time with the rest of the participants, people from all over the world. Romania, Argentina, UK, Ireland, Italy, Czech Republic, Greece, Germany, Madeira Island, Hungary, Turkey, Slovenia, Spain America and Russia! A big wave of different names  and cultural backgrounds  hit me but soon it all became very familiar and I felt like I was living in a unique multicultural family , and every single member of it had so much to teach me.


Those 8 days  were a big, long journey filled with new explorations, challenges, debates and games.

We had practical and theoretical sessions on how to structure and design a game. We also had to deal with stressful  tasks such as “building the tallest #LEGO tower”, which sometimes costs more than you imagine! We learned about teamwork and team organisation, the mechanics of creating a game and shaping a narrative. And to go deeper we tested our values and discussed over the values promoted by the messages that we get bombarded on a daily basis by politicians, adverts, the TV, the press and other social groups.


Now you ‘ll probably start thinking why the hell this course was called “PEACE GAMES”… well I was thinking the same; until we watched the movie …”War Games”.

Ok!  No!  (This movie is integral to the course for various reasons I am not going to explain. If you want to know more just watch the movie and/or go attend a “Peace Games Training Course” )

The real way to find out the mystery of this course was to link the idea of games to our society. And that again happened through more discussions and a deeper understanding of games. Ranging from racist and sexist, violent online video games[1] to “finding your real love” board games[2]. From old classic games such as Dungeons and Dragons [3] to theatre improvisation games and card games where cheating[4]is finally allowed (!). From running free and wild into the field having the goal to “HAVE FUN”  to playing obsessively “Overcooked”[5] until 3am. From games that killing crabs[6] can actually destroy your life to games that the lack of communication can blow everyone up[7]. (Definitely tried my best! ).



But what was puzzling me was the fact that even though most of the times games create imaginary words with amazing graphics and endless possibilities they are indeed the mirror of our “REAL” world (although as trainer Michele said there is not such thing as real and unreal world. It all belongs to this world).  Only, this mirror shows what is actually missing from peoples’ lives. Imagination, communication, trust, bravery, achievement, goals, awards, risk, rebellion, companion, fun and freedom.

Let’s think how many of these we can identify in our everyday life?

As the week went by I started understanding that the wide range of games exist to attract different groups of people. But isn’t this a creation of the adult world too. A separation of worlds within a world? The development of more and more boxes labelled in different ways. How possible though it is to be able to jump from one box to another? Like we did that week, in that training course, following our own preferences and priorities but also accepting and trying and playing.

Everyone is different and that’s why there are so many different games. But what if the ideal Peace Game is playing ALL of the games? Acquiring skills and knowledge from all of them without judging or creating personal barriers. Entering different dark caves and crossing thresholds again and again. Meeting trolls that become your best friends and tricksters that by tricking you they help you find the right path. Enjoying that moment of playing rather than wishing is not going to end. Celebrating winning but also celebrating losing!  Embodying your character and knowing it is still you , the real you.

Only one week was enough to appreciate the real value of “Peace” and “War” games. The essence of having a goal and either alone or with a team trying to achieve it!

And what if that goal was to change the world? How would you play this game?

Well we tried…by creating even more games!

Games that language can make you a king [1], or where the sea animals can probably hear the desperate attempt of you to save them[2]. Games where you have the power to change the earth’s fate[3] or others were you have to YOLOmoc[4] or end up  mass- debating[5] .

It may all sound we were just going crazy… but I can reassure you it was one of the most enriching experiences I ever had. Inspiring, challenging and FUN!

Because at the end of the day, playing is part of our nature and the reason we grow old is because we decide at some point of our lives that playing is not as important any more. So I challenge you… go and play any game that makes the hidden inner child laugh again. Someone , some time said … life is a game. Just then we decide the rules. And these rules make the society we live in and the REAL world as it is. So keep playing and choose your rules because otherwise, someone else will…. But don’t forget in this game.. you only have one life.


Over and out,



*References of games mentioned above:

  1. Anita Sharkeesian beating game (which I recommend you don’t try)
  2. The Fog of Love (attention this game can lead to marriage! )
  3. Dungeons and Dragons (which I recommend you playing at least once in your lifetime, but remember #gollumslivesmatter)
  4. Schummel Hummel ( Game designed by kids.  Wonder why?)
  5. Overcooked (not suitable for easily irritated people)
  6. The Visit  (very misleading title! )
  7. Keep talking and no one explodes.  (well…)


*Games created during the training course:

  1. A-Mazing Words
  2. The Sound of the Sea
  3. The Last Ones
  4. Yolo(moc)
  5. The Devil’s Advocate


A big thank you to Erasmus + and the training team of War Games : Carmine Rodi Falanga Mafalda Morganti and  Michele Di Paola








Around five weeks ago a new statue named ‘Fearless Girl’ was placed opposite to Di Modica’s Charging Bull in Manhattan’s Financial District.

Di Modica isn’t happy about the recent addition of the widely buzzed-about Fearless Girl to downtown Manhattan park Bowling Green. In a press conference Wednesday, Di Modica’s lawyers argued that the bronze girl defiantly staring down Charging Bull (1989) isn’t so much art as an advertisement by the work’s corporate sponsors, allowing them to profit from Di Modica’s piece and violating his copyright. But they also charge that the new statue—which ostensibly highlights the gender and pay gap on Wall Street—alters the originally positive message of Charging Bull without Di Modica’s permission, violating the artist’s legal rights. Although a lawsuit has not yet been filed, even the potential claim raises novel legal questions about whether a statute known as the Visual Artist Rights Act (VARA) protects the intangible message of a work of public sculpture.’

[read full article here by artsy]

SO,  Back in 1987 there was a global stock market crash. […] Arturo Di Modica, a Sicilian immigrant who became a naturalized citizen of the U.S., responded by creating Charging Bull — a bronze sculpture of a…well, a charging bull. It took him two years to make it. The thing weighs more than 7000 pounds, and cost Di Modica some US$350,000 of his own money. He said he wanted the bull to represent “the strength and power of the American people”. He had it trucked into the Financial District and set it up, completely without permission. It’s maybe the only significant work of guerrilla capitalist art in existence.

People loved it. The assholes who ran the New York Stock Exchange, for some reason, didn’t. They called the police, and pretty soon the statue was removed and impounded. A fuss was raised, the city agreed to temporarily install it, and the public was pleased. It’s been almost thirty years, and Charging Bull is still owned by Di Modica, still on temporary loan to the city, still one of the most recognizable symbols of New York City.

And that brings us to March 7th of this year, the day before International Women’s Day. Fearless Girl appeared, standing in front of Charging Bull. On the surface, it appears to be another work of guerrilla art — but it’s not. Unlike Di Modica’s work, Fearless Girl was commissioned. Commissioned not by an individual, but by an investment fund called State Street Global Advisors, which has assets in excess of US$2.4 trillion. That’s serious money. It was commissioned as part of an advertising campaign developed by McCann, a global advertising corporation. And it was commissioned to be presented on the first anniversary of State Street Global’s “Gender Diversity Index” fund, which has the following NASDAQ ticker symbol: SHE. And finally, along with Fearless Girl is a bronze plaque that reads:

Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference.

Note it’s not She makes a difference, it’s SHE makes a difference. It’s not referring to the girl; it’s referring to the NASDAQ symbol. It’s not a work of guerrilla art; it’s an extremely clever advertising scheme. This is what makes it clever: Fearless Girl derives its power almost entirely from Di Modica’s statue. The sculptor, Kristen Visbal, sort of acknowledges this. She’s said this about her statue:

“She’s not angry at the bull — she’s confident, she knows what she’s capable of, and she’s wanting the bull to take note.”

It’s all about the bull. If it were placed anywhere else, Fearless Girl would still be a very fine statue — but without facing  Charging Bull the Fearless Girl has nothing to be fearless to. Or about. Whatever. Fearless Girl, without Di Modica’s bull, without the context provided by the bull, becomes Really Confident Girl.

Fearless Girl also changes the meaning of Charging Bull. Instead of being a symbol of “the strength and power of the American people” as Di Modica intended, it’s now seen as an aggressive threat to women and girls — a symbol of patriarchal oppression.

In effect, Fearless Girl has appropriated the strength and power of Charging Bull. Of course Di Modica is outraged by that. A global investment firm has used a global advertising firm to create a faux work of guerrilla art to subvert and change the meaning of his actual work of guerrilla art. That would piss off any artist.

See? It’s not as simple as it seems on the surface. It’s especially complicated for somebody (like me, for example) who appreciates the notion of appropriation in art.  Appropriation art is, almost by definition, subversive — and subversion is (also almost by definition) usually the province of marginalized populations attempting to undermine the social order maintained by tradition and the establishments of power. In the case of Fearless Girl, however, the subversion is being done by global corporatists as part of a marketing campaign. That makes it hard to cheer them on. There’s some serious irony here.

And yet, there she is, the Fearless Girl. I love the little statue of the girl in the Peter Pan pose. And I resent that she’s a marketing tool. I love that she actually IS inspiring to young women and girls. And I resent that she’s a fraud. I love that she exists. And I resent the reasons she was created.

I love the Fearless Girl and I resent her. She’s an example of how commercialization can take something important and meaningful — something about which everybody should agree — and shit all over it by turning it into a commodity. Fearless Girl is beautiful, but she is selling SHE; that’s why she’s there.

Should Fearless Girl be removed as Di Modica wants? I don’t know. It would be sad if she was. Should Di Modica simply take his Charging Bull and go home? I mean, it’s his statue. He can do what he wants with it. I couldn’t blame him if he did that, since the Fearless Girlhas basically hijacked the meaning of his work. But that would be a shame. I’m not a fan of capitalism, but that’s a damned fine work of art.

I don’t know what should be done here. But I know this: Arturo Di Modica has a point. And I know a lot of folks aren’t willing to acknowledge that.


                              Image courtesy of Paul Weston.

This past Sunday, artist Paul Weston vowed to mail one piece of art to Donald Trump every day for the next four years of his presidency. Why? “I’m not his biggest fan,” says Weston. “But I thought, ‘If he keeps taking things away—arts funding, basic rights—I’m going to keep giving.’”

Like many artists and members of the cultural community across the U.S., Weston didn’t take kindly to the news last week that a proposed budget includes axing the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)—along with the funding the organizations provide to artists and arts organizations across the country.

Weston wasn’t immediately sure where to direct his anger, or how to help effect change. “I’m not a political person. I really just know a few jokes and how to make art,” Weston confides. “And I do have tons of art. So I thought, ‘maybe that’s my ammunition.’”Photos courtesy of Paul Weston.


For the past 20-some years of his adult life, Weston’s work has looked at the influence of consumerism and media on contemporary culture. He’s forged artworks, zines, buttons, and stickers. Often, they’re disseminated through Weston’s alter-ego, the not-so-subtly dubbed “Instigator.” But, indeed, his mail art campaign—called #148milliondollars, after the amount of funding the NEA will lose if Trump’s proposed budget is approved—takes a decidedly more political tack.

To date, Weston has mailed six works of art to the new President. Some have gone to the White House itself and some to Trump Tower. They aren’t text-heavy or overtly aggressive. But they are bold expressions of creativity. One shows a drawing of an igloo topped with a TV antenna—it could be read as a statement against global warming by a concerned artist, or simply the pastime of a man on his Sunday morning.

Another work, which he hasn’t mailed yet, shows the word “NO” with a heart embedded in the middle of its second letter. For Weston, the heart conveys numerous meanings, among them his own resilience: “My heart isn’t broken yet by this new administration, but pumping like Hell,” he says.

The artist hopes others will join him in his campaign to help expand its impact—and he’s begun to spread the word. “This isn’t a me thing, it’s a we thing. Everywhere I’m going I tell whoever I see—at openings, at lectures, in the streets. I’m not someone who usually asks for help, but I am now.Photos courtesy of Paul Weston.


Weston began speaking about the project and broadcasting it through his Instagram account on Monday. And he says a number of other artists including Brock EnrightT.R. Ericsson, and DB Burkeman, have already agreed to join up and send their own art to the White House and Trump Tower, albeit not everyday for the next four years as Weston himself has pledged.

But it’s not just professional artists who Weston aims to engage. “My five-year-old niece Ellis is my most vocal spokesperson,” he says. “She is really angry that Big Bird could be going into the deep fryer,” he continues, referencing the fact that Sesame Street, his niece’s favorite TV show, is hosted on PBS, which also loses funding under the proposed cuts. Ellis will be sending art to Trump too, and Weston hopes other children will follow suit.

Weston has budgeted to spend $178.85 in stamps over the next year into order to fulfill his mission, a small price to voice his support for the NEA’s important work on behalf of creatives. And next month, he plans to use his presence at the L.A. Art Book Fair to bring the #148milliondollars campaign to an even wider audience. If enough artists and average citizens take part in the project, Weston hopes that “it will show [Trump] the talent and creativity that is here in the United States.” Whether that will be enough to save the agency remains to be seen.

—Alexxa Gotthardt



What is Fluxus?

Posted: January 20, 2017 in Articles, Documents etc.
Tags: ,

In 1963, an artist named George Maciunas put forward a rallying cry for a new movement in art, one that he would call “Fluxus.” Like many of his avant-garde predecessors and peers, he chose to make his case known in the form of a manifesto. The document was itself a work of art, composed of several dictionary definitions of the word “flux,” from which Fluxus takes its name, followed by handwritten notes that expanded on its various meanings. Beneath the entry defining flux as a purging or discharge of fluids, Maciunas wrote in an insistent hand: “Purge the world of bourgeois sickness, ‘intellectual,’ professional & commercialized culture, PURGE the world of dead art, imitation, artificial art, abstract art, illusionistic art, mathematical art, — PURGE THE WORLD OF ‘EUROPANISM’!”

Fluxus’s spirit of rebellion against the commercial art market, elitism, and the conventions of both art and society had its roots in DadaFuturism, and Surrealism, while its irreverence and youthful energy were in tune with the burgeoning counterculture of the 1960s. Though its nucleus was in New York City, where Maciunas and many other artists were based, Fluxus projects popped up across Europe and in Japan. The movement attracted a loosely affiliated, international group of artists, designers, poets, and musicians who readily embraced one of its central tenets: the total integration of art and life. In his manifesto, Maciunas described the work that would result from this integration as “living art, anti-art…NON ART REALITY to be fully grasped by all peoples, not only critics, dilettantes and professionals.”

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Intentionally uncategorizable, Fluxus projects were wide-ranging and often multidisciplinary, humorous, and based in everyday, inexpensive materials and experiences—including everything from breathing to answering the telephone. When asked to define Fluxus, Maciunas would often respond by playing recordings of barking dogs and honking geese, perhaps confounding his questioner but also demonstrating the experimentation and embrace of absurdity at its core. Performances—which Fluxus artists called “Events,” in order to distinguish them from Happenings and other forms of performance-based art—were a significant part of the movement. These were largely based on sets of written instructions, called “scores,” referencing the fact that they were derived from musical compositions. Following a score would result in an action, event, performance, or one of the many other kinds of experiences that were generated out of this vibrant movement.

The Leaders of Fluxus

screen-shot-2017-01-20-at-15-42-05With Maciunas as its founder and central coordinator, Fluxus lasted from 1962 until the artist’s untimely death in 1978. A polymath, the Lithuanian-born American studied architecture, art history, graphic design, and musicology. This formidable educational background and his highly playful, utopian vision shaped all of his work, not least the movement itself.

The artists, designers, poets, and musicians who rallied around Maciunas’s call for a radical, egalitarian new art were as diverse as the work that came out of the Fluxus movement. Many were inspired by elder artist, composer, and musician John Cage. Through his work and his charismatic teaching, he demonstrated that art and life could be fluidly interchangeable. He did this, in part, by welcoming chance into his musical compositions—including ambient noises or the sounds of audience members coughing, stirring in their seats, and sometimes even heckling the performers—and by using such things as everyday household objects as instruments. Cage’s drive to find artistic potential in the everyday resonated with the Fluxus artists.

Widely recognized as the originator of musical Minimalism, composer and artist La Monte Young was also associated with Fluxus. His compositions were characterized by their pared-down structures and exceptional length. In 1960, he collaborated with artist Yoko Ono to organize a series of events by artists, dancers, musicians, and composers held in Ono’s studio in downtown New York, known as the Chambers Street Loft Series. Maciunas attended, along with many other artists who would become involved with Fluxus. Ono’s studio would become a hub of innovative and experimental new work.

In 1964, Ono debuted one of her seminal performance works, Cut Piece. Sitting alone on a stage with a pair of scissors in front of her, she instructed the audience to take turns approaching her and using the scissors to cut off a piece of her clothing. She remained nearly motionless and expressionless as various audience members obliged, sometimes aggressively. As she wrote about the experience in 1966: “People went on cutting the parts they do not like of me finally there was only the stone remained of me that was in me but they were still not satisfied and wanted to know what it’s like in the stone.” Ono has reprised the piece over the years, and wrote a step-by-step performance score for anyone to recreate it—which many people have done, and many more will likely continue to do.

Like so many of their peers, early Fluxus members Nam June Paik and Alison Knowles worked across media. Paik, considered a progenitor of video art, was one of the first artists to make art out of televisions and video cameras. These technologies form the core of his pioneering sculptures, installations, and performances, which range from austere and meditative to cacophonous and bursting with an onslaught of imagery.

In his performance works, Paik immersed audiences in richly visual and aural experiences, centered upon ingeniously altered television sets and cleverly rigged video cameras. He collaborated with avant-garde cellist Charlotte Moorman on a number of musical performances, including one in which she played his TV Cello (1971). Paik crafted a working cello out of a stack of three television sets whose varying shapes and sizes together mirrored the contours of the actual instrument. Each set displayed images as Moorman played, switching between a live feed of the performance itself, a video collage of other cellists, and a television broadcast.

For her part, Knowles created performances, sound pieces, installations, sculptures, book objects, and prints that have their roots, in part, in her early association with Cage. In 1962, the composer—who, as it turns out, was a mushroom enthusiast—co-founded the New York Mycological Society, which Knowles joined. “You can stay with music while you’re hunting mushrooms,” he once said. “[A] mushroom grows for such a short time, and if you happen to come across it when it’s fresh it’s like coming across a sound, which also lives a short time.” Knowles credits their time together foraging for wild mushrooms as important in helping her to develop her vision and leading to her incorporation of food into a number of her Fluxus projects.

Why Does Fluxus Matter?

While it might be an overstatement to say that the Fluxus movement revolutionized the art world or the real world in the ways that Maciunas called for in his manifesto, it did help to radically change notions of what art could be. With their work, the Fluxus artists pushed art well outside of mainstream venues like galleries and museums. Their informal, spontaneous, and often ephemeral pieces were not only difficult to collect and codify; they were also sometimes hard to recognize as art. But museums and galleries eventually caught up and absorbed their work. So too did younger generations of artists, who continue to build on the freedom that the movement introduced into artmaking with their own work. The next time you walk into an art space and find a pot of curry bubbling on a burner (as in the well-known piece, Untitled (Free), 1992, by the Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija) or a sculpture composed of things you might find in your own home, thank Fluxus for helping to lay the groundwork.

—Karen Kedmey


[Source: artsy]




The new video “Khaled’s Ladder” documents the journey of multidisciplinary artist Khaled Jarrar along the U.S.-Mexico border and the making of his new work that takes the border wall as its raw material.

‘ I do it in the name of art, and I like how art gives us all this freedom and space to practice our creativity on the ground, not just on paper. This is how we can raise the questions and tell the stories that lead to solutions that will allow us to go beyond borders.’

On January 27, Khaled Jarrar set out on an uncommon journey: traveling in a 34-foot RV from San Diego, California, to Juarez, Mexico, crisscrossing and following the U.S.-Mexico border along the way. Jarrar was traveling as part of Culturunners, a project initiated by Edge of Arabia in partnership with Art Jameel, in which artists travel from place to place in order to explore contested boundaries. On the journey the group encountered border patrol agents on both sides of the border, met and worked with locals living near the border, and organized talks at galleries and public spaces. During his time on the road, Jarrar created and installed a new work, Khaled’s Ladder, using material pulled from the border fence. Coming from his home in the West Bank, where the Israeli separation wall shapes daily life and restricts freedom of movement, Khaled was alert to the ways in which the U.S.–Mexico border informs the experiences of those who live on either side of it. After completing the RV journey to Juarez, Khaled made the trip to New York and visited the Creative Time offices, where he talked to Creative Time Reports’ associate editor, Rachel Riederer, about his new work and his ongoing interest in dismantling walls and crossing borders.

You can find the full interview  here.

New York, 5th May 2016.

Darren Flook: The Tate have a slogan for the opening of their new building attached to Tate Modern: “Art Changes. We Change.” This made me think about how art has changed, or how your practice has changed. How are things different from when you started?

Ryan Gander: I think then I was so young that I had no idea what I was doing and it was quite logical to just be like, “Oh, I have an exhibition. I have to make an artwork.” And now, structurally, it doesn’t work like that. I don’t have to do anything logistical any more. I don’t even run the studio or the company. I’m a creative director. Now, I instigate situations that work will become a fall-out of. I’ve just designed this kitchen sink, which is a proper sink that works. It’s a company and a business. But I know that the fall-out of me researching Japanese sinks and using this sink will produce art.


The thing that strikes me about London is the impact of the expense of it on a lot of young artists and art galleries. It’s become so money-obsessed. The art scene has become very conservative due to the pressure to sell.
I’m creating this show at the moment with this group of kids in Leeds. And a part of me thinks, “They won’t get a shot at anything because they all live in Leeds.” A part of me feels like saying, “Come on, guys, you’ve got one chance. Move to London and, make a go of it,” But then I think, if they go to London, they’ll just turn into arseholes. They’ll be climbing over the backs of a million other people. There’ll be this contagion of aesthetics that exists in London where everything looks exactly the same.

I go to shows in London of young artists and they’re all going through this massive phase that’s so obvious. There’s no meaning to any of the work, it’s just purely retinal. It’s like the phenomenon of having pine or palm trees in shows; or the phenomenon of the colossal amount of artworks that contain water now.

Pieces with a cartoon sticker on it?
It’s insane. Bumper stickers on artworks! Just visual stuff. It’s something like gaga baby language.

But you don’t think that that’s always been the case? I mean, I remember having a conversation in the late 90s with someone. We joked, “What would be the perfect, most stereotypical artwork now?” And we worked out it would be a leather glove holding a fake diamond on a white fur rug.
That’s perfect. Might need a scorpion or a meteorite in there as well.

Now it would be a bumper sticker on a downloaded porn image with an iPad slapped on the front? Actually, I think I bought that work.
But, you see, it’s difficult for me to not be annoyed and embittered by all that, because the premise of what I do is that’s it not merely retinal. It’s nothing to do with the way it looks.

And anything that ends up being an artwork is just a by-product of an idea that makes it happen. And I don’t really have that much control over what comes out physically, over what it looks like.

So when you’re thinking about a show, you don’t think about what it’s going to look like?


Really? Is that true?
I start with a theme or a perspective. It’s quite calculated and strategic. I usually build the show and then take things out. And make things invisible. And then make works incomplete or make them more complicated, to entertain my mind. It’s like making something very logical and then trying to make it into a puzzle.


Alex Turner said something like, “People from the North model themselves on things that they hate, not the things they like.” And what he meant by that, I think, is by knowing what you don’t like, you’re definitely not that. But it leaves everything else open for things you could be. But if there’s something that you like and you emulate that, you just become their carbon clone.

You need your own motivation that goes beyond any idea of success or career.
There is a massive fickleness in the art world so it has to be interesting for yourself or it’s not going to be interesting to other people. Considering artists are meant to be very, very creative and inventive, because their occupation, most artists are in fact massive conformists. When you go and see an artist’s show, I always think a really great value or currency is to defy expectation. I reckon 99% of shows that I see are exactly what I expect as I go into the show. I think that’s weird. And then I also think it’s very weird that, well, art can be anything, right?

You can make whatever you want.
Anything you want. It could be like a uniform for a McDonald’s drive-through. Or it could be a donation to a sperm bank. Or it could be a box full of sound, or anything. And still, 95% of art goes on the wall?! And that artists don’t even question that I find pretty weird. I value and judge people on how creative they are and not how good their work is. Often some of my favourite artists are the artists who make bad work as well.

I think you have to make bad work every now and again though.
Oh, absolutely. I don’t trust genius pieces whatsoever. I just think the whole point of making art is to learn, to evolve and to develop language and as a person. You only do that by making bad work you throw out. Or people see it and you’re embarrassed by it. And that’s good practice.

It’s like with studios. Do artists need studios? What is a studio? A studio’s just another conformity that’s been handed down through history. It’s a place to work. Well, does it have to be a studio? Living in the city. You don’t really need to live in the city.


To me, good artists are where the boundaries between practice and life don’t exist. You’re in their house. And, as you say, you suddenly realise a chair they’re sat on is something they’ve made…
And they serve you some food and you’ve never had anything like it before and they’ve invented it. But they also, you find out, hand-made the dish to serve it on because it complements the food that they’re serving. That act of being interested in the world around them, not just interested in the art world around them.

The artists I’ve worked with, the ones who fascinate me, are the ones that are like a stick of rock – you can break them anyway and it’s still the same thing going through the middle. How do I improve this, or alter it, or disrupt it? Someone like Carol Bove: she couldn’t find a school for her kids so opened one. Her art and her life are one.
I was just going to mention the Carol Bove example. My ideology of that reminds me of the Good Life. They’re not self-sufficient, but creatively self-sufficient. So instead of chickens you’re talking about how to make money on real things.

I like the Good Life idea. Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?
I was going say something about the economy of giving back as well. I think it’s important to give back and that doesn’t happen enough. If artists are in significantly privileged positions because of the work that they make, then they should. I want to see more artists having, I don’t know, like scholarships in their name. Or opening art schools. Or publishing young artists’ books, because that’s all totally doable by me and my contemporaries. It’s easy. It just doesn’t happen enough and that’s a bit rubbish.

See the full interview here


‘A controversial piece of Denver student art, depicting a police officer in a Ku Klux Klan hood pointing a gun at a black child whose hands are raised, has hastened a meeting between the city officials, the artist and her mother.

The art piece, part of Denver Public Schools outreach, was displayed in a city building and caused “concerns from the community,” according to a media release late Tuesday from Mayor Michael Hancock’s office.

“Students were asked to select a master work of art, research it and re-contextualize it,” according to the release.

The student in question chose Goya’s The Third of May 1808 and A Tale of Two Hoodies, created by Michael D’Antuono in 2014, as inspiration.

” After learning of the negative impact of her work, the student has asked that it be taken down,” the mayor’s office said.

On Wednesday the student, and her mother, will meet with Mayor Michael Hancock, Chief of Police Robert White and Acting Superintendent Susana Cordova at her school, Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy.

“I’m greatly concerned about how this painting portrays the police,” Denver Chief of Police Robert White said in the release. ” I look forward to having a conversation with the student and her parents.”

So two questions, quoting from the text above:

Anyone wondered why the art piece caused “concerns from the community” ?

And what was the “negative impact”? Why was it negative?

Because it made sound?  It provoke ? It disturbed?  It shared some truths ?

And was the decision clearly made by the student or was she forced to ask for  her artwork to be removed?

The student clearly depicted, not just out of her imagination, how the police uses their power against black people and other ‘minorities’ and quite cleverly cited on KKK, as it seems that these actions and maltreatments can be evidently related to that movement and its beliefs.

That’s what art is for… To say things that otherwise are either forbidden to say or no one has the courage to shout or the authorities are too strong and cover these voices  (at any cost).



Controversial website ArtRank treats art like a commodity – tipping investors off about who’s hot and who’s toxic. Site founder Carlos Rivera talks bubbles, bonuses and backlashes
Art Basel 2014

Art collectors at the influential Art Basel art fair, in Switzerland, last week … did they check the market before they bought? Photograph: Georgios Kefalas/EPA

A few years ago, Carlos Rivera was a virtual unknown, even in the art circles where he earned his living. He was just another gallerist, running a West Hollywood outlet called Rivera & Rivera, mostly putting on photography group shows.

Now, however, Rivera is making waves with his ArtRank service, which makes “buy” or “sell” judgments on contemporary artists, in the same way that stockbrokers rate shares. For $3,500 a quarter, ArtRank’s clients get snappy – some might say brutal – investment advice based on information such as past sales, studio output, upcoming shows and posts on Instagram and Twitter. The service, which he says uses complex algorithms developed for investment banking, is limited to 10 subscribers at a time; when Rivera threw the list open in April, there were, he says, more than 80 applications.

Many artists have been appalled to find themselves on ArtRank’s list, even if the verdict is favourable. One young New Yorker in the “buy now” column calls her inclusion “terrifying”. “People should spend less time worrying about art prices and more about world politics,” she said.

One can only imagine how Walead Beshty and Mark Flood are feeling, given they are all rated “sell now”. This doesn’t necessarily mean prices are expected to fall, just that rises may be running out of steam. As for this year’s art darling, the Colombian Oscar Murillo, he gets the even more damning “liquidate”, alongside Jacob Kassay, Lucien Smith, Sterling Ruby and Parker Ito, all of whom have experienced massive spikes in their prices.

Oscar Murillo ranked liquidate by ArtRank

When ArtRank appeared earlier this year, many thought it was an in-joke or a cruel commentary on the art world, especially since it was originally called Now it’s seen as further evidence that art and finance are converging, stoking anxiety that speculators (or “flippers”) are in control of the market. It’s one thing to buy and sell huge holdings in the likes of Andy Warhol or Jean-Michel Basquiat, critics say, quite another to gamble with those whose careers have barely begun. Art reputations take years to develop and moments to ruin; consume the young and you consume the future.Flipping art has “definitely become some kind of a financial sport,” mega-collector Mera Rubell lamented earlier this year. “It’s painful to see.” Since February, when Bloomberg published a report about collectorsbulk-buying emerging artists with the goal of quickly reselling at a profit, there’s been talk of an art bubble. Work by artists born after 1945 generated $17.2bn in auction sales last year, up 39% from 2012. The recent contemporary auctions in New York, meanwhile, generated more than $1bn in sales, leaving even informed market players scratching their heads. “I don’t know what money means any more,” said Asher Edelman, founder of art financing company ArtAssure.

“I’m not endorsing speculation,” Rivera insists. Still, fears that the market is out of control are unlikely to be calmed by his claim that his previous venture, a fund investing in both emerging and established artists, grew from $700,000 in 2011 to $12 million in 2013, partly by buying into the likes of Robert Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly. Only too happy to put his side of the story, ArtRank’s 26-year-old founder pulls up at Hollywood’s 101 diner on a Ducati. He’s been driving fast through rush-hour traffic. Exhilarating, no doubt – but, like investing in art, a gamble.

Rivera, who was born in Argentina and studied technology at university, says his site is a legitimate, data-driven advisory service. “It’s difficult to get an objective perspective,” he says. “That, as much as possible, is what I hope to do with ArtRank – add a level of transparency.”

Rivera got into the art business after the financial upheavals of 2007-08, when wealthy people were parking money in art rather than risking it, say, on office developments in Beijing. “Historically, art does well coming out of recession,” he reasoned. “It’s S-W-A-G, right? Silver. Wine. Art. Gold.” As the market expanded, it became obvious to him that collectors lacked the data to make informed investment decisions. “Just because an artist’s work has gone from $400,000 to $450,000 to $500,000, to then assume it’ll go to $550,000 would be unintelligible to financial markets,” he says.

With contemporary art focused on a handful of star names, he says, ArtRank is simply an effort to quantify what the market’s players do all day anyway – which is talk, often about money. “What do you think a gallerist does?” he says, stripping off his biker jacket. “I should know – I’ve run a gallery. There’s nothing to do except gossip.”

He also believes the art market cannot sustain its current rate of growth without broadening the base of collectors. The obvious place to look is the new class of super-rich technocrats, people who made their fortunes in data-crunching and want art, or their understanding of it, to conform to that view – not as a proposition fashioned by self-styled elites in New York and London.

Further down the ladder, young collectors who may want to enter the market feel shut out. “People don’t know about emerging-market artists without a great adviser, and you don’t get a great adviser unless you’ve got millions of dollars to spend. I’m not asking for $50,000 upfront like a top art adviser.”

ArtRank artists investor advice

A snapshot of ArtRank’s investment advice, financially rating artists for collectors. Photograph: InternetAll that ArtRank’s subscribers get for their $3,500 a quarter is a three-week head start before Rivera makes the ratings publicly available on its website; nonetheless, one US collector, LA-based Rolando Jimenez, describes it as “an essential tool if you want to evaluate your emerging art-collecting ventures as a serious investment”. According to Rivera, the film producer Stefan Simchowitz was so impressed by ArtRank that he tried to buy a stake in it. An unabashed art flipper, Simchowitz famously invested $50,000 in 34 Murillos early in the artist’s career, selling one last September for $401,000.Rivera says he understands why artists are angry about being gambled on, but he insists everyone is culpable: collectors for flipping the work; galleries for forcing collectors to buy lesser work in addition to pieces they really want; artists themselves for churning out work made by teams of assistants. With dealers wanting new work from new artists to meet demand from new collectors at new and ever-expanding art fairs (90% of art at Frieze New York sold in the first two days), there’s no time to waste.

“The more contemporary art is seen as an instrument for investment, the riskier it becomes,” warns Kathryn Graddy, a professor of art market economics at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. The market is demanding more art, she says, “but it is one thing to encourage art, another to organise a market because the thinking is everybody will want the same hyped artists.”

ArtRank isn’t the first service to offer market insight (the pricing database Artnet Worldwide springs to mind, alongside ArtTactic, the market trends firm that recently estimated the art market is controlled by 150 people with resources to spend $20m on a single work of art); it’s just the first to rank artists as starkly as a stock-pick. But perhaps its arrival was inevitable. Many people will tell you that the 10-year boom in contemporary art has created a market that behaves like an unregulated stock market. Rumour has it that some collectors, like angel investors in tech start-ups, are placing artists on retainers and paying a bonus for works completed.

At the same time, some artists are protesting about the system they’re being exposed to. At Christie’s last month, Untitled (Fire, Red/Black U), an inkjet piece by the New Yorker Wade Guyton, fetched $3.5m.Guyton’s response was to print off multiple copies of the image from his original disk and post photos of them on Instagram. Others are musing remedies ranging from refusing to produce commercial work, to joining collectives, or showing work in mobile exhibitions unconnected to the art establishment.

Carlos Rivera

Carlos Rivera, founder of ArtRank. Photograph: Gideon PonteIt may be no more than a gesture, but it speaks of an honest search for meaning in a business that has lost its cultural cool. Rivera sees the trends – the chewing-gum colours, the canvases with their stretcher bars exposed, the souvenirs from performance art – and wonders about originality. “Sometimes it’s kind of a joke,” he admits and offers some age-old advice: buy what you really like. “If you made a $150,000 bonus last year, but know nothing about the art market, don’t go to Sotheby’s or Phillips to bid $50,000 on a Parker Ito you know nothing about. The only person who benefits from that is the speculator who bought it for $3,000.” Instead, he suggests, “go on ArtRank and find five artists under $10,000. If you spend $6,000 on a work at a gallery, the artist and the gallery each get half.”Pulling out the keys to the Ducati, he adds: “The concern is that we’re ranking people – but we all rank people anyway. Look at the Oscars. Look at athletes. Artists can grow and outperform, too. We’re just a gauge of their abilities.”



Fore me this is just another justification of the art losing its real purpose and value… The rest of the comments and thoughts are yours.

Since his release from detention in 2011, artist Ai Weiwei has been barred from leaving China. But that hasn’t stopped him from becoming one of the most famous artists in the world. On the eve of a London show, Time Out visits him to discuss surveillance, success and staying visible.

 © Ai Weiwei; portrait: Gao Yuan

There are no police officers outside Ai Weiwei’s grey brick studio when Time Out visits him on a chilly Beijing morning. This is a noticeable change. Until recently, the plainclothes officers parked continuously outside Ai’s studio on the outskirts of the city were as constant a presence as the cats roaming his compound and the flowers he places in the basket on a bicycle out front every day, a subtle form of protest on Ai’s part that represents his lack of freedom to travel abroad or show work in China. He still does not have his passport. Yet, while the authorities have tried to make Ai invisible inside China, the artist has responded by maintaining a high profile on the international scene. He’s currently the subject of a major retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum. He’s also managed to keep up a non-stop social-media presence, even popping up recently in a selfie with US lifestyle guru Martha Stewart. This week, a show of his new works opens at the Lisson Gallery. We asked Ai about how he squares his roles as dissident and art star, and how this paradoxical situation has informed his latest output.

Your new show focuses on objects such as gas masks, handcuffs and bicycles. What’s the connection between them?
‘These are mostly objects that relate to my small world. For example, the “Forever” bicycles [pictured, right] were a brand from when I was growing up. In our village there were no real roads and we always had to ride bikes to carry things. I thought they would be good for a public sculpture because people relate to bikes. They’re designed for the body and operated with your body. There are few things today that are like that.’

Do you miss being able to visit London?
‘I miss London. London is what we can really call a civil society, which is a term you cannot even mention in China – they think that’s some kind of dirty word. British culture today is very sophisticated. I enjoyed every minute when I was there and hopefully one day I can visit again. Especially after I was released from detention, I was so touched and shocked to see people in London and in the art community giving such support. They openly confronted my condition and really supported freedom of speech. I think sensing that made my personal condition become acceptable.’

How do you manage the installation of your work when you can’t be there?
‘I may not be the best artist, but I really am the best remote-control artist. I use the internet, Skype and communication of all kinds. I’ve done dozens of shows without being there because I still communicate with the organiser and the viewers.’

Do you think the Chinese authorities’ attitude toward you has changed?
‘They’re much more open towards me and much more relaxed. Nobody follows me if I go out – there’s no car outside. I can travel within China quite freely and nobody says: “Where are you going?” They’ve given me maximum freedom, I should say, to do my work and even talk to you. So I consider that a very friendly attitude toward me.’

 © Ai Weiwei

Have they tried to restrict your art?
‘No. They’ve been very clear in that sense. Although I don’t think they’re really satisfied with the result. They think there must be some kind of meaning there or some kind of conspiracy behind it.’

Do you see your art and activism as separate?
‘No. My activism is actually only for my art, for my essential rights. To protect those rights, I became a so-called activist. It’s inseparable from my art. Art needs protection; freedom of speech needs protection. Through art I make the argument and through my argument I may make art.’

Do you worry that by being such a high-profile artist and activist you might overshadow those who don’t have the kind of voice you do?
‘I think this is a world with competition. Even for freedom, there’s still competition. I don’t think you can really overshadow a voice if that voice has an idea behind it. I didn’t even know I was an international celebrity [for a long time], because in the years I became famous, I wasn’t out in the world – I was here [in my studio]. I told the authorities that they’ve made me much more popular in the past few years.’

Do you think you’ve become more popular in China as well?
‘Much more. Mainly with people who can get information from outside and who can get on the internet. I think it’s more with young people. They just don’t understand why I have to be punished like this. A lot of people think there’s no possibility [of change] here, but I’m a little bit naive. In the evening I become so desperate and disappointed, but in the morning I’m refreshed again.’

You can now buy Ai Weiwei mobile phone covers, umbrellas, and any number of other products. How do you feel about this commercialisation of your image?
‘I have no problem with people using my image as long as it carries symbolic meaning. Of course I hate things that aren’t done well, that are trash or crap, but in my position I can’t really control that, even if I wanted to.’

You run a large studio and much of your work is outsourced to craftspeople. 
Do you worry about your art becoming impersonal?

‘No. I hope my work can be as impersonal as possible because I don’t think I’m that important. I’m the one who initiates it, who guides it, and is controlling the idea, but I don’t care if it’s mine or not. People have too many fantasies about what art is about. Art is about ideas, about decisions, about expression and about communication. I’m really good at expression and communication. Andy Warhol is a perfect model for me.’

If your work’s about communication, then do you see your internet presence as an extension of your art or a possible replacement for it?
‘Actually, the internet is not an extension of my art; my art is an extension of the internet. If there’s no internet, there’s no Ai Weiwei of today. I’m a pure product of the internet.’


By Aaron Fox-Lerner  Fri May 16 2014

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