Wednesday, November 5, 2008

This was no joke or acting stunt. It was what actually happened on a quiet Friday afternoon in Lund, a small university town in southern Sweden where “The History of Sex,” an exhibition of photographs by the New York artist Andres Serrano, had opened two weeks earlier.

Around 3:30, half an hour before closing, four vandals wearing black masks stormed into a space known as the Kulturen Gallery while shouting in Swedish, “We don’t support this,” plus an expletive. They pushed visitors aside, entered a darkened room where some of the photographs were displayed and began smashing the glass protecting the photographs and then hacking away at the prints.

The bumpy video, evidently shot with a hand-held camera by someone who ran into the gallery with the attackers, intersperses images of the Serrano photographs with lettered commentary in Swedish like “This is art?” before showing the vandals at work.

No guards were on duty in the gallery, said Viveca Ohlsson, the show’s curator, although security videos captured much of the incident.

“There was one woman who works at the gallery who tried to stop them until she saw the axes and crowbars,” Ms. Ohlsson said. “These men are dangerous.”

By the time the masked men had finished, half the show — seven 50-by-60-inch photographs, worth some $200,000 over all — had been destroyed. The men left behind leaflets reading, “Against decadence and for a healthier culture.” The fliers listed no name or organization.

“I was shocked and horrified,” Mr. Serrano said in a telephone interview yesterday from New York. “I never expected something like this, especially in this magical town, which is so sweet I joked about it being like something out of Harry Potter.”

Go to the site if you would like to read the entire article.  You may google search some of the images that were in this exhibition.  I did not post them as not to offend any readers.

Why I researched Andres Serrano ( Cuban born) was because it is hard finding artwork about "religion."  I am finding a lot of images portraying religion but I am not finding many images about how people feel respond interact with religion.  I hope to find more besides Serrano's famous "Piss Christ." ( An image shown in 1987 which you may also google if you are interestedSerrano created "Piss Christ" in 1987. in seeing a larger image and reading the story.)  Is this art? It is obviously offensive.  Is one offensive piece enough to make you (in)famous?


Yogyakarta, July 27 - August 2, 2001
"ACAA collaborated with the Keluargatuk Art House held a visual arts 'Spiritual Arts Exhibition 2001' on July 27 - August 2, 2001 which took place at the Affandi Museum, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. 
This exhibition is held in conjunction with the 13th Yogyakarta Art Festival and especially also to welcome the Executive Committee Meeting of the Asian Christian Art Association which should have done in Yogyakarta on July 26th, 2001 to 29th, 2001. The meeting itself is postponed to December 2001. This inter-religious art exhibition which involving artists from various background of religions and places in Indonesia, China, Malaysia, India and Australia was well received by the public, art communities and the press."
Holy Family
Tree of Desire, by Kaji Habeb - IndonesiaTree of Desire
Mary and Christ
As you will see in probably my next few blog posts I am going to be focusing on religion.  I hope to set aside my own thoughts on the subject and educate myself before forming any definite position.  Religion is such a vast controversial topic I am sure I will always be learning more especially since I hope to tackle as many religions as possible without spending to little time on any of them.  Like these images the wide spread/acknowledgment of religion in general is very interesting.  Could it be said that the concept of religion is universal.?

My previous images are aesthetically beautiful and I found them while trying to look for images related to the environmental crisis.  It made me wonder who should artist speak out about global warming. I found many artist who just took  loads of beautiful images.  Is this enough? Or do people no to see some sort of "fear factor" to help us realize what is on the line.?

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Environment

the G2 galleryExhibits
Sep 18–Nov 30

"A Life Well Lived: 40 Years in the Making"
Robert Glenn Ketchum  

Monday, October 27, 2008


Museum of Contemporary Religious Art- Saint Louis University
Pursuit of the Spirit Exhibition is up through December 14th 2008

"Pursuit of the Spirit sets works by over 40 artists in dialogue with each other, exploring broad themes as Sacred Spaces, The Sublime, Mother and Child, and Image and Text."       
                                                       M. Campos-Pons: Cia Cara #1
María Magdalena Campos-Pons,
Cia Cara #1, 2008. Large-format
Polaroid. Collection of the Museum
of Contemporary Religious Art. 

This is a beautiful image go to the site and look at the larger version! It obviously presents a lot of religious issues that can be considered based one's own personal belief system. There are 40 artists exhibiting at the time and I wonder what of Andy Warhol's was included.  Maybe the last supper pieces?  He was apparently a very devout artist...

Is or could art become more popular than religion?

Mark Rothko at Tate Modern, 
Black on Maroon
Tate. Presented by the artist through the American Federation of 
Arts 1969
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 1998

This is an exhibit currently at the Tate.  "This exhibition focuses on the late work of Mark Rothko (1903–70), especially his works in series. At their heart are strategies of repetition and variation on a theme, encapsulated in Rothko's statement that 'If a thing is worth doing once, it is worth doing over and over again – exploring it, probing it, demanding by its repetition that the public look at it.'

Such ideas had already been integral to his colour field works of the 1950s. Throughout the late 1950s and 1960s, however, they took on a new importance as Rothko explored the concept of the series, which provided him with a method of critical self-enquiry and as a way of investigating the continuing possibilities of painting in an increasingly image-saturated culture. The process emerged, in part, from various commissions to create ambitious painterly environments. The first of these was for the newly opened Seagram building on New York's Park Avenue. Made in 1958–9, the Seagram murals never reached their original destination, after Rothko decided that a private dining room was an unsuitable environment to experience his paintings. Yet for much of the next decade he was preoccupied with the murals' display, and the intellectual and painterly questions underpinning their conception.

Though he continued to produce individual paintings and works on paper of great quality, it was the series and commissions at the centre of this exhibition that formed the cornerstones of his late work."

However what I found most interesting about this exhibtion was an article written in the painting

This article is about how art is replacing religion and churches are emptying but galleries are filling.  I am not sure that this is indeed true.  In American I am not sure if people are giving up on their faith because of what seems to be a downward spiral of events or if people place more faith in their beliefs for comfort from struggle?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What the camera lets you see

With my posts this week I wanted to explore a combination of previous ideas, ranging from government, media, camera control...etc. Therefore the images included all show the same seen with varying amounts of information to change the scenario.

"Barbican Art Gallery, London
From acclaimed architects, to Turner prize-winning artists, Barbican Art Gallery presents major exhibitions by leading international figures. See some of the best exhibitions in the heart of the City of London, including a dynamic mix of architecture, design, fashion and photography."
Currently showing:
Barbican Art Gallery-

Barbican Art Gallery reflects on conflict and its visual representation.

This Is War! Robert Capa at Work
Gerda Taro
On the Subject of War
View pieces at site under view images: (these images would not copy to my blog page since they are in a slideshow)

Still from The Casting, 2007. Production Photo Nicholas Trikonis.
Capa The Falling Soldier
Gerda Taro and soldier, Córdoba front, Spain, 1936 © Cornell Capa International Center of Photography

Like one of the previous selected works that shows how the media frames the news. I wonder how "real" these photos are. How do you know what is staged ans what is not. Can you ever tell. However, there are other photos in this exhibit by Gerda Taro that I thought were more honest in their portrayal. She did photographers during the Spanish Civil War. Final there is also a frame from a film that appears honest as well.. maybe also because it is in color. The portrayals of war in "these" images seem to become less heroic than those from history, to an extent.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Here are a few of my one photos that may have some time of hidden political/governmental meaning. The photographs themselves I think I self explanatory in that most bluntly show images of controversial symbols in our society. (these six go with all previous posts...)
The Art of Democracy Is a National Coalition of Art Exhibitions
on the Dire State of American Politics Scheduled for the Fall of 2008.
"Art of Democracy is building a network of exhibitions and events that will all take place in the fall of 2008. New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta, Puerto Rico, Muncie, and several more locations are planning exhibitions." It is basically an online exhibit of exhibitions all over America that are showing pieces related to politics, the campaign etc...
The work below is straight forward and I think extremely captivating and successful in questing the camera/ the media. The message is to the point however the complexity involved behind what this image conveys is something that has become so deeply buried in society. It is important to remember that every image you see is not the whole image. Do we ever see the entire image?
Claude Moller, If Vietnam Were Today, silkscreen

Jack Rutberg Fine Arts, LA
Hans Burkhardt Paintings of the 1960s A decade of Revolution
Sept 20-Dec 24, 2008
"Wandering Souls"
"The exhibition will include paintings - some of monumental scale - spanning the entire decade of the1960s, a critical period in the evolution of American art; particularly in Los Angeles, where Burkhardt resided since his arrival from N.Y. in 1937. Works in the exhibition, and its accompanying illustrated catalogue reveal the full range of Burkhardt’s paintings, reflecting both the excitement of a decade marked by the hopeful social revolution that was the 1960s, and works of unprecedented potency in their protest of the Viet Nam War."

I think it is interesting that this artist being part of a young generation of LA "political" artists was able to thrive in spite of the political control during the McCarthy era.  His works are about political revolt against our time.  I suppose what is even more interesting to me is that we seem to focus less on the political issues at hand during this campaign.  The American public seems to be more interested in the drama of who is who.  This artists work  is basic and i admire that, however, does their work convey their purpose, is it successful? is that necessary?

Roq La Rue Gallery, in LA- Current Exhibition
Chet Zar  "Postapocalism"
"Chet Zar is known for his film concept design work (including the recent Hellboy 2) but when he had free time he paints monster-like characters who seem to inhabit a film noir type world. His characters can appear ruthless and slightly maleficent or gruesome yet sympathetic." ( )

I think Zar is interesting since he explores that extreme fear that is now required to shock the majority of American society.  However in this piece I think he also brings in religion and politics which truly exists in our society and perhaps is currently more shocking than the fantastical horror worlds he creates.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Taryn Simon

An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar
September 13 - October 25, 2008

Taryn Simon
"Nuclear Waste Encapsulation and Storage Facility, Cherenkov Radiation, Hanford Site, U.S. Department of Energy, Southeastern Washington State
Submerged in a pool of water at Hanford Site are 1,936 stainless-steel nuclear-waste capsules containing cesium and strontium. Combined, they contain over 120 million curies of radioactivity. It is estimated to be the most curies under one roof in the United States. The blue glow is created by the Cherenkov Effect which describes the electromagnetic radiation emitted when a charged particle, giving off energy, moves faster than light through a transparent medium. The temperatures of the capsules are as high as 330 degrees Fahrenheit. The pool of water serves as a shield against radiation; a human standing one foot from an unshielded capsule would receive a lethal dose of radiation in less than 10 seconds. Hanford is among the most contaminated sites in the United States.
Chromogenic color print
37 1/4 x 44 1/2 inches framed (94.6 x 113 cm)
Ed. of 7"

Look at the link below for more. The work is very relates to controversial contemporary issues. They images are beautiful and even more striking when you realize the messages they are trying to convey about society.

Cold War Design

"Concentrating on the period from 1945 to 1970, this exciting exhibition at London's V&A examines how the battle between communism and capitalism shaped modern design on both sides of the Iron Curtain."

Hope and Optimism at the V&A in London

"The post-war era was characterised by great tension and anxiety, but it was also a time filled with hope and optimism. A wealth of iconic designs, from architecture and furniture, to fashion and transport came out of the period."
(visit exhibit, it is interactive...not just one image) This exhibit is interesting based on current politics. Why are do we react? Why does it take a catastrophic event for things in a society to turn around. Is it an inevitable cycle of progress...?

"Design 1945 - 1970"

"This period from the end of the Second World War to the mid 1970s was a period of great political tension and exceptional creativity which touched all aspects of life, from everyday products to the highest arenas of human achievement in science and culture. Art and design were not peripheral symptoms of politics during the Cold War: they played a central role in representing and sometimes challenging the dominant political and social ideas of the age." -VISIT the site for more.

George Lois: The Esquire Covers
April 25, 2008–March 30, 2009

The Philip Johnson Architecture and Design Galleries(MOMA)

"From 1962 to 1972, George Lois changed the face of magazine design with his ninety-two covers for Esquire magazine. He stripped the cover down to a graphically concise yet conceptually potent image that ventured beyond the mere illustration of a feature article. Lois exploited the communicative power of the mass-circulated front page to stimulate and provoke the public into debate, pressing Americans to confront controversial issues like racism, feminism, and the Vietnam War. Viewed as a collection, the covers serve as a visual timeline and a window onto the turbulent events of the 1960s. Initially received as jarring and prescient statements of their time, the covers have since become essential to the iconography of American culture."

I think perhaps this is something that could be considered in our media. Now television, magazines, newspapers are overloaded with information. Perhaps they would be more successful with the less is more policy...