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Artnet News
July 16, 2010 

In the last few months, as the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has raged on, protestors in the UK have made headlines by taking on a seemingly unlikely target: the nation’s museums. The Tate Britain and the National Portrait Gallery have both been the subject of protests from a group known as Art Not Oil, whose website announces that it is "For Creativity, Climate Justice and an End to Oil Industry Sponsorship of the Arts." On Tuesday, July 13, 2010, activists struck again, "infiltrating" the British Museum this time, wearing death masks and pouring an oil-like substance -- molasses, according to reports -- on a plinth of a statue from Easter Island.  A statement by Art Not Oil demanded that the British Museum stop accepting the patronage of BP, and said that the statue had been targeted because it "represents the way in which civilizations once considered invincible can collapse in a short period of time."

So, what museum will be the next target for such arty eco-protests? One candidate -- albeit one that is "across the Pond," in the U.S. -- is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. LACMA has enjoyed a long and very prominent relationship with BP, and even has a "BP Grand Entrance," a partnership that Mark Vallen of the blog "Art for a Change" has been agitating around for years.

Why fight commercial culture, when you can make it better? New York’s Apexart is holding a contest, asking artists to "Take any broadcast commercial, cut it, dub it, repeat it, or flip it and make it art." All you have to do is pick your favorite commercial, rework it in any way you choose, and submit it online. All entries will be viewable on the Apexart website, and presented in an exhibition, Nov. 10-Dec. 22, 2010, at the space. The public will vote on which entry is the best reworked commercial, and the top five vote-getters will be shown on "a public screen" in Manhattan. The top-scorer gets $2,000. Deadline is Oct. 31, 2010.

The Milwaukee Art Museum was closed Monday and Tuesday for filming of the third installation of the god-awful Transformers franchise. According to a local news report, famed Hollywood schlockmeister Michael Bay "fell in love" with the museum, and determined to set a scene of his new film there. What exact part MAM plays in Transformers III is a secret, though the two-day shoot was described as involving "a dialogue scene" between "some of the featured stars." Unfounded speculation had it that the spacey building "might not even be a museum" in Transformers III -- could it be that Santiago Calatrava’s famously sci-fi design actually becomes a robot onscreen? Now that would be a reason to see the film!

Art fans: Be sure to check out the home page of Google on July 22. That day happens to be the birthday of the legendary Alexander Calder (1898-1976), and apparently, the search giant has decided to honor Calder by featuring what one insider called "a lovely fake Calder ‘doodle’" on its homepage. Look for it!

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