STREET ART "GREATEST HITS" IN LONDON
Itís no secret that Street Art has come in from the cold, with Shepard Fairey drawing record crowds at the ICA Boston, and Sothebyís experts telling the New Yorker that Banksy is "the quickest-growing artist anyone has ever seen of all time." Now, RJ Rushmore (the man behind the street art blog Vandalog) is giving contemporary graffiti greats a suitably hit-and-run style homage with "The Thousands," a five-day-only exhibition at Londonís Village Underground, Nov. 18-22, 2009. The show draws from private collections, and is billed as an attempt to give contemporary street art the respect it deserves. It includes works by Banksy and Fairey, as well as other stars like Faile, Herakut, KAWS, Barry McGee and Swoon. Look for a companion book published by Drago Labs.
In an appropriately democratic move, Rushmore writes, "Iím still looking for more artwork to borrow so just shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org)." For full details, see http://thethousands.wordpress.com/
SVA DEBUTS NEW THEATER IN CHELSEA
The School of Visual Arts debuts its new 20,000-square-foot SVA Theater at 333 West 23rd Street in Manhattan on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2009. Designed by veteran graphic artist Milton Glaser, the new theater is marked by a kinetic sculpture above its marquee that was inspired by Vladimir Tatlin’s 1920 Monument to the Third International. It contains two auditoriums, with 480 and 265 seats, for class meetings, lectures, performances and film screenings. The opening festivities feature a slate of early art films, including Dziga Vertov’s Man with the Movie Camera (1929) and the Soviet science-fiction film Aelita: Queen of Mars (1927).
MIAMI ARTS GROUPS FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL
Miamiís Human Services Coalition is pushing a campaign dubbed Penny Wise Miami, an attempt to battle back a budget proposal by Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Alvarez that the group says will eliminate "all funding" for community-based organizations -- including many arts groups. Hit by falling property taxes, Alvarez is striving to shave $427 million from the county budget. Thus, in the arts, grant-giving is to be cut from $14.8 to $4.4 million in the coming year, and will benefit just 100 organizations instead of the 500 groups it currently sustains -- leaving many smaller groups high-and-dry. In addition to an online petition that supporters can sign, "Penny Wise Miami" is trying to leverage the power of the image with a "photo petition," encouraging residents "to tell the story of who’s going to be affected by the budget cuts" by taking a picture with a sign that says "We Count," downloadable from the groupís website. Alvarezís budget would go into effect Oct. 1.
PLAYSTATIONíS ILL-CONCEIVED FINE-ART HOMAGE
Leave it to big advertising not just to rip off art, but to botch the job while itís at it. In Japan, Sony is promoting its new PS3 Slim -- an ultra-sleek version of its popular gaming console -- with a campaign that seems to borrow from the work of fine-art photographer Phillip Toledano. The artist, who has shown at the Wooster Collective, created a portrait series by setting subjects in front of a videogame console and photographing their faces as they played, to capture "a hidden part of their character." While this might seem a concept that the videogame company could have arrived at itself, the PS3 Slim campaign, featuring Japanese celebritiesí faces, under-lit and isolated against a black background, is unmistakably similar to Toledanoís work. "It pretty much looks like they happily ripped me off," Toledano told Kotaku, a videogame blog. (For the curious web surfer, Toledanoís original series can be compared to the official page for Sonyís "Play Face" campaign.)
The only problem with Sonyís act of esthetic plunder is that, apparently, a number of the Japanese celebs that the company tapped for the campaign happen to have reputed drug problems, giving their videogame-fueled grimaces an undesired connotation. "Not exactly the image Sony Japan is going for," Kotaku quips.
MISTER ARTSEE TO DEBUT AT HALF GALLERY
New York sculptor (and Artnet Magazine contributor) Elliott Arkin debuts his ingenious mobile art platform, Mister ArtSee, at Bill Powers’ Half Gallery on the Lower East Side this fall, on Sept. 10, 2009. A vintage ice-cream truck transformed into a four-wheeled arts laboratory that can travel city streets and host a wide array of art events, Mister ArtSee was designed by Atelier DNA, a New York City architecture and technology studio headed by architect Dario Nunez-Ameni. "Like a Swiss-army knife, Mister ArtSee has numerous extensions -- a platform stage, video projectors, a podium -- that can fold out and open up as needed for various projects," Arkin said. Arkin’s project has received several grants, including $50,000 from the Annenberg Foundation, as well as a Brooklyn Arts Council re-grant from the New York State Council on the Arts. Arkin plans to unveil the actual vehicle on National Arts Advocacy Day on Apr. 12, 2010. For more info, see www.misterartsee.org
INSIDER NEWS FROM THE BAER FAXT
The Baer Faxt, the email newsletter written and sent out by former New York gallery owner Josh Baer, has long been required reading by art-market insiders. One highlight of the newsletter is Baerís laconic lists of the winning bidders at the most important auctions at Christieís, Sothebyís and Phillips, delivered to subscribers in short order after the sales have concluded. Recently, Baer has added another act to his repertoire: alerts on pending art lawsuits.
His Aug. 18 issue, for instance, featured items on no less than three legal actions: a dispute involving Gateway Computer founder Norman Waitt over some paintings he acquired from Gerald Peters Gallery; a lawsuit by Moscow dealer Gary Tatintsian against Luhring Augustine Gallery over the sale of a dozen George Condo paintings for $4.5 million; and a $5-million suit filed against Christieís by Georges Marciano and Beverly Hills Antiques accusing the auction house of negligence in the transport of a collection of 400 artworks.
Baerís newsletter typically includes more personal items as well, such as the congratulations tendered to New York dealer Susie Kravets on the birth of her son, Jake Andrew Kravets-Weby. Though billed as "the art industry newsletter," anyone may subscribe for $200 a year. For a free sample issue, see www.baerfaxt.com