Banksy Oscar Speculation Swirls, Subversive Google Hacker Art, and More Must-Read Art News

Banksy Oscar Speculation Swirls, Subversive Google Hacker Art, and More Must-Read Art News

And the Award Goes To?: Once, the question on every street-art fan's mind was, "Who is Banksy?" Now add to that, "And what are his Oscar chances?" Critical buzz has built steadily over the mystery artist's mocking documentary "Exit Through the Gift Shop," and some wonder whether the film will be among the Academy Awards nominees to be announced on January 25. Of course, considering its long-time snub of the elusive Jean-Luc Godard, the Oscars may prefer to honor more publicity-embracing filmmakers. [LAT]

Searching for Art: Internet giant Google has its own in-house artist — aka "doodler" — but now Argentinian designer Leonardo Solaas has hacked the site's design to create some parodic conceptual art at the company's expense, including one "variation" that takes users to a fake error page that has the phrase "Some day Google will not be there" displayed in Google's jaunty colors. [Taxi]

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On the Broad Again: Just in time for the new year, it looks like there might be a fresh bonanza of Eli Broad news on the way. This Thursday the Broad Art Foundation is set to unveil Diller Scofidio + Renfro's designs for the long-planned Broad Art Museum in downtown Los Angeles, and also to announce its board and inaugural programming. Intriguingly, the New York Times yesterday posted, and then took down, a Carol Vogel story with the line "Leave it to the Los Angeles financier Eli Broad to actually make money on the $100 million museum he is planning to build as part of the…" — suggesting that a new controversy may be in the offing about the billionaire collector and real-estate tycoon's finagling over the site, which he once planned to lease for 99 years for $1 (before civic opposition forced him to pay $7.7 million). [Press Release and NYT

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Too Hot to Handle: In honor of the Smithsonian's David Wojnarowicz censorship, AlterNet has compiled a list of six other historic artist-muzzling incidents, from Karen Finley's NEA-sponsored 1990 "chocolate-smeared woman" performance to Jean Toche's 1974 flier campaign in defense of Toni Shafrazi's right to spray-paint "Guernica." [AlterNet]

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Looking Good for 200: This year marks the bicentennial of South London's Dulwich Picture Gallery, which was founded with the Old Master art collection of an unlucky Polish king and became Britain's first public gallery, playing host to Vincent van Gogh, surviving a WWII Doodlebug blast, and outlasting thefts and public scorn to become one of the country's most beloved art institutions. [Telegraph]

Freeloaders!: The Art Institute of Chicago is canceling its free admission Thursdays after finding out that most people who benefited were not the Chicagoans whose taxes support the museum but out-of-town Seurat-oglers wheeling in for a good time. [Crain's Chicago Business]

Hand Candy: Serving an unfairly disenfranchised audience, Toronto artist Lisa J. Murphy has begun making pornography for the blind, creating naughty 3D pictures, complete with braille come-ons. "I took photographs of my friends in lingerie, blew up the images and hand-sculpted them into clay," says the artist. "The butt was really hard to sculpt…. It took me days to sculpt all the curves right, but I'm told it does feel like a woman's butt in a G-string." [CBS

Artists Swamped: Artists in Laguna Beach have seen the contents of their studios imperiled by flooding and mudslides after December storms in California inflicted massive damage across the region, including on the artists' spaces that dot Laguna Canyon Road and the surrounding area. But not all are distraught in the wake of this disaster. "Mother Nature screamed, and now that it's over, it's sunny, it's beautiful," one artist said. "It was a catharsis for nature." [LAT]

Bonhams Auctions Banksy Baloo: In our second Banksy item of the day, the London-based auction house is offering up "urban art" next Tuesday in a sale that includes ten works by the British street artist, including a top lot that was commissioned by Greenpeace as a part of that organization's campaign against deforestation. The work features characters from the Disney adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book" in a bleak, burnt-out landscape. It is slated to sell for £60,000-80,000 ($94,000-$125,000). [Telegraph]

New Cleveland Museum Director Plots Future: After only a few months in the role, David Franklin already has big plans for the Ohio art institution. In three years, the museum's $350 million expansion, designed by Rafael Viñoly, will be complete. But what else does Franklin see ahead of the museum? The hockey-loving director wants to watch people skating on the museum's lagoon and he'd love to have more guests to the Fine Arts Garden. "It would be like a French Impressionist painting out there," he said, adding, "That's my dream. It's obsessing me." [Plain Dealer]

New at the Parrish: The Parrish Art Museum in Long Island has named Andrea Grover, an independent curator who has organized film programs through Dia and the Menil Collection, as its new associate curator. She starts at the museum this month. [Parrish Art Museum