Julian Assange Becomes a Street-Art Hero, Smithsonian Defends Censorious G. Wayne Clough, and More Must-Read Art News

Julian Assange Becomes a Street-Art Hero, Smithsonian Defends Censorious G. Wayne Clough, and More Must-Read Art News

WikiTags: The Brooklyn Street Art blog rounds up some examples of an emerging genre: Julian Assange tribute art. The controversial WikiLeaks founder gets the hero treatment in works by Cart'1 and the classily named Amorfart, as well as appearing in the slightly more ambiguous "Julian Assange Coloring Book." [Brooklyn Street Art

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Smithsonian Backs, and Praises, Clough: Although they felt that including David Wojnarowicz's video in the "Hide/Seek" show was "not a mistake," the Smithsonian's regents left yesterday's meeting with a united front in support of G. Wayne Clough, the institution's secretary who has drawn near-universal censure for his decision to remove the artwork in the face of right-wing pressure. According to head regent Patty Stonesifer, late of the Bill Gates Foundation, the museum complex was not damaged by the museological world's condemnation of Clough's leadership, but was in fact "doing better than before he got here." [WaPo]

But... Smithsonian Shifts Policy to Avoid Future Crises: The institution has created a panel to preview and comment on future, potentially controversial exhibitions, to avoid scandal such as the one that has ensued after the censorship of "A Fire in My Belly" from the National Portrait Gallery. The museum has also announced that, in future, "in the absence of actual error, changes to exhibitions should not be made once an exhibition opens without meaningful consultation with the curator, director, secretary and the leadership of the Board of Regents." [LAT]

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Three Decades After Another Revolution: Iran's state-run Tehran Times reports that the third edition of "Seven Art, Seven Artists," an arts festival, features calligraphic renditions of verses from the Quran, cartoons about the 1979 Islamic Revolution that put fundamentalists in power, and paintings inspired by the bloody rituals of Ashura. "This expo reveals the fact that Iran is a major power and can succeed in conquering the world’s art market," deputy culture minister Hamid Shahabadi said. "Iran is proud to say that it can reach the highest status in the world." [Tehran Times]   

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Has Banksy Struck Hollywood?: Either the mysterious street artist or a copycat (Mr. Brainwash?) has followed the news of Banksy's Academy Award nomination by throwing up a high-production-value mural featuring a hoodie-clad Oscar statuette surrounded by "Star Wars" Storm Troopers wielding a TV camera. [Movieline]
 
"Who Said Art Has to Cost Money?", Asks Rich Man: "You have to remember that it’s only a few hundred years, if that much, that artists are working with money," Francis Ford Coppola told the 99 Percent in an interview. "Artists never got money. Artists had a patron, either the leader of the state or the duke of Weimar or somewhere, or the church, the pope. Or they had another job. I have another job. I make films. No one tells me what to do. But I make the money in the wine industry." [99 Percent]

Dealers Continue to Gripe About VIP: Most art went unsold in the wonky debut, with a Rudolf Stingel in the $500,000-$1 million range the priciest reported work to sell, at Sadie Coles. "It was expensive and the things that were meant to make it special didn't work," Gordon Veneklasen, director of Michael Werner Gallery, told Bloomberg. "We were unhappy…. We're going to try to ask for our money back." [Bloomberg]

Watch Out Brangelina, It's Kames Fralinzy: Seasoned performance artist Kalup Linzy discusses his recent slew of art collaborations with James Franco, with whom he is currently recording an album. It's not as long as New York magazine's cover-story profile of Franco, but it's long enough to establish that Franco isn't just piggybacking on Linzy's art-world cred. "Before we met, we both yearned for what the other has achieved," Linzy says. "Now we have a middle ground where we get to work together." [NYM]

Alicia Keys Scores Art for Bday: The musical artist bagged work by street artists Shepard Fairey and Mr. Brainwash from her husband, Swizz Beatz, who also has artistic aspirations and tossed a few of his paintings his wife's way in celebration of her 31st. Not to be stingy, hubby also forked over an Aston Martin DBS and a party at Casa La Femme. [People]

XXX Lego Art: Yes, that's right. These are porny sculptures made from Legos. Some 8-year-old is in lot of trouble with his mom right now. [HuffPo]

The Land Art Generator Initiative: The competition in the United Arab Emirates that brings together artists with engineers to create public art installations that promote clean energy has announced its first winner: "Lunar Cubit," a series of nine giant black pyramids, clad in solar panels, each tricked out with LED lights synced to the lunar cycle, so that the pyramids glow when the moon is dark, and go dark when the moon is full. "Lunar Cubit" was conceived by the team of Robert Flottemesch, Jen DeNike, Johanna Ballhaus, and Adrian P. De Luca. Whether it will ever — or could ever — be built is unclear. [Land Art Generator Initiative

Never to Soon to Think About Valentine's Day?: A public installation titled "Light-Hearted" has won the Times Square Alliance's Valentine design contest, and will head to midtown from February 10 through February 20. The work of Brooklyn-based Lauren Crahan and John Hartmann, the aluminum and red-fabric sculpture will levitate — with the help of groups of volunteers — for 15 minutes at a time throughout the day. [press release] 

Ryoji Ikeda to Discombobulate the Park Avenue Armory: This May, the artist will install "the transfinite," a massive digital work and sonic landscape, within the Armory's Drill Hall. Composed to two parts that "transform a continuous stream of scientific data into digital sound and abstracted images," according to the Armory's consulting artistic director Kristy Edmunds, "Ikeda’s visual and sonic installation expresses the concept of transfinite numbers through a work of art rather than a traditional mathematical proof, confronting visitors with a physical manifestation of this complex and difficult to comprehend idea." Very complex and difficult to comprehend, indeed. [press release]