Bin Laden Death Knocks Ai Weiwei Off Bloomberg's Agenda, Daily News Slams Brooklyn Museum's "Art in the Streets" Plan, and More Must-Read Art News

Bin Laden Death Knocks Ai Weiwei Off Bloomberg's Agenda, Daily News Slams Brooklyn Museum's "Art in the Streets" Plan, and More Must-Read Art News

Change of Plans: Early this morning Mayor Bloomberg's office sent out a statement canceling the scheduled unveiling of Ai Weiwei's monumental new "Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads" public sculpture in Central Park, saying it will be rescheduled. Why? "You may assume that there was some significant news last night, and that the mayor will be holding a press conference about that news," a mayoral spokesperson told ARTINFO when contacted. Bloomberg's Bin Laden conference will take place today, perhaps at Ground Zero, though "obviously there are some complexities in handling an event of this magnitude," the spokesperson said. The Ai ceremony will likely take place later this week. [Mayor's Office]


Brooklyn Show "Should Be Tagged NoWay": In a particularly gritty editorial, the New York Daily News has weighed in on the Brooklyn Museum's plan to host Jeffrey Deitch's "Art in the Streets" show next March. Such a plan would entail using tax dollars to allow "museum mavens" to stick "their thumbs in the eyes of every bodega owner and restaurant manager who struggles to keep his or her property graffiti-free, not to mention the eyes of all New Yorkers who cringe recalling the days of graffiti-covered subway cars." If director Arnold Lehman wants that, the paper inveighs, he should also promise to "to let graffiti 'artists' have a go at the museum's bright white walls and its landmark facade and its beautiful, expensive new entrance pavilion. And he must not dare clean — er, contain — the painters' 'free expression.' Deal?" [NYDN]


Rare Jasper Johns Interview: The artist, who is just shy of his 81st birthday, spoke with the Financial Times about how it's hard to chart one's own artistic development — "It's a bit like aging. In many ways you don’t feel you've changed at all, and yet you're perfectly aware you have, and if you examine yourself in the mirror, you can point to the details" — and his legacy — "I don't have any real sense of what the world needs or what it will be…. I'm just here." [FT]


Buddhist Monks in Anti-Art Rampage: Mumbai gallery Volte found itself in hot water recently when a show co-organized with London's Rossi & Rossi featured a work by Tibetan artist Tenzing Rigdol, titled "Bollywood Buddha." The work features an image of the Buddha filled in with clippings of movie actors and actresses, and drew the ire of local religious activists, including Buddhist monks, who mobbed the gallery and tried to forcefully remove the work to destroy it. Volte director Tushar Jiwarajika and liaison officer Pia Goswamy managed to carry the work to a safe place in the gallery, and even handed a stamped apology to the protesters. Rigdol has issued a public apology as well, extending his "good-willed hand" towards the anti-art demonstrators. [Art Asia Pacifica]

What Makes a Great Art Scene?: "Pioneers of the Downtown Scene, New York 1970s," a new show of work by the era's SoHo-based artists like Laurie Anderson and Gordon Matta-Clark at London's Barbican Art Gallery, prompts Michael Kimmelman to pose an interesting and relevant question. "What is it that makes a neighborhood, or for that matter a whole city, come together at a certain moment, culturally speaking?" the critic writes. "Why was SoHo in its early days vibrant and special in ways that, despite the art world's current money and hype, seem so hard to come by now?" [NYT]

Norse Modernism: In pitching his treatment for "Thor" to movie execs, unlikely superhero blockbuster director Kenneth Branagh — the greatest filmic Shakespearan interpreter of our era — used photos of buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright and Santiago Calatrava as reference points for his vision. "I was quite pleased with it, actually," Branagh said of his presentation. "I think they were completely uninterested." [NYT]

Tribeca Film Festival Winners: Recipients of the event's top prizes hail from Sweden, South Korea, Rwanda, and Norway. The two films that each nabbed $25,000 were Lisa Aschan's "She Monkeys," which took home the Founders Award for best narrative feature, and Alma Har'el's "Bombay Beach," which scored in the best documentary category. Check out the rest of the lucky prize-winners here. [NYT]

DVF Receives Landmark Preservation Medal: The designer and artistic muse, who is currently the subject of a show at Pace Beijing, has been honored with the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal at the Municipal Art Society's annual spring gala at the New York Public Library. The award celebrates a New Yorker who has sought to preserve his or her city's great architecture. [WWD]

The Secret Rooms of the Frick: Are so cool. Check out these photos of the bowling alley beneath Henry Clay Frick's 70th Street mansion, among other rooms, which is closed off to the public because its single exit violates city fire codes. When it was built in 1914 it cost Frick $850, and provided him with yet another location in which he could drink anyone's milkshake that he desired. [Gothamist

Help Out Some Artists: Brooklyn-based Adwen Creative, an art and design studio founded by the married duo Neda and Wade Harrell, has announced the launch of a Kickstarter campaign to publish a "museum quality, 96-page" edition of their work. Titled "Selected From the Pattern," the book would include 23 pieces created through a digital montage of images — selected to provide "a new perspective for viewing the world around us" — that range broadly to reference "the music of Skinny Puppy, J Church, Chris Connelly, Radiohead, Sonic Youth, and Tricky; the writing of Joseph Campbell, Rudy Rucker, and Phillip K. Dick; [and] the artwork of ancient Mesoamericans and modern day graffiti." As of Sunday evening, 10 supporters had together pledged $806 toward the $12,000 goal. [Kickstarter

iPhone Photo App for Japan Relief: The best-selling selling iPhone app in the news category these days combines photo journalism and charity: The 3/11 Tsunami Photo Project offers users access to a bank of pictures from photographers who were on the ground in Japan for the recent natural disaster, and sells for just 99 cents, with proceeds going to the Japan Red Cross Society. The innovative app comes from publisher Kodansha Ltd., which had considered printing a photographic book, but couldn't, a rep says, due to the fact that "because of the tsunami, we are facing a severe lack of paper and ink in Japan right now." [WSJ

Peter Liversidge Goes to Sean Kelly Gallery: The London-based British artist is known for his conceptual work, for which he writes proposals for projects on a manual typewriter, describing (with typos and all) pieces from "I propose to paint the wall that the proposals are hung on a dark grey" to "I propose to dam the Thames and flood the City of London." Obviously only some of these are actually carried out. His first show at Sean Kelly will take place December 8, 2011 through January 28, 2012. [Press Release]

Jesus Artist Pulls Paintings from College Bookstore: Jon McNaughton, whose prints were on offer at the Brigham Young University shop, has now removed his works from campus, after the bookstore said they would not sell his "One Nation Under God" painting. "I think [BYU] is trying not to offend the few liberals on campus," McNaughton said. Meanwhile, college spokesperson Carri P. Jenkins asserted, "The primary focus of the bookstore is to sell religious art. This painting has received some negative feedback in the past." The work in question depicts Christ standing near the Capitol and Supreme Court building holding the Constitution, flanked by George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, Ronald Reagan, and soldiers. In one corner of the painting are those whom the artist believes "pushed our country toward socialism" including a Supreme Court justice, a politician, a Hollywood producer, a professor, and a reporter. "It's only offensive to people who do not believe the Constitution is divinely inspired," the artist said. [Salt Lake Tribune

VIDEO OF THE DAY: A shocking government-funded painting causes a censorship controversy on "Parks and Recreation." [Hulu]