Obama Mural Voted Illegal, James Franco Makes Teddy Bear Art, and More

Obama Mural Voted Illegal, James Franco Makes Teddy Bear Art, and More
(© 2012 James Franco)

– James Franco Paints His Bed: Another day, another strange art project by James Franco. The actor, author, and notoriously overextended art person recently uploaded a photograph of his paint-splattered face onto the website WhoSay coupled with a shot of a teddy bear splayed across his bed, which is also doused in paint. Is the series an oblique reference to Robert Rauschenberg's famous paint-splattered combine "Bed" (1955)? Or simply another attempt to come across as artistic and eccentric? We may never know. [HuffPo]

– Obama Mural Voted Inappropriate: A 15-foot stencil mural depicting President Barack Obama inside a Philadelphia school that served as a polling place on Tuesday earned the ire of Republic officials, who pointed out that it's illegal under Pennsylvania state law to have campaign materials at voting sites. Workers at the polling site covered the image, by Daniel Woehrle (better known by his street art name STENZSKULL), much to his amusement: "I really had nothing to do with it. It’s been four years since I painted that image." [New Times]


– Yoko Ono to Direct London Festival: For its 20th anniversary edition next year, the Meltdown Festival at London's Southbank Centre has tapped Yoko Ono as its director, a position previously held by fellow artist-musicians including Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons, Patti Smith, and Laurie Anderson. "I am aware of the great tradition of experimentalism mixed with classicism that has made the festival such an enduring part of the British arts landscape," Ono said. [Telegraph]

 CCS Bard Acquires Major Archives: The library of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College has acquired the archives of both the American Fine Arts, Co. and New York's legendary Pat Hearn Gallery from the estate of Colin de Land. "This acquisition gives us the opportunity to preserve this unique material and make it available for research," said the director of CCS Bard's library and archives Ann Butler, "providing our students and others with an opportunity to study and historicize two central and innovative figures of the New York art world.” [Press Release]

– Turner and Rubens Donated to Dodge Estate Tax: A trove of cultural artifacts worth an estimated £40 million ($63.7 million) has been donated from personal estates to the U.K. in the past two years in lieu of paying approximately £25 million ($40 million) in estate taxes, including paintings by JMW Turner, Peter Paul Rubens, and Sir Joshua Reynolds, the entire archive of science fiction author J.G. Ballard, and Harold Pinter's 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature. "The acceptance in lieu scheme has been responsible for some incredible treasures entering museums and galleries around the nation where they can be enjoyed by all," said culture minister Ed Vaizey. "It's not just the large national museums that benefit — some of our smallest galleries have been allocated stunning works." [BBC]

– French Monuments Turn to Online Micro-Funding: France's Center for National Monuments, which oversees most of the major historical sites in the country, has signed up with micro-funding site My Major Company to help solicit donations from ordinary citizens through the campaign "Anyone Can be a Patron." "Participatory funding is just starting to take hold in France, and we know it can work," said My Major Company director Victor Lugger. "What we need is to create a movement." [Le Figaro]

Bill Fontana Wins CERN Residency: The pioneering American sound artist, 65, has been awarded the coveted Prix Ars Electronica Collide @ CERN award. Fontana will earn €10,000 in prize money, a two-month residency at CERN (the home of the Large Hadron Collider), and a one-month residency at Ars Electronica, an Austrian arts organization. At CERN, Fontana will be matched with a "science inspiration partner" to guide him, which officially makes this one of the coolest residencies ever. [Press Release]

Starn Brothers' South Ferry Mosaic Survives Sandy: New York's South Ferry station flooded dramatically during Hurricane Sandy, but Doug and Mike Starn's 250-foot-long mural inside the station, "See It Split, See It Change," emerged relatively unharmed. The layered glass tiles, which bear images printed on interior layers, were created to withstand the elements. Still, the brothers want the subtle marks left by the storm to stay put. "We hope that the stains of the dirty sea water will remain; public art is alive, it exists in a very real world and the real world exists in it," they said. [AiA

– Whiteread Sculpture Stolen Off the Wall: A wall sculpture valued at £24,000 by British artist Rachel Whiteread was stolen last month from a central London dealer during opening hours. But there's a twist: "An ordinary art thief would probably not even recognize it as art," according to the Art Newspaper. The sculpture is simply a panel of light switches made out of aluminum. Because the materials have very little scrap value, according to TAN, "the only possible explanation seems to be that it was stolen by a villain who loves Whiteread." [TAN]

Columbus Museum Cuts Staff: The Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio has laid off six staff members in an effort to cut costs and streamline operations in advance of its planned $37.6-million renovation and expansion. The eliminated positions include store manager, manager of volunteers, educator for family programs, family-program coordinator, special-events assistant, and capital-campaign manager. The construction is expected to last two years. The museum has 80 remaining full-time employees. [Dispatch]


Clip by street artist STENZSKULL



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