Art in the news

Canadian Election 2015: Breakdown of Art Policies by Party

Canadian Election 2015: Breakdown of Art Policies by Party

During his 2008 campaign, Stephen Harper infamously remarked that “ordinary people don’t care about art” and that the general population felt alienated by the elitist galas that rich artists attend. While it hasn’t been a hot-ticket issue during this long campaign, arts funding is an issue that concerns many Canadian voters. As the election approaches on October 19th, we take a look at each parties’ platforms and their policies pertaining to the arts and funding. 

Dismaland: Why Should We Care

Dismaland: Why Should We Care

It might seem over-the-top, maybe a little sensationalist; an abandoned seaside resort in in the UK gets transformed (seemingly under the cover of night) into a morbid parody of Disneyland. You might even wonder what makes this art? The most ambitious project by world-famous street-artist and provocateur, Banksy, a pop-art exhibition entitled Dismaland stands to be one of the most inventive and important exhibitions of the past two decades.

Sell six-figure art like George Zimmerman

Recently I wrote about the challenges around pricing art. Nothing highlights the capriciousness of art pricing more than George Zimmerman recent art works. George Zimmerman, notorious gun-toting neighbourhood watchman, unconvicted murderer, suspected wife abuser and hero to some, took paintbrush to canvas in order to raise money for his legal bills. Journalist Andrew Cohen wrote that Zimmerman's foray into art sums up so much of what's wrong with the US's criminal justice system. I argue that it sums up what's wrong with the unpredictable way art is priced and valued.

 

George Zimmerman with his work

George Zimmerman with his work

 

The piece in question is above. He recently sold it on eBay... for $100,099.99. While I understand taste is subjective, I believe that if I were to create a similar piece and try to sell it on eBay, I'd be lucky to get $100. Or even $50.

The value is clearly not derived from artistic talent. Rather, it's the notoriety behind its creator and where he sits within American popular culture and history that has launched this piece into six-figure territory. The price of the art has nothing to do with the quality of art.

There is speculation that the bidding was a hoax; regardless, it has generated the kind of publicity most aspiring artists would kill for. (Ahem, perhaps not the best choice of words.)

 

A Tale of Two Hoodies

 

Ironically, a piece created by artist Michael D'Antuono in reaction to the murder of Trayvon Martin has been banned by eBay for promoting or glorifying hatred, violence, racial or religious intolerance. Half the proceeds were to benefit the Trayvon Martin Foundation (after two days bidding had already reached $25,000), and if you ask me, there is no comparing the two pieces. (I would have loved to have seen the final price.) D'Antuono said this about eBay:

 In my opinion, any policy that allows a murderer to profit from his crime, but deems art that speaks out against racial injustice and benefits it's victims 'hateful and discriminatory' needs to be reevaluated.

I think his argument has merit, although most of blog's commentors would disagree. I know which one I would rather have in my line of vision.

Happy new year, everyone. I hope 2014 is a profitable one for you.

An infuriating senseless and dangerous destruction of art

An infuriating senseless and dangerous destruction of art

Ask anyone about Detroit, and they'll tell you about a city that has been through rough times. Economic decline has left the City contemplating if it should sell some of the Detroit Institute of Arts artworks to help cover their $18 billion+ debt obligations.