Art Gossip for Sunday, February 10

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Fun A Day Baltimore by Jill Gordon

University of Maryland professor Hasan Elahi uses art to document his life after he was detained following 9/11 (he documents receip

The Baltimore Sun: Artist Hasan Elahi meticulously documents life after FBI investigation by Julie Scharper

A rumpled pile of sheets. A Bloody Mary on an airline tray. Bags of mustard greens from a Korean grocery store. Gas station pumps, battered street signs, a steamed crab.

These are among the everyday images encountered by artist and University of Maryland, College Park professor Hasan Elahi. For the past decade — since he was detained by the FBI at an airport — Elahi has meticulously compiled tens of thousands of photos of each stop he makes in his day.

Rather than shy from government attention, Elahi embarked on a self-surveillance project. He maps his location on a website, along with photos of beds on which he has slept, lots where he has parked and meals he has eaten.

“I’m telling you everything and nothing simultaneously,” said Elahi, who is opening an exhibit Thursday at Maryland Art Place in Baltimore. “It’s a code you have to crack. You really have to re-enact the role of the FBI. In the process, I’m hoping that the viewer realizes that he or she could just as easily be the subject.” Read the whole article here.


Village Voice: How Uptown Money Kills Downtown Art By Christian Viveros-Faune

”The art market focuses attention on what its priorities are, which is big buying and big selling—so we wind up talking about Koons, Hirst, Murakami, the usual suspects. The big problem is figuring out how to focus attention in other directions.”

Irving Sandler, an 87-year-old critic, has been on the scene ever since New York inherited the mantle of the New Florence from Paris. The author of the definitive book on 1950s American art, The Triumph of American Painting, Sandler witnessed the birth of the big bad New York art market, as well as the periodic waxing and waning of its influence. As I sit in his painting-filled apartment near NYU—”It’s all to be given away,” he says, gesturing at an Alex Katz portrait of him and his wife on their wedding day, “we decided we were never going to sell anything and we never have”—he pours a glass of wine and schools me on the noxious effects big money can have on young talent.

“Collectors have had an insidious effect on young artists. They move into graduate schools and offer these kids ridiculous amounts of money. The result is that even art students focus on what sells and continue to produce that kind of work, rather than experiment, which is what they ought to do.” Read the whole thing here.


SNAAP Alumni Study: Arts Degrees Lead to Jobs and Fulfilled Lives by Chris Bliss

Findings from the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), a national study released last week, show that Americans with arts degrees are highly satisfied with their educational and career experiences. Nine out of 10 (87 percent) of arts graduates responding to the survey who are currently employed are satisfied with their jobs.

The study also revealed of those employed alumni, 82 percent reported being satisfied with their ability to be creative in their current work, whether working in the arts or in other fields. Only 4 percent of the survey respondents report being unemployed and looking for work — less than half the national rate of 8.9 percent (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011).

SNAAP Surveyed 36,000 Arts Alumni Nationwide

The report, “A Diverse Palette: What Arts Graduates Say About Their Education and Careers,” details findings from more than 36,000 arts alumni of 66 institutions in the United States and Canada, including California College of the Arts (CCA). Participating schools include independent colleges of art and design, research universities, conservatories, liberal arts colleges, and arts high schools. Read the whole thing here.


Washington Post: Top 10 skills children learn from the arts by Valerie Strauss

You don’t find school reformers talking much about how we need to train more teachers in the arts, given the current obsession with science, math, technology and engineering (STEM), but here’s a list of skills that young people learn from studying the arts. They serve as a reminder that the arts — while important to study for their intrinsic value — also promote skills seen as important in academic and life success. (That’s why some people talk about changing the current national emphasis on STEM to STEAM.) This was written by Lisa Phillips is an author, blog journalist, arts and leadership educator, speaker and business owner. To learn about Lisa’s book, “The Artistic Edge: 7 Skills Children Need to Succeed in an Increasingly Right Brain World,” click here. This appeared on the ARTSblog, a program of Americans for the Arts. Read the rest here.


Hyperallergic: Cooper Union Art Faculty Rejects Proposal for Tuition by Jillian Steinhauer

It’s been two months since the Cooper 11 students ended their clock tower occupation, but the battle at the Cooper Union over the question of tuition is far from over. The latest news is that the faculty of the School of Art has taken a public stand against the idea of charging tuition.

The statement comes in the form of a letter addressed to the administrative heads of the school. The letter places the struggle at the Cooper Union in the context of the larger educational crisis in this country, citing the increasingly and insanely high cost of college as the precise reason why the Cooper Union must remain free. It’s quite eloquent, and worth quoting at some length:

We have now come full circle, reaffirming our belief that The Cooper Union is not only the last citadel of the social reforms movement of the 19th century, but is in fact the vanguard of the 21st century — a beacon of access to free education.

Whole article here.

A buyer places a winning bid on behalf o

Gallerist NY: Inside Out, Round and Round…: From Out-of-Whack Values to Artist Defections, This Art World Is Looking Topsy-Turvy By Adam Lindemann

Hey, do you feel like the art world is upside down? In her disco standard “Upside Down,” Diana Ross sings about how her boyfriend is unfaithful, but she looks the other way because “no one makes me feel like you do.” Unlike Diana, I’m not comfortable when things are upside down, and I never look the other way. New year, new beginning, time to think about what doesn’t make sense. Here are just a few of the sundry art-market realities that just don’t add up.

The first thing that comes to mind is an inversion of the spread between the primary and secondary markets. Throughout most of the last decade, a collector could buy “primary,” i.e. fresh-from-the-studio-to-the-gallery, artworks by name-brand artists at attractive prices. Up until 2009, you could buy them for a dollar and then theoretically sell them at auction for two, or three or more (adding a few zeros). This practice became known as the much-maligned “flipping” of art. The better dealers tried to avoid selling to “flippers” out of fear that an artist’s market could collapse, but with secondary market prices spiking, there was ample opportunity for spectacular profit-taking, and we witnessed plenty of it. Read the rest here.


Daily Beast: What Critics Are Saying About George W. Bush’s Hacked Paintings by Lizzie Crocker

Forget the emails. The former president’s paintings are the most interesting things to emerge from Guccifer’s hacking trove. See what art critics have to say about W.’s artwork. Plus, our own interpretations.

Of course George W. Bush uses his weight room as a studio! In this picture of a picture, leaked along with a trove of family correspondence and photos, we see Dubya in his element. Wearing his down-home khaki shorts, a baseball cap, and a vest, he’s surrounded by mirrors so he can watch himself putting the finishing touches on his masterpiece: a painting of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church in Kennebunkport, Maine, the WASP-y seaside town where Bush spent many childhood summers.

It seems that Bush is simply taking a stab at landscapes and ecclesiastical architecture. But New York’s art critic Jerry Saltz saw something else in the painting. “The architecture strikes me as real and imagined: a small central home with maybe an addition, and a large round silo. There appear to be two crosses atop this overall structure, one on the main house and a larger one on the silo. American Gothic indeed.” Read the article at Daily Beast.

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