This week we want to remember and celebrate Andy Warhol’s artwork. He was surely the best-known representative of pop art. Caroline Busta discusses the waning influence of the art world on the contemporary imagination. The Black Lives Matter Protestor Statue was unveiled this week in Bristol, England. The gallery Hauser & Wirth is presenting two simultaneous exhibitions of the famous American artist Paul McCarthy.
Andy Warhol’s most controversial artworks
May 14, 2020 – Via artnews.com
This week we want to remember and celebrate Andy Warhol’s artwork. He was surely the best-known representative of the pop-art scene. He actively collaborated with this artistic trend inspired by mass culture during the 1950s and 1960s. He was the son of Slovak immigrants that settled in New York in 1949 where he began his career as a cartoonist for magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and The New Yorker.
Warhol was a man of many qualities, talented, intelligent, and had a great image. He knew how to handle controversy within his work. Warhol knew how to maintain provocation as a constant in every period of his career as an artist. Campbell’s Soup Cans from 1962 was one of his most distinctive works—perhaps today we find it difficult to see it as an original and disruptive work—but it definitely was at the time of its appearance. The act of presenting these mass-produced merchandise on a canvas generated the effect Warhol expected. Soup cans was a clever move by one of the most important artists of the 20th century.
Warhol was also a passionate artist who knew how to take advantage of themes such as darkness and terror. The image of the Electric Chair of 1966 managed to generate a disturbing effect. This work was part of a series entitled “Death and Disaster” which featured images taken from magazines and newspapers of that time. This chair was used to execute Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in New York’s Sing Sing prison after they were condemned of spying.
The malaise of the post-internet art scene
July 17, 2020 – Via news.artnet.com
Ben Davis has been an art critic since 2016 at Artnet News (artnet.com). He has authored several essays and books. He is among the five most influential art critics in the United States, according to the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard.
Every week a huge amount of articles, reports, columns, and manifestos related to art are published online, and every Friday, Ben is in charge of curating the pieces from which discussions could arise. His article of this week highlights an essay written by Caroline Busta on imagination in the Spring/Summer edition of the biannual magazine Kaleidoscope.
In her essay, Caroline Busta discusses the waning influence of the art world on the contemporary imagination. Busta tells us that during the last decade the influence of the art world has decreased after its peak in the early 1990s. Busta, former editor of Artforum and founder of the site New Models, says that the factors behind this decline are the growing inequality of wealth and the absorption of culture by digital media.
Busta looks at the meme-sphere as the place where a representative scene of contemporary art has migrated. In these works where professional and amateur artists mix—the harmful orientation to success that has long invaded other obsolete and empty professional artistic structures—is abandoned.
Busta sees in this new form of artistic expression a world where fame and success are renounced. “The art world would crash and burn, and they would still be artists, even if they were self-financed through a series of occasional works and investments, and now they would be free from any parasitic relationship with an elitist industry,” Busta said.
Black Lives Matter Protestor Statue Removed After 25 Hours
July 16, 2020 – Via people.com
A few weeks ago the effigy of Edward Colston, an 18th century slave trader, was torn from its base and thrown into the river in Bristol by anti-racist protesters. A new statue was unveiled this week in place of Colston in Bristol, England, created by British sculptor Marc Quinn. His work is based on a photograph of Jen Reid captured when Edward Colston’s statue was pulled down.
The statue of Colston was knocked down with a rope by the protesters, who then threw it into Bristol harbour in a show of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protesters in the United States. Colston was responsible for trafficking over 80,000 men, women and children who were enslaved in Africa and taken to North America.
Reid’s statue took the place that was left vacant after protesters tore down the statue of Colston. But Marc Quinn’s work was removed just 25 hours after it was unveiled. The black resin statue was entitled “A Wave of Power (Jen Reid) 2020”. For its creator, this work should alert about racism. But the city council and the Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, announced that they removed the statue. They argued that the decision was based on the “need for a democratic process in which the people of Bristol decide the future of the plinth”.
Marc Quinn told the Guardian that “Racism is a huge problem, a virus that needs to be addressed. I hope this sculpture will continue that dialogue, keep it in the forefront of people’s minds, be an energy conductor. The image created by Jen that day—when she stood on the plinth with all the hope of the future of the world flowing through her—made the possibility of greater change feel more real than it has before.”
Hauser & Wirth presents two exhibitions by Paul McCarthy
July 18, 2020 – Via artdaily.com
The gallery Hauser & Wirth, founded in 1992 in Zurich by Iwan Wirth, Manuela Wirth, and Ursula Hauser, is presenting two simultaneous exhibitions of the famous American artist Paul McCarthy this month. The influential artist from Los Angeles presents here a group of new works on paper from his latest project ‘A&E’ of 2019.
According to the gallery’s official website: “A&E is an acronym for Adolf & Eva, Adam & Eve and Arts & Entertainment. A&E finds McCarthy transformed into Adolf Hitler, Adam, and Stangenberg as Eva Braun, Eva. The project at this point takes the form of one; a series of films, and two; multiple drawing sessions. Adolf is depicted as the epitome of toxic predatory masculinity and buffoonery, while Eve is both the lover, mother, and daughter. In these works, the raw, expressionist marks of these unrehearsed drawing sessions are captured on paper.”
“A&E’s Drawing Session, Santa Anita” comprises a set of twelve new works on paper that include the themes of violence and power. This group of drawings was created during a series of freely improvised performances between Paul McCarthy and German actress Lilith Stangenberg.
McCarthy’s drawings have evolved from the artist’s current film project “NV Night Vader” from 2019, based on Liliana Cavani’s erotic sadomasochistic drama “The Night Porter” from 1974. This epic film project features an extravagant cast of characters, including McCarthy who plays ‘Max’, a Hollywood mob executive. Stangenberg plays Lucia, the star of the 1974 film.