Ron English standing in front of a Banksy mural he recently bought and plans to whitewash as an act of protest. Photo by Barbara Davidson/Getty Images.
“We're tired of people stealing our stuff off the streets and reselling it so I'm just going to buy everything I can get my hands on and whitewash it,” English told the Press Association. Elaborating on his plans for the Banksy, he added: “I'm going to paint over it and just include it in one of the walls in my house.”
The Banksy work in question is a mural titled Slave Labour (Bunting Boy) (2012) that the secretive British street artist painted on the exterior of a store in north London in 2012. Shortly thereafter it was removed, wall and all. The mural depicts a young boy working at a sewing machine, cranking out bunting featuring the British flag—which is rendered not in paint, but as a plastic, store-bought decoration. English bought it at a street and contemporary art sale at Julien’s Auctions in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
English’s planned anti-market stunt comes more than a month after Banksy’s own anti-market coup, when his Girl With Balloon (2006) partially shredded itself at Sotheby’s in London. That work, which may have been left half-intact by a malfunctioning shredder concealed in its frame, was subsequently deemed a new work and retitled Love is in the Bin (2018).
English has not indicated any plans to retitle his Banksy after painting over it. His protest act may be intended as an homage to the time Robert Rauschenberg infamously erased a Willem de Kooning drawing.
Shahidul Alam ini 2011. Photo by Kris Krüg for PopTech, via Wikimedia Commons.
After more than 100 days in jail, Shahidul Alam, the acclaimed 63-year-old photographer and social activist, has been granted bail by Bangladesh’s High Court.
Alam was arrested, though not charged, on August 5th after criticizing the Bangladeshi government. The case was filed under the dubious Information and Communication Technology Act, which claimed he spread “propaganda and false information” after he gave an interview to Al Jazeera in response to student protestors’ concerns about road safety.
In the aftermath of his arrest, a slew of rallies and letter-writing campaigns around the world called for his release. Alam’s lawyer told Al Jazeera that she is optimistic that the photographer will be released by Sunday.
“I hope journalists, photographers, and academics will launch a united struggle for repealing undemocratic provisions of Digital Security Act [under which Alam was jailed]," Rahnuma Ahmed, Alam’s wife, said.
Two bronze statues named Bacchants Riding On Panthers, thought to be by Italian Renaissance master Michelangelo, are displayed at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge on February 2, 2015. Photo by Jack Taylor/AFP/Getty Images.
It’s no secret that the Renaissance artist Michelangelo was a master of sculpting the well-muscled male form—have you seen the guns on David? In Michelangelo’s mind, even Moses, in a sculpture at the church of San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome, is packing some serious heat.
So it’s not too surprising that, if one has to confirm that two bronzes were made by the hand of Michelangelo, the first things to look for are finely cut eight-pack, or even ten-pack, abs. That’s how an international team lead by the University of Cambridge finally confirmed after four years of research that two bronzes sold at Sotheby’s in 2002 for £1,821,650 with dubious attribution were truly bonafide Michelangelo bronzes—the only known surviving bronzes that he cast. As the BBC put it, these bronzes could now be worth “hundreds of millions.”
And what do the private collectors in London who own these works have to thank for this windfall? The artist’s devotion to portraying male figures as 100% USDA-approved slabs of beefcake awesomeness. The key details to making the call that these are true Michelangelos, said Victoria Avery, Keeper of Applied Arts at the Fitzwilliam Museum, were the “anatomical features which were specific to him”—specifically “an extra tendinous intersection, which is in fact a band of fibrous tissue that converts a six-pack into an eight or a ten-pack.”
The works, which portray two nude men riding panthers while rocking—and I think this bears repeating—ten-pack abs, were also confirmed due to the artist’s habit of giving men bulging thigh and calf muscles. (Thirty letters written to his family around the time of the creation of the works also helped, but that’s not quite as sexy, now is it?)
Hot dudes aside, it’s clear this is a major discovery, and one that sheds new light on a somewhat neglected part of Michelangelo’s practice.
Kapwani Kiwanga in her installation at the National Gallery of Canada. Photo by miv photography, courtesy National Gallery of Canada.
Kapwani Kiwanga, an artist whose practice spans conceptual, performance, and installation art, has been awarded Canada’s top prize for young artists. At a ceremony on Wednesday night at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, the artist was named the recipient of the 2018 Sobey Art Award, receiving a $C100,000 prize. The four other finalists—Joi T. Arcand, Jordan Bennett, Jeneen Frei Njootli, and Jon Rafman—will each receive $C25,000.
Kiwanga’s installations, sculptures, and videos often reference her training in the social sciences and anthropology and her experience as a documentary filmmaker. Her work often underlines and upends power structures and systems of control, laying bare legacies of colonialism. Born in Hamilton, Ontario, and based in Paris, she is represented by the Parisian gallery Galerie Jérôme Poggi and Galerie Tanja Wagner in Berlin. Earlier this year she won the Frieze Artist Award.
The Art Institute of Chicago. Photo by Tony Hisgett, via Wikimedia Commons.
Two venerable Windy City institutions announced a partnership on Wednesday that will bring audio and visual together in an original way. Pitchfork is teaming up with the Art Institute of Chicago to throw a music festival inside the museum.
Dubbed Midwinter, the festival will take place February 15–17 and feature a diverse assortment of Best New Music-approved artists such as Slowdive, William Basinski and the Chicago Philharmonic performing “The Disintegration Loops,” Mount Eerie, Kamasi Washington, Panda Bear, Grouper, Deerhunter, Perfume Genius, Joey Purp, and more.
Pitchfork festival director Adam Krefman said in a statement:
Robert H. Lawrence in 1967. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.
Robert H. Lawrence, Jr. is not a household name, but he was the first black astronaut to train with NASA. In part, his obscurity is owed to the secrecy surrounding the program he took part in and which ultimately cut him down in his prime. Over the years, however, Lawrence has been slowly gaining recognition for his achievements.
The latest attempt to honor his legacy is scheduled for Monday, when artist Tavares Strachan’s 24-karat gold urn featuring a bust of the astronaut will do what Lawrence unfortunately never got to: enter outer space when it’s launched from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Strachan named the satellite sculpture ENOCH after the Biblical character who, in Hebrews 11:5, was said to have been, “taken up [by God] so that he did not see death.”
Strachan, born in the Bahamas and living in New York, represented the archipelagic state in 2013 for its inaugural entry into the Venice Biennale, where he paid homage to another black pioneer of rarely charted territories, Matthew Henson. Strachan recreated Henson’s 1909 North Pole expedition in a video installation.
Strachan was a 2014 grant recipient from the Art+Technology Lab at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which made the ENOCH project possible.