Month: March 2017
Basquiat Room @ The Broad
Street Snap: Herakut and Ron English
Running into murals like these unexpectedly while driving through is what I live for. Found between 5th and 6th St on Anderson. Herakut (@herakut) on the left and Ron English (@ronenglishart) on the right.
– Los Angeles, CA
Another Visit to The Broad Museum – Creature
Since the museum opened in late 2015, the Broad has been regularly putting on new exhibitions and quietly rotating works on the 3rd floor walls, which contain a part of the permanent Broad Collection. Currently, an installation titled Creature is on view on the 1st floor galleries. The works presented in the show are directly from the museum’s collection, but loosely center around a theme of man and animal as physical amalgamations of fear, sex, vanity, and experiences. The theme is vague enough that the curators of the show probably a lot of fun picking out their favorite pieces for the show. Broad favorites like Takashi Murakami (@takashipom), Damien Hirst, and George Condo are well represented.
The installation is on view until Sunday, March 19th, at the Broad Museum.
– Los Angeles, CA
Jeff Koons Convicted of “Counterfeiting” by a French Court
A French court has ruled that Jeff Koons’ edition of sculptures titled Naked (1988) is a plagiarism of a black & white photograph by the late Jean-Francois Bauret. Jeff Koons LLC and Centre Pompidou, the institution that hosted the artist’s retrospective that featured the scultpure, have been ordered to pay €20,000 to the estate of the photographer, another €20,000 for their legal cost, and another €4,000 in fines, totaling around $46,500. Considering that Koons’ works regularly sell for $millions at auction and that this isn’t his first plagiarism conviction, this is not really news worthy of the press that it’s been getting this week.
However, court rulings like this do muddy where the fine line in creativity lie. Being that this sculpture is in a completely different medium with novel elements like color and flower arrangement, I would have ventured a guess to say this is technically an original work by Koons. Then again, I’m no expert. According to the ruling, these changes “do not prevent one from recognizing and identifying the models and the pose”, and so it is a plagiarism.
It’s not uncommon for artists to use others’ photographs as reference for paintings or original work and leave recognizable remnants of the original photo in the final work, so when is it ok and when is it not ok? This lawsuit just seems like a quick cash-grab by Bauret’s widow, and in the process the court meddled in defining what’s considered a creative effort. Although Koons’ Naked may look similar in appearance to the Bauret photograph, it clearly does not evoke the same feeling from its viewers as the photograph does. Isn’t that novel in itself?
Here is the Bauret photograph. What do you think?
Banksy Returns to the West Wall with a New Venture – Walled-Off Hotel
Less than two years since the massively successful resort venture Dismaland in Weston-super-Mare, Bristol, the notorious street artist/performance master Banksy opened a hotel venture today in one of the most contentious and dangerous part of the world in Bethlehem, just steps away from the West Bank wall. There wasn’t even a rumbling of this project on the Internet before today, so I was very surprised to see this news come out this morning. Named Walled-Off Hotel (sounds a lot like Waldorf, no?), it is a 10-room hotel managed and staffed by locals of the city and full of new works created by Banksy.
Reservation opens on March 11th, and guests will be able to stay in the rooms beginning March 20th. It is complete with a classic piano bar where music greats like Elton John and Massive Attack will be playing remotely through an automated piano, a gallery where Palestine artwork will be showcased, and a museum depicting the history of the West Bank in classic Banksy style.
The rooms themselves range from $30 for a bunk in the Budget room to $300 Presidential suite where you can feel like a sociopathic despot. Every room is furnished with interior decoration by Banksy, which seems like a logistic nightmare with entrepreneurial fans who might try their hand at acquiring a new Banksy work. To curb those efforts, there is a $1000 deposit for guests, although that seems like pennies when Banksy’s works sell for hundreds of thousands at auction. In addition, there is a check-out inspection to ensure no work has been defaced or taken from the room. I guess that should discourage foul-play. This is probably one of the few hotels in the world where you actually want to look at the art in the room.
Walled-Off Hotel is a quiet protest against the on-going political and military Israel-Palestine conflict that are affecting the ordinary citizens, but also a gift to these very citizens that are suffering because of it. I’m not going to pretend that I know much of what’s going on out there, but it’s not hard to imagine that thousands of new tourists will be coming by Bethlehem to pay pilgrimage to the hotel, which means a big boon for the local economy. According to the FAQ, Banksy is planning on keeping the hotel open for the year, but probably will be open as long as there are guests. I just hope the short attention span of today’s culture doesn’t let this establishment be forgotten too quick, leaving the local workers of this hotel jobless. This isn’t Banksy’s first time in the West Bank though, so clearly Israel-Palestine conflict is an issue that he cares deeply about.
The hotel piano bar, art gallery, and museum are open to non-guests, but you’ll have to be a paying guest if you want to visit a room. For those who cannot visit the hotel in person, it looks like a web shop called Wall-Mart (this sounds a lot like the retail giant Wal-Mart, no?) is going to open on March 20th. Based on what I’ve read, I’m not holding my breath for new Banksy prints, but I believe there will be at least Walled-Off Hotel themed paraphernalia.
I never thought that we’d ever call Banksy a hotelier.
Here are a few links for more information on this new hotel.
Official website for the Walled-Off Hotel
‘Worst view in the world’: Banksy opens hotel overlooking Bethlehem wall
Invader Levels Up with “Hello My Game Is” @ Le Musee en Herbe
The anonymous French artist Space Invader is currently showing his latest exhibition called Hello My Game Is at Le Musee en Herbe in Paris, France. According to museum press release, this is Invader’s first indoor exhibition in Paris since 2011. Being that his work brings nostalgia back to our youthful days with 8-bit video games, it seems fitting that his museum show is at a children’s museum, although that is not to say it isn’t equally entertaining and engaging for the adult fans of Invader. The more surprising part is that a children’s museum invited a notorious street “vandal” (Invader has been arrested several times as a vandal for placing his works on the street), but I think that’s more a statement on how street art in general has become accepted by the worldwide mainstream.
His usual repertoire of works is well represented here, from sculptures to invasion “aliases” like those seen on the streets and “Rubik Cubism” works that are usually seen at his gallery shows. The subject matters of the works are just as wide ranging. My favorite work is the scene from the Disney movie Peter Pan made with Rubik’s cube pieces.
Enjoy these highlights from the show. Picture credits go to friends of BDAB in Paris. You know who you are!
– Paris, France