This N' That: Keep In The Know With Photography News
By Ashley Yu
Andy Warhol x Basquiat Coming in June
After an amazing retrospective of Andy Warhol’s work at the Whitney in New York and of Jean-Michel Basquiat in the new Brandt Foundation, a new gallery is hoping to exhibit their collaborative works only.
The Jack Shainman Gallery in Kinderhook, New York, plans to open their exhibition in June, focusing on their combined creative genius during the 1980s. Alongside their 7 major collaborations, the gallery will also show some of their solo work as well, including Basquiat’s sculpture decorated with his own hair (see if you can sell that on Ebay), and Warhol’s self-portraits.
Though each artist has had undeniable critical acclaim for their solo works, their collaborative pieces were received with disdain. In a New York Times review, art critics said that they looked like any other Warhol, “Basquiat, meanwhile, comes across as the all too willing accessory.” Many contemporary critics reinforced these suspicions, claiming that Basquiat was exploiting Warhol for his fame, and Warhol exploiting Basquiat for his youth. Throughout their artistic collabs, you can see Warhol’s heavy-hand in his trademark method of hand-painting headlines, brand names, and advertisements. Basquiat’s presence is evident in his gritty graffiti-esque style, that sometimes even covered Warhol’s paintings. It is in their dialogues painted on the canvas, revealing a genuine respect and friendship, that perhaps will shut the critics up once and for all.
NYC Museums Need To Go Green Fast
Although Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal was blocked in Congress, the New York City Council has voted to pass the Climate Mobilization Act--a landmark legislation that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent in 2050. The targeted buildings are mostly mid-sized to large buildings, including the Whitney Museum, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the New Museum amongst others.
Council speaker Corey Johnson has stated publicly that this act is “some of the most ambitious climate legislation in the world...there is no time to waste.” The first compliance date for this act is 2024. Drastic? Not at all, especially when it has been predicted that neighborhoods, such as Coney Island and Staten Island, will likely be drowning in the ocean by the end of the century.
City-owned buildings, including cultural institutions and museums, will be under even stricter regulations, aiming to reduce emissions by 50 percent in 2030. Not to worry though, these buildings already have a leg-up with investments by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs to create sustainable energy. With $20M poured into these green energy projects in the past four years, big museums have gradually started to implement energy-efficient infrastructure, such as new skylights in the MET.
Though smaller, residential buildings are out of the question for now, we will have to wait and see if our favorite NYC Museums can go green fast enough, or face the fire.
Let the Prisoners Draw Nudes
The American prison-industrial complex strikes again. Apparently, it is against the American Constitution for prisoners to read National Geographic, look at any painting featuring bare breasts, and even paint nude figures. In 2018, Iowa inmates challenged the statute that prohibited them to draw, or even look, at any material that is “sexually explicit or features nudity.”
As if being in prison wasn’t miserable enough already. Not only are they deprived of artistic catharsis in art therapy programmes that the US loves to boast about, but they are also deprived of educational content that will help to rehabilitate inmates upon release. Even an inmate/tattoo artist was punished for working on his sketches that “features nudity”, despite the popularity of nude figures in tattoo art.
As of April 3, 2019, the Iowa judge Scott Rosenburg has put a hold on this ban until this case is seen in court. Rosenburg states that the state’s definition of what is explicit may greatly impede the education of inmates (no, duh), that “could ban...access to legitimate art, literature, and other publications,” including medical journals.
Rosenburg’s case against this censorship ban comprises of 12 inmates who are arguing for “constitutionally protected speech,” depriving them of happiness obtained through the arts. However, on the other side of the coin, the legislation is meant to target the distribution of pornography which not only interfered with rehabilitation, but harms psychologically unhealthy inmates, and incite sexual aggression.
The Iowa Attorney General and the Department of Corrections declined to comment.
“Die-In” at the Natural History Museum in London
Known as the “Extinction Rebellion,” activists enter into the second week of protests by occupying the Natural History Museum in central London. Following hot off the trail of “Decolonize This Place”’ and their 9-week occupation at the Whitney Museum in New York, the Extinction Rebellion are non-violent activists urging the UK government to recognize and declare an environmental emergency. They believe that with current rates of environmental deterioration, the world is tumbling head-first into the “sixth mass extinction in history.”
Approximately 1000 activists have been arrested this past week on 49 offenses, including obstruction of the police and violation of the Public Order Act 1986. About 9,000 police officers have been mobilized in response. As of April 22, 100 protestors laid down underneath the famous skeleton of the blue whale in the museum’s lobby for half an hour. Some of the activists wore red robes and skeleton face make-up.
London’s mayor Sadiq Kahn is concerned for the city’s business and the potential for violent crime if the protests continue. Extinction Rebellion will continue their protests until Tory PM. Theresa May shows support of a Labour-backed climate change deal. Since their creation last year, the protest group has had many controversial tactics, such as pouring fake blood down Downing Street, or getting as many people arrested as possible.
Iranian Artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian Dies at 97
Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, renowned for intricate mirror installations inspired by Iranian mosques, has passed away at 97.
Born in Iran in 1922, Farmanfarmaian has often combined abstract minimalism with traditional Iranian art. She moved to New York in 1944 to continue her art education at Parsons where she met prominent artists, from Andy Warhol to Willem de Kooning. She later returned to Tehran in 1957. Inspired by the 16th-century artistic technique of using glass shards that broke during shipping, her works are dazzling and play on traditional Islamic geometric styles. In her 2013 memoir, Farmanfarmaian recollects her first revelation after her visit to the Shah Cheragh mosque in Shiraz and its mirrored mosaics in all their reflective glory. However, she was forced into exile during the 1979 Iranian revolution and her works were destroyed for religious blasphemy and Western influences.
She would return to New York, though heavily limited by American materials and resources. She stated in a 2011 interview with The Guardian that “after the [Iranian] revolution, [and] after the Gulf War, nobody wanted anything to do with Iran.” In 2004, she would return to Tehran and establish her reputation as an exceptional artist and worked until her recent passing.
It wasn’t until 2015 that she had her first solo retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum, despite her presence at the Iran pavilion in the 1958 Venice Biennial. A majority of her mirror mosaics often evoked elements of Sufism and Islam, offering new perspectives that were not geographically bound to her native country and creating discourse over theological beliefs of cyclical life and balance.