This N' That: Keep In The Know With Photography News
By Ashley Yu
#FineArtModel = Porn?
In yet another round of censorship, Instagram has banned #ArtModel and #FineArtModel as of May 2, 2019 for photographs that defy the ever-elusive concept of “community standards.” Those two hashtags are most popular for depicting live figure drawing models. This came as a shock to some visitors who took cute Instagram worthy selfies, with large-scale artworks at the recently-opened Frieze New York, only to find their accounts banned.
Though #ArtModel has returned in a much more sanitized version of itself, #FineArtModel remains banned. Only “Top Posts” from #ArtModel are shown. In the app’s community guidelines any photography, regardless of how long an artist has slaved away at their work, depicting anything remotely sexual is “taboo.”
I don’t think Instagram will ever stop freaking out over women’s nipples.
Earlier this week, artist Betty Tompkins was kicked off the social media platform when she posted an image from an exhibition catalog, showing her 1969 hyper-realist painting Fuck Painting #1. When she posted an essay in response denouncing Instagram, her account was banned. Moody Big Brother, much?
Hyéres 2019 Winner Announced
This year’s International Festival of Fashion, Photography and Fashion Accessories in Hyéres, France shortlisted 10 photographers to compete for the prestigious prize. Photographer Alice Mann took home the Grand Prix prize for the 23rd edition of this annual competition with her photographs of young drum majorettes in South Africa. She will win €20,000 commission and her own solo show at next year’s festival.
Meanwhile, the Still Life prize goes to emerging artist Hilla Kurki and the American Vintage Photography prize goes to Hubert Crabiéres. They will be granted €5,000 and €15,000 respectively. The duo Elsa & Johanna won the Public and City Hyéres Award for their self-portrait series Beyond the Shadow.
A total of 700 photographers entered this year’s competition and the winners were selected by a jury that included Craig McDean, photographer; Marc Ascoli, creative director from AnOther Paris; Patrice Haddad, producer from Premiére Heure Paris, and Eva O’Leary, last year’s Grand Prix winner.
NY Museums Under Scrutiny Part 2: MoMa and Prisons
While “Decolonize This Place” is still lobbying in the Whitney ahead of its Biennial, people are protesting Larry Fink, who is on the board of trustees on the Museum of Modern Art, NY. Larry Fink is the CEO of BlackRock, who was revealed to have invested in companies GEO Group and Core Civic, that operate private, for-profit prisons. Larry Fink also manages MoMa’s use of Fidelity Investments, which own stock in private prison companies to handle its pension funds.
An open letter signed by artists, academics, curators, and activists, including conference members from global art history held at the museum over the weekend. The letter is a small part of the growing scrutiny around the funding of major museums. Written with activist group “Art Space Sanctuary”, Natalie Brizuela, an associate professor of modern and contemporary Latin-American culture at UC Berkley, read the statement aloud and received a standing ovation at this weekend’s conference.
Last week, “Art Space Sanctuary” teamed up with “CODEPINK” and “Decolonize This Place” to protest at the museum’s annual David Rockefeller awards lunch, that celebrated the CEO of Bank of America Brian Moynihan, also an investor in private prisons.
Controversy over 2019 Turner Prize
The shortlist for the 2019 Turner Prize has been announced by director of Tate Britain, Alex Farquharson. The four nominees for the prestigious award are Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Commack, Tai Shani, and Oscar Murillo. While these four artists engage in different mediums, they all engage with contemporary socio-political issues in their performance.
However, the success of these nominees was overlooked in favor of one of the prize’s sponsors, Stagecoach, whose founder is an outright homophobe. Brian Souter founded the bus and train company and led a campaign in 2000 in Scotland to keep laws in place against teaching children about homosexuality. Tate Britain stated that Stagecoach has now been dropped as its sponsor since the Turner prize aims “to celebrate the creative freedoms of the visual art community and our wider society.”
The prize was established in 1984 and highly representative of contemporary art trends in Britain, stimulating public debate about the state of modern art. The artists will take part in an exhibition which will run from September 28, 2019 to January 12, 2020. The winner will be announced on December 3, 2019.
Construction of Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Faces Boycotts
Director of Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Richard Armstrong, announced that the museum’s new location in Abu Dhabi will be completed in 4 years. It has been 13 years since the project was first announced.
However, the Gulf Labour Coalition (GLC), comprised of artists and activists who have been advocating for migrant workers’ rights for the past decade in the Gulf, released a scathing statement for boycotts of the museum’s construction. The statement, released on April 27, urged artists to “withhold any participation, including the selling of their work, until the museum could address questions we had about labor standards.” GLC has also stated the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will be built on the abuse and exploitation of workers.
In April 26, the Guggenheim Foundation ceased negotiations with GLC following the 2015 May Day occupation of the museum’s lobby and May 8 occupation of the Penny Guggenheim Collection in the 2015 Venice Biennial. The activist group was accused of using “deliberate falsehoods,” as stated by Armstrong.
While the Guggenheim continues to oscillate on their decision to go through with Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, GLC aims to be representatives of migrant workers at the Gulf in addition to pointing out the larger movement surrounding problematic art funding in major institutions (i.e. the Whitney Museum or the Sackler Trust).