December 16th, 2011
In what many celebrate as art, the cleaning lady at the Ostwall museum in Dortmund, Germany, saw only a mess that needed scrubbing. The woman conscientiously tidied up the $1.1 million art installation “When it Starts Dripping from the Ceiling” by Martin Kippenberger, which was temporarily on loan to the museum from a private collection. The artwork consisted of a rubber trough placed beneath a tower of wooden slats, with the edges of the trough painted to look like a dried puddle of dirty rainwater. Although museum cleaners are instructed to stay at least 8 inches away from the artwork, the woman carefully removed the patina from the four walls of the trough. While the cleaner’s actions are proof of the work’s credibility, it is doubtful whether the German artist, whom New York Times journalist Holland Cotter described as a drunk and disorderly diva, would have appreciated the humor of the situation.
Choreographer Yvonne Rainer attacks Marina Abramovic for exploiting her performers in a “grotesque spectacle” at the MOCA gala November 12. Local artists were hired for $150 to perform as live centerpieces. Some of the young men and women recreated Abramovic’s “Nude with a Skeleton,” while others sat naked underneath the dinner tables, their heads protruding through holes at the center. The performers made silent eye contact with rich donors as they consumed a $2,500 three-course meal. “You will not be able to pee,” Abramovic explained to the performers. “Holding the position will involve a certain amount of pain. You will be vulnerable – someone might try to feed or touch you.”
This holiday season Chicago will be proudly displaying HOPE – the sculpture by SAIC grad Robert Indiana – on the corner of Michigan and Delaware. Reminiscent of the artist’s iconic sculpture LOVE, HOPE was created in 2008 and Indiana donated all proceeds from the reproduction of this image to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Installed outside the John Hancock Center November 2, the two plus tons of HOPE will remain on view through Valentine’s Day.
The federal approval of Christo and the late Jeanne-Claude’s massive new project “Over the River” elicits environmental protests due to the chaotic impact construction and traffic will have on wildlife (particularly the local Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep). The temporary installation of translucent, silvery fabric will span the Arkansas River in southern Colorado for two weeks in August 2014. The lavish $50 million installation, funded by the artist’s sale of his original works of art, is designed to increase tourism and highlight Colorado’s prominence in the art world.
Italian fashion company Benetton is forced to pull controversial ad that features Pope Benedict XVI kissing a senior Egyptian Imam on the mouth. The Vatican denounced the exploitative ad: “This shows a grave lack of respect for the pope, an offence to the feelings of believers, a clear demonstration of how publicity can violate the basic rules of respect for people by attracting attention with provocation.”
As part of a larger “Unhate” advertising campaign, the Benetton posters show Photoshopped political and world leaders, including President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, kissing on the lips. The shock value of the campaign is a last attempt at publicity for the failing company.