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Saturday, February 27th, 2010

Big Week for Fairey Amidst Growing Controversy

Art of Elysium’s 2010 Heaven Gala (Image via Art of Elysium)

It wouldn’t be a week without some sort of news from the Shepard Fairey camp, and this one is jam packed.

Fairey was named Visionary of the Year and lent design and decoration to children’s charity The Art of Elysium’s 2010 Annual Heaven Gala (pictured above). Fairey is participating in their annual benefit auction, and has donated several items to the fundraising event. The most exciting lot is a personal portrait sitting with the artist.  The winning bidder will be entitled to a visit with Fairey for a photo shoot, which the artist will use to create a one of a kind 30″ X 44″ mixed media canvas. The prize is valued at $30-$40,000 for the in person sitting and final artwork (or $20-$30,000 if photos are sent). Other lots include unique 40″ x 60″ canvas depicting his Burmese Monk image, estimated at $20,000, and a rather quirky one of a kind collaged 7 foot lamp, valued at $7,500 (both pictured below).  Both the portrait sitting and Burmese Monk can be bid on live via CharityBuzz until March 4, 12pm EST. If interested in the lamp, download an absentee bid form here

The opening of the third and final stop of his museum retrospective, Supply and Demand, set record attendance numbers at the Cincinatti Contemporary Arts Center this past week. Naturally, while in town, Fairey and crew were also out making their mark on the streets. (Lots more photos of the exhibition preparation, opening celebration, and outdoor campaign at the end of this post.)

(All museum and street images via Obey Clothing)

Next, Fairey’s design firm, Studio Number One, has lent their hand to titling sequences for the new Basquiat feature film, which can be seen in the trailer below.

Finally, the controversy over Fairey’s Obama portrait continues. The artist is now the subject of a federal grand jury criminal probe. Authorities are investigating whether Fairey violated federal laws prohibiting evidence tampering and perjury in connection to his copyright battle with the Associated Press. In October the artist released a public statement admitting, “in an attempt to conceal my mistake I submitted false images and deleted other images.”  As noted by Copyrights and Campaigns, the criminal investigation hinges on whether or not Fairey (along with his wife) violated 18 U.S.C. §§ 1512(c)and 1621. Section 1512 makes it a crime to “alter, destroy, mutilate, or conceal an object with intent to impair the integrity or availability of the object for use in an official proceeding,” while section 1621 declares that any person who “willfully subscribes as true any material matter which he does not believe to be true…is guilty of perjury and shall, except as otherwise expressly provided by law, be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.”

Fairey has filed an injunction hoping to postpone the civil suit with AP. The injunction argues

“Plaintiffs submit that there is a compelling case for postponement. Mr. Fairey is now the subject of a criminal investigation…It appears that the AP is, at minimum, encouraging and supporting that criminal investigation. Mr. Fairey’s criminal defense counsel believes that a deposition at this time would prejudice him and impair council’s ability to properly represent Mr. Fairey. Therefor, if a deposition does take place while the criminal investigation is pending, counsel would advise Mr. Fairey to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.”

While we here at TAC have supported Shepard’s fair use claims in creating his Obama portrait (which now sits in the National Portrait Gallery), we will wait for the facts to further develop before weighing in on the separate criminal investigation, and confine our comments to reporting the findings as they emerge.

Read on for more pictures from Cincinnati opening night and installation Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by ATARMS | Filed in Artist Talk, Benefit+Fundraiser, Events, Exhibition, Graffiti, Legal, Museums, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Big Week for Fairey Amidst Growing Controversy


Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Marcel Dzama at Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art

Marcel Dzama – On the banks of the Red River, 2008 (Collection Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal)

In the past several years, Canadian-born Marcel Dzama has moved beyond the playfully sadistic ink and watercolor illustrations that he gained such a strong reputation for. Since relocating to New York in 2004, the Winnipeg native has expanded on his mythical narratives with film, sculpture, and diorama. Steeped in violence and moral decay, these works are metaphor for the human condition, and, as if picking up the reigns from Henry Darger, are as disturbing as they are humorous.

Dzama returns home with a new exhibit at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. While several pieces on display first appeared in his 2008 showing with David Zwirner (NY), Of Many Turns is the largest exhibition of Dzama’s works ever organized by a museum, focuses on the artist’s recent multidisciplinary accomplishments.

All images courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner, New York except where noted.

Marcel Dzama – Of Many Turns
Feb. 4 – April 25
Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
185, Sainte-Catherine Ouest
Montréal, Québec H2X 3X5

Posted by ATARMS | Filed in Artist Talk, Exhibition, Museums, Uncategorized | Comment now »


Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Details of Controversial Koons-Curated Joannou Exhibit Emerge

Jeff Koons’ One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (1985) was the first major art acquisition by collector Dakis Joannou, and the only piece of the artist’s work to be shown in the collector’s forthcoming New Museum survey, Skin Fruit: Selections from the Dakis Joannou Collection (Image: the Dakis Joannou Collection, Athens)

The New Museum of New York has just released the details of an already debated exhibition of works from the treasure chest of billionaire collector Dakis Joannou.  Though parts of the collection have previously been on view at Joannou’s own DESTE Foundation in Anthens, as well as in Paris and Vienna, the upcoming New York exhibit has skeptics voicing concerns of nepotism. Critics say the show is an obvious conflict of interest, arguing that Joannou, who is one of the museum’s trustees, could easily see the notoriety and value of his collection catapult.

Titled Skin Fruit, the show, which runs March 3 – June 6, will include 100+ works by 50 international artists, selected from the Joannou Collection by guest curator, Jeff Koons (whose work will also appear in the exhibit). Koons’ very first solo showing with a museum was held at the New Museum in 1980, when his Hoover vacuum cleaner installation was displayed in the windows of their former 5th Ave. location.  The artist has also been heavily supported by Joannou, who owns 40 of Koons works, along with his 2008 yacht commission.

For more thorough investigative journalism regarding the debate over the exhibit, check out the always enlightening Culturegrrl here

The 50 selected artists are as follows: Read the rest of this entry »


Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Erik Parker in Copenhagen

(All Images: Anders Sune Berg, courtesy Faurschou CPH)

Faurschou Copenhagen is currently exhibiting new works by New York based painter, Erik Parker. Along with his previous exhibit at Paul Kasmin (NY), Parker’s tightly rendered, candy-colored psychedelia are easily his most accomplished works to date. As the show’s title suggests, Adapt signals an artist who, after more than a decade of patient development and experimentation, has reemerged with a bold and compelling style that no doubt can catapult him to increased notoriety.

Read On For More Images Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by ATARMS | Filed in Artist Talk, Europe, Exhibition | 2 Comments »


Thursday, February 11th, 2010

MOCA Cleveland Hosts Major Survey of Contemporary African American Art

Romare Bearden, Conjur Woman, (Image: © Romare Bearden / R.T. Miller Jr. Fund, 2001 Collection of the Allen Memorial Art Museum)

In a critical event, MOCA Cleveland is currently playing host to the first ever public survey of contemporary African American art in the Ohio region. From Then to Now : Masterworks of Contemporary African American Art, features 27 artists, sourced from important regional collections – The Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College, the Akron Art Museum, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Progressive Corporation, and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Kara Walker, Untitled, 1998, (Image © Kara Walker / Collection of the Progressive Corporation)

Beginning with works from pioneering figures of the 1970s and 80s, such as Romare Bearden and Alma Thomas, From Then to Now continues to the present, with prime examples of works by artists including Lenardo Drew, Alison Saar, Willie Cole, David Hammons, Lorna Simpson, Carrie Mae Weems, René Green, Kara Walker and Kehinde Wiley.  TAC applauds MOCA Cleveland and curator Margo Ann Crutchfiel for presenting this unprecedented exhibition.

Kehinde Wiley, Passing/Posing, (Image: Collection of the Progressive Corporation, Mayfield Village, OH.)

From Then to Now : Masterworks of Contemporary African American Art
Jan 29 – May 9, 2010
MOCA Cleveland
8501 Carnegie Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106

Posted by ATARMS | Filed in Collections, Exhibition, Museums, Uncategorized | Comment now »


Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Dual European Exhibits for Lawrence Weiner

(All Images © EACC)

With his early influence in the Conceptual Art movement, and with the written word having established a popular presence in Contemporary Art (Barbara Kruger, Jenny Holtzer and Tracy Emin to name a few), Lawrence Weiner’s continuing contributions are as vital today as they have ever been.

Open now through March 28, 2010, are two European exhibitions by Weiner. BAK (Utrecht, Netherlands) presents Dicht Bij, a solo exhibit that continues FORMER WEST, the institution’s long-term research and educational initiative commemorating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall by exploring the impacts the event has had on the arts in the Western half of Germany. An edition, produced in a limited number of 300, is on sale at BAK for €8.

Simultaneously, the Castellón Center for Contemporary Art is hosting Weiner’s Under the Sun, comprised of a new exhibit and permanent public sculpture in the city’s El Pinar park.

Posted by ATARMS | Filed in Europe, Exhibition, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »


Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Tomokazu Matsuyama at Frey Norris, San Francisco

(All Images via Frey Norris Gallery)

Around the turn of the century 20th century, the U.S. embarked down a road of increasingly restrictive immigration policies, including the Chinese Exclusion (1882) and Emergency Quota Acts (1921, 1924). Such foreign policy effectively stifled the influx of immigrants, while appeasing growing nativist concerns. Included here was the Gentleman’s Agreement (1907), a mutual arrangement whereby the U.S. would not extend such restrictions to Japan, as long as the island empire agreed to cut off all further emigration to the U.S.  And while the goal was partly to cool relations between the two nations, competing imperialistic hungers eventually reignited tensions that sparked the Pacific front of the Second World War. By 1942 FDR had signed Executive Order 9066, forcibly relocating over 100,000 Japanese-Americans to internment camps. It was only in 1988 that the federal government acknowledged the prejudice of its past policy, paying over $1.5 billion in reparations.

With In Case You’re Lost, Tomokazu Matsuyama not only works towards reconciling the cultural tensions of his own Japanese-American identity, but addresses larger issues of nationalism and global relations. Here is a complex mix of autobiographical and socio-political commentary.

Surrounded by new paintings are the show’s centerpieces – two large-scale sculptures that contemplate notions of cultural heritage and nationalism, flip-flopping symbols of American and Asian identity. Wherever I Am, a life-size reworking of Frederick Remington’s Bronco Buster, recasts the famed late 19th century American sculpture with a Japanese-pop sensibility, replacing the iconic cowboy rider with a Playmobil character. Chogen, based off the original 13th century Japanese treasure,  substitutes the praying monk’s prayer beads for beer cans and cigarette butts, and his original meditative state, for a glazed-over drunken one.

Speaking of the new sculpture, Matsu notes, “I wanted to keep that rigourous, very expressionistic feature but flip to an American context, so what I did was I made him an alchoholic – like a drunk man in a sports bar…From a distance, he looks somewhat fanatic like its original. Close up, you’ll see his eye focus is gone and he’s just drunk. The eyes are actual glass eyes, made of gold leaf inside with the addition of my painting color scheme of neon pink and dark brown. The sculpture looks aged and few centuries old but the material used to paint it looks like 70s auto paint…[colliding] aged with the contemporary art material.”

Tomokazu Matsuyama – In Case You’re Lost
Frey Norris Gallery
56 Geary Street
San Francisco, CA 94102


Monday, December 14th, 2009

Lowride to High Art :: Dzine at The Bass Museum

(All Images © Jeff Newman/TheArtCollectors)

Chicago based artist, Dzine (Carlos Rolon) appropriates the aesthetics of lowrider “Kustom [car] Kulture” into high art circles. In doing so, he redefines these objects, deeply rooted in Chicano ethnic and communal identities, as vibrant and viable works of sculpture.

As noted by Denise M. Sandoval in Cruising Through East Los Angeles: Chicano Lowrider Stories, “lowriders can be seen as embodiments of Mexican-American or Chicano social history, a heritage that is often misunderstood by other segments of the American populace…and speak to the creation of cultural space[s] within the urban environment…”  While celebrating this heritage, Dzine simultaneously urges the viewer to see beyond such connections. “On one level its a folkloric tradition, but its also just one degree away from a Mariko Mori sculpture,” the artist reflected. “To put my work in a different environment where people might look at it as its Starke or Gerhy did it, is to make it aesthetic rather than sociological – to see this like I do, as a sculpture (Paper Magazine; Carlo McCormick, May 2008).


Dzine’s works are currently on view at The Bass Museum of Art, Miami (he also had a new work on display earlier this month with Deitch Projects at Art Basel, Miami – pictured below). The most innovative piece in the exhibit it a customized chandelier, tricked out with 24 karot gold, crystals, speakers, velvet, and rear view mirrors. Here, Dzine has flipped his usual method appropriation on its head, taking a high culture status symbol and reworking it into the lexicon of the street. With such compelling and instantly accessible works of art, we can’t help but imagine one of his wheeled-wonders bulldozing over Damien Hirst’s Diamond Skull. Here’s to wishful thinking.

Read on for our extensive images – click for larger views. Read the rest of this entry »


Thursday, November 19th, 2009

New Day Rising :: Sashie Masakatsu at Mizuma, Tokyo

Moon, 102 x 76 inches, 2009.

Sashie Masakatsu creates visions of a post apocalyptic future, where fallen Japanese civilization reemerges in imposing orbs of cultural detritus, hovering above decayed and desolate urban landscapes. We were first clued in to his paintings when some small works were displayed at Giant Robot 2, Los Angeles as part of their 2007 Gesai exhibit. At last year’s PULSE Fair Miami, we watched as several of our TAC members frantically snatched up all available pieces on view with Mizuma Gallery.  On Nov. 28 the Tokyo based gallery launches “De Facto Standard,” a solo exhibit of new paintings, including those previewed here.  – Click images for detailed views.

See our previous news on Sashie’s recent 20th Century Boy T-Rex inspired exhibit here.

Monster, 2009, 76 x 64 inches.

Mushroom, 13 x 10 inches, 2009

Posted by ATARMS | Filed in Artist Talk, Asia, Exhibition | Comment now »


Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Apocalypse Wow at Macro Future, Rome


With its second exhibition under the leadership of new director, MACRO Future is quickly reasserting itself as a vital hub for emerging experimental and contemporary art. After presenting the much talked about New York Minute, the museum is now playing host to Apocalypse Wow.  The exhibition attempts to join together an otherwise fragmented group around the loose theme of art that has had a lasting cultural impact, while operating outside of the mainstream art world.  With a heavy focus on street art, Apocalypse Wow features Shepard Fairey, Tim Biskup, Todd Schorr, Travis Louie, Jeremy Fish, Doze Green, Ron English, Jeff Soto, Barry McGee, Clayton Brothers, Aiko Nakagawa, and others.

Apocalypse Wow
Nov. 7 – Jan. 31, 2010
MACRO Future
Rome, Italy

Posted by ATARMS | Filed in Europe, Exhibition, Museums, Uncategorized | Comment now »