Welcome to Artcetera. Arts-and-entertainment writers and critics post movie news, concert updates, people items, video, photos and more. Share your views. Check it daily. Remain in the know. Contributors: Mary Abbe, Jon Bream, Tim Campbell, Colin Covert, Laurie Hertzel, Tom Horgen, Neal Justin, Claude Peck, Rohan Preston, Chris Riemenschneider, Graydon Royce, Randy Salas and Kristin Tillotson.
Image courtesy thegazette.com
Update: The controversy sparked by Iowa Rep. Scott Raecker's bill to force the University of Iowa's Art Museum to sell a prized Jackson Pollock painting has prompted him to back off for now.
National organization's threatened to cancel the museum's accreditation and refuse to loan art or exhibitions to Iowa institutions if the painting were sold in violation of the donor's wishes. Des Moines philanthropist and art collector John Pappajohn, who had given $40 million to the University, opposed the sale as did Governor Terry Branstad.
In light of the uproar, Raecker, (R, Urbandale) told the Des Moines Register that it was more important to pass a state budget than to wrangle over the future of a painting. Today's committee meeting (Feb. 22) to onsider his proposed bill has been canceled.
Typical Franconia Sculpture Park creation
Cell phone coverage in the St. Croix River Valley is spotty at best, so residents cheered the promise of expanded coverage by AT&T. But when it turned out that the 150 ft. tall tower would be visible for three-miles up and down the river -- which is a national scenic waterway -- lots of people got really upset.
Even an offer by Franconia Sculpture Park to disguise the offending tower as a sculpture didn't fly. Why? Because it would cost too much said AT&T.
The debate goes on, but before you launch your canoe this spring, read all about it here.
After duking it out for several years with Seattle for the title of America's Most Literate City, Minneapolis seems to have settled comfortably into third place.
St. Paul rose from ninth place in 2005 to third place in 2007 but for the last two years has sat contentedly at No. 7.
No. 1? Washington, DC.
So what do we need to work on? What are we being judged on, without our knowledge? Where do these rankings come from? Central Connecticut State University releases the rankings every year; you can find them here.
Rankings are based on six categories: the number of booksellers per capita (Minneapolis is third; St. Paul is sixth); the number of educated people (they go by high school diplomas, and bachelor's degrees, and Minneapolis is 12th, St. Paul is 22nd, and why in the world is Plano, Texas, No. 2?); newspaper circulation (this can always be improved, people! do your part! Minneapolis is third and St. Paul is seventh); Internet use, including Internet book sales (Minneapolis and St. Paul were tied at 19 for that, perhaps because we like to patronize brick-and-mortar bookstores); libraries and library circulation (Minneapolis is 12th, St. Paul is 19th); and subscriptions to periodicals (Minneapolis is fifth and St. Paul is 24th).
Not taken into consideration: The number of excellent publishers. The number of excellent published writers. The number of dynamic book clubs. The number of literary organizations. But until Central Connecticut State U expands their categories, I think the only thing we can do is keep those bookstores open; keep those newspaper and periodical subscriptions flowing; go to the library; and (note to self) finish that degree.
The Walker Art Center's director Olga Viso on Tuesday condemned the controversial removal of a video by late artist, writer and AIDS activist David Wojnarowicz from a show at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
Viso traveled to D.C. on Monday to see "Hide/Seek," an exhibition work by mostly gay and lesbian artists that included the Wojnarowicz video. She said the Walker would start screening the video later this week. Read her complete statement on the Walker's website, here.
An excerpt of "Fire In My Belly" is on YouTube.
The work, which was denounced as anti-Christian by William Donohue of a group called the Catholic League, is titled "A Fire in My Belly," and dates to the late 1980s. It was created partly in response to the 1987 AIDS-related death of Wojnarowicz's friend and mentor, the photographer Peter Hujar.The video, with music by Diamanda Galas, includes a scene of ants crawling over a small crucifix that is lying on the ground. Much of it was shot in Mexico, which Wojnarowicz visited on several occasions. Wojnarowicz died of AIDS-related illness in 1992. His art has since been collected by the Museum of Modern Art and other institutions, includine the Walker.
The video was removed by museum directors at the beginnig of December, sparking protests, media coverage and editorials, including one by Frank Rich in Sunday's New York Times.
Viso said she was impressed by the show, which she called "groundbreaking," "thoughtful" and "well-researched." She expressed her opposition to the removal of the video, saying, "I am, of course, deeply disheartened by the Smithsonian’s recent actions and join my colleagues at the Association of Art Museum Directors and the Andy Warhol Foundation, on whose boards I also serve, in their statements of disapproval and condemnation."
The Warhol Foundation on Monday told the Smithsonian that it would not underwrite future exhibitions unless the video were restored to the show. The Smithsonian replied that it stood by its decision. The Warhol Foundation gave $100,000 in support of "Hide/Seek." That story here.
Holland Cotter's New York Times review of the NPG exhibition is here.
Meanwhile, Walker Art Center on Friday opens a new show of works on paper that will include one by Wojnarowicz. Titled "Four Elements," and seen below, it is a 1990 lithograph.
A critically acclaimed art show that has been on view at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., since October made national headlines this week when the Catholic League and some Congressional Republicans complained that it was offensive to Christians.
In response to criticism, museum officials on Tuesday ordered the removal of a short video by late artist/writer David Wojnarowicz that included brief scenes of a crucifix lying on the ground with ants walking over it. Martin Sullivan of the Portrait Gallery said no other works would be removed from the privately funded show, which runs through February.
The show, titled "Hide/Seek," presents about 140 American art works that look at portraiture through the lens of gay and lesbian identity, politics and AIDS. It includes works by such artists as Thomas Eakins, Georgia O'Keeffe, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Charles Demuth and Beauford Delaney. A 1933 oil painting by Marsden Hartley, below, was loaned to the show by the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis.
"Eight Bells Folly: Memorial to Hart Crane," by Marsden Hartley / Provided by Weisman Art Museum
The Wojnarowicz video, titled "A Fire in My Belly," was characterized by Bill Donohue of the Catholic League as a form of hate speech. His condemnation was seconded by soon-to-be House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other House Republicans.
Some were angered by the decision to pull it from the show. Several artists picketed the Portrait Gallery on Thursday, and a D.C. gallery began showing the video continuously in its front window, according to a UPI report. CNN aired a debate in which Washington Post critic Blake Gopnik defended the show and the video, while Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center said he objected to "the entire exhibit."
Here's Wojnarowicz talking about censorsip and the NEA in a video from 1990, two years before he died of AIDS-related complications.