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in miami we have a word for this

Post #500 • March 23, 2005, 8:17 PM • 18 Comments

And that word is cojones. The Wooster Collective reports:

Dressed as a British pensioner, over the last few days Banksy entered each of the galleries [at The Brooklyn Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of Natural History] and attached one of his own works, complete with authorative name plaque and explanation.

He says - "This historic occasion has less to do with finally being embraced by the fine art establishment and is more about the judicious use of a fake beard and some high strength glue." Banksy continues -"They're good enough to be in there, so I don't see why I should wait."

Via Kottke.org.

Comment

1.

alesh

March 24, 2005, 4:42 AM

I've been a fan of Banksy for a couple of years. He's been into the illegal art thing for a long time, but always much more inventive then typical grafitti kids. His web site is sort of a slide show; kick ass!

2.

Jack

March 24, 2005, 4:53 AM

Great. People are getting a hard time about sketching or drawing inside museums. I was admonished by a MOCA employee here for (gasp!) using a pen to make a note in my exhibition leaflet. And this guy, whose fake get-up alone should have raised immediate suspicion, pulls off this stunt in four major NY museums. I can think of four museum security chiefs who should be in seriously deep shit, if not fired. Sheez.

3.

Momoko

March 24, 2005, 5:53 AM

Miami art scene is boring. We should start being active in museums, adding things there. What legally happens if one gets caught here in Miami? They may make you pay for the damage or something?

Anyway, if you are bored, I posted silly looking pictures. The guy is a famous artist who had done a demonstration and lecture in NY, according to the article.

4.

that guy in the second to last row

March 24, 2005, 6:07 AM

You are just giving this guy the attention he wants, ignore him after you arrest him.

5.

Hovig

March 24, 2005, 6:56 AM

The MFA Houston currently has an impressive exhibit of jewelry by Cartier over the last century or more. A drawing class from the museum's Glassell School of Art apparently entered the exhibit recently and started sketching some of the pieces, landing their instructor in some boiling water. The museum attached to their dissemination of the riot memo a list of their permanent and temporary exhibits, noting for the benefit of Glassell instructors the admittance, photography and sketching policies for each. I don't know any more specific details, but I did see the list of exhibit policies posted at the security desk when I visited a show at the Glassell last Friday, attached to an overview of the incident and subsequent riot memo as summarized by a Glassell staffer (though I don't think any of this info was intended for visitors' eyes). I've never found the atmosphere at the MFAH to be particularly oppressive (unlike, say, the fascist penitentiary they call the MAMFW, in which outstanding works of contemporary art are imprisoned by ungracious guardians tenaciously patrolling the dismal hallways of the oppressive fortress surrounded by a brackish, algaefied moat), but then I've never dressed in beard and mac to post strange works on the walls either.

6.

Hovig

March 24, 2005, 7:42 AM

The New York Times, Mar 24, 2005: Need Talent to Exhibit in Museums? Not This Prankster.

(This article is not a surprise to me. The NYT is extremely tight with arts bloggers, like Greg Allen and Choire Sicha for example, both of whom have written for the Times recently, and both of whom have had blog articles turned into NYT stories within days, most notably Greg's story about the Christos' recent project's fabrication costs. The NYT knows more about blogs and blogging than people realize, and they're being extremely damned sneaky about it, too. In the Christo article, they mention Greg Allen twice, one time without giving his name, but only identifying him as a "film-maker" whose "web site" had an analysis of Christo's costs, but the second time by name, as Greg Allen, an "art collector." They made him seem like two separate people, and they never explicitly identified his blog as the inspiration for the article or the source of its initial estimates. Greg Allen also writes a "wrap-up" type of article for the Times upon occasion, and he has a byline. The Christo article did not mention this. [Never mind the fact that Choire Sicha has been working for the Times for a number of weeks, and included Allen in an art show he curated.] The NY Times is playing a very interesting game with blogging. Not necessarily unethical [tho I think the Christo article seriously pushed it], just quite curious. I'm not sure where it's going to end up, but I suspect they want to be the Microsoft of the realm, and are wiling to use any means necessary.)

7.

alesh

March 24, 2005, 8:48 AM

nice work, Hovig!

In the past few months, Duchamp's name has come up over and over on these pages. Duchamp is notable mainly for introducing the idea of a "stunt" into the broadening definition of capital-'A' Art. By some accounts (underrepresented on this blog, but nonetheless), Duchamp is a useful lens for looking at the direction that art moved in in the 20th century. In some very real way, Banksy extends this tradition.

For me, though, what makes this art fascinating is that it works on three very distinct levels. On the purely visual level, his work is leaps and bounds beyond most stencil and graffiti based artists. The use of stencils and spray-paint is a medium that learned folk have yet to come to terms with; it's a beguiling mix of collage and painting. Banksy dispatches it in ways that are unexpected even to those familiar with the medium.

On a street-art level, Banksy has succeeded by raising his tags to meta-tag status; by raising the stakes for graffiti that is worth mentioning to non-experts. From his site: People look at an oil painting and admire the use of brushstrokes to convey meaning. People look at a graffiti painting and admire the use of a drainpipe to gain access. But it's what you do after you have access that counts. What he does takes in to account the surroundings, and the point of view of the viewers of the final work. That it also succeeds on pure graffiti-aesthetic terms is anything but besides the point.

On a conceptual art level . . . well, the present museum-infiltrations speak for themselves. Count with me (on one hand, I predict), the number of years before the MoMA displays the 'Tesco Value Cream of Tomato Soup," complete with lengthy text panel, through the decision of its curators.

8.

Franklin

March 24, 2005, 2:44 PM

I don't think the infiltration (Duchamp's, Banksy's, or the graf artists) elevates any of their work to art status - the work already qualifies as art, and can be evaluated for quality as such. Bansky 's work does appear quite a bit more sophisticated than the usual run of taggers, to be sure. Not any act of chutzpah is art, even in an art context, nor does chutzpah validate or lift art, but what Bansky did above is one off-the-chart act of chutzpah.

I heard once that Tintoretto snuck into a church and painted a ceiling which he was competing against other artists to paint on commission, and when they opened the church the next morning to review the cartoons, there was Tintoretto's work in situ, and he got the commission. Sounds a bit impossible, but it's a good story.

9.

Franklin

March 24, 2005, 3:01 PM

The NYT picked up this story this morning.

10.

Jack

March 24, 2005, 7:58 PM

Gee, Hovig, you're not suggesting the NYT could do or condone anything improper, are you? I mean, that's almost as implausible as CBS doing so. Really, you shouldn't be so cynical. Somebody could take you to imply that the news business is just that, a business, with the usual bottom line, despite tons of pious posturing and pretensions to "public service."
Let's just take everybody as they present themselves, and hope for the best. Yeah, right.

11.

Hovig

March 25, 2005, 4:34 AM

Jack - That really wasn't my main point, true as it may be. My main point was that, pace the item Franklin posted here a few weeks ago -- the one linking to an flash presentation about the future of blogs, which I found particularly wrong-headed, including the supposed disappearance of mainstream media as we know it -- the NY Times is much more electronically savvy than most people realize. The flash presentation posted here, if I remember correctly, said the NY Times would eventually become a submarket news pamphlet or somesuch thing. On the contrary, it's going to be one of the cornerstones of media production online. It's already halfway there.

More to the point, not only does the NY Times offer a veritable media extravaganza every time David Pogue writes another of his delightful fun technology reviews -- see for example all the goodies they've crammed into his latest review of camera-binoculars -- they're even hosting a blog per se: Pogue's Posts. It even allows comments.

There's one pontificating blogger whose heart is in the right place, god bless him, but who keeps pounding on the NY Times as if they don't know what blogs are, and he needs to evangelize to them. The NY Times editor writes him back patronizingly every so often, as if to pat him on the head, and he gets upset at them and tries to press his point about the primacy of this new-fangled media phenomenon that he's so hip to, but if he'd just open his eyes a bit, he'd realize the NY Times is playing games with him. Not only do they know what blogs are, they're already operating them, with full multimedia right beside. It's only a matter of time before they move from the technology pages to the other ones.

12.

oldpro

March 25, 2005, 4:53 AM

Alesh writes:

"The use of stencils and spray-paint is a medium that learned folk have yet to come to terms with"

I know. I have been teaching these techniques for years.

The art world is funny. To be "far out" painters strain mightily to make art that is weird or offensive or "political" or "relevant" or "controversial" but they usually do it the same old way it has been done for centuries.

There are dozens of dynamic new and interesting materials and techniques just waiting to be used by painters but they continue, stubbornly, to slog away with oils and acrylics, seldom even using the new acrylic mediums and pigments available from Golden and any number of other providers.

13.

alesh

March 25, 2005, 6:16 AM

If it was anyone but you, Oldpro, I'd have read that post as sarcastic. I don't know you to use sarcasm, though, so I hesitate . . . please clarify. If you've looked at Banksy's site, I'd be genuinely interested in what you think of his work.

I'm not impressed by the Nighttimes tech savvy, Having. Surely they could be doing worse, but, for my money, a digital slide show and an online video do not constitute a "veritable media extravaganza." Nor does a blog. Hell, even the stinking' Herald has a blog. The fact that they engage in dialog with real loggers is encouraging, though. Ultimately, I agree with you about their long-term survival (incidentally, they had a wonderful 3D interactive flash feature to explain the five original proposals for ground-0 NY when they came out).

14.

oldpro

March 25, 2005, 6:23 AM

Nothing sarcastic about it, Alesh. Straight as can be. I teach a course which makes paintings without allowing any traditional painting: no brushes, no oil paints, no canvas. Everyone has to invent their tools and they are given a new "technique" every week and told to do something, anything, imaginative. The results are amazing.

I haven't looked at Banksy, but I will. The idea strikes me as little more than an amusing stunt, but if you say he is doing good stuff I am interested.

15.

Jack

March 25, 2005, 7:02 AM

Hovig, of course the NYT has no intention of being left behind or out of the loop. It's too big a business, and it's not some bush league outfit like our sorry local paper. They'll do whatever they feel it takes, and I'm quite sure they're not above using questionable tactics. No big media operator is. What kills me is the holier-than-thou BS which is routinely dished out, the we're-totally-objective-and-pure-minded load of crap. And don't even get me started on media figures as stars or celebrities, let alone "important commentators." If you think I take a jaundiced view of art "experts" who presume to dictate how art should be approached, you don't want to hear me unload on glorified news readers who presume to tell me how reality should be interpreted.

16.

Hovig

March 25, 2005, 8:02 AM

Jack. Let's focus, amigo. I have no respect for NY Times editors either (with the exception of their having hired the brilliant John Burns), and I've been waiting for the oligarchic media bubble to finally pop for the last decade or so too (growing up near Albany, I actually read the NYT more than I read our local Times-Union, another Knight-Ridder property), but that's not a topic I care to discuss here, and my feelings don't stop me from finding nytimes.com the best online news site of the MSM, even and especially for the arts.

Alesh - I can't tell whether you've read the NYT site very closely since those WTC proposals, but they have plenty of video reviews of arts, sports, music, movies, and all sorts of other things, all the time. Do they compete with teh {un3mp1oye8} l33t h4x0r5 who have nothing to do but fiddle with iMovie and Flash until 4am for ten days straight? Who the hell cares. I'm not looking for the bloody Star Wars trilogy every time I read the news. But I do know that seeing a movie critic or tech reviewer speak his piece on video is a lot more engaging than having to slog through a bunch of text, and I think the NYT gets it right.

Again, I'm not saying the NYT is a bunch of geniuses just because they have a blog. I was there at UIUC when Mosaic was invented (I didn't know them closely, but one of its progammers was my classmate, and two were my students). I was typing raw HTTP commands into telnet windows to test my own web pages back in 1993. Someday I'll tell you about the infamous "Green Card Lottery" spam of Apr 1994. (Why am I getting this strange solicitous email about green cards? Hmm. Looks like the genie's out of the bottle now...) Being impressed by technology is so, like, 1987.

All's I'm saying is, among MSM outlets with major reach, the NYT is way ahead of the curve at adopting technology and actually making it useful, and they're way ahead at actually getting readers in the door and giving them good content. Compared to the latimes, washpost, bostonglobe [their sister paper], msnbc, abcnews, and other major MSM sources, they're the one site that's actually got multimedia that you can both use without contorting your PC [do the web designers at these places actually use their companies' sites?], and that actually give you good info. A lot of MSM sites don't even have damned photos to illustrate their stories. Ten years into the online revolution and they can't post a damn photo of the subject? Whereas the NYT has a great slide show for just about every art review they write. And it even works on some of my older PCs. It's that simple utilitarianism that I'm really impressed by.

17.

alesh

March 28, 2005, 11:40 PM

You're right - the vast majority of print publications are so far behind on the internet that it's shocking (almost funny is that if the New Times down here publishes a photo in black and white, the photo appears that way on their web site!).

NYTimes.com may be ahead of the pack. I read them occasionally. I also read the print edition occasionally. I would consider their multimedia content adequate. Competent. Well . . . maybe: the print version of the article under discussion featured a series of photos. The online version has one. Oh, there's a link to woostercollective.com, but -oops- it's to the homepage, NOT the operant entry. So if you click it today, you'll have to hunt through the site to find the pictures. So we have occasional adequacy.

People who do blogs for little or no money occasionally amaze me with innovative ways to present information. Is it too much to expect an organization with the NYT's resources to do the same?

Don't even get me started on their backwards-looking policy of charging for old articles. Over seven years ago, suck.com proved what a bad idea it is. The Times still hasn't figured it out.

I don't mean to rag on them. The writing is good, and the site is decent. But you congratulating them on the great job they're doing doesn't help anybody.

18.

oldpro

March 29, 2005, 8:07 AM

I'll second that, Alesh. The Times has become as soggy as the print issue lying out in the rain. They have been the paper of record for so long they have lost their way.

I used to read the whole thing, business section and all. Now I read the obituaries (interesting lives) some business (what are the markets doing) the Book Review (saves me reading all those books) the sports (for football & baseball only) and the two parts that remain relatively unspoiled: the crossword puzzle (Thursday thru Sunday, anyway) and the Tuesday Science Times (the only consistently interesting section they print). It is still worth subscribing to for these things.

The news I hear anyway, somehow. The Sunday Magazine has become a deadly mix of trendy and "meaningful", and the arts sections seem to have collapsed under the weight of all the dead art out there. I seldom look at them.

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