Thursday, November 30, 2006

Indecent exposure?

'Toned down' version of Basil Watson's 'Balance' expected to be an international hit

KERIL WRIGHT, [Jamaica] Observer West reporter

MONTEGO BAY, St James -- A potentially contentious nude sculpture by well-known artist, Basil Watson is expected to enhance the international appeal of the century-old Doctor's Cave Beach in this north coast resort city, its management said.

The life-size bronze scuplture, which was unveiled at the beach's 100th anniversary celebrations this month, depicts a naked man balancing a nude woman above his head in the palm of his hand.

Anticipating objection from some beachgoers who might be offended, Doctor's Cave asked Watson to tone down the original sculpture, said general manager, John McDonald. "It was toned down...we had thought of putting on him a little Speedo (swim trunks) but then we thought no," he said....

There are two images on this link worth seeing, so don't miss them: click here

Monday, November 27, 2006

Is it child porn or censorship?

Uncertain of the legal risks, Saskatoon-based periodical BlackFlash left out the illustrations for a story on Canada's child pornography legislation

From Monday's Globe and Mail [Toronto, Canada]

The fall issue of Saskatoon-based BlackFlash magazine, a small-circulation tri-yearly about photo-based digital and electronic art, should finally be on Canadian newsstands and in the hands of subscribers in the next few days -- two months later than scheduled and minus seven illustrations its editors planned to include in an article about childhood sexuality and child pornography.

In what BlackFlash managing editor Lissa Robinson calls "an act of self-censorship," the magazine's six-member editorial committee agreed earlier this month to eliminate the reproductions of two 19th-century paintings of children, four photographs, including one 1879 pre-pubescent nude study by Alice in Wonderland creator Charles Dodgson, and a 1995 advertisement for Calvin Klein clothing. The decision came after a time-consuming search failed to turn up a printer willing to risk a test of the Child Pornography Act passed in July, 2005. The debate over the images also resulted in the resignations of four members of BlackFlash's volunteer board of directors.

The actions highlight what critics call "the lack of clarity" in the controversial act and its "overall chilling effect" on artists and arts organizations in particular.

To see the complete article, click here

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Nudes that got the boot are back


By Jennifer Hewlett

Three photographs depicting nudes that were removed from a photography exhibit at the Kentucky Horse Park have been returned to the exhibit.

"It was just a failure to communicate on many people's parts," Kentucky Commerce Cabinet spokesman Chris Gilligan said of the decision earlier this month to remove the photos.

The photos are part of the Lexington Creative Camera Club's annual competition and exhibit, held in conjunction with the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation's Southern Lights display of holiday lights. The photographs are displayed inside; the light show is outside.

To see the complete story, click here scooped this story on November 19th, to see the scoop, click here

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Botero's Strip-Poker Scene Leads $14 Million Latin Art Auction

By Lindsay Pollock

Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Fernando Botero's painting of a strip-poker game, ``Card Players II,'' sold for $1.7 million last night at Sotheby's New York, headlining an auction of Latin American artworks. The sale totaled $14 million, just below the $14.4 million presale high estimate.

``If not extravagantly high, it has been a solid sale,'' said Pablo Vallecilla, a sales director at Marlborough Gallery, which represents Colombia's Botero....

Boteros Prevail

Four of last night's 10 most expensive artworks were Boteros. The 1989 ``Card Players II,'' a 5-foot-tall canvas of four pudgy figures seated around a wooden table clutching cards, includes references to the Colombian flag. The two pink, fleshy women are nude while the men are fully dressed. All appear to be engaged in some sort of cheating, a hint of guilt suggested by shifty eyes and pursed lips. The painting is said to have been inspired by Paul Cezanne's famous ``The Card Players.''

To see the complete story, click here

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Naked Justice Embarrassed

by Ilene Skeen

On Wednesday, Nov 15th, I posted a story about the photography banned from the in the Kentucky Horse Park's Southern Lights promotion.

Well, you've heard it here first folks, word from the grapevine is that the state of Kentucky may have seen the light after all and has asked for the photos back to restore them to the exhibit.

Stay tuned.

'Eros' anything but chaste

By Hanns Neuerbourg
The Associated Press

BASEL, Switzerland - “Art is never chaste.” That Pablo Picasso dictum is a motto of a comprehensive exhibition that focuses on sexuality in modern art.

The show, titled “EROS in Modern Art” after the god of love in Greek mythology, puts together more than 200 works, produced by some 50 American and European artists since taboos on sex began breaking after the mid-19th century. Top billing goes to Picasso and French sculptor Auguste Rodin as the protagonists of erotic art.

Some exhibits merely allude to sex, but others are highly explicit, possibly shocking some viewers. “Eros is not always sex, but it is in no way pornography,” comments curator Ulf Kuester. Organizers of the show, mounted at the Beyeler Foundation Museum at suburban Riehen, say it is the first ever to present such a range of erotica.

To see the complete story, click here

Friday, November 17, 2006

Namibia: Nudity in Art is Part of Realism


Frederick Philander

A photo of a self-censored nude model as part of an exhibition on women and child abuse, is causing quite a stir among conservative members of the society, resulting in withdrawals of support to well-known entertainment company, Avalon.

"As a matter of principle, we did not want to compromise the photographer's creativity. That is why we were prepared to find an alternative venue to display his works. Initially, the Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre agreed to avail its venue for the exhibition and other activities of the programme for a week," explained co-owner of Avalon, Natasha Lamoela, yesterday in an Art/Life interview....

In support of Avalon's stance with regard to nudity in art, Committed Artists of Namibia's organizing secretary, actress Felicity Celento, responded as follows on behalf of her organization:

"My word! Do these objectors still think we are living in the Dark Ages with nudity in Namibian arts? This is the 21st Century. They must stop trying to influence free-thinking and freedom of artistic expression. We live in an open society, unlike before independence when we, as the first Namibian actors, were crucified for appearing semi-nude in our play 'The Beauty Contest' for the sake of realism in arts. This kind of double standard can cause irreparable damage to true arts," Celento asserted on behalf of Committed Artists of Namibia.

To see the complete story, click here

Blurring the lines

[The Age,]

Gallery openings have become a platform for networking, deal-making and "being seen", but Peter Hill questions if this commercial focus is enhancing our perception of what is and what is not art.

NEW YORK'S ART news magazine had a cover story this year on "The Top 10 Trends in Contemporary Art". These ranged from artists who did one or more of the following things: used junk off the streets, created strange fictional situations, made heavily politicised works, built model worlds, resurrected painting in all styles, were green and eco-friendly in their politics (although uber-capitalist in their sales pitch), or made retro moves in the direction of psychedelia, spirituality and eccentric craftworks....

Flick through contemporary art magazines from Artforum to Photofile or Artreview and you could be confused as to whether you were instead browsing a fashion or soft-porn magazine. A nude woman with a cigarette dangling from her mouth and a lipstick heart drawn across her torso and containing the word Versace, is in fact a Juergen Teller photo-artwork.

Peter Hill has just been appointed Associate Professor, College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney.

To see the complete story, click here

Cheek on high street

The Jerusalem Post

It's difficult to miss the large painting of a nude in the window of Tova Osman's Gallery on Ben-Yehuda Street in Tel Aviv. This eye-grabbing yet well-crafted oil - the latest in 20-year-old painter Tal Slutzker's oeuvre - forms a one-painting exhibition called Tova Tahat Tova. ...

For the painting in the gallery window, ... Slutzker didn't study a painting in a museum or even his own, observable three-dimensional reality. Instead, the oil painting that Tova Tahat Tova is based on is an image that Slutzker found on an Internet porn site.

This painting, which Slutzker renders primarily in black and white with almost indiscernible hints of yellow, blue and red, features a female nude lying face down in a bathtub. Pushing into the foreground - forcefully projecting closest to the viewer - is a relatively large but lovely tahat, or derriere.

To see the complete article, click here

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Say What?

Nude model goes on strike at art class


A nude model who poses for still life art classes [say what??] has gone on strike because the room where she works is too cold.

Debbie Jackson said she had been left with a stiff neck and sore shoulders because of a faulty air conditioning unit at Derby College.

The 44-year-old from Tutbury said she had "never encountered such difficult conditions", and she was refusing to pose again until the chilly problem is solved.

Nigel Gell, college vice-principal, told the Derby Evening Telegraph: "We've provided heating and I'm not sure what else we can do."

Yep, here is the link

Auction Record for Bacon Painting Is Set

By CAROL VOGEL [New York Times]

After Christie’s sale of nearly a half-billion dollars’ worth of Impressionist and modern art in a mere two and a half hours last week, almost any auction would seem anticlimactic. So there were only sporadic bursts of energy last night as Sotheby’s held the first of the week’s three consecutive evening sales of contemporary art.

The auction total, $125.1 million — was the second highest in the department’s history, setting records for 15 artists, and squarely in the middle of its estimate, $109 million to $148 million. Of the 83 works, only 7 failed to sell....

By far the star of the collection — and the evening — was Bacon’s “Version No. 2 of Lying Figure With Hypodermic Syringe” (1968), in which the artist turned one of the most familiar subjects in art history — the female nude — into one of the tortured souls that are his signature. The richly colored canvas was expected to sell for $9 million to $12 million. Six bidders went after the painting, and it ended up selling to an unidentified telephone bidder for $15 million, a record for the artist.

To see the complete story, click here

Naked justice: photos must go


By Cheryl Truman

A Lexington [KY] photographer took his photos and left behind his award ribbons after being asked to remove two nude photos from a display available during the Kentucky Horse Park's Southern Lights promotion.

"I'm not angry, I'm just disappointed," Frank Becker said yesterday. "It's a photography exhibit. It's not a pretty picture exhibit."

Both of Becker's shots in the Creative Camera Club exhibit at the horse park involve a nude woman, although both are posed in such a way that there is no full-frontal nudity. In one shot, the woman is holding her arms in front of her breasts; in a second, she is lying curled up with her back to the camera.

One of Becker's photos had been judged best black-and-white photo in the competition.

To see the complete article, click here

Paris Photo Fair Offers Steichen, Avedon as Prices Rise 10.5%

By Linda Sandler and Helene Fouquet

Nov. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Paris Photo, Europe's biggest gathering of photography dealers, opens today at the Louvre Carrousel for previews for collectors including ABN Amro Holding NV, Deutsche Bank AG and groups from New York and Los Angeles. Photos are among the art market's hottest segments, after gaining 10.5 percent this year, said

Works by photographers from Edward Steichen to Loretta Lux will be on sale at 106 galleries and publishers, including 22 from the U.S., 29 from France and eight from Nordic countries. Fashion photographers such as Richard Avedon and postwar figures including Robert Frank and Diane Arbus, whose prices have been rising at auctions, will be offered, too.

Galerie 1900-2000 has Steichen's ``In Memoriam,'' a 1905 print of a nude, for almost 500,000 euros ($641,300), said the Paris gallery's director, David Fleiss.

To see the complete story, click here

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Philadelphia art icon about to be sold

Thomas Jefferson University trustees approved the $68 million sale of Thomas Eakins' masterpiece, "The Gross Clinic." Owners of the 1875 Philadelphia treasure will be the National Gallery and an Arkansas museum funded by Wal-Mart heirs.

By Stephan Salisbury
Philadelphia Inquirer Culture Writer

Thomas Eakins' masterpiece The Gross Clinic - an iconic painting that is irrevocably identified with Philadelphia, where it was painted more than 125 years ago - is poised for sale by Thomas Jefferson University for a record $68 million to a partnership of the National Gallery of Art in Washington and a new museum planned by Wal-Mart heirs in Arkansas.

The university's board of trustees approved details of the sale late yesterday, virtually assuring a controversial departure for what many see as the city's greatest and most emblematic work of art - an enormous canvas depicting a Jefferson surgical amphitheater in bloody mid-operation. The stark imagery repulsed some at the time of its creation, but The Gross Clinic has come to be hailed as a masterwork, one of the finest of all American paintings.

The canvas, which Eakins saw as testimony to the city's educational and medical achievements, has never resided outside of Philadelphia - beyond temporary exhibition-related sojourns - since it was painted here in 1875. Jefferson alumni bought it for $200 and gave it to the university in 1878.

To read the complete story, click here

Friday, November 10, 2006

Sculpture shifting sites

Loveland arts panel agrees to relocate controversial work

By Deborah Frazier, Rocky Mountain News

LOVELAND [CO] - Art took a tumble Thursday when the Visual Arts Commission agreed to move a sculpture of two nude women and a nude man to another site.

After months of protests and political maneuvering by religious conservatives, the commission accepted an offer to move the sculpture, known as Triangle, to the Benson Sculpture Park to end the conflict.

"I hope this resolves the issue," said Jim Baldwin, the commission's former chairman who resigned after the City Council discussed taking the commission's autonomy away on buying and siting art.

The 7-foot-tall bronze sculpture, the work of noted artist Kirstin Kokkin, shows one of the women and the man holding the second woman aloft to represent humanity helping humanity.

To see the complete story, click here

Call for Entries: N*des-of-the-Month Celebrates the Nude in Virtual Show

Deadline November 21. All artists are encouraged to submit art of the nude to the for selection by artist, writer, collector and former museum president, Bob Mueller for the December 2006 exhibition.

New York, NY – November 10, 2006. announces today that Bob Mueller will select and curate the fourth N*des-of-the-Month virtual exhibition. The deadline for entry into the December 2006 calendar is November 21. Art must be uploaded to on or before November 21st to be eligible for the December exhibition.

“When asked to judge a group of works, above all, I look for outstanding quality. Visual impact, composition, and handling of technique are equally important. Each work is judged on its own merits whether traditional or abstract. In addition to appreciating beauty, art is meant to make us think differently. Though a traditional artist and collector myself, I especially appreciate works that open my eyes and allow me to see things in a new way.”

To find out more about Bob's background and read the complete press release, click here

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The art of pain - and suffering

Artist Annie Kurkdjian brings her unusual visions to the French Cultural Center

By Zeina Nasr
Special to The Daily Star [Lebanon]

BEIRUT: The exhibition hall in the French Cultural Center consists of a bare white room, small and rectangular, with just enough wall space to showcase a single and succinct body of work. Annie Kurkdjian's intimate paintings and drawings cover the walls with unassuming austerity.

At first glance, flat backgrounds, vague figures and subdued colors create a visual world of timid minimalism. Upon closer inspection, however, Kurkdjian's vague figures emerge as misshapen human bodies, the flat backgrounds as threatening spaces of emptiness and the monotone colors as a wash of melancholy indeterminism.

Kurkdjian got into art by way of working as a manager for a large corporation.

"I couldn't continue," she confesses. "I felt like I was going to die in that office."

To see the complete article, click here

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Culture skirmish

Art too edgy for some in downtown Durham (NC)

BY DOUGLAS VUNCANNON, Independent Weekly

The Sex Police are back in the Triangle! But, sadly, it's not the glorious 1990s funk/rock band but a morals brigade of a more literal kind, one with a willingness to entertain voices calling for state censorship. Even if it was only the voice of one angry man screaming in a lobby.

On Oct. 21, two police officers arrived at West Village Historic Loft Apartments in downtown Durham and instructed the management to remove artwork on display in the upscale complex's lobby. Assistant property manager Cecily Ferguson, who curates works exhibited at West Village, says that Officer B. J. King told her that a complaint about the exhibition had been received and that after researching the matter he had determined that displaying the paintings violated N.C. law. With a copy of North Carolina Crimes in hand, he reportedly sited G.S. 14-190.14, which states that displaying material "harmful to minors" is a Class 2 misdemeanor. Ferguson decided to turn the paintings around to face the wall until the artist could be contacted....

In response to the police intervention, [artist Cynthia] Grow covered the bottom two-thirds of the paintings with brown paper in order to mimic the treatment pornographic magazines receive in convenience stores. It is a fitting act of self-censorship since G.S. 14-190.14 outlines in detail how to legally display pornography for commercial purposes.

To read the entire article, click here

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Why the Nude? Panel Discussion Gives Varied Answers

by Ilene Skeen

New York, NY. The Art Students League’s October show entitled “Why the Nude? Contemporary Approaches” (October 5-31) was accompanied by an exploratory panel discussion (October 26th) featuring eight of the artists in the show. Pam Koob, the League’s curator, acting as moderator, had explained at the show's opening reception on October 5th that both the show and the discussion stemmed from the idea of examining the relevance of the nude in today’s largely non-objective art world, since so much of the education at the ASL is devoted to figurative art.

Interest was so high in the free event that it was necessary to issue tickets, which were gone within 2 ½ hours of their release on the Monday before the talk. Fortunately, the event was taped and it will be available for viewing.

The panel discussion took place in the gallery among the nudes themselves, traveling walls and sculpture pieces moved aside to make room for about 80 chairs. Ira Goldberg, the League’s Executive Director, introduced the evening by stating that the nude becomes a “grand metaphor though which artists can express the human condition.” The primary objective of the show and the discussion was to present the relevance of the nude to artists of the 21st century.

To read the entire article, click here