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Max Nesterak

Finland Honors Gay Icon With Leather Daddy Postage Stamp  

via Itella Posti I need a Finnish pen pal. This fall Finland's postal service, Itella Posti, is releasing a new series of stamps paying homage to legendary homoerotic illustrator Touko Laaksonen aka Tom of Finland. Laaksonen's iconic hyper-masculine drawings helped give rise to fetish art and made an incredible impact on gay culture. During a career spanning from the '50s to the '70s, Laaksonen produced over 3,500 illustrations challenging sexual norms and popular tropes while giving leather... [more]

20140408142040-setting_up_2 Huge Installation In Pakistan Brings Drone Operators Face-to-face With Their Targets   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
Posted 4/8/14

Drone operators don’t see the faces of their targets. Sitting in military offices thousands of miles away from combat zones, they have a term for their kills, appearing to them as grainy dots on a computer screen: bug splats. A group of Pakistani artists is working to fight the insensitivity of such impersonal warfare with a project called #NotABugSplat, which gives a face to otherwise anonymous victims. Building on French artist JR’s Inside Out Project, they installed a huge portrait of... [more]

Bavaria Reaches Agreement with Munich Art Hoarder on Schwabing Art Trove  

Cornelius Gurlitt, photo by Markus Hannich Officials will continue to investigate the “Schwabing Art Trove” for Nazi looted art; pieces not under investigation will be returned “without delay.” Those are the conditions of the agreement reached by Bavarian officials and Nazi-era art hoarder Cornelius Gurlitt, who’s been a focus of media attention since officials seized over 1,400 pieces (valued at $1.3 billion) from his home in Munich two years ago. The agreement was... [more]

Sotheby's Hong Kong Sees 9 Record Breaking Sales for Asian Artists  

Zhang Xiaogang, Bloodline: Big Family No. 3, via Sotheby's A slowing economy does not seem to be stalling demand in China’s growing art market. Sotheby’s Hong Kong closed Saturday with record auction sales totaling $86 million, breaking nine records for Asian artists and bringing the auction house to some $140 million in sales in the first three days of its spring auctions. Included in Saturday’s sales was Contemporary Chinese artist Zhang Xiaogang’s Bloodline: Big Fami... [more]

Your Favorite Disney Villains as World Leaders  

Saint Hoax is at it again, this time serving us world leaders as Disney villains. The Middle-Eastern artist (he hasn’t revealed his real name or where he lives) caught our attention when he turned world leaders into drag queens (now available as sweatshirts) and then into blow-up sex dolls. He rewrites history through visual lies, calling the work “POPlitical." In this latest iteration exploring the performativity of global politics, Saint Hoax imagines Sarah Palin as Cruella de Vil,... [more]

Dogs to Diplomats: President Bush Reveals His Series of Portraits of World Leaders.  

When we joked about Putin becoming a painter for April Fools, we considered photoshopping his face onto a photo of President George W. Bush standing next to one of his paintings. Then we decided it was too easy. Well, Bush is still a bush-league painter and it looks like the joke is still on Putin. Today on the Today Show, the former president unveiled his latest series of paintings. If you thought he may have peaked early with first exhibition of dogs, you were wrong. Bush’s series of po... [more]

20140326193758-investment Patron as Network: Will St Leger's Experiment in Crowdfunding   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
Posted 3/26/14

Over the past 5 years, online crowdfunding has assumed a kind of mythical aura. It is, at least in my experience, talked about as if it were a bottomless well of wealth, a sure-fire source of capital for everything and anything from a hovercraft to a public art installation. Need money? Crowdfund it. There are thousands of generous strangers, eagerly waiting with credit cards poised. While the majority of projects do fail, the numbers are astounding. Now a well-worn (granted a bit misleading) f... [more]

20140323180559-11 Sharp Stencils: JULY i   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
Posted 3/23/14

Toronto-based street and urban “view artist” JULY i isn’t one for sugar coating a message. JULY i’s work is sharp, offering biting cultural and political critiques rich with a dark humor. Working with stencils or painting free hand, JULY i’s oeuvre includes works addressing everything from environmentalism to consumerism to colonialism. Found everywhere but in the gallery, JULY i is a street art traditionalist, working in back alleyways and underpasses, places where it... [more]

MOCA Artist Trustees Return to the Fold After Leaving In Protest Over a Year Ago  

photo courtesy of MOCA The Board of Trustees of L.A.'s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) welcomed artist trustees John Baldessari, Barbara Kruger, and Catherine Opie back to the board yesterday, after they quit in protest in 2012. The artists are returning in a vote of confidence in the new leadership of MOCA Director Philippe Vergne, who, in his short tenure, has already helped the museum raise its endowment to an historic high of $100 million. “I'm very excited about the prospec... [more]

War is a Drag: Saint Hoax Makes Over World Leaders as Drag Queens  

Vladdy Pushin' (Vladimir Putin) Shakespeare is often quoted for writing, "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players." The statement eloquently encapsulates what Plato wrote about the stage of life a millennium prior and what social scientists would later define as "impression management," the idea that our style of dress, speaking, behavior are all merely props we use to present our "identity." In my opinion, Drag Queen RuPaul put it most succinctly: "You're born naked, th... [more]

Ai Weiwei Invites Chinese President to His Berlin Exhibition  

Ai Weiwei, 2012, Photo by Gao Yuan, courtesy of Martin-Gropius-Bau Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is about to celebrate the opening his largest exhibition ever, and he wants Chinese President Xi Jinping to see it. In an interview with the Suddeutsche Zeitung published Saturday, Ai, an outspoke critic of China's ruling party, surpised art watchers by inviting Xi to his show set to open at Berlin's Martin-Gropius-Bau early next month. "It would be good if the president found the time to go visit... [more]

Daniel Gordon's Created Some of the Craziest Still Lifes We've Seen  

Daniel Gordon, "Still Life with Pitcher and Apples", 2013, C-Print, 50" x 40", Courtesy of the artist. This week Brooklyn-based Photographer Daniel Gordon was awarded the prestigious Foam Paul Huf Award 2014, given to one young photographer each year, who receives €20,000 and an exhibition in Foam Amsterdam. Gordon constructs these incredible still lifes out of scraps of paper and found objects, which he then photographs. He doesn’t create them using PhotoShop. It’s a throwb... [more]

20140313183114-img_0336 Barbara Talks Back to the City   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
Posted 3/13/14

She’s Barbara. She’s got something to say. And sometimes she thinks about chocolate while masturbating (aber ist bestimmt auch nicht die Einzige!) A recent transplant from Berlin, Barbara brings the typical Berliner anti-establishment attitude and cutting wit to Heidelberg where she talks backs to the city through her 8.5 x 11 print outs. They’re absolutely brilliant. She doesn’t give much information about herself, preferring to remain (refreshingly) anonymous. We did chat... [more]

InstaGrammies: The Best From #ArmoryWeek  

So far Armory Week has been amazing. So has #ArmoryWeek, which, let's be real, isn't about the art. It's about YOU! We love what you shared, so we're awarding #InstaGrammies to the best of all you InstaShammers who caputured the most in(sta)credible moments of #ArmoryWeek. Before we get to all the InstAwards, this woman... Best Irreverent Twerk on an Art Legend Best art observer caught in a provocative act with a piece of art it's a tie Best InstaSimulacrum Best Inst... [more]

Monet’s Next Big Exhibition Will Be In a Chinese Shopping Mall  

K11 Art Mall in Shanghai As New York looks to contemporary China - the focus of this year's Armory Show - China's looking to early 20th century Paris. Mainland China is about to see its first large-scale exhibition of works by Claude Monet. And they’ll find it… in a mall. The Chinese art foundation K11 announced they’ll be bringing some 40 original Monet paintings to the Shanghai K11 Art Mall in early March to be exhibited among its luxury stores such as Burberry and Va... [more]

Congress Introduces Bill Entitling Visual Artists to Copyright Protections  

We assume that when a book is sold, the author gets paid. When a song is played, the musician gets paid. But when a work of art is sold, often the artist gets...well, nothing. In an art economy becoming ever more characterized by quick turn-arounds and massive art speculation, it isn't the artists who profit when the price tags on their works go up. Those profits go to the dealers, the auction houses, and the galleries. The artists that created the works: they can't claim a dime of what they s... [more]

The Con Artist: Pussy Riot's Riot, Ai-Caramba!, and Wasss?!  

Pussy Riot's Riot Following a tumultuous week of performances protesting the Olympics in Sochi, Russian punk band Pussy Riot released a music video criticizing Vladimir Putin and the Sochi Winter Games. Titled “Putin will teach you how to love the motherland” (above), the video includes footage of the band being beaten with horsewhips while trying to stage a performance in front of an Olympic sign. In their lyrics, the female activist group criticizes Putin for using the Olympics... [more]

Corcoran Closes, Cut Up Between National Gallery and George Washington University  

Corcoran College of Art + Design and its Gallery of Art, once boasting a commitment to its three “C’s” – collection, college, community – will soon have none. The prestigious Washington D.C. institution announced yesterday night that its college, buildings, and expansive, world-renowned collection will be divvied up between the National Gallery and George Washington University as Corcoran collapses under financial distress. In an official statement, Corcoran l... [more]

The Con Artist: Helping Children, Knee Capping Children, and Clooney is Confused  

It Was For the Children Photo of Simon Metke, 33, by Jana G. Pruden via Edmonton Journal Edmonton resident and small time weed dealer Simon Metke had no idea he was in possession of a stolen ancient Persian artifact valued at $1.2 million, so just chill out. Canadian officials raided Metke’s apartment late last month, and (according to the Edmonton Journal) Metke was just sort of like, woah, “What the heck is going on?” “There’s like 20 RCMP officers flooding my... [more]

Land-Art Legend Nancy Holt Passes On (1938-2014)  

Sun Tunnels (1976) via CLUI Photographer, videographer, and sculptor Nancy Holt, 75, passed away Saturday in Manhattan after fighting a long battle with Leukemia. Holt, best known for her monumental sized sculptures in Southwest, was one of the first, and most notable, pioneers of the Land-art movement of the 60s and 70s. She was a rarity in her time, both as a woman in an art world still largely dominated by men and as an artist eschewing the gallery for on-site installations. Over her fif... [more]

Google Protests Sochi, Manages to Make It Gayer  

Google's Doodle is really gay To coincide with the opening of the Sochi Games today, Google protested Russia’s anti-gay “propaganda” laws through its Google Doodle, a rainbow banner with bobsledders, snowboarders, and figure skaters. In addition to the doodle, Google quotes the Olympic Charter's anti-discrimination clause. This, apparently, not only to imply that Russia is not acting in the spirit of the Olympics, but also so that we don’t confuse it as simply an... [more]

Bidding Farewell to Poet and Artist Rene Ricard (1946-2014)  

Rene Ricard for Vice Fashion in 2009, photo by Mirabelle Marden. Beloved poet, writer, artist, and art critic Rene Ricard passed away Sunday at the age of 67. Ricard was an incredibly influential force in the art movements coming out of New York City during the 70s, 80s, and 90s, counting Andy Warhol, Robert Hawkins, and Keith Haring among his colleagues and friends. A teenage runaway, Ricard fled his hometown of Acushnet, Massachusetts for Boston and later New York in the late 60s, immersi... [more]

A Super Bet: Denver and Seattle Art Museums Wager Art on the Super Bowl  

Seattle wager (left): Sound of Waves by Kako Tsuji. Denver wager (right): Bronco Buster by Frederic Remington. If you haven’t heard, that annual all-powerful, awe-inspiring, inescapable media spectacle that is the Super Bowl is happening tomorrow. There’s also going to be a football game. To add to the suspense, the directors of the Denver Art Museum and the Seattle Art Museum decided to place bets on the game with pieces from their collections. Their wager: if the Broncos win, the Seattle A... [more]

The Con Artist: Poetic Justice, CASH4-ed Out, and, Judd-le Gym?  

Poetic Justice emoji illustration by the author The pen may be mightier than the sword, but it ain't a shield. A drunken debate between a poet and a prose writer turned tragic last week when the poet knifed the prosateur to death. The 53-year-old former teacher and poet has already confessed to stabbing his friend in his apartment in Sverdlovsk after the friend said only prose was real literature. The man faces up to 15 years in prison. This isn’t the first time philosophical debates... [more]

The Con Artist: Red Flags, the Racist Chair, and the One Who Got Away  

Founders Keepers Jasper Johns, Photo by Brendan McDermid/Reuters Sculptor and cacoepy-vigilante Jasper Johns testified before a federal court in Manhattan on Thursday, stating that no, he did not authorize anyone to reproduce his sculpture, and it’s pronounced ˈraʊʃənbɜːɡ, btw. The 83-year-old artist, whose work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the MoMA, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others, was called to testify in the case against founder Brian... [more]

No Selfie-Control: The Best of International #MuseumSelfie Day  

In honor of international #MuseumSelfie day aimed at raising awareness of awesome museums (and selfies), we decided to select a few of our favorites: In the "Totally awesome sacrilegious interactive selfie" Category: Final #MuseumSelfie of the day, one for @NHM_Cephalopoda, pretending to be a snail with the help of a giant ammonite — Amy Freeborn (@amyfreeborn) January 22, 2014 per il #museumselfie del @Mi_BACT al museo archeologico provinciale di #Salerno — Giada... [more]

The Con Artist: Pedo-Quilts, Reunited Artifacts, and Op Art Altercations  

Sew Wrong Paul Yore, Photo: Jason South Australian artist Paul Yore, known for his beautifully intricate quilts depicting children touching themselves while dancing around a huge penis, will appear in court this, um…, Valentine’s Day to face charges for, uh…, producing and possessing child pornography. Police seized the artist’s work, including his masterpiece, “Everything is F---ed” which was on display at the, um…, potentially catholic St Kilda&r... [more]

20140114002519-20140110155416-ml_museo_de_arte_popular_americano_02_700 What the Folk? MoMA Releases Redesign sans American Folk Art Museum  

It’s official. The American Folk Art Museum is about to be become folklore. On Wednesday MoMA released its final redesign plans, which, after 6 months of “lengthy and rigorous” analysis, still do not include the 12-year-old folk-art museum that stands between the MoMA mother ship and its condominium tower to the west. The MoMA bought the bronzed museum in 2011 when it ran into financial troubles, and most expected the acquisition was in good faith to preserve a flailing b... [more]

Woman Charged With Stealing Over $30,000 Worth of Art From Blind Man  

You don’t steal from old blind people … it’s a thing. You also don’t lie about it and then ask for a bribe and a getaway car. It’s immoral. It’s unethical, and, in Broward County, Florida, it’s against the law. These are some of the life lessons Maureen Stuteville is learning after being arrested and charged with exploitation of a disabled elderly adult for stealing (allegedly) over $30,000 worth of art from the man she was the caretaker for (well, mor... [more]

20140108213844-20120723123545-5 Chalking It Up Spontaneously: Interview with KLUB7   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
Posted 1/8/14

This interview was originally published on ArtSlant Berlin, in July 2012: Since 1998, the Berlin-based street art and design collective KLUB7 has been showcasing their work -- a mixture of pop art, street grunge, and childlike playfulness -- on street fronts and in store fronts. The collective's style emerges from a intentional democratic synthesis of its six members' six distinct styles, which is how they've been able to stay together for more than a decade. True to their street art roots, they spe... [more]

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