Tania Bruguera, an Artist in Havana, Has a Great New York Week

14 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Bruguera’s Passport Returned, USC Dropouts Get Gallery Show, and More.

For most artists, news that the Museum of Modern Art had acquired one of their pieces for the first time would be more than sufficient for a good week. Randy Kennedy reports in the New York Times that the Cuban artist Tania Bruguera has been chosen as the first artist-in-residence for the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. But for Tania Bruguera — a New York-based Cuban artist who has been in legal limbo in Havana since December, when she was arrested to prevent her from staging a provocative open-mike performance — the week was just beginning. The yearlong residency will involve Bruguera helping the agency with their efforts to recruit undocumented immigrants for the city’s new municipal identification card program, IDNYC.

However, the artist says she will not leave the country until she obtains separate legal documents that guarantee her safe return to the island. “I’m not going to leave Cuba until I have an official document in my hands that legally guarantees that I can come back without any problems,” the artist said in a statement. Bruguera was originally prevented from leaving her home country in December 2014 for trying to stage a public performance piece with strong political overtones, and has since continued to protest and spread word about her situation. The residency is supported with private money from the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation as well as public money through the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs.

Bruguera was previously arrested earlier this year in Havana for creating a “public disturbance” when she attempted to restage her 2009 performance, Tatlin’s Whisper #6. He’s also held positions on the boards of the California State Bar Board of Governors, and of New Directions, an organization supporting veterans and their families. “After careful selection and review of nationwide candidates, Davis’s three months as CAAM’s interim executive director proved he was the best candidate for this position,” said board president Todd Hawkins. In January, before she was abruptly arrested and then rearrested, Brugera planned to restage the performance in Havana’s Revolution Square, which involves participants to take the stage and speak freely for one minute each. Just months after authorities discovered the illicit collection of more than 1,200 European masterworks amassed by his father under Nazi rule in his Munich apartment, the 81-year-old died, leaving his paintings to Kunstmuseum Bern in Switzerland.

My argument has never been about leaving Cuba; my argument is about working so there is freedom of expression and public protest in Cuba, so that violence against those who think different politically will be penalized accordingly. Meanwhile, on 12 July, the artist was arrested in Havana with more than 40 activists while attending a peaceful protest with the Damas de Blanco, a group of women who have started to rally every Sunday for the civil and human rights of imprisoned Cuban dissidents.

In Cuba people should feel free to say what they think without fear of losing their jobs or university standing, without fear of being marginalized or imprisoned. The evaluation is not expected before October. [AP] — Met Makes a Statue Speak: After a 15th-century marble statue of Adam crashed to the floor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in October in 2002, the work has come to life as an interactive video installation at the Venetian Sculpture Gallery. His paintings often explored landscape-based abstraction, with one series documenting “sky that could once be seen through the window, and as the window became blocked what possible compensations there might be,” as he once wrote. The gregarious statue employs the same technology found in computer-generated characters in movies like “The Lord of the Rings” and “Avatar.” Meanwhile, over in Paris, an interactive Mona Lisa is also coming to life with digital technology.

Mostafa Heddaya and Anna Kats are reporting for Artinfo that Michael Heizer’s City—an expansive earth art piece in rural Nevada that evokes both ancient monuments and postindustrial landscapes—is set to be protected as part of 704,000 acres of Nevada desert, thanks to a proclamation being signed by President Obama under the Antiquities Act of 1906. My argument proposes amnesty and the elimination of the concept of the political prisoner, so that no one is ever again imprisoned for thinking for themselves. The digital Mona Lisa paintings will be sold for “a few hundred euros,” some embedded on a pendant or jewels. [WSJ, NYT, Telegraph] — UNESCO World Heritage List Grows: “The threat is global and our response must be global,” said UNESCO’s director-general Irina Bokova at the World Heritage Committee. “It requires better co-ordination among national services, the exchange of information among states. Nothing can replace, in this area, the action of governments.” The committee also adopted the Bonn Declaration, which condemns “the destruction and looting of cultural objects used as a tactic of war and as a source to fund terrorism.” [TAN] — Detroit Gets Outdoor Sculpture Center: A sculpture park in Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood has opened on formerly vacant lots restored by the artist Robert Sestok. “I’ve wanted for a long time to do something that would be lasting,” the 68-year-old said. “Then my neighbor who used to cut the grass here died, so I started. But a widely circulated petition asking for executive intervention apparently saved the day; it was reportedly instrumental in convincing Obama to act.

But the movement in her case, she said, raises the likelihood that she will soon be able to return to New York to conduct the city residency in person, a melding of the artistic and the civic that she said was rife with possibility. “I think right now it’s a good moment in New York for thinking about immigration,” she said, praising Mayor Bill de Blasio’s efforts to help undocumented immigrants, including the identification card, which provides benefits like free entry to many cultural institutions, library access and prescription- drug discounts. I got the idea that this would be a good location for an art park, and who needed one more than me.” [NYT] — After source at the Smithsonian disavowed Bill Cosby’s now-proven history of sexual assault last week, the museum has officially announced that it will keep the actor’s collection: “First and fundamentally, this is an art exhibit.

She said what she hoped she could bring to the agency was “emotional knowledge” and a sense of how art is “really an experience of making something that you imagine.” “For many immigrants, the first thing that’s taken away,” she said, is “their right to be political, but what’s also taken away is their ability to dream, to imagine their identity in creative ways.” Tom Finkelpearl, the city’s cultural affairs commissioner, said that Ms. Bruguera had been one of the first artists who came to mind when city agencies began talking early this year about creating artist residencies to bring new kinds of thinking to city programs. “Tania is obviously at the forefront of this kind of art,” said Mr.

It’s about the artists,” said Richard Kurin, the Smithsonian’s undersecretary for art, history, and culture. (Also, in case you’re having trouble keeping track, here’s a list of just who is standing by Cosby and who isn’t.) [WP, Guardian] — Here’s outgoing National Gallery head Nicholas Penny’s rant on phone-toting teenagers taking up bench space intended for the elderly. (You’re welcome.) [Telegraph] For more than 30 years, Mierle Laderman Ukeles has served as an unsalaried artist in residence at the city’s Sanitation Department, helping to bring greater attention not only to sanitation workers but also — through projects like a visitors center she established at a spot where garbage is loaded onto landfill-bound barges — to conservation, consumer and labor issues. “The Sanitation Department has really been the leader in thinking about what artists and art could do,” said Mr. Carrion-Murayari is currently the Kraus Family Curator at the New Museum while Gartenfeld is founding deputy director and chief curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami. At ICA Miami, Alex Gartenfeld has organized solo exhibitions of the work of Virginia Overton, Pedro Reyes, Ryan Sullivan, and Andra Ursuta, in addition to forthcoming monographic exhibitions of work by Alex Bag, Shannon Ebner, and John Miller.

Stuart Comer, the museum’s chief curator of media and performance art, described the piece as “a watershed transition in her work, about activating a social and political space for the viewer.” Ms. In honor of Wade Thompson and his family, the spaces within the Armory building dedicated to its arts programming will be named the Thompson Arts Center at Park Avenue Armory. Thompson—an executive and founder of Thor who revamped the Airstream trailer—first began donating to the Armory because he lived across the street, saw its deteriorating condition, and became interested in saving it.

There are, apparently, consequences for those who don’t obey: George Hunter is reporting in the Detroit News that street artist Shepard Fairey was arrested on Monday. According to Douglas Baker, chief of criminal enforcement for the Detroit Law Department, customs agents at Los Angeles International Airport took the artist famous for creating the Obama “Hope” poster—and the creator of the “Obey Giant” campaign—into custody on Monday, just as he returned from a trip to Europe. Wayne County prosecutors last month had charged Fairey with maliciously destroying property, though each instance of damage was valued at less than twenty thousand dollars. Several weeks ago, The Independent reported that Fairey called the outstanding arrest warrant issued by Detroit prosecutors “hilarious” in light of the fact that he’d been commissioned to do a mural in the city.

The new building—a thirty-six-million-dollar construction—will be designed by Pei Partnership architects, and will give the institute fifty thousand square feet of space (and a three-thousand-square-foot gallery). Established in 1966, the China Institute “calls itself the nation’s oldest educational institution devoted solely to Chinese culture,” Pogrebin writes. One of ten Florida-based artists participating in the prize’s three-month show, Aguilar was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, graduating from Florida International University. “My work deals with the underbelly of American history,” said Aguilar, who explains that he tries to depict “the violence of socialization” and the urge to conform to overwhelming societal norms.

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