The Week In Culture: July 14 - July 21
Hot enough for you?
Hydrate. Hunker down. The politics of art is just heating up, and with no immediate end in sight.
Fans of Exit Through the Gift Shop will remember Mr. Brainwash as a graffiti upstart of undetermined pedigree: there were rumors he was some sort of meta front for a collaboration between Banksy and Shepard Fairey. He turned out to be Thierry Guetta, and now he appears to be shilling for Kate Moss. British Vogue reported he just put up a mural of her in London's Oxford Street. And with Vogue in the act, her stock just rose again. Good thing George Michael booked her before all this. Hold on. Is Guetta fronting for George Michael?
They should all be watching their backs. Overcome by Olympic fever, UK police have been preemptively arresting graffiti artists in order to release them under extremely strident circumstances: they can't go near the tube, be in possession of "unset paint," and can't go within a mile of any Olympic venue. Is that really the best way to scrub up for company? And where is Banksy, who had no compunction about taking swipes at the Diamond Jubilee? So far the score remains Police 1, Banksy... wait, the international judges are conferring.
New York artists, on the other hand, are not afraid to get into political food fights. Dustin Yellin threw a Dining for Democracy Democratic Party fundraiser this week at his Red Hook art warehouse, the Intercourse. And on the other side of that very same coin we had the Wall Street headbanger's fundraiser for first responders, also via the scrupulously egalitarian Velvet Roper.
Not to be outdone, LA artists also took a stand. After losing every last one of their artists from the board this week, LA MOCA's Jeffrey Deitch finally released a statement. In it he underscores the need for institutional relevancy and refers to art as a cross-cultural platform, which it certainly should be. But seasoned as it was with phrases like "scholarly" and "historical importance," it would seem they are somewhat on the run. With heavy-hitters like John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha, Barbara Kruger and Katherine Opie bailing, they should be. Especially given the stinging resignation letter by Kruger and Opie, which called into question the financial pressures that increasingly push museums to favor crowd-pleasers.
And finally, for the concerned, Pussy Riot is still in jail. A closed-door session at Khamovnichesky District Court to determine their status was scheduled for Friday. They each face seven year sentences.