Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia (photo: Cville dog, via Wikimedia Commons)
"At the center of the chaos is a statue memorializing Robert E. Lee. It depicts the Confederacy’s top general, larger than life, astride a horse, both green with oxidation."
NYTimes August 13, 2017
If public art in Charlottesville Virginia is the "center of the chaos," as the New York Times says, the toppling of a Confederate statue in Durham, North Carolina, is a new tipping point. CNN reports
"The campaign to relocate Charlottesville’s Lee statue is part of a nationwide movement to critically examine and recontextualize public artworks that pay tribute to or otherwise elevate white supremacy, chief among them monuments to the Confederacy."
Hyperallergic August 13, 2017
"After Charlottesville, it should be clear now to everyone that the urgency to rid ourselves of these markers of America’s racist past comes not from some childish desire to block out painful history, but to challenge a racist present. White nationalism is not just a cultural legacy. It is an ongoing public safety crisis, and should be treated as such."
Jamil Smith LATimes Op-Ed I August 14, 2017
"The Rev. Robert Wright Lee, IV, the general’s great-great-great-great-nephew, has for years struggled with the legacy attached to the name he bears. And on Saturday, he followed along in horror when images surfaced online of a white nationalist rally defending a statue of his ancestor in Charlottesville, Va.
As white nationalists clashed with counterprotestors, and the mayhem turned deadly, Lee said he was heartbroken.
'It broke my heart to see a symbol of my family being used to allow such hate,' Lee told HuffPost. 'All in the name of what my relative stood for.' "
HuffPo August 14, 2017
"While the debate about how we memorialize figures from our past continues, we the descendants of Robert E. Lee decry in the strongest terms the misuse of his memory by those advancing a message of intolerance and hate. We urge the nation’s leaders as well as local citizens to engage in a civil, respectful and non-hateful conversation."
Signed: Robert E. Lee V, Great-great-grandson of General Robert E. Lee;
and Tracy Lee Crittenberger, Great-great-granddaughter of General Robert E. Lee.
Full Statement at Newsweek.
"No telling of General Lee’s story, however complicated, can be separated from the symbolism of the leading role he played in a grievous chapter of American history. That part — and the decisions by Charlottesville’s city council, New Orleans’s mayor and Lexington, Kentucky’s mayor to move forward with removing Confederate statues from places of honor in public spaces — isn’t complicated. The general was as cruel a slave owner as any other and fought to preserve and defend a society based on the brutal enslavement of black people that, had it persisted until today, would have included me. His cause wasn’t righteous, then or now. He’s my ancestor, and as far as I’m concerned, his statues can’t come down soon enough."
Karen Finney for the Washington Post August 15, 2017
"As members of this community, we are deeply saddened and sickened by the events that occurred in Charlottesville over the weekend. Our deepest condolences to the grieving families of Heather Heyer; Virginia State Trooper Berke Bates; and Virginia State Police Lt. H. Jay Cullen. To those still recovering from their injuries in area hospitals, may you quickly & fully recover. We hope that each of us can reflect upon and pray for a return to civility."
Save the Robert E. Lee Statue (Facebook) August 15, 2017
"Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is in the national spotlight after calling for a review of all public art.
His request for the review comes as some call for Confederate statues to come down around Louisville in the aftermath of the violence in Charlottesville, Va."
WHAS11 August 15, 2017
Short Honeymoon: Presidential bouncers are willing to toss out those crooked paper-and-ink wasters and broadcast scum out of the White House press briefing room for being the lying scoundrels and media sharks they are. And the president, a former Reality TV star, who again denounced "dishonest media," should be considered a member of the media himself. As the New York Times noted in "Trump Embraces the Look of the Presidency" the 45th President relies on his film and TV casting instincts:
And the show goes on. The new administration begins with Right and Left leaning media digging in their heels, and in the White House Press Briefing Room we saw a battle, then an almost make-good. The early returns, no surprise, will be the bickering and pushback seen during the election and transition was just a warm-up. It's all content for commentary that will be seen in art, writings, and maybe a few signs.
ELSEWHERE Hollywood Reporter on new work by conservative street artist Sabo that seeks to tweak Hollywood Anti-Trumpers. . . LATimes and New York Times reviewed the documentary “Saving Banksy.” . . . Los Angeles makes Artsy's list of best cities for street artists. . . Obama is gone but will stay in heavy rotation on community murals. Huffington Post
Catching Up on Las Vegas.
"You stare. The mind blinks. Then it happens: that hard-to-describe transporter moment when an art object becomes a portal to another world." Dawn-Michelle Baude on Shelbi Schroeder: Swoon at Sin City Gallery I Las Vegas Weekly
"Is CAC doomed? The president of its board, Melissa Peterson, puts it succinctly: Nope. " Las Vegas Weekly
Things to know about "Tilting The Basin" I Las Vegas Weekly
Amanda Horn "Tilting the odds in favor of art" I Reno Gazette Journal
Arts Town Meeting covered by Review Journal
"10 Places to See Public Art in 2017" lists Neville Wakefield's organized “Desert X" in Palm Springs. "Ed Ruscha is on the board of directors and Hank Willis Thomas (who started the first artist-run super PAC last year) and Doug Aitken (who won last year’s Americans for the Arts “Outstanding Contributions to the Arts” award) are set to install pieces." NYTimes
In Philadelphia, a section of 12,500-square-foot "Independence Starts Here" mural collapsed and fell on parked cars I NBC10
Outside the Museum of the Moving Image in New York artist Shia LaBeouf “HE WILL NOT DIVIDE US” will last the duration of Trump's administration It will be live streamed at www.hewillnotdivide.us.
Murals are now in progress at Emergency Arts for the Life is Beautiful Festival, Fafi images of French sass are beginning to appear on Fremont. Shepard Fairey takes over the wall one shared by a collaboration by Sush Machida and Tim Bavington along 6th Street. Knowing his preferred color scheme Fairey's piece will be framed well by Jerry Misko's black mural on the lower wall. It all makes for an artistic way to note September 22, the first day of fall.
Here are some links from the week.
"If I get this [silent] film saved I've earned my wings," said Jeffery Crouse at a Nevada State College summer screening of his documentary on “Little Mickey Grogan." The Review Journal has more on the project.
"How did you choose the title 'This Time Around'?" LV Weekly asks artist Mikayla Whitmore. "It’s kind of referencing nostalgia, in the sense that everything is always changing. Las Vegas is always building and tearing down these facades," Whitmore says. "This Time Around" will be on display 20 through October 7 at UNLV’s Marjorie Barrick Museum I Las Vegas Weekly
'Your first look at the public art for Life is Beautiful 2016' so says the headline at the R-J.
"Can a city known more for spectacle than cultural substance ever have a major museum of its own?"
City of Las Vegas will set aside up to 1.5 acres for The Art Museum at Symphony Park I RJ
"For every woman who’s ever been asked to smile by a complete stranger, the focal point of Jennifer Henry’s Fêted exhibit might feel strikingly familiar" I Las Vegas Weekly
"And in this wonderful city we call home, there are so many galleries displaying art by our fabulous talented artists. Downtown in The Arts District there are quite a few and in several other areas also. Google your interests, and I think you will find plenty," writes Carolyn Muse Grant, founder of the Architectural & Decorative Arts Society I RJ
Art writers Jörg Colberg (Massachusetts) and Carolina Miranda (California) poked at #askacurator I Hyperallergic
The National Medal of Arts recipients are Mel Brooks, Sandra Cisneros, Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Morgan Freeman, Philip Glass, Berry Gordy, Santiago Jiménez, Jr. , Moises Kaufman, Ralph Lemon, Audra McDonald, Luis Valdez and Jack Whitten I ArtsGov
British architect Thomas Heatherwick unveiled “Vessel" Hyperallergic I NYTimes story on "Vessel" uses the headline: "A $150 Million Stairway to Nowhere on the Far West Side" I Artsy was also terse" 'New York’s $150 Million Staircase Misses the Point of Public Art'
One of Haring's lesser-known murals in New York is threatened I NPR
"A second video installation by Bill Viola has gone on display at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, featuring a modern retelling of the life of the Virgin Mary" I ArtInfo
"The heads are a perfect illustration of the dual mission Mr. Marshall has been pursuing with a kind of holy fervor for almost 40 years now: building a sturdy bridge for figurative painting from the 15th century to ours, over treacherous spans of recent history that declared both figuration and painting to be finished — and at the same time trying to rewrite history itself." That's Randy Kennedy on Kerry James Marshall, whose retrospective opened in Chicago, will soon be in New York, then land in Los Angeles I NYTImes
FOUND OBJECTS: Holland Cotter on “Mierle Laderman Ukeles: Maintenance Art." "Ms. Ukeles is probably most familiar for her nearly four-decade stint as official, though unsalaried, artist-in-residence with New York’s Department of Sanitation. " NYTimes I More on "Maintenance Art" at Art in America I Even more from Randy Kennedy at NYTimes.
'Public Art by Björk, JR, and Yoko Ono Comes to Moscow' I Creators Project
ABOUT TIME: "101-year-old artist Carmen Herrera is finally getting the show the art world should have given her 40 or 50 years ago: a solo exhibition at a major museum in New York." NYTimes
'MoMA Will Make Thousands of Exhibition Images Available Online' I NYTimes
Street artists, from Turkey, use anonymity to accentuate the message I Index on Censorship
'Paris Is Getting Its First Museum Dedicated to Street Art' I Conde Nast Traveler
Anyone covering murals has to note Judy Baca, who just celebrated her 70th birthday. Theater scholar Luis Alfaro shares his eloquence. In part he writes: "Judy has a hilarious sense of humor. Her enthusiasm for community empowerment is unmatched. Her support of artists and community is inspiring. I will always be grateful for the many projects she has supported me with personally, from hosting fundraisers to lending space to sharing her wisdom. "
Above: Stephen Hendee created sculpture for the celebration of 30 years of public art programming in the City of Las Vegas.