Headlines: Climate Change, AIDS and Art
1) Artists Offer Their Two Cents at Climate Change Conference
As the UN climate change conference in Paris, France gets under way, artists are offering their own thoughts on the issue. Olafur Eliasson and Sheperd Fairey both have public installations addressing climate issues. The artist’s collective Brandalism has created a series of mock advertisements installed on bus shelters. The activist group Avaaz has reacted the city’s decision to ban protests for the duration of the conference by creating an art installation of thousands of pairs of shoes, standing in a silent rally.
2) Chinese Artists Respond to Smog
Similarly, the Wall Street Journal has published a small selection of examples of Chinese artists who have been responding to the country’s air pollution problem. The artworks include sculpture, installation and performance, frequently using gas masks and dust masks as a motif. An online trend has seen people drawing the outlines of buildings onto photos in which the smog is so thick that the buildings themselves are nearly invisible. The performance artist Brother Nut is currently working on a project in which he walks the city of Beijing with an industrial vacuum. The dust and pollution particles that he collects are then mixed with red clay and formed into bricks.
3) Uncover the Secrets of Art Forgery
Here’s a fascinating NPR podcast to listen to on the subject of art forgery, and how our brains can tell the subtle differences between real and fake artworks. Surprisingly, the art of forgery is not all about money, and tends to involve at least as much skill as the original artworks. Many historical forgers have gotten into the business after being spurned by the legitimate art market, seeing revenge on galleries and fine art institutions. The public perception of art forgers tends to see them more as Robin Hood-esque pranksters than master criminals.
4) Explore Art Archives for World AIDS Day
In light of World AIDS Day on the first of December, Hyperallergic offers this insight into the U.S. archives of art made in relation to HIV and AIDS topics, or by those afflicted. To quote the article, these archives and libraries are important “because they historicize and help us make sense of how the onset of AIDS has inflected our thinking about the human body as a sign and a material fact, as well as our understanding of the relations between private lives and politics, pleasure and desire, plus of course mortality.” One of the most prominent mentions is the Visual AIDS organization, which aims to use art as a way of opening discourse across social and cultural boundaries, both to increase awareness and acceptance and to continue the fight for more and better treatment options.