Headlines: Selkirk, The Bronx and Collectionair
1) Bristol Residents Worried Public Sculpture Will be Too Creepy
Artist Frank Benson’s proposed public sculpture of the 18th century mariner Andrew Selkirk - the possible inspiration for the character of Robinson Crusoe – is under fire because it might be too creepy. To be fair, the proposed location for the public sculpture is a former graveyard near St. Andrew’s Church in Clifton, a suburb of Bristol, England. In numerous complaint letters, locals claim that the sculpture has too much potential to be creepy or “terrifying” at night, placed in the context of the former graveyard. Interestingly, Benson has done a lot of research to ensure that the sculpture not only properly does justice to its subject, but that its placement does not disturb or displace any existing graves.
2) Bronx Residents Protest Using Art to Support Gentrification
An art fair and party put on by rapper and producer Swizz Beatz in the Bronx, NY, is drawing controversy and protests. The borough of The Bronx, one of the poorest neighborhoods in the region, is seeing massive displacement of locals in favor of gentrification and high-priced condominium developments. The art fare, called “No Commission”, was already staged last year in Miami and features artwork by a number of selected artists who are not being represented by galleries (hence the lack of commission explained in the title.) Residents of the Bronx are taking issue with the fair and the surrounding celebration due to the Beatz’s connections to condo developers, as well as the lack of Latino or Bronx-affiliated artists participating in the fair.
3) Prize Winners Imagine a Garden Atop Abandoned World's Fair Structure
Artist duo Aidan Doyle and Sarah Wan have an interesting proposal for the New York State Pavilion Ideas Competition, a contest for artists to reimagine the site of Phillip Johnson’s Tent of Tomorrow, which was constructed for the 1964 World’s Fair and now stands forgotten and decayed in Queens. The artists’ entry is a proposal to turn the retro-futuristic tent into a lush hanging garden titled Hanging Meadows. The proposed artwork would take the form of an installation that visitors could stand in, simultaneously enjoying the greenery while taking in spectacular views of New York and the surrounding area. This idea and other proposals for the space are currently on display at a pop-up exhibition featuring design proposals for the site’s restoration.
4) "Affordable" Art Sales Website Backed by Well-Known Art Figures
A new website called Collectionair, which aims to make artworks available for slightly less-exorbitant prices, is seeing support from a number of art world heavy-hitters. Co-founded by Olivier Varenne, international curator at the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania and Valerie Konde - a former Google employee - Collectionair aims to help younger and less-recognized artists get attention on an international level, while at the same time making works available for less than $10,000. The website’s advisory board thus far includes Philippa Adams, director of the Saatchi gallery in London, and Adelina von Fürstenburg, curator of the Armenian Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale