Headlines: Venus, Akari, Backfire

1) Facebook Removes Photo of Venus of Willendorf

The Venus of Willendorf


Facebook’s image censorship algorithm caused controversy again this week when a photograph of the ancient “Venus of Willendorf” statue was taken down after being deemed “pornographic.” The 30,000-year-old statue is currently housed in the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria. Though Facebook’s own descriptions of the algorithm have suggested that nude artworks are allowed on the site, this isn’t the first case of a classical artwork being removed. Earlier in February, the case of Frédéric Durand-Baïssas vs. Facebook came to a Paris courtroom -- Baïssas has been fighting against Facebook since 2011, when his account was closed after he posted an image of Gustave Courbet’s L’Origine du Monde.


2) Marlins Sculpture Threatened in Miami

Homer by Red Grooms


Miami Marlins co-owner Derek Jeter has suggested a desire to remove a massive site-specific work of public art by Red Grooms, currently housed in Marlin Park. The work is famously flamboyant -- every time a Marlins player scores a home run on the baseball field, spouts of water shoot forth from the statue, along with various kinetic parts that are set in motion. While Jeter’s apparent distaste for the work has drawn some concern from fans, the city of Miami doesn’t seem interested in moving it.


3) On Akari, Isamu Noguchi's Ubiquitous Lanterns

A number of Akari hanging in a gallery


Did you know that those ubiquitous lantern-style lighting fixtures -- that have become so popular at furniture retailers in recent decades -- were originally artworks by Isamu Noguchi? A new exhibition at the Noguchi Museum on Long Island explores the artist’s many permutations of the lanterns (made using washi-paper casings from artisans based in Gifu, Japan, with lights added by Isamu.) The artist first started making the works, known as Akari, in 1986, and created over 200 original models during his career.


4) Wolfgang Tillmans Explores the Era of Fake News

A magazine spread photographed by Wolfgang Tillmans


Here’s an interesting and frightening essay by Wolfgang Tillmans on the era of Fake News, and the disturbing prevalence of arguments against hard truths. The essay, written in conjunction with a photographic exploration by the artist for the 64th edition of the annual German essay collection Jahresing, focused on the so-called “Backfire Effect.” The Effect was first described by a pair of American political scientists, and describes the tendency that people have to hold an opinion even -- especially -- in the face of overwhelming factual evidence that the opinion is incorrect.


5) Vogue's 100 Influencers for 2018


Vogue's list of 100 influencers in 2018


Finally, Vogue Magazine has released its list of 100 “influencers” -- artists, designers, writers, musicians, and other creative individuals who are making an impact in the social, media, or social media spheres.


Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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