Archive for the ‘art’ Category

Polyester is Forever

October 7, 2015

Sotheby’s has reportedly sold a print of Robert Mapplethorpe’s 1980 photograph “Man in a Polyester Suit” for nearly a half million dollars ($478,000).


There are at least two things that this sale shows.  One, the increasing value of photographic works.  Two, despite the attempt to exploit art as a political tool, Jesse Helms and right wing conservatives ultimately failed.  Helms is dead and Mapplethorpe’s work lives on.

Artsbeat | New York Times

J.Paul Getty Museum Collection


Free Admission to PS1 for the Year

October 7, 2015

Today MOMA PS1 has announced that admission to PS1 will be free for New York City residents for the year, beginning on October 11th.  The free admission is the gift of Marina Kellen French, made in “honor of all New York City artists” and coincides with the 40th anniversary of PS1.

PS1 is located at 22-25 Jackson Avenue in Long Island City, Queens, and is usually open from noon to 6pm Thursday through Monday (closed Tuesday & Wednesdays).  It’s not clear yet as to how or if residency will be checked at the door, so consider taking a license or the NYC ID card.

For more information, see the PS1 press release at:


The Evolution of Art

August 25, 2012

Although it is fundamental that new art builds upon that of the past, it is not often that we have a clear and obvious example of this with near-immediate worldwide effect. Fortuitously, a new artwork, la Nueva version de Ecce Homo de Borja (AKA Furry Jesus) demonstrates that process quite literally.  The new work was physically constructed upon the old.

Both the new and old Ecce Homo are located in the Santuario de la Misericordia in Borja, Spain.  Although the city of Borja has apparently initiated plans to attempt a “restoration” of the foundational version of Ecce Homo by Elias Garcia Martinez, an online petition (several actually) have arisen in an effort to stop the hasty removal of the nueva Ecce Homo by Cecilia Gimenez.  One petition author suggests that the new work represents a subtle criticism of the church’s theology, creationism particularly.    The work can also be interpreted as a comment upon modern copyright law.  As a conceptual piece, (nueva) Ecce Homo is not only a physical work; the act of creating the work itself is fundamental aspect of its meaning.


In Artifactum’s view, we should not rush to erase la nueva [version de] Ecce Homo.  The place of this new work in the history of art and its value to world culture should be preserved.  Please consider signing the petition:

Additional coverage:

Huffington Post

New York Times

The Colbert Report

A Reprieve for Public Education?

April 24, 2012

According to SFGate, there is a new collaborative effort between public and private interests to restore art programs in California’s public schools.  Art education in California schools has declined since the passage of the notorious Proposition 13 in the 1970s and prior attempts to restore art programs have not been fully successful.  The circumstances apparently became worse in 2009 when schools were no longer required to use ‘art funds’ for actual art education programs.  With the budget shortages the funds were often allocated, by schools, to other areas.  Governor Gerry Brown is in support of the plan to restore art education.

Read more:  Effort Afoot to Restore Art in California Schools, Jill Tucker,, 4/23/2012

The Value of a Photograph

November 12, 2011

Andreas Gursky Rhein 2A glass-mounted print of Andreas Gursky’s Rhein II recently broke the record price for a photographic work, selling at auction for $4.3m.  As reported by BBC, the auction price greatly surpassed Christie’s anticipated sale price estimate of $2.5-3.5 million.  The buyer was not identified.

The Museum of Modern Art in New York also owns a print of Rhein II, a 61-1/4″ x 10′ 1-1/2″ chromagenic print.  The MoMA collection information about the piece indicates that in the process of making the image, Gursky digitally removed industrial buildings from the scene.

Not long ago, photographs and photographic based artworks were often relegated to the low end of the art market, but this is still in the process of changing.  Although it is an exceptional case, the sale of  Rhein II  demonstrates that artworks composed of photographic and digital media are (rightly) receiving recognition of their significance as contemporary art.  It also strongly suggests that the art market believes that photographic works will retain long-term (monetary) value, a perspective that counteracts the prior prejudice against non-traditional media as unmasterly, mass-produced objects.