Recent Feed Items

Tiananmen Square: Do you exclusively paint Thomas Kinkade paintings?

Tiananmen Square: Do you exclusively paint Thomas Kinkade paintings?

June 3, 2009

Four years ago, in preparation for a research visit to Shenzhen’s Dafen Painting Village, I requested that roughly a dozen Chinese painters paint a copy of the image of the man standing in front of the tanks during the Tiananmen Square protest on June 4, 1989. I did this partly out an interest in copies and reproductions and partly just to see if I could do it: the image is famous worldwide, but I have since learned it is virtually unknown under Chinese national censorship.

Tiananmen Square: You can add the person to painting when you get it.

Tiananmen Square: You can add the person to painting when you get it.

Of the dozen requests I sent, most were returned with a price and the universal salutation “it is a pleasure to do business with you.” A few painters suggested I just leave the man and the lamp post out, often for unclear reasons: political or aesthetic? One person outright declared that he could not paint the image. I have titled each image with a snippet of dialogue from the negotiations for each painting.

Tiananmen Square: The man and the white lights will be painted or not?

Tiananmen Square: The man and the white lights will be painted or not?

Twenty years have passed since that violent government crack down on the twenty-something college students occupying the public square in pro-democracy protest. Enough time for the protestors’ children to grow up without ever seeing this famous image that was eradicated by the media. It lies cloaked lies cloaked in Google searches, behind the Great Firewall of China.

Tiananmen Square: our art products will give you total satisfation

Tiananmen Square: our art products will give you total satisfation

This famous image did not exist. This was one manifestation of China’s pattern of Internet censorship. Another pattern was that if a scandals breaks out in China, all webpages outside of China are temporarily disabled. During my month there, two regional politicians were caught in corruptions investigations. One of them was sentenced to death, and the other killed himself. The official reports glossed over the details, and focused on the new appointee. The New York Times, on the other hand, did an in-depth analysis, which I happened to read, as I was up at a strange jet-lagged hour. It was gone the next day.

Tiananmen Square: composition without lights

Tiananmen Square: composition without lights

Just yesterday the New York Times published a small series of editorials about the anniversary. And just now they are reporting on extensive shutdowns of most major communications platforms, from the NYTimes.com to Twitter. Ironically, that article will not make it through the firewall either.

Tiananmen Square: kindly please follow instructions for online payment

Tiananmen Square: kindly please follow instructions for online payment

My translator & fixer that helped me get access to the painting factories said she had never seen this image. She was a very successful college-educated journalist, who was leaving China to work in Canada. She was a worldly person. She had heard stories but she refused to believe them; stories from family friends whose children disappeared that day, 20 years ago tomorrow.

Chinese people forgot the history

Tiananmen Square: Chinese people forgot the history

I send images of these paintings out now as a quiet memorial, and an attempt to reseed this image of strength in the face of threats to humanity, tyranny, and the freedom of information

Michael

If you are at Maker Faire this weekend, stop by the Etsy booth to win 1 of 50 free copies of my book, Fashion Geek: Clothes, Accessories, Tech being given away in the goody bag raffles.

If you are at Maker Faire this weekend, stop by the Etsy booth to win 1 of 50 free copies of my book, Fashion Geek: Clothes, Accessories, Tech being given away in the goody bag raffles.

Here are stills of the stencil I put up on the ads that went up on wall outside Eyebeam. And two images from people who answered the call!

Graffiti not ads @ Eyebeam

Graffiti not ads @ Eyebeam

Graffiti not ads @ Eyebeam

Today Ars Electronica announced the winners of the Prix Ars and the New York Times Special Edition won an Award of Distinction in the Hybrid Arts category. Steve Lambert will be accepting the award at the Ars Electronica Festival in September as a member of Because We Want It: a coalition of artists, activist groups, and everyday citizens who contributed to the project.

arslogo

About Prix Ars:

Since 1987, the Prix Ars Electronica has served as an interdisciplinary platform for everyone who uses the computer as a universal medium for implementing and designing their creative projects at the interface of art, technology and society.

The Prix Ars Electronica, the Ars Electronica Festival, the Ars Electronica Center – Museum of the Future and the Ars Electronica Futurelab are the four divisions that comprise the Ars Electronica Linz GmbH, whose specific orientation and long-term continuity make it a unique platform for digital art and media culture.

The competition is organized by the Ars Electronica Linz GmbH and ORF’s Upper Austria Regional Studio in collaboration with the OK Center for Contemporary Art and the Brucknerhaus Linz, and the prizes are awarded during the Ars Electronica Festival each year. The Prix Ars Electronica is one of the most important awards for creativity and pioneering spirit in the field of digital media.

Opening Reception + Performances: 7-9:30 pm, June 19

“Our Subject is You” is the first exhibition organized by the Weatherspoon Art Museum to focus on participatory art. The artists in the exhibition rely on the involvement of the public in order for their work to be realized. They form avenues for meaningful engagement within the context of the gallery, inviting museum visitors to contribute to the creation of artwork through social interaction, collaboration, and/or performativity. Artists included in the show are Tonico Lemos Auad (Brazil/UK), Harrell Fletcher (USA), Nina Katchadourian (USA), San Keller (Switzerland), Steve Lambert (USA), Darren O’Donnell (Canada), Sherri Lynn Wood (USA) and Erwin Wurm (Austria).

In the exhibition, museum visitors will take part in the formation of artwork and through special live participatory events at the June 19th opening. Through this process, “Our Subject is You” anticipates visitors will become aware of a collapse between the traditional boundaries that define spectator from artwork, or spectator from performer, and perceive themselves to be active participants in the creation of art and culture.

The embrace of social collaboration in art has its roots in the Happenings and interactive works produced by artists such as Yoko Ono and Alan Kaprow in the 1960s. Now reformulated by globalization and the widespread use of the internet, the works in “Our Subject is You” reveal how participatory practice has increased in relevance—and prevalence—among artists over the past decade.

“Our Subject is You” is co-curated by conceptual artist and UNCG Assistant Professor of Art, Lee Walton and Weatherspoon Curator of Exhibitions, Xandra Eden. Support for San Keller’s work is generously provided by Pro Helvetia, Swiss Arts Council.

SUMMER PARTY!
Friday, June 19, 7 – 9:30 pm

Weatherspoon Art Museum – 6th Annual Summer Solstice Party + “Our Subject is You” Exhibition Premiere

An evening of music and interactive artwork. Free admission. Light food and refreshments (cash bar). Bring your cameras!

Schedule of Events

7 pm: “We Art Proud to Present” by Nina Katchadourian Not to be missed! Arrive between 7-7:30 to participate in this red carpet event.

7:45: “Weatherspoon, Dega. Dega, Weatherspoon” by Darren O’Donnell Featuring VIP guests from the Montagnard Dega Association of Greensboro.

8 pm: “Take the Stage: Open Mic” Live entertainment by Greensboro’s finest.

RELATED PUBLIC PROGRAMS

Noon @ the ‘Spoon, Tuesday, August 11, 12 pm

Artist’s Talk: Sherri Lynn Wood, Thursday, August 20, 5:30 pm

Workshop: Group Stitching Mantra (led by Sherri Lynn Wood), Saturday, August 22, 2-4 pm $10 members/$20 non-members. Contact t_dowell@uncg.edu to register.

Co-Curators’ Gallery Talk: Xandra Eden & Lee Walton, Thursday, August 27, 4 pm

Artist’s Talk: Steve Lambert, TBA

Weatherspoon Art Museum
corner of Spring Garden and Tate Streets
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

These pix were taken right at 6pm, so there was close to no one there yet. By 7pm, the room was packed. Thanks all for coming. The show is up through June 9th. Ping me if you want a walkthrough.

Drawing Contemporaries

Drawing Contemporaries

Drawing Contemporaries

fleamarketblog

Starting this week, I will be writing Ham Radio articles for Makezine.com .  My posts beging with coverage of my trip to Dayton’s Hamvention this past weekend.

vintageradios

At the convention I started getting into vintage radios. WA3CEX had a awesome restored 1964 Collins Radio Company Communications Van.  Then I found a Heathkit Twoer in the flea market. Heathkit was one of the first companies to make electronic kits right after WWII. They started with oscilliscopes and later made many kits including radios. Since Heathkits were kits, they eliminated the cost of assembly and were able to sell electronics much cheaper, making them accessible to everyone. The Twoer was part of the Benton Harbor Lunch Box series, cute little portable radios with a handle like lunch boxes. There were four versions the first was for CB, Citizen’s Band which anyone could operate on without a ham license (back in the day when getting a license was more difficult and required knowledge of morse code). Then there was a 10 meter (the Tener), 6 meter (the Sixer) and 2 meter (the Twoer) radio.  The one at the flea market had some damage so I am going to scour the internet and ebay for a better one. All of the Benton Harbor Lunch Box series have the same case, so I am looking for a Tener,  Sixer, or Twoer. I have not yet decided if I will restore the radio or gut it and put a new radio inside. Either way I like to operate from the park and it will be cute to sit in the park with my Benton Harbor Lunch Box radio while I am operating picnic table portable.