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Losing My Human Form...

Families standing in the flooded Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, holding photos of their disappeared, 1983. Photo by Daniel García

Bullet Soaked in Piss

Andrew Castrucci is laying out artworks and artifacts at the Bullet Space. Bullet Space is an art gallery in a squat. The place recently exhibited decades' worth of work by the tin can cutting recycling artist Rolando Polliti. His constructions ornament the fence of the Plaza Cultural garden on 9th Street and Avenue C, original site of the CHARAS agitations of the 1970s.

This assemblage of artworks collected by Andrew over the years reveals something about this period of Lower East Side history, and the people who squatted these buildings. The context of the early works of the ‘80s and ‘90s is the squatter struggle.

Ai Weiwei has surgery in Germany after attack by Chinese police

from Freize:

Ai Weiwei has undergone surgery for cerebral haemorrhage in a Munich hospital four weeks after being beaten up severely by Chinese policemen in Chengdu, Sichuan province, China. In previous months Weiwei had been documenting and publicizing the names of more than 5000 children who had died under collapsing, ill-constructed school buildings in the May 2008 Sichuan earthquake. The alleged attack came on 12 August, the night before he planned to attend the trial against fellow investigator and activist Tan Zuoren, who was charged with ‘subversion’.

Suffering headache since then, which had become more severe during his stay in Munich (he is there in preparation for a show at Haus der Kunst), Weiwei went for a check-up, and doctors advised an emergency operation, he told Süddeutsche Zeitung.

On Martha Rosler's "Great Power" at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, Chelsea

A response to the Jerry Saltz review in New York Magazine.

Martha Rosler has typically been too pat and jejune in her politics, and in her assumption that it makes for good art, and Jerry Saltz correctly nails the rehash aspects of the current Mitchell-Innes & Nash show. The word "on the street" (in this case West 26th) is that Rosler is breaking no new ground, merely updating and enhancing both the scale and production values of her familiar collaging of images. Once they were taken from the Vietnam battlefield and conflated with magazine clippings from the home front: fashion models, washing machines, living room sofas and credenzas, Playboy nudes. Now they include some "relevant" Iraqi/Afghani footage - burkas and amputees - and benefit from Photoshop. Rosler might have succeeded in "bringing the war home" in 1968, but as Thomas Wolfe said, "You Can't Go Home Again". The epithet "pretty war porn" might be a bit harsh, but it is not that far from the mark.

On Creative Time's Democracy In America at the Armory

There are socially conscious nonprofits which feed the hungry, house the homeless, work with runaway or HIV-positive youth, engage in natural disaster relief. And there are arts/cultural nonprofits, generally sharing a left-liberal orientation. The two should be sympathetic and cooperative. Artists, for example, are often moved to donate work to auctions that benefit socially or politically active causes. But as the economy shrinks, there will necessarily be increased competition for fewer dollars, and organizations dealing with subsistence and survival will likely be favored over artistic endeavors. This could endanger the natural affinity between good causes and good art.

Guy Ben-Ner, "Stealing Beauty", Postmasters Gallery, Jan 5 - Feb 16, 2008

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Political art can be a dangerous quagmire, often lending to sanctimony and didacticism, to a keen embrace of the obvious by artists (and curators) who should know better. Witness the anti-capital punishment exhibition, Under Pain of Death, currently at the Austrian Cultural Forum, which adheres to the expected and respectful by being impressed with the seriousness of the issue it addresses. But in carefully covering its bases (Warhol's Electric Chair, natch, and then another one constructed from Lego blocks) it fails to ignite any passion or real interest. It remains literal, antiseptic and inert, like a UN policy paper.

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