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Tuesday 11th January 2011Ruins Make Some Great Viewing

"Ruins are the visible symbols and landmarks of our societies and their changes, small pieces of history in suspension....Photography appeared to us as a modest way to keep a little bit of this ephemeral state."
These are the words of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre in their statement on their photographer website. Their description of ruins and what they mean to civilisation are particularly pertinent when you take the time to look through their photographic project entitled, The Ruins of Detroit
Detroit was once the central hub of the American automobile industry. Home to car manufacturer Henry Ford and the first ever large-scale production line, Detroit became a hugely affluent and densely populated place that oozed the American Dream.
However, all good things come to an end. The 1950's and 60's saw the rise of more affluent neighbourhoods in the suburbs, and 1967 in particular saw one of the most violent riots in American history take place due to race tensions in the city, causing parts of Detroit to disintegrate and eventually turn to ruin as a consequence.
The Ruins of Detroit is the culmination of a 5-year collaboration that has seen the creation of some truly stunning and intriguing photographs that capture the remnants of this fascinating history. All manner of monumental and exquisite buildings sit in decay alongside the shells of Detroit's industrial past. 
Below are a few of our favourites, but to view a larger selection and to learn more about the photographers and their projects, visit their website.
Michigan Central Station
Atrium, Farwell Building
United Artists Theatre
Ballroom, American Hotel
Packard Motors Plant
Fisher Body 21 Plant

Posted on January 11th 2011 on 06:26pm
Labels: photography

Sunday 09th January 2011Bonhams to Sell Green Peace Poster by Banksy

Auction house Bonhams, of Bond Street, London, are to sell an original artwork created by the popular street and graffiti artist Banksy. The artwork was created as part of the Green Peace Save or Delete campaign. The work is to go on the auction block on the 11th January, as part of Bonhams' Urban Art Sale, and is thought to be able to fetch in the region of £60,000 - £80,000. 
The unique artwork, which features some of the characters from Disney's The Jungle Book, was created as part of Green Peace's efforts to highlight the growing problem of global deforestation. As the characters sit in a ruined forest, in front of an executioner, they help Banksy to superbly comment on the state of global affairs where deforestation is concerned. By superimposing these extremely recognisable characters onto an image of a destroyed forest, Banksy brings the issue of deforestation, a little closer to home. 
The use of figures from the animation classic give us all a basis from which to relate to the issue. Unfortunately, the image never went into full print for the campaign due to protectionist policies at Walt Disney, but the image did make it into Banksy's book, Wall and Piece
The Bonhams sale takes place this coming Tuesday, and features 9 other works from the artist including Balloon Girl of 2005, Bomb Love of 2004, Rude Copper of 2002 and Have A Nice Day of 2002; a bonus for fans of the infamous street artist. 

Posted on January 09th 2011 on 04:45pm

Saturday 08th January 2011Times Square Art Take Over

Times Square is perhaps one of the best known locations in the world. Sat in the middle of Manhattan in New York City, Times Square is a giant light show that advertises everything from Coca Cola to the latest Broadway hits, TV shows to the latest in designer brands. 
Now imagine if Times Square was transformed from a hub of advertisements into a gallery of art? That would be brilliant! While many of us may sit and just imagine what that would be like, some people, like Justus Bruns, spring into action and try to make it happen. 
Bruns is the 22-year old creator of the nonprofit, Times Square to Art Square (TS2AS); a project which aims to turn all of the billboards in Times Square into a display of art for just one day. 
Using the power of social media to build up momentum for the project, Bruns set an aim of raising $10,000 by Autumn 2012. One of the ways in which TS2AS is raising money is through a creative funding platform called Kickstarter. Here, you can submit your project, with a financial goal, and then solicit pledges to make that goal come true. Currently, the project has raised $4,351 from 106 backers, and there are 4 days left to go on that particular money raising campaign. You can also donate directly on the TS2AS website. 
While the project is certainly inspirational, there has been criticism that, in fact, it would cost $24million to buyout the advertising in Times Square for just one day. Therefore the target of $10,000 is no where near enough to make an impact on one of the most lucrative advertising spaces in the world. 
However, to clarify - the idea is not to buyout the advertising for a day. The above, million-dollar figure probably goes a long way to explaining why that is not the goal. The money that is raised by TS2AS will be used to raise awareness of the project and get people on board. If they can get enough support, then there's the chance to get the advertises on board with project as well. 
If you want to see Times Square turned into an Art Square, you can make a donation to the project, or keep up with the projects progress at the TS2AS website.

Posted on January 08th 2011 on 11:54am

Wednesday 05th January 2011Sally Mann: Back In Print for all the Right Reasons

Sally Mann, Emmett, Jessie and Virgina, from the Immediate Family Series, 1989
Sally Mann is easily on of the most talked about, celebrated and debated photographers out there and is perhaps best known for her large scale photographs of her own children when they were just youngsters, and her later landscape work. 
Sally Mann has received a lot of criticism for her work and continues, even now, to be used in debates regarding the decency of the fine art photograph and where the line lies between observational photography and pornographic imagery. Mann's case in this regard is particular severe, as accusations of producing pornographic imagery centered around her third major collection of works; Immediate Family. Published in 1992, Immediate Family was a documentary account of the lives of her three children, taken at the family's summer cabin. In many of the pictures, her children, who were all younger than 10 years of age, could be seen naked. The work explored themes of growing up and exploration, of playing games and enjoying life as well as darker themes of death and loneliness. 
Controversy was widespread and intense when the publication was released, with accusations of child pornography flaring up. Various parties reacted in different ways, with the Wall Street Journal famously moving to censor an image of one of Mann's daughters. Other critics however, stood by Mann in her argument that these are innocent and natural pictures taken by a mother, of her children, and that there is a raw humanity about them that everyone can relate to. 
Having survived the backlash to go on and produce further works, and gain critical acclaim for series such as Still Time of 1994, What Remains of 2003 and Deep South of 2005. Notably, for many of the famous landscape shots that feature in some of these series, Mann used wet plate, 8 x 10 inch glass negatives, a method requiring a lot of care, skill and patience, that had long been neglected for more modern photographic techniques.
The photographic organisation, Aperture, along with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts now presents the latest book on the work of Mann; Sally Mann: The Flesh and The Spirit. The publication, which includes a range of works and topics from Mann's oeuvre, including sill life polaroids, images of her children, stark landscapes and more recent self-portraits, is the first thematic survey of Mann's work, and stands as a book that should not be neglected by anyone serious about photography. 

Posted on January 05th 2011 on 06:25pm
Labels: photography

Tuesday 04th January 2011Top Tales of 2010, Straight from ARTINFO

I'm a big fan of blog posts or articles that list a top number of anything. As a society we all seem to really love it; the top ten most expensive, the top 50 most powerful, the top 20 fails, top 10 tips, top 100 do not do's....the list goes on. 
To celebrate our love of lists, order and categorisation, I wanted to draw your attention to ARTINFO's latest top list; Sex, Scandal, and iPads: ARTINFO's Most-Read Stories of 2010. The ARTINFO Daily Arts Digest drops conveniently into my inbox about mid-afternoon, and I can fully appreciate the humour and more relaxed mode of language that they use to engage their readers. The subheading in the e-newsletter for this particular story read: "These were the lurid tales you liked the most last year, you animals." How could I not click on it?
While the introduction to the list of top articles points out that, once again, sex, money and politics rein supreme, I was more enthused to see that an article about the Top 10 Artist Websites had made it in at number 9, showing a huge interest on the part of ARTINFO readers in what sorts of websites artists and photographers have to offer.  Once I'd finished drooling over some of the offerings in that article, including sites for Olafur Eliasson (no.3), Ed Ruscha (no.5) and Jeff Koons (no.10), I returned to see which articles had beaten, or been beaten by the Top 10 Artist Websites.
Falling short of the 9th position in the list, there are plenty of articles that fulfill the 'sex quota' for the list and go some way to explaining the aforementioned "you animals" comment. With titles spread across the year such as "The Erotic Mirror: Four Female Photographers Turn Their Naked Eyes on Themselves", "Sarah Palin, Memorialized with Porn Art" and "Will Cotton's Latest Confession? A Naked Katy Perry", there's no shortage of perhaps the best selling subject of all time. 
Subjects that beat the Top 10 Artist Websites article include unseen photographs of Michael Jackson coming up at auction, a look at the Worlds Wealthiest Artists, and at number 1 an article about photographer Richard Misrach and how Apple used one of his photographs as the background on the iPad when they launched it last January, making the photograph instantly famous around the world. 
Take a look at this great list, complied by ARTINFO, and relive some of the greatest art stories of 2010. 
Happy New Year!

Posted on January 04th 2011 on 05:51pm
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