Friday 30th September 2016The Emperor Goes to Auction
You may or may not remember one of our more hilarious stories from the past couple of months: all across America, an anarchist artist collective put up naked - and incredibly unflattering - statues of United States Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump. Anarchists have never been known to pull punches in any form, so the title of the statue series was as offensive as the statues themselves, "The Emperor Has No Balls". Sure enough, they left out a specific part of typical human male anatomy during the sculpting process.
The statues were immediately taken down by various parks departments across the country, of course, but not before they had managed to attract thousands of deeply amused viewers, and a corresponding number of selfies with the naughty and admittedly rather repellant statue.
The New York Parks Department won the entire internet that day with their simple response to the placement of the New York version of the statue, with their spokesman tweeting, "NYC Parks stands firmly against any unpermitted erection in city parks, no matter how small".
But the saga of this incredibly disruptive yet hilarious art series hasn't ended, as it turns out that during this coming October, an auction house located in Los Angeles (where one of the statues appeared in an park) will be selling the foam piece. Surprisingly enough, the estimated worth of the statue is between $10,000 and $20,000 USD, although it is only expected to fetch somewhere between $10,000 and $15,000 by the time the gavel falls.
The auction house responsible for the upcoming auction had the following to say in a published statement: "The explicit statue quickly became a symbol of political protest art and garnered international coverage when the gallery refused to hide or censor the statue, choosing instead to display it prominently and in public view."
It seems hard to imagine (pun intended) that someone would willingly pay $15,000 USD for an ugly foam statue of Donald Trump naked, but then Julien's Auctions was right to call it an important piece of political protest art. It's likely to only increase in value regardless of how the election goes in November, whether as a result of his defeat or his shockingly unbelievable ascendancy to the highest public office in the nation.
Either way, it's an interesting investment - except that in this case, it's probably not such a bad thing that art investors would be likely to lock it away from the public view.
Posted on September 30th 2016 on 09:00pm
Friday 23rd October 2015Lenin? Is That You?
Ukraine has been in the news a lot lately, thanks to the much publicized struggle going on between nationalists and pro-Russian separatists, but that's not all it's been making headlines for. Back in April of this year, the Ukrainian parliament passed a law that has become commonly known as the 'de-Communisation Law', an attempt to retrofit the public culture of modern Ukraine to more accurately match the views of its citizens. A large part of this effort revolves around the removal of Communist-themed public artworks and art installations, from sculptures to plaques to murals to statues.
Enter Ukrainian-based artist Alex Milov, who was actually born in the Soviet Union and has watch the rise and fall of Communist power in the region. He provided a truly unique twist on a sculpture of Soviet-era dictator Vladimir Lenin by transforming the statue into that of Darth Vader, the equally iconic fictional character from the Star Wars film franchise. Located in Odesa, the newly improved statue received a number of upgrades in addition to its cosmetic enhancements, which include the classic cape and helmet combination that helped make Vader so iconic in the first place.
In addition to this new attire, however, the statue was also reinforced with new construction materials to ensure that it withstands the tests of time, a helmet constructed of a titanium alloy and the whole lot painted black with a fresh coat of paint to complete the outfit. As if that wasn't excellent enough, there is also a Wi-Fi internet router located in Vader's helmet which provides free connectivity for anyone in the area. It still gets better, though. Like Han Solo trapped in carbonite, the original bronze Lenin statue is still there, inside Vader's outer trappings. "The bronze Lenin was left inside, so that the grateful or not-so-grateful descendants could exhume him if needed," Milov explained to the Ukraine Today newspaper.
"I wanted to make a symbol of American pop culture which appears to be more durable than the Soviet ideal," Milov said, speaking to the BBC. Ukraine, it seems, has managed to maintain its sense of cultural irony throughout the trying times it has seen recently, something hopefully all of us will be able to do through the power of our artwork.
Posted on October 23rd 2015 on 02:41am