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Art Buzz: Ai Weiwei art directs via Skype, and rich people pay $8k for work by a nonexistent artist

No time to scan all the blogs in your Google Reader? Never fear! We’ve rounded up the five art world happenings that have bloggers and gallery-goers buzzing this week.

Ai Weiwei Art Directs a Fashion Shoot via Skype: In spite of his strictly limited travel and communication, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei – recently imprisoned for his outspoken criticism of the Chinese government – art directed an entire photo shoot for W Magazine using Skype. The editorial, slated to come out this November, follows a lavishly dressed woman who’s captured and dragged off to Rikers Island.

smART Power: Brooklyn-based music and installation artist Kabir Carter was among the fifteen talents (chosen from a pool of over 900 applicants) to participate in the Bronx Museum’s million-dollar program, smART Power. Over the course of a year, Carter and his teammates will visit countries all over the world, developing community art projects with local designers and craftspeople. For his first undertaking, Carter plans to visit Istanbul, where he’ll record individuals’ personal histories and local legends.

The “Walmart of Art”: Alice Walton, heiress to the Walmart fortune and the 10th wealthiest person in the world, began collecting art at just ten-years-old, so it was really only a matter of time before she snapped her bejeweled fingers and made her very own museum. Next month, her Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will open in Bentonville, Arkansas with a collection estimated to be worth over a billion dollars. I wonder if Walmart’s iconic smiley face logo will figure into any of the museum’s branding, though I don’t anticipate it rolling back any prices.

Martin Creed at Hauser & Wirth: Scottish painter Martin Creed creates some of the cheeriest installations around, often fashioned from bright pink paint and balloons (his first public work was a huge neon sign that declared “Everything is Going to Be Alright”). With all the rain recently, who couldn’t use a dose of super-saturated optimism? This week, folks at the Frieze Art Fair can check out his latest at the Hauser & Wirth gallery.

Eighteen Works by an Invisible Artist: An upcoming auction at Sotheby’s has art dorks and culture snobs giggling: eighteen “original” works by Nat Tate – a fictional artist whose faux bio was penned by William Boyd in the mid ’50s – have been valued between $5,000 and $8,000. If you think that’s a lot for an artist who never existed, well, you’d be wrong. According to Forbes, “it doesn’t matter that Tate doesn’t actually exist; The fake artist is more along the lines of a conceptual art project that will be further validated by an ‘authentic’ Sotheby’s sale.” Personally, I’m over all these bullshitty non-art-as-art “projects,” particularly when someone’s making an absurd amount of money off them (like the yacht Christian Jankowski did not design that he wanted to sell for $75 million as “performance art”?). Surely rich people can find stuff to spend their money on besides over-thought, over-intellectualized bunk.