Must art be ethical?

Marina Abramovic's "An Artist's Life Manifesto," MOCA Gala 2011.

Looking at Los Angeles

Looking at Los Angeles | Local Dancer Meets Mother of Performance

Looking at Los Angeles

Looking at Los Angeles | Local Dancer Meets Mother of Performance

When it comes to paying artists whose bodies provide the art, when is mere “compensation” not enough?

Cengiz Tekin, "Enentegre," C-print, 2007. Courtesy of the artist and Outlet-Istanbul.

Turkish and Other Delights

Turkish and Other Delights | Cengiz Tekin

Turkish and Other Delights

Turkish and Other Delights | Cengiz Tekin

If Şener Özmen (the subject of last month’s Turkish and Other Delights post) is the godfather of Diyarbakır’s contemporary art community, then his long-time collaborateur, artist Cengiz Tekin, is its …

Carlos Motta Brief History of U.S Interventions in Latin America Since 1946 (2005) Freely distributed newsprint publication, 22 x 16” View of a newsprint during exhibition at CCS Bard Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, 2008 Courtesy of the artist

5 Questions for Contemporary Practice

5 Questions for Contemporary Practice with Carlos Motta

5 Questions for Contemporary Practice

5 Questions for Contemporary Practice with Carlos Motta

While Carlos Motta’s work exists through a number of different media, I think of it primarily as putting forth a series of socially and politically committed archives. These archives are …

Sener Ozmen

Turkish and Other Delights

Turkish and Other Delights | Şener Özmen

Turkish and Other Delights

Turkish and Other Delights | Şener Özmen

While preparing to travel to Diyarbakır, the largest city in southeastern Turkey, I discovered that telling Turkish people who live outside of that region that you’re going to visit Diyarbakır …

Gregory Sholette,

Inside the Artist's Studio

Inside the Artist’s Studio | Gregory Sholette

Inside the Artist's Studio

Inside the Artist’s Studio | Gregory Sholette

Gregory Sholette is a New York-based artist, writer, and founding member of Political Art Documentation/Distribution (PAD/D: 1980-1988), and REPOhistory (1989-2000). A graduate of The Cooper Union (BFA 1979), The University …

Tomorow Is Another Day

5 Questions for Contemporary Practice

5 Questions (for Contemporary Practice) with Not An Alternative

5 Questions for Contemporary Practice

5 Questions (for Contemporary Practice) with Not An Alternative

I encountered the art group Not An Alternative for the first time about a month ago in Corona, Queens, where Tania Bruguera (featured last month in 5 Questions) had assembled …

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Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment | In Poor Taste,* Lunch with Jani Leinonen

Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment | In Poor Taste,* Lunch with Jani Leinonen

I was waiting in line to buy a movie ticket when I heard the news: Jani Leinonen had been incarcerated. Conversations with my Finnish friends in the previous weeks had …

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5 Questions for Contemporary Practice

5 Questions (for Contemporary Practice) with Tania Bruguera

5 Questions for Contemporary Practice

5 Questions (for Contemporary Practice) with Tania Bruguera

Tania Bruguera’s long and various career as an artist starts with a series of works made after, but mainly through, the Cuban-born artist Ana Mendieta. I say “through,” because in …

biriken (left: Melis Tezkan, right: Okan Urun). Photo by Beatriz Toledo. Courtesy of biriken.

Turkish and Other Delights

Turkish and Other Delights | biriken

Turkish and Other Delights

Turkish and Other Delights | biriken

biriken is the five year old interdisciplinary, collaborative project of Melis Tezkan and Okan Urun. Working at the intersection of performance art, installation art, and traditional theater practice, Tezkan and …

Photo courtesy of Vasif Kortun.

Turkish and Other Delights

Turkish and Other Delights | An Interview with Vasıf Kortun (Part II)

Turkish and Other Delights

Turkish and Other Delights | An Interview with Vasıf Kortun (Part II)

Following is the second half an interview Elizabeth Wolfson conducted with Vasif Kortun. Read part one here. — Ed. Perhaps more than any other individual, Vasıf Kortun has redirected the …

Katarzyna Kozyra, "Olimpia," detail, 1996. Deposit of the National Museum in Cracow. Courtesy Zachęta National Gallery of Art.

Dissecting the Social Self: A [Wo]Man, an Animal, and an Ambiguous “I.”

Dissecting the Social Self: A [Wo]Man, an Animal, and an Ambiguous “I.”

At the turn of December and January, the myriad summaries and best-of lists of the past year I browse through coincide with a more personal check-up. There is no better …

David Wojnarowicz, "Night Train Dream" 1983  P.P.O.W Gallery

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Teaching with David Wojnarowicz (and Not Teaching with the Smithsonian)

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Teaching with David Wojnarowicz (and Not Teaching with the Smithsonian)

In light of the recent debacle at the Smithsonian involving the removal of David Wojnarowicz’s A Fire in My Belly, I thought it might make sense to suggest some ways …

William Powhida, "Unconscious Collaboration (number 1)," 2008, edition of 75. Screenprint and digital inkjet with collage, image: 11 1/2 x 19 3/4 in., sheet: 22 x 30 in.  Courtesy Lower East Side Printshop, New York.

Ink: Notes on the Contemporary Print

Ink | Notes from Underground: William Powhida

Ink: Notes on the Contemporary Print

Ink | Notes from Underground: William Powhida

The contemporary art fair Art Basel Miami Beach takes place this week, bringing with it a flurry of activity.  In the spirit of participation, Ink is dedicated this month to …

The Saatchi Gallery, 2008.  Courtesy Jim Linwood, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

An unlikely gift horse

An unlikely gift horse

A short post today and a follow-up, of sorts, to my earlier post Timing is Everything.  It was announced on Thursday afternoon that Charles Saatchi would be gifting a substantial …

Liverpool Problem - Liverpool problems were submitted by video booth and anonymous postcards

Pardon This Brief Commercial Interruption: Ghana Think Tank

Pardon This Brief Commercial Interruption: Ghana Think Tank

In 2006, Christopher Robbins, John Ewing, and Matey Odonkor came together to form Ghana Think Tank, a problem-creating project with the motto Developing the First World. Drawing from their experiences …

Hans Haacke, "MetroMobiltan", 1985, Fiberglass construction, three banners, and photomural, 11' 8" x 20' x 5', Collection Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.

Pardon this Brief Commercial Interruption: Intro

Pardon this Brief Commercial Interruption: Intro

The United States has always fostered a strange and ambiguous relationship to the arts.  In 1825, John Quincy Adams recommended that the country establish a national university, observatory, and other …

Nathan Mabry, Installation Shot, 2008. Courtesy Chery and Martin Gallery.

Flash Points

Flash Points Wrap-Up: Art For Life

Flash Points

Flash Points Wrap-Up: Art For Life

A friend of mine dated a composer once. He was a good composer. People found his music “inventive” and “ubiquitous” (in a good way). All of his friends were musicians, …

Carey Young, "Speech Acts," 2009, installation view at Contemporary Art Museum St Louis. Photo: David Ulmer.

Flash Points

Some Alternatives to Institutional Critique

Flash Points

Some Alternatives to Institutional Critique

In 1974, Hans Haacke mounted an index of the museum’s corporate sponsors and board of trustees along the Guggenheim’s walls. The work, simply titled, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Board of …

Message found in a fortune cookie. Photo by Holly Witchey.

Flash Points

What’s In a Code of Ethics?

Flash Points

What’s In a Code of Ethics?

I am not a professor of ethics.  I have been a curator and a director of new media at a major art museum, but I am first and foremost an …

Alfred Molina as Mark Rothko in 'Red'

Letter from London

Letter from London: Everything Must Go

Letter from London

Letter from London: Everything Must Go

John Logan’s play Red, currently playing at the Golden Theater, New York, centers around a perennial ethical conundrum many successful artists face: whether or not to “sell out” to corporate …

From "Torture of Women" by Nancy Spero, Siglio Press (c) 2010 / photos courtesy National Gallery of Canada

Flash Points

Nancy Spero’s Torture of Women

Flash Points

Nancy Spero’s Torture of Women

“In our day, [when] we came back from war,” said Seymour Hersh to Bill O’Reilly in 2004, “We would take our pictures and hide them behind the socks in the drawer and …

Shopping bag from the 2009 Armory Show. Photo credit: David Willems.

Flash Points

Is the Avenue for Artistic Success Ethical?

Flash Points

Is the Avenue for Artistic Success Ethical?

Accepting the trope of the struggling artist, many decide to go ahead and brazenly attempt to carve out a spot for themselves in the art world. You just need to …

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Looking at Los Angeles

The Ring Festival and the Confined Deep

Looking at Los Angeles

The Ring Festival and the Confined Deep

All my windows look into windows of other apartments and, on warm days like those we’ve had lately, I’m set up for delicious eavesdropping. I like it best when my …

Mural by Sofia Maldonado. Photo by Alex Mateo.

Flash Points

“That’s Not Us”

Flash Points

“That’s Not Us”

Do artists from underrepresented demographic groups have a responsibility to represent their ethnicity in a positive light?  This is not a new question, in fact, it seems to re-enter the …

A view of the chalkboards that covered the walls of the Winkleman Gallery during the #class exhibition. Visitors were welcome to write or draw what they wished on the boards. (photo via Jen Dalton)

Flash Points

Chatting with #class Co-Curator Jennifer Dalton about Ethics

Flash Points

Chatting with #class Co-Curator Jennifer Dalton about Ethics

Last week, the #class exhibition at the Winkleman Gallery closed after a month of functioning as New York’s laboratory for art world gripes, think tank for new ideas, and classroom …

Screenshot of the IMA's Dashboard (http://dashboard.imamuseum.org/).

Flash Points

Deaccessioning Without Putting Your Mission up for Sale

Flash Points

Deaccessioning Without Putting Your Mission up for Sale

Museums have been disposing of objects since they began acquiring them.  The first documented “deaccessioning” may have involved some of the decayed remains of a Dodo bird, destroyed at the …

Photo courtesy of Winkleman Gallery, New York.

Flash Points

The Nonexistence of “Unethical Art”

Flash Points

The Nonexistence of “Unethical Art”

I’ll agree with Ben Street who said in his recent post that there is “no consensus about the difference between ethics and morals, so let’s be broad about it.” This …

'Their relationship was based on preparing absurdly complicated recipes using overpriced ingredients' from unhappyhipsters.com

Letter from London

Letter from London: Ethic Minority (2)

Letter from London

Letter from London: Ethic Minority (2)

There’s a lot of discussion and almost no consensus about the difference between ethics and morals, so let’s be broad about it: both are proposals about how to live. Those …

mr-creosote

Gastro-Vision

Gastro-Vision: In the Land of Plenty

Gastro-Vision

Gastro-Vision: In the Land of Plenty

Mr. Creosote, the morbidly obese character of the 1983 comedy Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, is a picture of gluttony never to be forgotten. Upon taking his seat in …

Jeff Koons: Money & Value

Jeff Koons: Money & Value

DOWNLOAD VIA ITUNES | SUBSCRIBE VIA RSS Episode #098: Artist Jeff Koons discusses themes of money, desire, perfection, and moral responsibility. Filmed in his busy New York studio and surrounded …

new museum

Flash Points

The Conflation of Ethics and Morality

Flash Points

The Conflation of Ethics and Morality

I’ve drawn myself into a debate over ethics and morality with my work, How the New Museum Committed Suicide with Banality (view the high-res version here). I threw a brick …

Matthew Broderick in 'Election'

Letter from London

Letter from London: Ethic Minority

Letter from London

Letter from London: Ethic Minority

“There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written. That is all.” — Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray …

Alec Soth, "Donald and Tamara," from the series, "NIAGARA," 2004

Flash Points

The Process Behind the Portrait

Flash Points

The Process Behind the Portrait

The practice of photographic portraiture is rife with ethical implications – from the subject’s awareness of the project, to the artistic choices made throughout the session, to the work’s resulting …

Guillermo Vargas, "Exposición No.1," 2007. Galería Códice, Managua, Nicaragua.

Flash Points

You Are What You Read

Flash Points

You Are What You Read

What are the ethical implications of using live animals in art? In 1974, Joseph Beuys caged himself with a live coyote for a performance piece called I Like America and …

Jeff Koons, "Girl with Dolphin and Monkey (The Whitney Museum of American Art 75th Anniversary Photography Portfolio), 2006. Courtesy Whitney Museum

Flash Points

The Puppy Wars

Flash Points

The Puppy Wars

The eerily small, closely watched world of New York art criticism experienced some infighting earlier this month, following the publication of February’s The Brooklyn Rail. “I think that there are …

Salvador Dalí, First Cilindric Crono-Hologram. Portrait of Alice Cooper's Brain, 1973

Flash Points

Art is Murder

Flash Points

Art is Murder

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video When I was a kid, Alice Cooper taught me everything I needed to know about art. So, ethics …