art

Authorities in Colombia’s capital Bogota have agreed to not remove graffiti as long as the street art is performed “in a responsible way,” following a meeting with graffiti artists who previously had claimed they were being persecuted.

This brings to nine the number of artists who have pulled out of the Biennale because of its partnership with Transfield, which manages the offshore detention of asylum seekers. Agnieszka Polska, Sara van der Heide, Nicoline van Harskamp and Nathan Gray announced today they would not participate in the prestigious exhibition. They have asked the Biennale to leave their spaces blank so their protest will be obvious.

When it comes to Italy's enormous art heritage, officials are often faced with an unbearable choice: Which pieces should be saved when the government can't afford to save them all? Now, thanks to an online vote, it's up to Italian citizens to answer that tough question. In the end, some art will get a new lease on life, but many works that epitomize Western civilization remain seriously in danger.

When Rag & Bone, an American fashion label, opened its doors in 2010 in Manhattan’s Nolita neighborhood, it was met with an unwelcome surprise. The white walls of its building were vandalized by locals and tainted with scribbles and markings. Out of this initial eyesore, the owners decided to transform the wall into a creative space for artists to showcase their artwork.

Shanghai is a city that connotes modernity and rapid economic development. Its inhabitants are known both within and without its confines as upwardly mobile, career-oriented, and financially minded. Tourists come to see bright lights on East Nanjing road and the lavishness of the Bund, both symbols of recent industrialization. What the city lacks, it is commonly believed, is historical and artistic culture.

Sheikha Al Mayassa, sister of the emir of Qatar, is by more than one account the most powerful person in the art world due to her position as head of the free-spending and ridiculously well-funded Qatar Museums Authority. Whenever the sheikha is in town, ”everyone from government ministers to mayors queue up to pay their respects,” said ArtReview, which ranked her at the top of its Power 100 list of the art world’s most influential people.

Like torture and curfews, book banning in Brazil went out with the military dictatorship almost 30 years ago. Back then, intellectuals, artists, and politicians hailed the end of the long night of authoritarian rule (1964 to 1985) with a burst of creativity and civic commotion. É proibido proibir—“Prohibition is prohibited,”—proclaimed singer and songwriter Caetano Veloso, who was censored under the military and spent years in exile. Veloso’s slogan became the meme for the new era of democratic liberty.

Embassies generally busy themselves promoting their own culture and values, spending a large sum of their financial resources inviting cultural troupes from the countries they represent. What if, in addition to promoting their own culture, they could promote the culture and talent of their host countries without committing major financial resources? Wouldn't it be a masterstroke in the practice of public diplomacy and economy of resources?

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