Must art be ethical?

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?

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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, …

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 …

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 …

Letter from London

Art21 Extended Play

Letter from London: Everything Must Go

Letter from London

Art21 Extended Play

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Art21 Extended Play

Jeff Koons: Money & Value

Art21 Extended Play

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Flash Points

Art is Murder

Flash Points

Art is Murder

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3OkEcdOtb0] When I was a kid, Alice Cooper taught me everything I needed to know about art. So, ethics in art? For the most part I’m against it, but certain …