This Week In Art Crime
A thirty-nine-foot banner was unfurled in the rotunda of a sparsely-attended Guggenheim Museum this evening, the latest action carried out by the Gulf Ultra Luxury Front (G.U.L.F.) activist group. Decrying labor abuse at the museum’s planned Abu Dhabi outpost, the banner announced the forthcoming “Countdown” campaign by Gulf Labor, the larger collective of artists and activists of which G.U.L.F. is an offshoot. “Countdown,” according to Gulf Labor, will consist of a series of direct actions, and follows the recently concluded “52 Weeks” campaign that saw individuals and collectives weigh in on the labor issue, with contributions from such artists as Hans Haacke, Thomas Hirschhorn, and Andrea Fraser.
The banner, reading “Stop Labor Abuse / Countdown to Guggenheim Abu Dhabi,” was brought into the museum hidden inside a baby stroller, and one G.U.L.F. member arrived in light disguise to avoid detection by the Guggenheim’s guards. Held aloft from the rotunda’s upper tier for several minutes, the sheet was torn down from below by two male guards. At one point a female guard approached the pair holding the banner, asking them if this was part of the current Zero: Countdown to Tomorrow, 1950s–60s exhibition, to which they replied it was. That guard then walked away. Though the banner was confiscated, all involved G.U.L.F. members left the museum without incident.
The painting depicted Brown’s face with the caption “Sagging pants … is not probable cause.” Will “Kasso” Condry, the artist behind the mural, said he wanted to start a conversation about racial profiling.
The Trenton Downtown Association elected to remove the image after hearing concern from police officers that the mural sends a negative message about the relationship between police and the community.
The mural was painted by artists from the Sage Coalition about two weeks ago on a gate covering the entrance to a vacant storefront on the corner of North Broad and Hanover streets to cover an illegal advertisement for a nearby liquor store.
• • •
To fight rent prices and bring a bit of whimsy to the morning commute, an unknown New Yorker set up a cardboard living room on the N train this week. The setup included a cardboard chair, stove, dresser, rug and ottoman. We don’t know much else except that the MTA didn’t find the paper room, which means angry commuters probably destroyed it at some point.
• • •
‘This is no Hitler homage, in my eyes. We find people asking something of Christ, there is someone kneeling before him. God resists the proud, but the humble he gives his grace to.
‘Hitler, however, stands imperiously at the side, alone, wearing boots, his robe somehow militaristic. Haughty and arrogant.
‘He looks like a rabbit before slaughter. He is a man on the edge, an outsider.’
Asked if he ever had a problem preaching in the vicinity of such a portrait he replied: ‘Not at all. Jesus is the winner. This is the message!’
He claims that in all the years that the church has been open for worship no-one has objected to the Hitler painting near the altar.
• • •
Bids for The Old Town Hall will begin at €4,500 ($5,600), with the sisters promising to donate ten percent of the proceeds to a charity for disabled children. They also hope to help renovate the city’s Nazi Party Rally Grounds, which are now a memorial. Though an official pre-sale estimate has not been announced, the original bill of sale is sure to boost the painting’s value, and it could easily fetch tens of thousands of dollars.
Several paintings by the German fuhrer, whose failed art career is well-known, have come to market at Weidler over the years. Of the five canvases previously sold at the auction house, the most recent was purchased by an anonymous Slovakian collector in January 2012 for €32,000 ($40,000). The sale of Hitler’s artworks, of which about 800 known examples still exist, is permitted unless a piece includes Nazi imagery, such as a swastika.
Several Hitler-related items have come up at auction this year, including a signed photograph of the Nazi leader as a young man. In France, the government cancelled a planned sale of Nazi memorabilia owned by Hitler and Hermann Göring after protests from Jewish groups.
• • •
“The video stopped being projected after two weeks, in response to a complaint laid by the building’s owner,” Hayeur wrote in an announcement. “Unfortunately, all attempts at dialogue and conciliation have failed, since the owner has refused to meet me. Even though projects have been shown on this wall for a few years already and it is part of the permanent projection network of the Quartier des spectacles, it appears there was no formal understanding binding the institution and the building’s owner. Since they did not have the necessary rights to continue with the projections, the Biennale de Montréal and the Quartier des spectacles have decided to withdraw the work, the latter concerned among other things that it might put in question future projects on this site.”
The complaint was allegedly not motivated by the content of the work, which was inspired by the local Occupy movement. Nearby Square Victoria served as the focal point of Occupons Montréal, hosting a camp of peaceful protesters between October 15 and November 25, 2011. Hayeur visited the site, which was renamed “Place du peuple” (“People’s Square”) by the protesters, taking photographs and recording the slogans being chanted. She then incorporated these records of the protests into “Murs Aveugles.”
“It is made up of graffiti, slogans, symbols and citations that are superimposed on the projection surface to form virtual murals,” Hayeur explains in the project’s description. “I use it to tackle topics such as gentrification, social inequalities, media convergence, the environment … Different language levels are brought together to abolish hierarchies.”