This Week in Art Crime
London commuters were welcomed back to work Monday morning by a series of depressing posters proclaiming that much of the nation’s workforce see their jobs as pointless.
The “subversion strike” targeted commuters on the tube, who were faced with a series of posters displaying quotes from a piece of academic writing entitled “Bullsh*t Jobs” by anthropology professor David Graeber, which appeared in Strike! Magazine on August 17.
The Special Patrol Group (SPG), a little known group thought to be the militant wing of Strike!, claimed responsibility for the posters Monday morning. The “attack,” as Strike! call it, was designed to coincide with the first day back to work for many employees.
One of the signs read: “It’s as if someone were out there making up pointless jobs just for the sake of keeping us all working.”
Another draws a quote from Graeber’s piece, claiming: “Huge swathes of people spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed.”
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A second sculpture by Jeff Koons is conspicuously absent from his retrospective at the Centre Pompidou after a photographer’s widow complained to the art star and the museum’s administration that “Naked” (1988) constituted copyright infringement. According to Claude Bauret-Allard, the sculpture is directly inspired by a nude photo portrait of a young boy and girl by her husband Jean-François Bauret, who died in January of this year.
Koons and the Pompidou have not responded to Bauret-Allard’s letter, but “Naked” is not on view in the exhibition, though wall text in the Pompidou galleries suggests it was intended to be. The work is included in the exhibition catalogue, and was showcased alongside other works in the Banality series during the show’s presentation at the Whitney Museum in New York. According to the Pompidou, the decision not to display “Naked” had nothing to do with the copyright infringement claim.
“We noticed that the sculpture was lightly damaged, presumably during transportation, and we decided not to show it,” a spokesperson for the Parisian museum told the Agence France-Presse.
“Naked” is the second sculpture in the Pompidou’s Koons retrospective to be the focus of copyright infringement claims. Earlier this month, Koons was sued by Franck Davidovici over the sculpture “Fait d’Hiver” (1988), which was subsequently removed from the exhibition.
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Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi, who operates under the artistic moniker Rokude Nashiko (translation: “reprobate child”), was indicted last week on charges that she distributed “obscene” data in the form of a computer code that would allow other people to use a 3D printer to make their own copy of a kayak based on her vagina.
Igarashi has been arrested twice this year for the project—the first time in July for attempting to raise funds online to construct the kayak, and the second time in December for allegedly distributing the code to numerous people. In the aftermath of her first arrest, she was freed from prison after an online petition that drew more than 21,000 signatures.
Japanese obscenity laws forbid the depiction of genitalia, which instead must appear censored or pixelated in film and photography. Despite this, Japan has a booming pornography industry, a strange dichotomy that Igarashi’s artwork and subsequent legal troubles have highlighted on the world stage.
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Cuban performance artist Tania Bruguera was detained by authorities in Havana before a controversial planned performance, according to the artist’s sister. The piece was to consist of installing a podium and an open microphone in Havana’s Revolution Square, allowing any interested individuals the opportunity to speak their minds for exactly one minute.
Deborah Bruguera, who lives in Italy and in the past has helped her sister manage her studio, issued a series of statements via her Facebook page stating that law enforcement officials were seen taking Tania Bruguera from their mother’s home in Havana on Tuesday morning and that the artist had not been seen or heard from since.