Festival season is upon the creative community, and the art business is booming: Artrepreneur’s parent company officially launched its online platform designed exclusively for creatives, while Harper’s Bazaar announced plans to celebrate its 150th anniversary in style, and everyone’s favorite indie music festival, Coachella, geared up for its annual event with some psychedelic installations. The role of political art was also widely discussed in art news this week, from Vulture‘s feature about the role visual artists can play in leading resistance movements against unfavorable government action, and a congressman’s stand against the removal of public art in the name of free speech.
Balancing your social media persona with your own personal and political views can often be a difficult task for the art entrepreneur: on the one hand, political reflection is at the core of artistic practice, and the role artists have played in dismantling systemic power structures has been paramount throughout the course of history. On the other hand, making political art or becoming too political on social media can have far overreaching consequences: remember last week’s Marvel comic freelance artist that got booted for his anti-Christian drawings in X-Men Gold? In the coming weeks, we’ll be exploring the do’s and don’t’s of getting political on social media, and the repercussions doing so can have on an art business.
For now, take a good look at the art news headlines affecting art business this week.
Keeping it Easy for the Art Entrepreneur
Art business is simplified, street artists find recourse, and the art world mourns the loss of a German gallerist.
Orangenius Launch Draws Creatives from Every Sector
This week, online business networking platform Orangenius debuted to much fanfare. Offering creatives unique functionalities tethered to their success as art business owners or emerging full-time creatives, Orangenius users can showcase their creative work with visual resumes and enhanced portfolio features, upload and record ownership of and enumerate their works, and give credit to collaborators for their contributions., To celebrate the launch, a group of leading authorities and experts in the contemporary art stratosphere led a panel discussion on strategies for creative success: Participants included Sotheby’s Institute CEO Christine Kuan, The Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation’s art program director Heather Pontonio, and Jennifer Solomon, the COO at Art Students League. If you didn’t have a chance to attend, you can read their advice on Artrepreneur. Via Artrepreneur
McDonald’s Rips Off Street Artists’ Collective
You’d think a big-time corporation like McDonald’s can afford to have a decent copyright attorney on retainer. The fast food giant decided to promote its latest offering – the “New York Bagel Supreme” in the Netherlands the “New York Bagel Supreme” – in the Netherlands and have used street artists’ art in their ads without their consent. The Bushwick Collective, the group of graffiti artists that includes names like Don Rimx, Beau Stanton, Virus, NDA, Atomik, and Himbad, and whose murals were featured in the ad, are threatening with a lawsuit over “copyright infringement, false endorsement, damages to their work and reputation, and profits from unauthorized use of their artwork.” The video has been since removed and McDonald’s has since made no comment, but we’re willing to bet they’ve got a lawsuit on their hand. Read our take on a similar case, in which a street artist’s work was ripped off by American Eagle. Via Artnet
Mourning the Loss of Lawyer-turned-artist Michael Kewenig
The artist and art entrepreneur owned a gallery in Germany and is credited with advancing the Arte Povera movement, which espouses a return to simple concepts and methods while highlighting natural elements. Formerly a lawyer, who then gave up his career to fully participate in the gallery’s running, Kewenig co-founded his Kewenig gallery with his wife in 1986. Together, they created a program of postwar artists from the Arte Povera movement and conceptual art. Michael Kewenig died on Monday, April 17 at the age of 69. Via Artnet
Celebrating Historic Moments with Art
A Chinese artist celebrates Philadelphia, Harper’s Bazaar makes a splash, and Coachella artists take the spotlight.
Cai Guo-Quang Tapped for Philly Celebration
To celebrate Benjamin Franklin Parkway’s 100 years in Philadelphia, artist Cai Guo-Qiang created “Fireflies,” “a fleet of customized pedicabs that will carry hundreds of colorful Chinese inspired lanterns. The work, which will be on view from September 14 through October 8, will be accompanied by a light and movement performance on the opening night. Cai Guo-Qiang often works with gunpowder and fireworks, producing ephemeral, starry-night scapes on historic landmark buildings. He’s previously been commissioned to install at the Beijing Summer Olympics, so lighting the Philadelphia boulevard should be an equally glorious event. Via New York Times
Fashion Reaches New Heights
To honor Harper’s Bazaar’s 150th anniversary, the Empire State Building will project the magazine’s 150 cover images, including those by artists such as Andy Warhol and Richard Avedon, on its north façade. Images of Stephanie Seymour, Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon, Kate Moss and more will be 500 feet tall and 186 feet wide and cover 42 floors of the Empire State Building. Glenda Bailey, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, says it “will be the greatest light show the world has ever seen. It’s a tall order, but one that just might stand to the hype: Initiated by Harper’s Bazaar and Tiffany & Co., the cost of production has not been revealed. Via The New York Times
Acid Rainbows and Much Fanfare at Coachella 2017
One of the world’s most storied arts and music festival is back. Along with welcoming thousands of half-naked patrons, Coachella will welcome artists to create large-scale installations as part of the desert celebration. Exhibiting giant sculptural works are a grouping of emerging and established contemporary artists, including Gustavo Prado, Chiaozza, Olalekan Jeyifous, Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan. Artists that either perform or have their art exhibited at Coachella have the opportunity to reach demographics they might not have had access to before, making the festival a major draw for any art entrepreneur. Via Artnet
Does Politics Have Any Business in the Art Business?
Political art takes center stage as controversy swirls around the current political climate.
Public Art Controversy Over Free Speech
As if current events in politics aren’t complex enough, current events in art are raising some interesting questions. A Missouri congressman is appealing a court decision to remove public art, claiming the ruling violates his First Amendment right. The work in question depicts policemen as pigs and was called anti-police, and was previously displayed at the U.S. Capitol as part of a student art competition. David Pulphus, a student and author of the work, and William Lacy Clay, a Missouri Congressman, are claiming their right of free speech was violated when Stephen T. Ayers, the Architect of the Capitol, took the student’s work down. Naturally, the work has offended some conservative media and politicians. The painting hung for months before it was repeatedly taken down, which has only added fuel to the controversial fire. Read Art Law Journal to get our take on the role of free speech in public art. Via Artnet
Vulture Wonders Whether Political Art is the Future
Artists have been known to project their feelings and thoughts into their art, and the anti-Trump movement within the art world is certainly noteworthy. Historically, political art movements have disrupted the status quo, and artists have boycotted the President by turning their art upside down, refunding money for art purchased by the Trumps. Some museums even welcomed visitors free of charge on inauguration day. However, there have been some controversies over political art that has been taken down or was asked to be taken down, and artists are banding together and are in an “all-out war.” Vulture wonders whether art about art simply isn’t enough anymore – is political art the future of art as we know it? Via Vulture
How do this week’s art news headlines affect your art business?