see: Nam June Paik and Ai Wei Wei retrospectives at the Smithsonian

Looks like the Smithsonian’s art programming is going to force my hand to act on my daydream of visiting DC. Both of these retrospectives sound too good to miss:

Nam June-Paik: Global Visionary
American Art Museum
Through August 11, 2013

Ai Wei Wei: According to What?
Hirschhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden
Through February 23, 2012


The coming Culture Wars

Think anti-gay bullying is just for kids? Ask the Smithsonian.

That’s from LA Times critic Christopher Knight weighing in on the recent controversy in which the Smithsonian pulled David Wojnarowicz’s video from an exhibition after someone from the Catholic League complained. Subsequently, Republican representatives (who, like the Catholic League instigator, didn’t actually see the exhibit) attacked the Smithsonian and the NEA.

The merits of art–especially contemporary art that does not conform to traditional/conservative tastes or ideals of beauty–ought to be discussed and debated, not censored. By bowing to religious right pressure, the Smithsonian thought it might be playing it safe, but it showed how easily it capitulates. Homophobia is so not cool. And capitalizing on religious backlash to slash the NEA is so tired. Get over yourselves.

Cheers to Blake Gopnik and the Washington Post for their fearless coverage (afflicting the comfortable!) and alternative art space Transformer Gallery in DC and LA gallery CB1 for exhibiting the Wojnarowicz video in question.

Art & Development

free museum admission on saturday

Love free admission to museums.
Dislike junk mail.

Free admission to museums through Smithsonian on Saturday, September 25 here.

What’s the catch? Toyota will donate $1 to museums if you sign up for emails from them. That’s nice but the last thing I want in my in-box are ads for a car I’m not in the market for. I’ll take the ticket and pass on the spam. Because it’d be so much easier to donate a dollar during one of my regular visits to galleries and museums, aside from already donating art, volunteering with grassroots art organizations, and offering discounts on professional services to artists.