The Ministry of Artistic Affairs
Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dear Visitors,

The Ministry of Artistic Affairs has a new blog address and rss feed.

Please visit us from now on at

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Please note that you can subscribe/follow our new blog by clicking the RSS icon on the left side of the page or by updating the feed url in your rss reader to

Thank you so much for your interest in our program.
The Ministry of Artistic Affairs

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

This week, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City welcomes a career retrospective of the photography of Cindy Sherman, arguably the most important living photographer. Though the show does not open officially until February 26, members of the museum can now view the preview.

Our friends at ARTINFO snapped these pictures of the exhibition. You can see the full portfolio of images by clicking here.
Monday, February 13, 2012

This February, Millennium Park is transformed into a digital canvas of light and geometrical form with its first-ever site-specific video and sound installation by the Chicago-based artistic ensemble Luftwerk. Created specifically for Millennium Park, the installation will illuminate Cloud Gate – known by many Chicagoans as “The Bean” – and its surrounding AT&T Plaza with dramatic images and colors set to music composed by Owen Clayton Condon, of the local avant-garde classical ensemble, Third Coast Percussion.

Luftwerk is the collaborative vision of Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero. By merging video and light with material, surface, and structure, they shape content into an immersive sculptural experience. Their work illuminates the realm of special events, stage, gallery and public venue. Both artists are graduates of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and have worked together for over ten years, forming Luftwerk in 2007.

Luminous Field will be on view on Friday and Saturday evenings from 6 - 10 PM, and Sunday - Thursday evenings from 6 - 9 PM.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
An interesting take on the art world. How Art Works? A serious movie about problems and solutions.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Those raucous MoMA PS1's summer Warm Up sessions are always a mess in the best way, but this year’s edition is on a mission to do more than entertain. This morning MoMA announced the winning design in its Young Architects Program, destined to stand temporarily in the PS1 courtyard and provide museum-goers with shade, seating, and sweet hydration during those sweltering parties. It's a doozy, a mass of fabric spikes christened "Wendy" and designed to do more than provide a backdrop for dancing — it also cleans the air. Over the course of the summer (starting it June), the pop-up work of green engineering will have made the same impact as having taken 260 cars off the road. Designed by New York architects HWKN, Wendy is a 70-foot-tall mass of environmentally-friendly fabric stretched by a framework of scaffolding that will spill over the different sections of the outdoor space. More so than any of the other 12 temporary structures PS1 has erected in the past, it serves as a kind of architectural Swiss Army Knife: it’s part pool, part hydrant, part soundsystem, part sculpture, and — yes — part air purifier. This morning, ARTINFO asked the architects behind HWKN, Matthias Hollwich and Mark Kushner, exactly how it's all supposed to work.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
After a few hurried but critical reads, I find myself dissatisfied with Jerry Saltz's recent review of “Damien Hirst: The Complete Spot Paintings, 1986-2011”. First published in New York Magazine, the review delivers a truncated history of Hirst’s rise to fame and makes some fast and loose comparisons between the artist and other notable creators before dissolving in a vague denouement that offers little conclusion. Much like institutional critique, I believe there is a time and place for art critical critique. It happens to be here and now.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
With their visual mastery, the works of the German photographer Andreas Gursky insist on the vast, fascinating power of the image and stand as a modern proposal for what beauty may be. Andreas Gursky’s photographs are the answer of art to ‘extreme sports’. His works grow out of hours of effort interweaving hundreds of pictures taken with the most sophisticated equipment, often from extreme positions, into one image.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Damien Hirst is the Elvis of the English art world, its ayatollah, deliverer and big-thinking entrepreneurial potty-mouthed prophet and front man. Hirst synthesizes punk, Pop Art, Jeff Koons, Marcel Duchamp, Francis Bacon and Catholicism. He’s the ­working-class hero who as a 23-year-old art student at the University of London’s Goldsmiths college organized “Freeze,” an exhibition of his artwork and that of 15 school chums.
That show, and his own work featuring living flies and maggots, dead butterflies and cut-up dead animals, de-islandized England, alerting the world that Britain was no longer a second-tier art nation. While Hirst did not act alone, it is almost impossible to imagine the Tate Modern or the “yBa” (young British artists) phenomenon of the ’90s without his ambitions and aggression. Or his easy outrages: public drinking and drugging, saying things like “Women smell of kippers,” meeting a curator naked or tucking a chicken bone into his foreskin at a bar.
Sunday, January 29, 2012

Far Out Isn't Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story depicts one man's wild, lifelong adventure of testing societal boundaries through his use of subversive art. This documentary will hit the Festival circuit in 2012.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Earlier this week Members of The Ministry were invited to a private talk with artists Tibi Tibi Neuspiel and Geoffery Pugen at Neubacher Shor Contemporary. The artists walked members through their exhibition and offered insightful information about their artistic practises.

See more photos from the event below.
Monday, January 23, 2012
// In this insightful essay from The Genteel, Ministry of Artistic Affairs member Karina Abramova explores the particular recent history that has brought Miami to the forefront of visual culture in North America. //
Miami has served many roles over the years: the glamorous rendition of the city's criminal underbelly in Miami Vice, the bloody arena of the cocaine wars, the party-hard capitol of America. But within the past decade, a new role emerged: that of a dynamic international art hub. Over the past decade, Miami's culture has been developing exponentially thanks to the proactive efforts of prominent Miamians, the city's favourable geographic location, the arrival of the weightiest art fair in the world, the tropical weather and the unmistakable duo of chic and cheesy.
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Populating My Solitude (Words and Images by Miru Kim)
Over the last ten years, New York City has grown to be my favorite city. The island of Manhattan alone has a dense, mysterious network of man-made structures soaring fifteen hundred feet aboveground and digging eight hundred feet below. The five boroughs of New York are connected by more than thirty-five bridges and tunnels that make the city a miraculous feat of engineering, architecture, and design. The city has an anatomy and a psyche as complex as that of any human being.
Experiencing feelings of alienation and anxiety in the city – a city that has increasingly become more surveilled and commodified – I began to understand how many artists and authors suffered from severe bouts of depression, inertia, and isolation, which the term spleen embodies. One of the ways I escaped such feelings was to visit desolate and hidden places in the city. Every time I stepped out of the ordinary aboveground spaces that were filled with anonymous crowds, I felt regenerated and unrestrained.
Friday, January 20, 2012
In 2003, Disney released a six minute animated short called Destino, finally bringing closure to a project that began 57 years earlier. The story of Destino goes way back to 1946 when two very different cultural icons, Walt Disney and Salvador Dalí, decided to work together on a cartoon. The film was storyboarded by Dalí and John Hench (a Disney studio artist) over the course of eight months. But then, rather abruptly, the project was tabled when The Walt Disney Company ran into financial problems. Now fast forward 53 years, to 1999. While working on Fantasia 2000, Walt Disney’s nephew rediscovered the project and 17 seconds of original animation. Using this clip and the original storyboards, 25 animators brought the film to completion and premiered it at The New York Film Festival in 2003. Destino would receive an Oscar nomination for the Best Animated Short Film, among other plaudits from critics.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
In a run-down bungalow in Los Angeles in 1969, an obscure alcoholic writer sat in a kitchen full of old newspapers and tins of bacon grease, working out his daily living expenses with a pen he borrowed from the manager of a Californian office supply company. Rent, booze, child support, food, cigarettes — about $100 a month, the writer figured. “OK” said the manager of the office supply company, “if I promise you $100 a month, for life, will you quit your job and focus on writing?” John Martin paid Charles Bukowski $100 a month, initially out of his own salary at the office supply store, in order to give the writer time to work on the waist-high stack of papers in his closet. It was the foundation of Black Sparrow Press, and the start of Charles Bukowski’s career as a full-time writer.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
In the wake of Hennessey Youngman’s hilarious and pointed YouTube critique of Damien Hirst (linked below) in which Hirst gets skewered for: a) perpretrating “a perfect storm of banality”, b) oozing an unprecedented level of “Iroc-Z Axe Body Spray douchery” and c) yes, using money as his medium, it seems an opportune moment to take a look at some other recent money-based projects as an interesting counterpoint to the art of excess. Just yesterday, Hyperallergic profiled Occupy George, an online initiative in which infographics visualizing aspects of the economic disparity in the US have been made available for anyone to download and print onto dollar bills. The stated intent? To circulate the stamped money as much as possible, passing knowledge to all who come across the bills.
Friday, January 13, 2012
A vast array of analytical essays exists in the blogosphere that seeks to explain why we collect art. Like trying to understand why we fall in love, the gamut of explanations is at once highly diverse yet difficult to nail down. The need for decorative embellishment, the expected investment value, the putting on of sophisticated airs, the desire for direct participation in culture… These certainly affect acquisition decisions and add fuel to the art market fire but they do not explain the emotional, cerebral pleasure collectors receive from their art trophies. Ask anyone who truly values the pieces they have acquired and they will describe a deep love and connection with these objects quite unlike any relationship with other inanimate things they own. What is the source of this bond?

A decade or so ago, I gradually came to the realization that, much to my disappointment and stunned shock, I was not the artistic talent I had previously believed myself to be. Though I had the temperament, passion and desire, it turned out I had none of the vision, dedication, originality nor persistence prerequisite for a life as an artist. The realization shattered my heretofore self-identity -- one I had worn like a wetsuit since my earliest teen years -- and set me off on various tangents that eventually led to my current satisfactory, pleasant and lucrative life, happy yet lacking the gushing creative outlet I had once dreamed possible and naively believed to be inevitable.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The art market defied the economic gloom to return 11 per cent to investors in 2011, outpacing stock market returns for a second consecutive year. The performance of the Mei Moses All Art index, a leading barometer of art returns based mainly on paintings sold in New York and London, beat the total return of the S&P 500 index of US equities by about 9 percentage points. The gap, the largest since 2008, was driven by strong growth in Chinese demand and high prices for the work of popular artists such as Andy Warhol.

The Mei Moses has beaten the S&P 500 in six of the last 10 years, with an average annual return of 7.8 per cent compared with 2.7 per cent for the benchmark US index. The Mei Moses tracks the prices at which individual works of art sell over time using repeat sales data, in a methodology similar to the S&P Case-Shiller property index. “Art prices are not correlated to sudden swings in stock markets but their prices tend to match changes in wealth creation and destruction. I’m not surprised by this growth as we are not seeing the wealth damage of 2008-2009,” said Michael Moses, creator of the index.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Artistic subtlety: what happened to you, bro? Just when I think I’m consuming some under-explained metaphors, I open my clutched fists and 5 white doves fly out. Likewise with reference. Why does everyone assume the only person Westerners can identify is Harry Potter? We live in a world that revolves around big, blingy, easily understood iconography (probably because we wash everything down with Red Bull… It rots your brain). There remain few works of art that play with either of these notions. Hollywood doesn’t fund original screenplays anymore. Things are not looking up.

Thankfully, Matt Groening is a smartypants, and put out a really smart, subtle show — The Simpsons — in 1989, doing a really cool thing where he didn’t assume that all of his viewers were unsophisticated Cheetos-addicted dirtbags who lived in their mothers basement (although, I’m sure a good number of them were). It seems that Groening wanted to align his show with important visual culture.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Atlanta based graphic designer, Stewart Scott-Curran, took on the task of graphically representing one of Pink Floyd’s best albums, The Dark Side of the Moon, track by track, with each poster representing a different song off the album.

As a long time fan of Pink Floyd’s lyrical magic, it is really awesome to see how well Stewart nailed the narrative and emotion these songs carry.

{more images after the jump}
Thursday, January 5, 2012

A 36-year-old woman was charged Wednesday after punching, scratching and sliding her buttocks against a painting worth more than $30 million, authorities in Colorado said.

Carmen Tisch is accused of pulling her pants down to rub up against the work, an oil-on-canvas called "1957-J no.2", by the late abstract expressionist artist Clyfford Still. Tisch allegedly caused $10,000 worth of damage to the painting.

Tisch was charged with felony criminal mischief on Wednesday and has been held on a $20,000 bond since the incident in late December, said Lynn Kimbrough, spokeswoman for the Denver District Attorney's Office.