ArchiveVisual Arts Articles
Initially commissioned as a birthday gift for Hugh Hefner, Jann Haworth’s soft-sculpture Playboy Bunny got a new life following a sexist encounter at London’s Playboy Club in the mid-1960s. A celebrated Pop artist and co-designer of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover, Haworth tells the tale of Maid (1966), a “working girl” who isn’t a mere sex object for men.
Natascha Sadr Haghighian
A rubber raft filled with passive world leaders, their arms locked in unity. This image—an uncredited mashup circulated online—combines a photo-op of western politicos at the Paris Charlie Hebdo march with a more recent tragedy: the deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean. It’s an apt metaphor, writes Natascha Sadr Haghinian, for an EU refugee policy that’s hopelessly adrift.
An Activism of Affirmation
An Xiao Mina
From #BlackLivesMatter to the #UmbrellaMovement, the Web helps artist-activists inform, inspire, and organize around key issues. But art can play a special role within social-change movements as well: It can help transform the Internet into a space for affirmation, self-worth, and emotional healing.
Tania Bruguera: Artivism and Repression in Cuba
Leaving her Havana home on May 24 after a 100-hour public reading of The Origins of Totalitarianism, Tania Bruguera was intercepted by police—again. After releasing a white dove and throwing Hannah Arendt’s book into the sky, she was driven off in what Cuban curator Gerardo Mosquera calls “a unique case in art history: a street performance that was completed in response to its very repression.”
Taylor Renee Aldridge and Jessica Lynne
When a white, male critic wrote that African-American artist Alma Thomas’s paintings echo “the special middle-ground pleasures of domestic life,” Taylor Aldridge and Jessica Lynne wondered: How might this assessment look if written by a Black critic?
Further Speculation on Digital Arts Media’s Future(s)
Brian Droitcour, Willa Köerner, Antwaun Sargent, and others weigh in on digital art publishing’s possible futures.
Towards a New Digital Landscape
With dismal representation by women and people of color in tech and art fields, it’s time to imagine a new landscape of digital art, one that’s diverse and equitable, writes Black Contemporary Art founder Kimberly Drew. Here she highlights—in their own words—18 artists shaping this new terrain.
Homage to the 21st Century
After a 1964 coup in Brazil, intense censorship scattered artists across the globe or forced them to adopt less public forms of art-making. One, Antônio Henrique Amaral, is best known for large paintings of bananas, a critique that the military dictatorship was turning Brazil into a banana republic. “They can’t censor bananas,” said Amaral, who passed away April 24 at age 79, in this final interview.
Pop and the Traveling Image
“An early Pop artist was originally a Pop culture viewer,” says art historian Tomáš Pospiszyl. “Being a producer and a consumer was never so close.” Moderated by independent curator Charlotte Cotton, this discussion brings together key voices from Eastern Europe, Japan, and the UK to discuss the role of the traveling mass-produced image during the 20th century—and tell the story of international Pop.