Exhibition: Dee Dee Ramone at Subliminal Projects

On the 10th anniversary of the death of Dee Dee Ramone, Shepard Fairey’s Subliminal Projects gallery will host a retrospective exhibition celebrating a lesser-known artistic outlet  of the punk rock genius. Unbeknownst to many, Dee Dee was also an avid painter, quietly creating works on canvas throughout his lifetime. A substantive collection of these rare pieces has been provided by his estate to be put on public display for the first time, and are described by Fairey as reminiscent of, “…Warhol’s Pop art, Basquiat’s street scrawl, and Punk’s sense of humor and antagonism.” The paintings will be shown at Subliminal Projects along with purchasable prints by Dee Dee and Fairey.

Dee Dee Ramone: A Memorial Exhibition
Oct. 26-Nov. 17, 2012
Subliminal Projects
1331 W Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles

Interview: Joe Fig

In his second solo exhibition at Cristin Tierney Gallery in New York City, Joe Fig offers a series of intimate-scale paintings depicting scenes pulled from Hollywood film adaptations of famous artists’ lives. The moments of inspiration he selects are kaleidoscopically represented through a linear breakdown of various media; an imagined tale from a real painter’s life scripted by a screenwriter, performed by an actor and filmed by a director, finally re-interpreted by another painter. With these small canvases, Fig continues his practice of exploring the lives and creative processes of artists in his own works.

Before the exhibition Cinematic Paintings ends on October 20, 2012, The Ministry of Artistic Affairs reached out to ask Joe Fig a few questions about inspiration, his newest work, and plans for a sequel to his highly successful book Inside The Painter’s Studio.

The Ministry of Artistic Affairs: How did your ongoing interest in artists and their inspiration lead to this latest body of work?

Joe Fig: Inspiration and the creative process have been integral to my work for years. My book (Inside the Painter’s Studio) evolved out of my desire to get a better understanding of artistic process. Inspiration is a very mysterious thing. Are there really artists today who torture themselves like Kirk Douglas when he portrayed Vincent van Gogh? Are there actually big moments of divine intervention as there are in Agony and Ecstasy? Not really. Great art honestly happens in the quiet, contemplative moments. In doing the book project I found –to quote Chuck Close– “Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us show up and get to work.”
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Recap: Access: Dominic Nahr at O’Born Contemporary

This past Wednesday, Ministry members were invited to an exclusive preview of acclaimed photographer Dominic Nahr‘s latest exhibition, Fracture, at O’Born Contemporary. Members were given a private tour of the show a day before it opened to the public, accompanied by Nahr who answered questions and spoke about his extraordinary career and experiences as an international photojournalist.

See more photos from the evening after the jump.

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Case Study: The Launch of Art.sy

Attempting to do for art what Pandora did for music and Netflix did for movies, Art.sy is a new web-based art appreciation guide. Launching to the public today after months of beta-testing with art world professionals, Art.sy is on a mission “to make all the world’s art freely accessible to anyone with an internet connection.” Similar to the goal of The Ministry of Artistic Affairs, the site seeks to popularize visual art (of all eras cultures and genres) and expose it to as many people as possible.

Art.sy’s rapidly growing collection of artworks has surpassed 20,000 individual pieces by more than 3,000 artists. 275 galleries and more than 50 museums have helped the site build an online reference system. Called the “Art Genome Project”, the database provides a system similar to that used by Pandora. “If you like that, you might also like this…” Works deemed similar, based on 800 different categories, are served to visitors in a stream of informative text-accompanied images. Just as Pandora has an army of musicologists deconstructing thousands of songs and feeding their information into a massive algorithm leading to recommendations, Art.sy’s massive team assigns categories and values to each piece of art.

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Exhibition: Frieze London

One of the larger and more significant art events in the UK, Frieze Art Fair takes over Regent’s Park in London this month for it’s tenth year. Over 175 contemporary galleries are represented at the fair, which also presents films, a sculpture park, panel discussions and symposiums. Running concurrently with the contemporary fair is Frieze Masters, also held in Regent’s Park, which features over 90 galleries with a focus on art from ancient to modern

Frieze Art Fair & Frieze Masters
October 11-14, 2012
Regent’s Park
London, UK

Exhibition: Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2012

Toronto’s annual Nuit Blanche returns this Saturday, September 29, with over 150 commissioned and public projects to take in from sundown to sunrise. With 3 zones spanning nearly all of downtown, it’s a good idea to formulate somewhat of a game plan for the evening to ensure you make it to all of the venus you wanted to explore and don’t miss out on anything spectacular.

Here are the Ministry’s recommendations of some of the best shows to check out tomorrow night!

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Case Study: Saunders’ Drug-Induced Self Portraits

It has been oft disputed whether drugs hamper or heighten creativity. Both sides of the argument have been supported by scientific study, and it has been a subject of contention in the artistic community for as long as people have been doing drugs and making art.

Washington, D.C.-based artist/musician Bryan Lewis Saunders sought to visually map the effects of drugs on his creative process.

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Case Study: Pixmaven’s Instant Art Critique Phrase Generator

“…With regard to the issue of content, the disjunctive perturbation of the spatial relationships brings within the realm of discourse the distinctive formal juxtapositions…”

Art history majors, MFA students, and general art snobs, rejoice! Website Pixmaven has come up with a brilliant algorithmic solution to all of your art-critiquing needs. Just enter any sequence of 5 numbers into it’s Instant Art Critique Phrase Generator and you will find yourself with a ludicrously-worded description that is so convoluted and wordy it will leave even the most discerning of critics in awe of your mastery of the fine art lexicon, or at the very least, distract them from your lack of knowledge with a smokescreen of big words.

Recap: Studio: Anders Oinonen & Susy Oliveira

Earlier this week, members of the Ministry were invited into the studios of contemporary Canadian artists Anders Oinonen and Susy Oliveira. Each artist spoke about their recent work, inspirations, and thematic concerns, and answered questions. It was an insightful evening, and it was especially interesting to view the two artist’s work simultaneously as they both deal with representations of the natural world in their art practice but in entirely different methods and mediums.

Read on for more photos from the event. Continue reading

Case Study: Eric Clapton’s Richter at Auction

It appears that in addition to being one of the greatest guitar players of all time, Eric Clapton is also a savvy art investor. At Sotheby’s Fall sale of Contemporary Art this coming October 12 in London, the rock legend will sell a painting by Gerhard Richter. With an expected hammer price of $14-19 million, his profit will be exceptional since he purchased it and two other Richters at Sotheby’s for $3.4 million in 2001.

Though the piece, an abstract canvas called “Abstraktes Bild (809-4)”, is not expected to set a record for paintings by Richter (currently $21.8 million), it is considered equal in quality to the best works by the artist currently held in museums around the world. The fact that the provenance will include ownership by Clapton will make it that much more desirable.

I wouldn’t mind owning the Richter, but I’d still prefer to have a few of Clapton’s guitars.  Just sayin’.

Case Study: Artist Residencies at Artscape Gibraltar Point

Artscape at Toronto Island’s Gibraltar Point is now accepting submissions for their thematic residency program. Each two-week residency is mentored by a different contemporary artist, curator or critic, and gives the artist the chance to expand the scope of their practice through a variety of activities including independent studio time, lectures, and group discussions.

Read on for a link to apply and for more information on the different sessions, courtesy of Artscape Gibraltar Point.

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Case Study: Shepard Fairey Avoids Jail Time in Fair Use Trail

Artist Shepard Fairey was sentenced to two years probation, a $25,000 fine and 300 community service hours at the conclusion of his court case with the Associated Press. Charged with tampering with evidence, Fairey had been embroiled in a Fair Use-centred trial with AP for the past few years over his 2008 Obama ‘Hope’ poster being based off of a wrongly credited image.

Although pleased that he managed to avoid jail time, Fairey is dismayed by his own actions. In a statement on his website, he conceded that he had “let down artists and advocates for artist’s rights by distracting from the core Fair Use discussion with my misdeeds.” This trial raises a number of significant ethical questions regarding intellectual and artistic property in the digital age.