Thursday, April 30, 2009

Two cool projects worth knowing:

Contemporary art is viewed as an international field, but usually the reference is to the billions of biennials or art fairs around the globe, or the amount of travel an artist may do in one year getting to all these events. But reading in yesterday's about Ross Bleckner being nominated as the UN Goodwill ambassodor, following in the heals of Angelina Jolie and Mia Farrow among others, I was pleased about seeing a painter who could be said to define the 1980s art market gold rush tackling serious global crises. Bleckner traveled to Uganda and worked with children who have been victims of rape, war, disease, etc., giving them materials to paint and draw. The drawings will be auctioned at a benefit dinner in NYC to raise money to continue the project. I know Angelina did a lot to raise awareness to war crimes and poverty and one or two lucky kids now have Brad Pitt as a dad (pretty sweet for them), but this project seems really hands-on, perhaps providing a small source of therapy for these young kids.

Later in the day yesterday I read about an exhibition titled "Human/Nature: Artists Respond to a Changing World," developed by The Contemporary Art Museum in San Diego and the UC Berkeley Art Musuem which invited contemporary artists to make a project in response to a World Heritage Site. Similar to the Bleckner project, Xu Bing, an important Chinese artist, visited the Mount Keyna National Park in Kenya, and decided to do a project about the fragile eco-system and asked the children from the area to create drawings about the trees and de-forestation that also incoporated the use of chinese lettering and symbols. He then created a website,, proceeds of which go back to the national park.

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