Culture Canvas

BY Annie Strother  March 1, 2012 at 3:37 PM EDT

A roundup of the week’s arts and culture headlines.


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The 2012 Whitney Biennial opened Thursday at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, prompting discussion of the work and sparking protests over representation and compensation within the art world. The contemporary art exhibit elicited a letter from the Arts and Labor working group of the the Occupy Movement, which wrote, “We object to the biennial in its current form because it upholds a system that benefits collectors, trustees, and corporations at the expense of art workers.”

Pranksters launched a fake website for the exhibition with a phony press release, announcing that the Whitney was breaking partnerships with Deutsche Bank and Sotheby’s, and that it was committed to providing artists and art handlers with better compensation.

ARTINFO has a roundup of previous protests of the Biennial, as well as video interviews with four of the artists in the exhibition, several of whom attempt to address issues of misrepresentation, identity, agency, labor and capitalism within their work. Above, one of the artists interviewed, Georgia Sagri, performs during a press preview of the Whitney Biennial on Monday. Photo by Mario Tama /Getty Images.

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The Artist won Best Picture at the Academy Awards on Sunday, via The New York Times. Jean Dujardin took home the award for best actor for his performance in the same film, and Meryl Streep won best actress for her work in The Iron Lady. Films from Iran and Pakistan won the best foreign language film and best documentary categories, respectively; it’s the first time movies from those countries have been awarded Oscars.

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The Pritzker Architecture Prize was awarded to Chinese architect Wang Shu, whose designs often incorporate recycled bricks, tiles and other building materials, via The Los Angeles Times.

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Crowdsourcing website Kickstarter is on track to distribute $150 million in funding this year, exceeding the budget of The National Endowment for the Arts, via Talking Points Memo.

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The late Wislawa Szymborska’s will calls for a literary award and foundation, which will guard her books and archives, via The Washington Post. Szymborska, who won the Nobel prize in 1996, died last month.

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A new show opening Thursday at Columbia College features the Guerilla Girls, who have been inciting dialogue about the representation of women in art institutions for decades. The members, who use pseudonyms and gorilla masks to hide their identities, mix bald facts with stylish design to create poster campaigns advocating social change. One of the Guerilla Girls, “Frida Kahlo,” and Michelle Graves, a student at Columbia College, discussed the retrospective on WBEZ.

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Steve Sondheim is working on a new musical, via The New York Times.

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Ohioan Kirk Maynard is using puppets to re-enact local corruption trials on television, via The Wall Street Journal.

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Kenneth Price, an innovative ceramic artist who redefined ideas about sculpture, died this week at the age of 77.

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Eleanor Callahan, photographer Harry Callahan’s model and wife, died this week at the age of 95. In December, Art Beat reported on an ongoing retrospective of Harry Callahan’s photographs, which devotes an entire room to photographs of Eleanor.

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Davy Jones, who sang in the pop group The Monkees, died this week at the age of 66. The band formed in 1966 and went on to have a string of hits, including “Daydream Believer.”