By Deb A.
It is the nightmare of most museum-goers: Accidentally bumping into something. When someone tumbles into a Picasso canvas it becomes global news. When a selfie-taker gets a touch too close to the first in a row of plinths, the video of the perfect domino topple gets over 7 million hitsâfueled in part by controversy over whether the gaffe was a little too perfect. Was it a costly stumble or a publicity-seeking prank?
The bar has arguably been higher for pranks in the art world since a print of Banksy's Girl With Balloon went up for auction. As the hammer went down on the winning bid of $1.4 million, the print went down tooâthrough a shredder built into the frame.
Sotheby's take? "It appears we just got Banksy-ed."
Banksy has confirmed creating the self-destruct mechanism and has renamed the piece Love Is in the Bin.
The winning bidder has decided to keep it. She told The Guardian that after recovering from the initial shock, she came to realise "that I would end up with my own piece of art history." Indeed, Elizabeth Dee argues that the event may have permanently transformed how performance art is perceived and valued, and the Evening Standard reports that the price tag on the new incarnation is likely to have increased by at least 50%.
Girl With Balloon has become an iconic work since it first appeared in London in 2002; it has gone through several iterations since then, including variations created in support of Syrian refugees in 2014 and in protest against the British Conservative Party in 2017.
By Deb A.
Here are some tidbits you may have missed this week.
"Alas for me! I am dead!": Ancient speech bubbles have been discovered in Jordan. (Atlas Obscura)
World of WearableArt celebrates its 30-year anniversary this year. (World of WearableArt)
Film, sculpture, performance, installations, activist architecture—but not a paintbrush in sight. The Turner Prize shortlist is here. (Tate)
Speaking of shortlists, the Photobox Instagram Photography Awards has one and there isn't a single shot of brunch to be seen. (PIPA)
Caitriona Lally won this year's Rooney Prize for Irish Literature for her debut novel, Eggshells. The award is given by Trinity College Dublin, Ms. Lally's alma mater and current employer; she has been working there as a cleaner since 2015. (CBC Radio)
How to probably not corrupt your child: Read them books that have been banned. Julia Pistell celebrates Banned Books Week. (Shondaland)
And now that you've reached the end, stop scrolling and get back to your book—but take a look at Joe Moran's examination of slow reading first. (The Guardian)
By Deb A.
Summer is festival time. Here's a sample of just some of the events for bookworms, art lovers, and photography fans taking place this season.
Athens Photo Festival 2018
6 June –29 July; Athens, Greece
The main exhibition at the Benaki Museum was curated from over 100 entries; there is also a Young Greek Photographers exhibit.
21 June–1 July; Lodz, Poland
One of Poland's first major photography events in 2001, this year's festival looks at the Anthropocene epoch with over 30 exhibitions.
23 June–1 July; Leipzig, Germany
This year the biennial festival for photography will examine how photography can be used for democracy and mediation.
National Arts Festival
28 June–8 July; Grahamstown, South Africa
Visitors get free entry to exhibitions by "hundreds of visual artists working in almost every conceivable medium," including I am because you are: A search for Ubuntu with permission to dream and Sister Sister, an all-female exhibition.
29 June–1 July; London, England
Somali-British poet Warsan Shire will headline the U.K.'s biggest annual African literary festival, which features book launches, workshops, masterclasses, panels, and roundtables with authors from a dozen countries.
Read by the Sea
2–7 July; River John, Canada
A festival that brings some of Canada's best authors and poets to a small town in Nova Scotia; WordPlay, a children's event, will include Paulette Bourgeois (Franklin the Turtle).
2 July–23 September; Arles, France
"Cross space and time with a breathtaking, celestial journey across the ages"—who could resist an invitation like that?
Antiparos International Photo Festival
7–16 July; Antiparos, Greece
With a maximum of just 15 photographers, this mostly open-air event may be the smallest international photography festival in the world.
Upfest—The Urban Paint Festival
28–30 July; Bristol, England
Europe's largest, free street art and graffiti festival, with artists from around the world painting 60,000 square feet of surfaces. Also includes an affordable art sale.
Edinburgh Fringe Festival
3–27 August; Edinburgh, Scotland
It bills itself as "the world's greatest platform for creative freedom," as well as "the single biggest celebration of arts and culture on the planet," neither of which is an empty boast. Featuring spoken word performances, art exhibits, plays, dance, cabaret, and more, it is perhaps best-known for comedy.
Kilkenny Arts Festival
9–19 August; Kilkenny, Ireland
Enjoy the music, theatre, dance, and art, but don't let it distract you from attending a poetry workshop with poet-in-residence Eavan Boland.
17–19 August; Kampala, Uganda
In its sixth year, Uganda's leading literary festival will be looking to build on its foundations and set the tone for the next five years.
Queensland Poetry Festival
36–26 August; Queensland, Australia
Poet-in-residence Yona Harvey will offer workshops, talks, and more; the winner of the Emerging Older Poets Mentorship will read, and a poet will be selected to represent Queensland in the Australia Poetry Slam.
By Deb A.
Happy Fathers' Day to our American readers! The New York Public Library has some book recommendations to honour the occasion.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z have caused a stir with their latest video, which was filmed at the Louvre. (If you're looking for a guide to the art featured in the video, Vulture has you covered.)
"Stay as invisible as possible," was Clemens Kalischer's advice for new photographers. The photojournalist died June 9 at the age of 97.
Get ready for a memorable address: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie will receive the PEN Pinter Prize on October 9.
A "raw sense of connectivity": The Walrus profiles Billy-Ray Belcourt, the Cree poet and Rhodes scholar who recently won the Griffin Poetry Prize.
By Deb A.
My Dear Sir,
It has been so long since letters gave way to e-mails that now e-mails themselves have been replaced by messages that are easier to type with one's thumbs. And yet, there's something undeniable about the power of the handwritten word—in particular when it comes in an envelope.
For anyone rolling their eyes at this anachronistic, romanticised view of letter-writing: Try imagining an audience listening rapt as a renowned performer reads a piece of correspondence aloud. Is that performer reading a WhatsApp chat or a letter?
Chances are you're thinking of epistles, not emojis. So were the founders of Letters Live, who began an event series in London in 2013 that has, after over a dozen events in the United Kingdom, recently made its way over the the United States as well.
Letters Live bills itself as "a celebration of the enduring power of literary correspondence." The events are a surprise; the audience is aware of what to expect in the most general sense—in essence, a cast of famous people reading memorable letters from other, mostly famous, people—but the personalities and subject matter involved are a mystery until someone takes the stage, and every show is different. Perhaps Ian McKellen will read Kurt Vonnegut's letter to five teenage fans. Maybe Benedict Cumberbatch will recite Albert Camus's missive to the teacher who inspired him. The process is so secretive that the performers themselves are told only moments before they step into the spotlight what they'll be reading.
Shows are generally sold out, and part of the proceeds are used to support literacy-focused charities such as First Story, The Reading Agency, and 826LA. The next event is the series' New York debut this week.
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