Help me out if you can.

Before 2000, the US "scrambled" GPS signals available for civilian use to make sure that the US military could have much more accurate GPS data than...anybody but the US military. An executive order had them turn off that function and gave us all the same sort of accuracy.

I remember reading about one of the unintended consequences of the move. A museum had a giant boulder, and they also had a screen showing the GPS location of the boulder. While the physical rock was clearly still in one place, the map showed it moving magically around the building. But unscrambled GPS ruined the joke. Or something like that, but I don't remember the details. Can anyone find the work I kinda remember from 13 years ago?


Until then, here's some GPS art that uses very accurate data.

Vegetables as art

Alison Knowles is a performance artist, and her most popular piece is called "Make a Salad." Guess what she does?

An Object of Beauty

Last week I read Steve Martin's novel An Object of Beauty. Although I don't really recommend it as a great work of literature, the book does give an insightful history of the past few decades of the "Art World." Martin, who knows a lot about art and collecting, demystifies the ongoings of galleries, collectors, and dealers. It's even got illustrations.

Another one bites the dust

I hear from reputable sources that one of my APAH 2.0 students just declared a minor in Art History. It's fun teaching such a seductive subject.

How to Make It in the Art World

New York Magazine tells you everything you need to know about contemporary art, especially if you're a bit cynical. This is a lot of reading, so pace yourself. And enjoy.

The foolproof roofing system

has apparently been fooled by a glass tower.

Renzo Piano's super-ultra-high-tech roof for the Nasher Sculpture Garden in Dallas is fine tuned to the exact longitude and latitude of its site. If only allows in soft light from the south and no harsh light from the north. But the new condominium building next door is reflecting light so harshly from the north that it's ruining the system. Read the story in D Magazine here.

Let's not keep this trend going

To draw attention to a lack of funding for culture, an Italian museum director is burning works from the museum's collection.

Here's a short essay by the artist whose work was the first to go up in flames.

Let's keep this trend going

I came across some more Barbie art this week. David Levinthal is a photographer who works with small dolls and action figures. He's got a number of series, including baseball, the Passion, Hitler...and Barbie. Enjoy!

Vertical Gardens

See, I told you there's such thing as urban earthworks! Thanks, Mexico City, for helping me out there.

Women Surrealists

When we cover surrealism, we usually only cover the Big Men: Dali, Magritte, and the like. I'm at least as guilty of this as the others. But LACMA reminds us that there were plenty of women surrealists, too.

Pay attention to Qatar

I've mentioned a few times that China has become a major force in the international art industry. Thanks largely to a charismatic and highly-educated Sheikha, Qatar is also securing its place in the world. Here is a profile of Sheikha Mayassa al Thani and Qatar's plan to move from a oil economy to an information economy. Also check out the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha.

On painting and skin

Those of you working on research essays about art and identity (you know who you are) may find this essay about Lucien Freud's portraits interesting. Or you may not, I don't know.

One World Trade Center

The new tower at the World Trade Center just reached 100 floors. It's only a few feet from being the tallest building in New York--and will be by completion.

A virtual tour of the [so so many to choose from] museum

The Google Art Project, which had virtual tours of 17 collections with high-resolution images, just added 134 new collections.

Is this a good thing, because it provides more access to high-quality art? Is it a bad thing, because it turns more and more pictures into Mona Lisas, pictures we see so many times we don't actually look at them?

Textual annotations

We look at some illuminated manuscripts for their images. Don't forget that the manuscripts not only have the text, but often have notes in the margin as well. My favorite is "Now I've written the whole thing: for Christ's sake give me a drink."