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Artists Join Photographer Spencer Tunick in Fight Against Nudity Restrictions on Instagram and Facebook

#WeTheNipple Campaign. COURTESY SPENCER TUNICK AND THE NATIONAL COALITION AGAINST CENSORSHIP To challenge online censorship of art featuring naked bodies or body parts, photographer Spencer Tunick, in collaboration with the National Coalition Against Censorship, will stage a nude art action in New York on June 2. The event will bring together 100 undressed participants at…

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Artists Join Photographer Spencer Tunick in Fight Against Nudity Restrictions on Instagram and Facebook

#WeTheNipple Campaign.
COURTESY SPENCER TUNICK AND THE NATIONAL COALITION AGAINST CENSORSHIP

To challenge online censorship of art featuring naked bodies or body parts, photographer Spencer Tunick, in collaboration with the National Coalition Against Censorship, will stage a nude art action in New York on June 2. The event will bring together 100 undressed participants at an as-yet-undisclosed location, and Tunick will photograph the scene and create an installation using donated images of male nipples. (The National Coalition will release logistical details on its website on the day of event.)
Artists Andres Serrano, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, and Tunick have given photos of their own nipples to the cause, as has Bravo TV personality Andy Cohen, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, and actor/photographer Adam Goldberg.
In addition, the National Coalition Against Censorship—a collective of more than 50 nonprofit organizations—has launched a #WeTheNipple campaign through which Instagram and Facebook users can share their experiences with censorship and advocate for changes to the social media platforms’ guidelines related to nudity. Last month, artist Betty Tompkins’s Instagram account was deactivated after she shared an image of her Fuck Painting #1 (1969). At the time of her expulsion, Tompkins (whose account has since been reinstated), explained that Instagram has become an important tool for artists seeking to reach new audiences and disseminate their work, noting “how embedded Instagram is in our professional life.”
Among the institutions that have voiced support for the #WeTheNipple initiative are the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Artists having declared their solidarity include Clarity Haynes, Sarah Trigg, and Marilyn Minter.

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Artist Saul Fletcher Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide

Saul Fletcher, a British-born, Berlin-based artist known for moody images of collaged objects photographed against a plaster wall in his studio, was found dead last week in Berlin what several outlets have reported to have been a murder-suicide. The claims have been circulating in the British and European tabloids since late last week, with the…

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Artist Saul Fletcher Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide

Saul Fletcher, a British-born, Berlin-based artist known for moody images of collaged objects photographed against a plaster wall in his studio, was found dead last week in Berlin what several outlets have reported to have been a murder-suicide. The claims have been circulating in the British and European tabloids since late last week, with the tabloids linking Fletcher with actor Brad Pitt (Fletcher was photographed by paparazzi last year walking around the Venice Biennale with Pitt and sculptor Thomas Houseago).
This morning, the three galleries that represented Fletcher at the time of his death—Anton Kern Gallery in New York, Knust Kunz Gallery Editions in Munich, and Grice Bench in Los Angeles—provided to ARTnews a joint statement regarding the reports: “We are devastated, appalled, and shocked by the tragic loss of Rebeccah Blum and Saul Fletcher. We are all grief-stricken and confused. We offer our deepest condolences to their families and together are offering our support and help.”

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Blum is a freelance curator who previously was director of Berlin’s Aurel Scheibler gallery. ARTnews has not been able to independently verify these deaths or the circumstances surrounding them.
According to a Daily Mail article published on July 23, Fletcher confessed to his daughter last Wednesday evening that he had killed a woman, now assumed to be Blum based on the statement of the galleries. Shortly before midnight on Wednesday, according to the Daily Mail, Fletcher’s daughter reported this information to the Berlin police, who subsequently found a woman dead from apparent stab wounds in Fletcher’s apartment. The following morning, Fletcher was found dead in the garden of property he owned near Rochowsee lake, about two hours north of Berlin.
ARTnews has reached out to Berlin law enforcement, but has been unable to verify this reporting at this time.
Fletcher, who was born in 1967 in the village of Barton, on the northeastern coast of England, and was largely self-taught, first came to prominence in the late 1990s when he began showing with New York’s Anton Kern Gallery. In a review of his exhibition at Kern in 2000, New York Times critic Roberta Smith called Fletcher’s photographs “evocative, slightly macabre, sometimes overly precious,” which “appear to be the work of a shut-in working in a nearly empty attic with the occasional cooperation of family members.”

Fletcher’s work has appeared in major international exhibitions as well, including the 30th Bienal de São Paulo in 2012, the 4th Berlin Biennale in 2006, and the 2004 Carnegie International in Pittsburgh. His most recent exhibition at Anton Kern was in 2018. That same year, Inventory Press published a monograph of his work with essays by Ralph Rugoff, curator of the 2019 Venice Biennale, and critic Kirsty Bell.

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Unprecedented Toppling of Monument to Slave Trader Shocks British Art World

Until his statue was toppled by Black Lives Matter protesters on Sunday, few people outside Bristol had heard of Edward Colston. Dramatic images of the protests held in the British city show the bronze sculpture of Colston being torn down and thrown into the harbor of the historic port city. But the felling of the…

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Unprecedented Toppling of Monument to Slave Trader Shocks British Art World

Until his statue was toppled by Black Lives Matter protesters on Sunday, few people outside Bristol had heard of Edward Colston. Dramatic images of the protests held in the British city show the bronze sculpture of Colston being torn down and thrown into the harbor of the historic port city. But the felling of the monument to the merchant, whose fortune was earned from the transatlantic slave trade he helped establish in the late 17th century, is just one part of a fierce and reignited debate about public art honoring problematic figures that’s being waged in Britain right now.

“I’ve recorded uprisings since the 1980s, but I was slightly stunned,” said artist John Akomfrah, referring to images on social media of the Bristol demonstration, which was peaceful, like many other protests across the U.K. “There is a remarkable irony. [Colston] has ended up in the place where he put hundreds of lives”—the harbor where bodies of enslaved Africans were thrown overboard during the infamous Middle Passage.

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Colston was a leading member of the Royal African Company, which had a monopoly on the slave trade in the late 17th century. “There’s no sympathy from me about his plight,” Akomfrah said.
The merchant’s statue, which was unveiled in 1895 when the British Empire was at the peak of its power, has long been a source of division in the city. Attempts to add a contextual plaque referring to the philanthropist’s role in the slave trade had reached a political and bureaucratic impass, prompting demonstrators to take matters in their own hands last weekend.
“I was amazed. It was the kind of thing I never thought I’d see in my lifetime,” said Hew Locke, a London-based sculptor who lived in Bristol in the 1980s. “This piece has been on my mind as a problem for years,” he told ARTnews. “Colston wasn’t a bad man. The language was wrong. He was an evil man. That’s the truth of it.”
John Cassidy’s sculpture has been derided as a poor work of art, but Locke disagrees with that assessment. “Aesthetically, it was one of Bristol’s best Victorian sculptures,” Locke said. In 2006, to pay homage to the sculpture’s history, Locke bedecked a large-scale photograph of the Colston monument with the trappings of his wealth based on the exploitation of Africans.

It’s unclear right now what will happen to the statute. Marvin Rees, the Mayor of Bristol, said on Monday that Cassidy’s sculpture will be “fished out” at some point but vowed that it will never return to its former prominent location. The bronze could be destined for the city’s history museum, MShed, which overlooks Bristol harbor, along with a collection of the Black Lives Matter protestors’ placards.
The fate of Colston’s statue and the Black Lives Matter movement raises awkward questions for other cities in the U.K. On Tuesday, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced a review of all London statues with slavery links. One London’s former docklands now business district of Robert Milligan, a prominent slave trader and plantation owner, has been vandalized and covered in protest placards. On Tuesday, it was revealed that the statue would be removed. And there have been renewed calls to remove or at least recontextualize colonial-era statues, including ones in Cardiff in Wales, Dundee in Scotland, and in Oxford. Since 2016, campaigners have tried to banish the statue of the arch-imperialist of the Victorian era, Cecil Rhodes, at the University of Oxford. (A demonstration is taking place on Tuesday.)
Locke expressed skepticism over whether anything would change. “We will see,” he said. Meanwhile, authorities in Belgium have begun to remove statues of King Leopold II after protests. His colonization of what is today the Democratic Republic of the Congo involved systematic brutality and atrocities.
Some institutions have begun taking accountability for their role in structural racism, but their responses have done little to satisfy critics. Several big London museums, following their peers in the U.S., issued statements of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests at the end of last week and over the weekend. The British Museum immediately faced accusations of inaction over decolonizing its collection, which includes colonial-era looted art and human remains. The National Gallery in London also posted on social media its rejection of “racism, inequality and violence” in response to the death of George Floyd while being arrested by police. Anti-racist protestors began gathering in Trafalgar Square a week ago on the art museum’s doorstep despite an ongoing national lockdown due to coronavirus.
For nearly 100 years a bronze statue of George Washington has stood on the gallery’s front lawn, making it one of many public London monuments to “dodgy figures,” as Locke has put it. Presented by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1924, it is a replica of the marble sculpture by the French 18th-century sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon that stands in the State Capitol building in Richmond. There is no mention on a plaque (or on the National Gallery’s website) that Washington was a slave owner, or that Richmond was the capital of the Confederate States in the U.S. Civil War.
When reached by ARTnews about whether it planned to make that history available, a National Gallery spokesperson claimed it was not the museum’s responsibility to do so, but rather the U.K. government’s. The museum is “looking” to update its website about the biography of its founding collector, John Julius Angerstein, however. Its current page about Angerstein glosses over the uncomfortable truth that much of the art collector’s wealth was based on insurance of ships used in the slave trade. He also had a financial stake in a slave plantation in the Caribbean.
Such a clarification of institutions’ history is becoming more common in the U.K.—Tate, for example, issued a lengthy statement about its founder’s role in the slave trade last year. Locke said that context such as this is necessary for institutions—and, in particular, the monuments in the cities around them. “The sculptures are part of history, but you need some acknowledgement of who these people were,” he said. “You can’t say police brutality is terrible, institutional racism is terrible, and then you don’t want anything to change in your local landscape.”
Locke, like Akomfrah, seemed resigned that the debate about the relocation of colonial-era monuments in the U.K. will now be framed by the government as a question of law and order after Colston’s violent removal. The U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson was quick to condemn the Bristol protestors’ actions claiming that the Black Lives Matters protests have been “subverted by thuggery.” After coming under fire, he toned down his rhetoric but insisted that anyone who harmed property would face “the full force of the law.”
Many in the British art scene—and beyond—are now left with serious quandaries going forward. “Let’s be clear, [Colston] was a mass murder,” Akomfrah said. “He benefited from the misfortune of others. The real question is, why was that statue put up in the first place?”

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Practice Transparency with the Best Glazing Mediums for Acrylic Paint

Acrylics, because they are water-based, can be thinned with water to create transparent washes. But the pigments don’t tend to adhere very well once this is done, which is where glazing media come in. These additives are fluid, but they are also slightly adhesive so they stick to painting supports like panel and canvas, as…

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Practice Transparency with the Best Glazing Mediums for Acrylic Paint

Acrylics, because they are water-based, can be thinned with water to create transparent washes. But the pigments don’t tend to adhere very well once this is done, which is where glazing media come in. These additives are fluid, but they are also slightly adhesive so they stick to painting supports like panel and canvas, as well to  any underlying layers of paint or primer. Each layer must be perfectly dry before applying the next layer, but these glazes are quick dying and won’t slow you down. They can be mixed with acrylics to achieve luminous transparent color or applied on their own—though opaque when wet, they dry clear and are available in a variety of finishes. Glazing medium is not recommended for use as a final top coat; use a removable acrylic varnish instead. Choose the glazing medium for your project from our picks below.

1. Liquitex Professional Glazing Fluid
You need only a little bit of this water-based glazing medium to create pleasing effects with your acrylic paints. It is self-leveling, making it easy to create layers of transparent color without brushmarks. It does not take a super-long time to dry, so you can add layers quickly while avoiding accidental smears (each coat must be perfectly dry, though, so use a hairdryer if you are in a really big rush!). The result will be jewel-like glazes that won’t yellow over time.

2. Golden Acrylic Glazing Liquid (Satin)
This glazing medium will give you excellent control over the blending of your paints. The 100 percent acrylic water-based polymer emulsion is a milky liquid that thins paint without watering it down. Golden’s product is especially good for maintaining a wet edge for easier softening. It dries to a beautiful satin finish, adding a soft luster to your works. You can also use this glazing liquid to give your finished piece a few protective coats.

3. DecoArt Americana Glazing Paint
This is a clear, semigloss medium that spreads smoothly, carrying pigments where you need them to go. DecoArt’s product comes in a small, 2-ounce bottle, which makes it well suited for painters who want to try working with glazing medium before committing to a larger purchase. While high-volume painters might prefer another option, you need a only little to boost the transparency of your acrylics while avoiding a watery look. This is also an excellent medium to use as a sealer or barrier coat to protect layers between painting stages.

4. Benjamin Moore Studio Finishes Acrylic Glaze
A highly stable glazing medium from the well-known paint company, this additive binds very well with acrylics to maximize their open time. You can easily create thin washes and beautiful translucencies with this product while maintaining excellent brush flow. The milky-white liquid dries clear and is fairly shiny without being overly so. Benjamin Moore’s glaze is sold by the gallon, which is a great size for painters who like to pre-blend their glazes in bulk.

5. Winsor & Newton Professional Acrylic Glaze
This glazing medium thins paint effectively without reducing its color strength and vibrancy. You get a smooth consistency with just a few drops, as well as paint that stays wet for a long time to enable ease of spreading. Blend and build layers without worrying about paint drying on your brush. This product dries clear without cracking and leaves your works with high-gloss finish.

  
1. Liquitex Professional Glazing Fluid
You need only a little bit of this water-based glazing medium to create pleasing effects with your acrylic paints. It is self-leveling, making it easy to create layers of transparent color without brushmarks. It does not take a super-long time to dry, so you can add layers quickly while avoiding accidental smears (each coat must be perfectly dry, though, so use a hairdryer if you are in a really big rush!). The result will be jewel-like glazes that won’t yellow over time.

Buy:
Liquitex Professional Glazing Fluid

  
2. Golden Acrylic Glazing Liquid (Satin)
This glazing medium will give you excellent control over the blending of your paints. The 100 percent acrylic water-based polymer emulsion is a milky liquid that thins paint without watering it down. Golden’s product is especially good for maintaining a wet edge for easier softening. It dries to a beautiful satin finish, adding a soft luster to your works. You can also use this glazing liquid to give your finished piece a few protective coats.

Buy:
Golden Acrylic Glazing Liquid (Satin)
$26.06

  
3. DecoArt Americana Glazing Paint
This is a clear, semigloss medium that spreads smoothly, carrying pigments where you need them to go. DecoArt’s product comes in a small, 2-ounce bottle, which makes it well suited for painters who want to try working with glazing medium before committing to a larger purchase. While high-volume painters might prefer another option, you need a only little to boost the transparency of your acrylics while avoiding a watery look. This is also an excellent medium to use as a sealer or barrier coat to protect layers between painting stages.

Buy:
DecoArt Americana Glazing Paint
$2.49

  
4. Benjamin Moore Studio Finishes Acrylic Glaze
A highly stable glazing medium from the well-known paint company, this additive binds very well with acrylics to maximize their open time. You can easily create thin washes and beautiful translucencies with this product while maintaining excellent brush flow. The milky-white liquid dries clear and is fairly shiny without being overly so. Benjamin Moore’s glaze is sold by the gallon, which is a great size for painters who like to pre-blend their glazes in bulk.

Buy:
Benjamin Moore Studio Finishes Acrylic Glaze
$53.48

  
5. Winsor & Newton Professional Acrylic Glaze
This glazing medium thins paint effectively without reducing its color strength and vibrancy. You get a smooth consistency with just a few drops, as well as paint that stays wet for a long time to enable ease of spreading. Blend and build layers without worrying about paint drying on your brush. This product dries clear without cracking and leaves your works with high-gloss finish.

Buy:
Winsor & Newton Professional Acrylic Glaze
$27.67

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