Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (2012) - The documentary focuses on Ai Weiwei, an international artist best known for the Bird’s Nest, the Beijing Olympic building. However, he is a controversial figure living in China who is a domestic critic.
“Against a backdrop of strict censorship and an unresponsive legal system, Ai expresses himself and organizes people through art and social media. In response, Chinese authorities have shut down his blog, beat him up, bulldozed his newly built studio, and held him in secret detention.”
“The iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer stands with his arms outstretched to the south. His back is turned to the north edge of Rio de Janeiro’s Guanabara Bay where the metropolitan landfill of Jardim Gramacho (Gramacho Gardens) was built. The site receives more trash every day than any landfill in the world. 7,000 tons of garbage arrive daily making up 70% of the trash produced by Rio de Janeiro and surrounding areas.
Established in 1970 as a sanitary waste facility, the landfill became home to an anarchic community of scavengers during the economic crises of the 70’s and 80’s. These catadores lived and worked in the garbage, collecting and selling scrap metal and recyclable materials. They established a squatter community (the favela of Jardim Gramacho) surrounding the landfill, which is now home to over 13,000 people who are entirely dependent on an economy that revolves around the trade of recyclable materials.
In 1995, Rio’s sanitation department began to rehabilitate the landfill and formalise the job of the catador, granting licenses to catadores as well as enforcing basic safety standards, like the banning of children from the landfill. They also began a pilot project to create a carbon negative power plant fuelled by urban solid waste. On their side, the catadores formed ACAMJG, the Association of Recycling Pickers of Jardim Gramacho, whose president, Tião Santos, is featured in WASTE LAND. ACAMJG lead the way in community development. Under Tião’s leadership, ACAMJG has created a decentralized system of recycling collection in neighboring municipalities; the creation of a recycling center, professional recognition of the catador, enabling catadores to be contracted for their services, the creation of a 24 hour medical clinic, and the construction of a daycare center and skills training center. In addition to their community initiatives, ACAMJG leads a national movement for greater professional recognition for the catador and support from the federal government and has teamed up with other movements across South America to hold the first international conference of catadores in São Paulo in November 2009.
Today roughly 3,000 catadores work on the landfill (although only 1,752 are officially registered) removing 200 tons of recyclable materials each day. They have extended the life of the landfill by removing materials that would have otherwise been buried and have contributed to the landfill having one of the highest recycling rates in the world.”
“This informal black-and-white portrait of Leonard Cohen shows him at age 30 on a visit to his hometown of Montreal, where the poet, novelist and songwriter comes “to renew his neurotic affiliations.” He reads his poetry to an enthusiastic crowd, strolls the streets of the city, relaxes in this three-dollar-a-night hotel room and even takes a bath.”
So many good quotes - Leonard Cohen is a true beauty.
This is the first 10 minutes of the new HBO documentaryThe Gates. In 1979, the provocative artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude approached New York City officials with a proposal to create a temporary, large-scale work of art in Central Park. The city turned them down. Twenty-four years and several administrations later, following dozens of high-concept, high-profile works of landscape art in numerous urban and rural locations around the globe, they finally got the city’s approval to complete their vision. The Gates chronicles the decades-long struggle of Christo and Jeanne-Claude to bring their most ambitious work of art to life.
You can currently watch the documentary on HBO On Demand
I’ve been watching the first season of Art:21 and I love it. Basically, the PBS documentary focuses on a few contemporary artists per episodes and allow them to explain what their art exhibit or artwork mean. There’s a bunch of insight we get from the artists, as well as a blog that goes along with the TV show, as well as updating us with new exhibits from previously featured artists on their show.
The video above is a preview of Richard Serra, a minimalist sculptor who creates behemoth walls and closed areas following a theme of space. On of the artists concerns, especially Serra, is the issue of the space around us, so he attempts to open our spatial senses with his pieces of work.
You can download the previous episodes of Art:21 on iTunes or buy the DVDs on Amazon if you’re interested in watching more. The series is also available on hulu.
The Cool School is about the Ferus Gallery in L.A. It showcased work from such contemporary artists as Andy Warhol and Clyfford Still. The film talks about what was going on in L.A. to produce the Ferus Gallery and the role of edge artists in the larger art scene…
And, it has Dennis Hopper in it, which is real funny.