The Best of the Web

This week’s Best of the Web features some obscure stories, from a French artist living inside a 12-tonne rock, to George Bush’s portraits of former army veterans. Also included is a profile on subvertising as a form of art and activism, and how graphic novels are aiding the refugee crisis.

Huck: How advertising shits in your head

Vyvian Raoul profiles three subvertising organisations countering traditional advertising methods. Is subvertising art or is it an act of activism? Public Ad Campaign, Brandalism and Special Patrol Group have all made political statements with their adverts, from satirising Volkswagen’s fuel scandal to questioning the number of deaths in police custody. Special Patrol Group say their work is “activism first and never art alone…the visual image must have a function and we increasingly reject ‘art for art’s sake’.”

Read the full story here


The New Yorker: George W. Bush’s painted atonements

Former president of the United States, George Bush’s new book ‘Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors’ features paintings of ex-armed force veterans during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Peter Schjeldahl suggests the portraits, which were painted by Bush, are a search for atonement given the former president’s mindless decisions after 9/11. Bush suggests in his book he’s been ‘art-agnostic’ all his life, his portraits suggest otherwise! Who would have thought we’d be crediting George Bush with something ‘decent’?!

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The Economist: Graphic novels and the refugee crisis

The rise of graphic novels to ‘inform’ migrants and refugees of the etiquettes of European countries raises important questions. While some of these graphic novels have been informative (teaching refugee children how to stay safe in camps), others have condescending and authoritarian undertones i.e. illustrations showing men groping women as wrong (which it is!), but the patronising overtones can hardly be ignored. Moscow’s Department of National Policy, Interregional Relations and Tourism published a 100-page graphic novel instructing migrants to integrate quietly. Are these comics fuelling tensions or do they offer a universal way of conversing?

Read the full story here


Dazed: French artist entombs himself in a rock for a week

Abraham Poincheval, a French artist, has decided to live in a rock for a week, quite literally! The artist’s installation is showcased at Palais de Tokyo, Paris. Poincheval is being given water, soup and dried meat, however he is also having to store his excrement within the rock. People read poetry to him and tell him about their dreams — it sounds more like a confessional! He says of the experience, “Right now, it’s sweet. Like when you are starting to climb a mountain. But I know it will get difficult.” We can’t say we’d disagree on that one!

Read the full story here

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