Every once in a while, an artist creates work so bold that it makes the world–and “60 Minutes”–stop and take notice.
Just as their mediums differ, the artists “60 Minutes” has profiled also have varying perspectives on what their work means. For some artists, art is merely a beautiful thing. Others see being an artist as being an activist.
This week Jon Wertheim, the correspondent for China turns the spotlight to Badiucao, a Chinese political cartoonist. With fewer than six weeks to go before China hosts the 2022 Winter Olympics, Badiucao has offered the world a visual argument for why he thinks his native country is unfit to host the games.
Being an exile in Australia, Badiucao is well aware that criticism of the Chinese communist party could have serious consequences. Badiucao is his pseudonym. He says it has no meaning.
Regardless of what name you give him, Badiucao’s art has made the Chinese government more resentful.
” “I don’t care how serious or dangerous you’re being,” he said to Wertheim. I’m going to be me. I’m an individual. I am not under the control of any authority. They are scared of that. They want total control. “
Art of all types has been a cornerstone of 60 Minutes’ reporting over the broadcast’s 54 seasons. Here, take a look back at some of the other artists whose work “60 Minutes” has featured.
Multimedia abstract painter Mark Bradford
Calling Mark Bradford a painter is a bit of a misnomer. Although his large paintings look almost like paintings, there’s not much paint. They are constructed from many layers of paper that he tears, glues and power washes.
In 2019, 60 Minutes correspondent Anderson Cooper profiled Bradford, an abstract artist whose work often deals with complex social issues. His piece “Deep Blue,” now on display at Los Angeles’s Broad Museum, makes a 50-foot-long statement about the race riots in Los Angeles’s Watts neighborhood in 1965.
“I’m grappling with how I feel about that subject and that material,” Bradford told Cooper on the broadcast in 2019. I do struggle with certain things. Personally, racially and politically, I wrestle with issues. “What does it really mean to be me?”
Bradford responded by creating paintings from street signs, which included those advertising predatory loans for low-income communities. These works address HIV/AIDS and racism as well as the complex history of America.
He uses his art as a way to express himself and not just for the sake of being popular in the art community.
“I don’t want to wait for someone else to tell my work value,” he stated. I was not going to sit around waiting for people to say that my work had value. It’d likely still be there. Because I believe it has value, it is valuable. Then, if others get on board the value, Mark Bradford value train. “
Chinese activist Ai Weiwei
Like Bradford, Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei thinks art should make a statement.
“I think every art, if it’s relevant, is political,” Ai told Holly Williams when she interviewed him for 60 Minutes in 2017. Williams stated that Ai was one of the top contemporary artists. Ai is a blogger, designer, sculptor and photographer. His art has been used to mock authorities and create social commentary. Ai created an installation using the shoes and clothes of those who fled to Europe. Ai filled a Vienna museum with life jackets from migrants.
But Ai’s artwork has caused him to be harassed, detained, and eventually even forced from China.
“I believe artist and activist are the same thing,” Ai stated. Artists must always be activists. “
French photographer JR
French photographer JR may not be immediately recognizable, either in image or name, but his giant photographs probably are–they’ve appeared in some 140 countries around the world. JR, like Bradford and Ai, wants his artwork to be a statement through his large photographs of ordinary people.
What is he trying to communicate? Anderson Cooper was told that “they exist.”
JR photos of faces were pasted to rooftops in Nairobi, Istanbul and New York City, as well as on sidewalks. One such graffiti was found in the Tunisian Police Station, which was looted by the Arab Spring. He placed images of Israelis alongside Palestinians on the wall that divides Israel from Palestinian Territory.
JR photographs often people that would be otherwise overlooked, or who are outsiders to society. Cooper was told by him that he wanted people to see humanity in the subjects of his photographs.
” “When you see those faces, it makes me want to smile,” Cooper said. They don’t seem like monsters anymore by playing the role of the monster.”
Christo and Jeanne-Claude
For husband-and-wife team Christo and Jeanne-Claude, art was nothing more than a striking thing to see. So when they put some 7,500 gates in New York City’s Central Park, each suspending a saffron-colored flag, they didn’t do it to make a statement.
“It’s only ‘The Gates,’ a work of art, of joy and beauty,” Jeanne-Claude told correspondent Morley Safer in 2005. “We do not build messages. We do not build symbols. This is a piece of work of art.
Even though they didn’t know what to say, it was often difficult for them to make their artwork. They fought six presidents in Germany to get permission for the Reichstag to be wrapped with metallic fabric. In France, they battled Jacques Chirac for 10 years before he eventually allowed them to wrap the Pont Neuf, Paris’s oldest bridge, in silky golden fabric. At one point, the pair installed 3,000 giant umbrellas outside Los Angeles and Tokyo simultaneously. The Christos, an obsessive and two-headed force in nature, Safer said.
Jeanne-Claude died in 2009.
This article was originally published on May 12, 2019.
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