« Previous | Culture Monster Home | Next »

Minnesota graffiti artist protects Titian's Venus from the northern cold

February 21, 2011 |  3:14 pm

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts picked Titian’s “Venus Rising from the Sea” as its outdoor poster girl for the traveling show, which opened Feb. 6 in the Twin Cities.

For those of us whose knowledge of Minnesota consists largely of what we’ve heard from Garrison Keillor, it only makes sense that at least one graffiti artist in the North Star state turns out to be … considerate.

Above is the original billboard. Click below to see what was done with a can of spray paint.


Advocates of graffiti art call its practitioners daring individualists; critics call them vandals. Witty, too, as these images of untouched and embellished billboards advertising the Minneapolis stop of the touring “Titian and the Golden Age of Venetian Painting” exhibition attest.

A publicist for the traveling exhibition of paintings from the National Gallery of Scotland (next stop:  Museum of Fine Arts, Houston) gave Culture Monster the heads-up on this unauthorized adornment of Venus, following our recent report lamenting that the show won’t be coming to the West Coast. 

The goddess, a native of sunny Mediterranean climes, reportedly endured two weeks of full exposure to the upper-Midwestern winter before pity was taken; the museum staff, we’re told, “is highly amused.”


TitianSelfPortraitCirca1560NationalGalleryCompanyLondon Two of Titian's greatests paintings are on their first U.S. tour -- but not to the West Coast

Titian's 'Diana and Actaeon' saved for the nation

Feline-friendly graffiti artist is out of the clink, brings his images to gallery show

Chaka's graffiti art catches fans' eyes at gallery, ignites readers' tempers here

Graffiti and street art show to take over MOCA's Geffen Contemporary in 2011

-- Mike Boehm

Photos: Billboards for Titian exhibition at Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Credit: Resnicow Schroeder Associates.


Comments () | Archives (23)

Me again, Len. This Jackson Pollock painting?? What?? This isn’t art! He doesn’t even touch the canvas with a brush! Any 10-year-old can drip paint on a canvas and call it art!

My point is: People should take great care when 'defining' art. (BTW: I'm a die-hard member of the Duchampian Society, whereby ‘art’ is anything that someone says is art.)

I will readily admit that putting graffiti on a billboard is in a basic sense illegal, this is the chance that the person doing so is taking, and they are as often as not aware of it. But there is an area where the cleverness/creativity of the result, or the intent of the artist, can give pause for reflection. And there are artists (yes, ‘artists’) who do so – check out the political thrust of Ron English’s illegal works at http://www.popaganda.com/billboards/index.shtml

Do I think this Minnesota billboard is great art? No, not at all, it’s just a kinda sorta clever/creative piece, that’s all. But I don’t lump it into the same category as I would regarding some loony who drives by and hurls a can of paint at a billboard. Blackening out teeth on a cover girl? – nah, nothing original/creative about that. But this here billboard…

Finally: You don't like this as art, well & good. I have no objection to that opinion. But don't make false accusations against someone you don't know ('you must like to spray paint on other people's property yourself.’), because it undermines the objectivity of your arguments. And how do you know I wouldn’t like flowers painted on my car?

It's probably Union of Concerned Artist (UCA)... protecting Venus from the cold weather in the US.


Greenland Art Review

The circumstance is what makes the art art. I think people forget that the purpose of art far reaches the artists brush stroke ability. It's purpose is to state a point, define a change in times or movements, and evoke emotion. Which it worked obviously, because we are all blogging about it on here.

« | 1 2


Recommended on Facebook

In Case You Missed It...


Explore the arts: See our interactive venue graphics


Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.