Art World Abstracts: Ferguson’s Street Art in the Spotlight, and More!

Damon Davis installs photographs turned into broadsides for his "All Hands on Deck" project in Ferguson, Missouri in response to the killing of Michael Brown. (Photo by Scott Olson/ Staff, courtesy Getty Images)

Damon Davis installs photographs turned into broadsides for his “All Hands on Deck” project in Ferguson, Missouri in response to the killing of Michael Brown. (Photo by Scott Olson/ Staff, courtesy Getty Images)

The decision not to indict Darren Wilson—the white police officer who shot a black unarmed teen named Michael Brown three months ago in Ferguson, Missouri—has rocked the country in the few hours since its announcement, with demonstrations erupting from Ferguson to Union Square in Manhattan. This is much more than an art news story, but the public art that has grown in response to the events of the last few months is undeniably powerful and ever present in photographs coming from the area. Mic’s Zak Cheney-Rice put the spotlight on 29-year-old East St. Louis-born artist Damon Davis yesterday; he has been plastering photographs of “hands up” (a symbolic reference to the raised hands of unarmed Mr. Brown) along the boarded up buildings on West Florissant Avenue, each time gaining the permission of the business owner before posting his artwork, in a series called “All Hands on Deck.” “Artists play a vital role, telling these stories and keeping history alive,” he said, “[The posters] are important for people who may be on the fence to see. Maybe they’ll change their minds [and start supporting us]. And for those who aren’t on our side … now they know we’re still here. And we’re not going to back down.” [Mic]

Here are some big numbers—even more impressive displayed in chart form. The Art Market Monitor has taken the New York season’s Contemporary Art sales total of $1,703,991, 563 and compared it to past years’ totals in order to show just how much of a staggering leap we made this month. [Art Market Monitor]

Miya Ando’s commemorative steel sculpture titled After 9/11, made to honor the victims of events, will be installed permanently in London’s Olympic Park in Stratford in spring 2015 according to an update from the artist’s gallery Sundaram Tagore. [The Art Newspaper]

Portrait painter Tai-Shan Schierenberg, whose laundry list of famous commissions includes Stephen Hawking, Seamus Heaney, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the Queen of England, admits that he prefers to paint men. He says, “Men don’t like being shown in any way vulnerable. Often when they’re sitting they will try and sell themselves to me, to list their achievements. They’re worried that I might see something they don’t want me to see, which can cause a bit of a power struggle.” [Telegraph]

Landscape photographer Lewis Baltz has died at 69 years old. He was an important figure in the New Topographies movement of the 1960s and 1970s, made famous through the 1975 exhibition “New Topographies: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape” in Rochester, New York. He is perhaps best known for his 1984 works “The New Industrial Parks,” “Nevada,” “San Quentin Point,” and “Candlestick Point.” [Washington Post]

We’ve begun counting down the days to Art Basel in Miami Beach, the annual behemoth art fair event, and so has artist Donald Robertson, or @donalddrawbertson for the many people who follow him on Instagram. He will be staging a guerilla-style art project in the days leading up to ABMB with Smashbox, the beauty brand, where he will drive a 1974 Cadillac El Dorado painted with red lips and stuffed full of lipstick cross-country, handing out the cosmetics along the way. [Style]