Artists explore the future of the arts

Written by Trita Parsi, CNN

Amid the cheerful, bright colors that often grace September’s exhibitions, many offer poignant comments on the world. At the University of Vermont’s Vermont Museum of Contemporary Art, Russian Prime Minister Vladmir Putin is juxtaposed with a collection of artwork that depicts him as an ancient frog bent on perpetuating his blood-soaked legacy.

In her residency at a lighthouse in Pembrokeshire, Wales, artist Uma Shah illustrates Brexit — which is manifested in one of its most conspicuous features — in a hauntingly literal way: through the bizarre figure of a toad.

“I don’t really like brash images of people in a pretty color, I like images with a lot of texture,” says Shah. “In this case, I’m wrapping myself in a bag of toads and toying with Brexit. I couldn’t even talk about something like Brexit, how mean people were making things, that was too vulgar to discuss, but a toad could.”

“I wanted to explore the paradox between Brexit and the doves of Europe,” she adds. “Have you ever seen a toad lying on the pavement?”

Powerful and brutal

Nabih Ayalon is the man the public see day to day. He is Israel’s point man in and out of high court in an attempt to stop a bevy of minority groups from challenging their treatment. While this appears to be an issue rather difficult to tackle and complicated, Ayalon is using his influence to craft a bright, clear outline of Israel’s defense ambitions.

The government of Andorra banned Charlie Hebdo’s “Fenuxe #4” from public display, but 16 years after its launch the magazine was available in every bookshop of the small Allemagne country. Illustrator Javier Angelo fits in one last cover before boarding the transatlantic flight home to France.

Just outside Istanbul, Turkish police stand guard at the entrance to a former warehouse where the Philadelphia Museum of Art brought a rather haunting selection of its artifacts after wartime bombings. And alongside it, the famed gallery left behind one of its most famous works.

“I was all but paralyzed in the aftermath of 9/11, the whole country was in mourning. It was devastating for me, I’d been on top of the world for years and suddenly I couldn’t see anything outside. I just needed to forget,” recalls architect Ilya Kabakov, recalling the Aladdin’s cave of macabre items left behind by the Louvre.

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