This week, the role of money in art, Magritte cartoons in the New Yorker, how we should write English, the magician of Vine, Ariel Sharon’s architecture, bad corporate logos, and more.
New York Times art critic Holland Cotter laments the role of money in art today and offers up some suggestions and rough ideas (he name-checks Hyperallergic too ;) ):
Conservative art can encourage conservative criticism. We’re seeing a revival — some would say a disinterment — of a describe-the-strokes style of writing popular in the formalist 1950s and again in the 1970s: basically, glorified advertising copy. Evaluative approaches that developed in the 1980s and 1990s, based on the assumption that art inevitably comments on the social and political realities that produce it, tend to be met with disparagement now, in part because they’re often couched in academic jargon, which has become yet another form of sales-speak.
What form of English should we be using when we write? There’s an interesting post on the topic over at TechCrunch that name checks David Foster Wallace:
So why did SWE [Standard Written English] become the standard? DFW [aka David Foster Wallace] answers:
The real truth, of course, is that SWE is the dialect of the American elite. That it was invented, codified, and promulgated by Privileged WASP Males and is perpetuated as “Standard” by same. That it is the shibboleth of the Establishment and an instrument of political power and class division and racial discrimination and all manner of social inequity.
Easy enough to perpetuate when only a tiny elite were writing the words that most read; but now is different. Now is the era of social media. Now people are both reading and writing more words, by far, than they ever have before — which is great, right? — but only a small and diminishing fraction of those words are written in SWE.
Zach Kline is the “magician” of Vine, the 6-second video social network, and his stuff really well done and a must-see:
Philippe Vergne, the Dia Art Foundation director recently turned Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles head, speaks to the New York Times about his plans in LA:
“What makes a collection alive is for a collection to be seen, so I think it would be great if there is a relationship between the two institutions,” he said. “For me it’s almost a no-brainer.”
“I like Modernism,” he added, “but more is more.”
Eyal Weizman, writing for Al Jazeera, explores Ariel Sharon’s politics of architecture in the occupied territories:
In the past half a century, there hadn’t been a boundary or a law that Sharon hadn’t broken or bulldozed through. His military operations crossed each of Israel’s borders, and his public behaviour transgressed every hierarchical instruction (he frequently disobeyed orders), and legal order (his flagrant disregard for civilian life broke both Israeli and international law) and fostered intolerance to all things perceived as “urban bureaucracy”.
Sharon had grown to view the armed conflict with the Palestinians as an urban problem, and the rapid expansion of Palestinian cities and refugee camps as something that Israeli occupation forces would later call “the jihad of building”.
Business Insider suggests the 15 worst corporate logo fails of all time, including this bizarre 1973 logo for the Catholic Church’s Archdiocesan Youth Commission and an unfortunately named Swedish property management company, Locum:
The 2002 film Minority Report was an important influence on pop culture and it helped fuel the public’s imagination about the future of computer/human design interface, but Kyle Vanhemert, writing for Wired, thinks the new film Her is slated to be more influential:
One of the first things you notice about the “slight future” of Her, as Jonze has described it, is that there isn’t all that much technology at all. The main character Theo Twombly, a writer for the bespoke love letter service BeautifulHandwrittenLetters.com, still sits at a desktop computer when he’s at work, but otherwise he rarely has his face in a screen. Instead, he and his fellow future denizens are usually just talking, either to each other or to their operating systems via a discrete earpiece, itself more like a fancy earplug anything resembling today’s cyborgian Bluetooth headsets.
A New York Post writer complained about the prevalence of estrogen at the Golden Globes this week, and no, you don’t have to check your calendars (it is still 2014) but you should read this takedown of the sexist’s idiocy:
It is increasingly rare, in this day and age, to observe stark, raw, pure sexism in the pages of a major metropolitan newspaper. Oh, it’s there, don’t get me wrong — but writers and editors usually have the good sense to filter it through obfuscating language and rhetorical devices, leaving readers to dig out the subtext themselves. And that’s what’s sort of remarkable about Kyle Smith’s New York Post review of the Golden Globes, which became yesterday’s essential hate-read: this shit is pure as the driven snow. This is uncut. If it were cocaine, it’d be sitting in a mountainous pile on Tony Montana’s desk.
Ben Valentine explores the impact of government censorship of the internet in Vietnam:
Ben Valentine: I know that in late 2009 it appears that the Vietnamese government began blocking Facebook what’s the effect of that block been?
Patrick Sharbaugh: Vietnam quickly discovered that the block is tissue-paper thin, easily circumvented using any number of simple software solutions (e.g. Hotspot Shield or Tor Browser) or by using an open DNS system like Google’s. Although that block is still technically in place today, Facebook now claims more than 22 million local members (or 71% of the local Internet population) and growing; in fact, Vietnam is Facebook’s fastest growing nation. So while American teens and young adults are abandoning Facebook in droves for alternative social networks like Twitter and Instagram, the Vietnamese are pouring in, despite it being ostensibly blocked. And they don’t use it only for posting personal information, but often for creating temporary civil society communities and advocating for pet causes.
The Associated Press reports on a major new ruling for First Amendment protections in the US:
A federal appeals court ruled Friday that bloggers and the public have the same First Amendment protections as journalists when sued for defamation: If the issue is of public concern, plaintiffs have to prove negligence to win damages.
Though there is some bad news for those of us who support net neutrality:
… vital portions of the FCC’s Open Internet rules were struck down in federal court. These rules, put in place in 2010, were designed to preserve what advocates call net neutrality — an assurance that internet providers can’t favor one kind of traffic over another, or charge for access to certain parts of the internet. All traffic, according to the rules, was to be treated equally. Verizon challenged these rules, and mostly won.
And finally, someone rigged a “devil baby” on the streets of NYC and it is both hilarious and disturbing:
Required Reading is published every Sunday morning EST, and it is comprised of a short list of art-related links to long-form articles, videos, blog posts or photo essays worth a second look.