ReactorWeekend

Required Reading

by Hrag Vartanian on February 2, 2014

Harvard University's Houghton Library transformed Gheyn, Jacob de's "Maniement d’armes, d’arquebuses, mousquetz, et piques" (1607) series of prints into a rather good GIF. (h/t @tylergreendc, houghtonlib.tumblr.com)

Harvard University’s Houghton Library transformed Gheyn, Jacob de’s “Maniement d’armes, d’arquebuses, mousquetz, et piques” (1607) series of prints into a rather good GIF. (h/t @tylergreendc, via houghtonlib.tumblr.com)

This week, Super Bowl art bets, Carrie Mae Weems speaks, Central America’s largest Mayan museum, Tibetan medical art, gay minimalism, writers and alcohol, and more.

 Today’s Super Bowl art bet between the Seattle Art Museum and Denver Art Museum includes Seattle’s 12-foot-wide screen by Tsuji Kako, “Sound of Waves” (1901), while Denver is offering up Frederic Remington’s “The Broncho Buster” (1895) bronze sculpture. But, just so you know, the Japanese screen wasn’t Seattle’s first choice:

The Seattle Museum originally announced it would stake a 135-year-old Nuxalk tribal bird mask whose menacing beak and fierce eyes bear some kinship to the Seahawks’ angry-bird logo, but a spokeswoman said that a switch was made out of respect for the Nuxalk Nation, which requested that the ceremonial object not be used in a Super Bowl wager.

The losing team will have to ship their art work to the winning team’s museum for display for a few months.

 Dylan Farrow, the daughter of Woody Allen, writes a chilling open letter for the New York Times that outlines the sexual abuse she endured at the hands of her father:

For as long as I could remember, my father had been doing things to me that I didn’t like. I didn’t like how often he would take me away from my mom, siblings and friends to be alone with him. I didn’t like it when he would stick his thumb in my mouth. I didn’t like it when I had to get in bed with him under the sheets when he was in his underwear. I didn’t like it when he would place his head in my naked lap and breathe in and breathe out. I would hide under beds or lock myself in the bathroom to avoid these encounters, but he always found me. These things happened so often, so routinely, so skillfully hidden from a mother that would have protected me had she known, that I thought it was normal. I thought this was how fathers doted on their daughters. But what he did to me in the attic felt different. I couldn’t keep the secret anymore.

 If you haven’t read it, then I suggest you read this great interview with Carrie Mae Weems about her Guggenheim retrospective:

African-American artists are still considered outliers, and people don’t really know how to integrate them into broader themes. People frame my work in terms of race and gender and don’t integrate it into broader historical questions, and I think that limits the possibilities of what the public is allowed to understand about our production in the country. It’s one of the reasons that I’m interested in using my platform at the Guggenheim to bring forth voices that are rarely heard together. If you invite only African-Americans to the table, then you’re participating in your own isolation.

 Dezeen reported that Central America’s largest museum of Mayan history and culture is being planned for Guatemala City, and it will be designed by Harry Gugger Studio of Basel and over,under of Boston:

Museo-Maya-de-America-by-Harry-Gugger-640

 ArtNews reports that, “In conjunction with its upcoming survey of Tibetan medical artworks, the Rubin Museum will offer diet tips, urinalysis, and other suggestions for healthy living.” Sounds interesting, no? They explain:

The foundations of Tibetan medical practices are laid out in a poetic treatise called the Four Tantras, which dates back to the 12th century. The text, which is still used by Tibetan doctors today, describes a method of living and healing that is not only based on medicine, but also on diet and personal actions. “It’s a philosophy of behavior,” says Tim McHenry, Director of Public Programs & Performance at the Rubin. “You can treat something with antibiotics, but how did you get there in the first place?”

… Several of the medical drawings on view indicate that the processes of diagnosis and treatment are aided by the humor system. In an undated medical drawing titled Tree of Diagnosis, for example, the branches of a tree are color-coded to correspond with the humors. Blue, yellow, and white represent wind, bile, and phlegm, respectively. Certain ailments appear to only be wind disorders, while phlegm and bile disorders seem to share more symptoms.

 In one of the most esoteric (but strangely interesting) projects I’ve heard of recently is this Rhizome commission that took a look at the history of computers through the Law and Order television series:

In fact, it isn’t until nine episodes and 39 computers later that a machine is even turned on, and it isn’t until season five that a computer appears on the front of someone’s desk. Over the course of the show as we might expect, computers become more and more common, shifting from bulky desktops to laptops and flatscreen monitors. City employees look up records for detectives and DAs, forensics and computer experts are seen using high-end software and even engaging in hacking, and computers dot the background with random programs open as if some important work had been interrupted. By the last two seasons, both detectives are regularly seen working on laptops across from each other and smartphones begin to make appearances.

Pictured here is the first portrayal of a computer on season one, episode one:

Law-and-Order-s1-e1-first-computer-640

 I don’t know how I ever missed Tyler Considine’s “Notes on Gay Minimalism” from 2010 but better late than never:

Gay Minimalism, a particular brand of this new manifestation, is unlike the Minimalism of the 1960s; it is not founded on reactions to previous art histories nor does it challenge the perception of forms or aesthetic autonomy, instead it embodies gay male identity, addressing issues more social, emotional and human.

… To understand Gay Minimalism present, it is necessary to examine its past — a past that could not exist without the work of Cuban-American artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres. His work is canonical, and represents an important integration of art aligned with gay identity into the mainstream cultural conversation.

 The before and after civil war images of Syria‘s buildings and landmarks is heartbreaking.

 Debunking some myths as to why some famous writers drank heavily:

“Contrary to myth, few of the writers I looked at used alcohol for inspiration. More as a way of self-medicating against anxiety, depression and stress. Cheever said something interesting about how the desire to drink and to escape into fantasy — that is, to create fiction — began to seem disturbingly similar to him; he wondered if they came from the same source. This seems plausible, but is by no means the whole story.”

 Some stunning images from the protests in Kiev, Ukraine:

 And Tom Mashburn of the New York Times reminds us that not all “Monument Men” were men. He writes:

Less heralded have been the contributions of women like Ms. Hall, who were pivotal in helping rescue Europe’s art during the war and long after the German surrender.

The art-hunting team, officially known as the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Section, grew to more than 300 people in the postwar years. The women never numbered more than a few dozen, but, like the men, they were dedicated scholars and at times notable heroes.

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.

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  • gwvanderleun

    “I don’t know how I ever missed Tyler Considine’s “Notes on Gay Minimalism” …” Because, unlike many weak others, you are not insane and like to ignore alien orders?

    • http://hragv.com/ Hrag Vartanian

      The aliens are among us.

  • David Cohen

    Thanks for Notes on Gay Minimalism Hrag. I teach art since the sixties at a couple of schools and a dichotomy sets itself up between the austere, straight white male minimal art of the sixties and the “other voices” that enter as alternatives in the seventies and eighties. FTG is perfect as the example of an artist occupying the forms of minimalism with the subjects of a new expanded identity politics. This reading helps complicate that easy equation.

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