This week, museums of the mind, Google captured in photos, a leaked document by Manifesta 10 curator Kasper König, 30 years of cell phone design, Sonny Rollins spoof goes wrong, online curators, and more.
Critic Holland Cotter imagines his museum of memory, which is comprised of some of the most memorable things he’s seen. He writes:
The show’s first piece, however, would be a painting, Vermeer’s “The Concert,” though its inclusion would mean negotiating a tricky loan. The picture was stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston in 1990 and has not been recovered. Art can give us a standard of perfection against which to measure the world, and Vermeer’s picture, with its trio of musicians rehearsing in a room bathed in wintry light, was the first art to do that for me. The F.B.I. is still on the theft case. So I’d get a list of the suspects and write a letter to each, respectfully asking to borrow the painting briefly and guaranteeing its return.
What does a photographer do when people are unusually harsh towards her subjects? One photographer explains:
Ms. Kenneally has long thought about how to protect those she photographs from judgment and derision. She calls herself a “digital folk artist,” a kind of “hoarder” who collects historical material and ephemera, including letters sent to and from prison, police records, birth certificates and family snapshots. She invites each of her subjects to make a scrapbook and posts videos of them narrating their own lives.
… Ms. Kenneally said she regretted handing over so much control to Slate: “It was a mistake. Next time I would say which photos could be used and how.” She liked Mr. Teicher’s text and said it was the “sound-bite culture” of the Internet that triggered the backlash.
A document from the curator of Manifesta 10, Kasper König, has been leaked. He continues to defend his decision to keep Manifesta in Russia:
What fascinates me and what we would like to explore during the Manifesta 10 is the uptightness of the Russian soul, but without missionay behaviour. To bring the endless fatalism and the depth of Dostoyevsky together with the grand figures of our time such as Thomas Hirschhorn: this is the moment when civilisations reach hands to each other.
Of course, the situation in the neighbouring region doesn’t pass us by completely. Yet I believe that art in these times – for some people surely not an easy times – can present a possibility for psychological rehabilitation, as the abstract expressionism did after WW2 , for example. Although it is not the task of art to solve complicated political conflicts, I don’t exclude the possibility that art can also help mitigate the problems in a country.
The New Yorker profiles Pritzker Prize-winning Shigeru Ban, whose building for the Aspen Art Museum recently opened:
Ban counts stubbornness as one of his great strengths, but he is not entirely free of self-consciousness: he had to interrupt his Pritzker acceptance speech, flustered, he said, because “Rem is looking at me.” In March, when the prize was announced, Patrik Schumacher, a partner at Zaha Hadid Architects, posted on Facebook, “I worry if the criteria of the Pritzker Prize . . . are now also being diverted in the direction of political correctness.” To others, Ban’s focus is so far from the aesthetic concerns of the discipline that he poses no threat at all. Tod Williams, a prominent New York architect who taught Ban and likes him, said, “It’s barely architecture. There’s no real depth to the work, and that’s why it’s a good, clear message.”
Critic and curator Karen Archey talks to various “online curators” (Vvork, eflux, Metahaven, Contemporary Art Daily, Ubuweb, K-Hole, First Look) about what they do:
Metahaven: The Internet is a condition, a lens, through which to look at anything. It provides so much of the visual material of everyday life and so it is not a neutral lens but one tainted with interesting and relevant presets. One of our most recent projects in development, which deals with an unrecognized state in North Africa, is an extreme example of the manner in which a space that is so explicitly not about the Internet, and severely underrepresented on it, can be brought to the attention by looking at it through the perspective of Internet. We can’t be more explicit about it at this point but much of our work is not about the internet or on the internet but made by the Internet.
Crunching the numbers around the social media impact of the invasion of Gaza by the Israeli military are very interesting. Writing for Medium, Gilad Lotan is concerned we’re only seeing the propaganda we agree with and not a diversity of opinions:
Not only is there much more media produced, but it is coming at us at a faster pace, from many more sources. As we construct our online profiles based on what we already know, what we’re interested in, and what we’re recommended, social networks are perfectly designed to reinforce our existing beliefs. Personalized spaces, optimized for engagement, prioritize content that is likely to generate more traffic; the more we click, share, like, the higher engagement tracked on the service. Content that makes us uncomfortable, is filtered out.
Somewhat related: a US-based academic is in hot water at work for his BDS-related social media activity.
An interesting story about a white South African Apartheid-era filmmaker who is finally being honored for his art:
Unknown among his fellow white South Africans, Tonie van der Merwe was the most popular filmmaker among black audiences in the 1970s and ’80s. He churned out about 400 movies under an apartheid subsidy system established to produce movies exclusively for blacks — with the right political and moral content. In fact, he helped create the system.
… And so, with apartheid now gone for a generation, Mr. van der Merwe’s resurgence has surprised many.
… After his speech, gripping a statuette in one hand and a double brandy and Coke in the other, he said: “Without being racist, I thought a white guy won’t easily win a prize, but I was wrong. I thought anything before the 1990s is not easily recognized by the present government. We didn’t exist. We didn’t do anything.”
30 years of cell phone design in one photograph:
The paper robot folds itself an walks away (more at The Creators Project):
A beautiful video portrait of the North Korean capital, Pyongyang:
And then there’s this: porn production in Los Angeles plummets! The LA Times reports:
Although critics say it’s unclear how many companies may be filming illegally without permits, porn producers say they’re taking their business to other counties in Southern California, as well as Nevada, Florida and Eastern Europe, where they say they face fewer regulations. The industry also has been forced to downsize amid declining DVD sales and free porn on the Internet.
Required Reading is published every Sunday morning EST, and 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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