Weekend

Required Reading

This week, Lady Liberty gets a “Refugees Welcome” banner, critics hate on Amy Feldman and Jason Rhoades, Warhol’s cause of death may be more complicated than we think, drawing black comic characters, and more.

This week, anonymous activists were able to hoist a guerrilla banner at the Statue of Liberty that read “REFUGEES WELCOME.” BBC emailed with the organizers who responded that they are, “We have no formal group, just private citizens who felt like we needed to say something about the America we believe in.” (via @AltStatLiberty)

Um … “56 State Arts Agencies Face the Death of the NEA.

Cara Ober visits the recent Baltimore-area school that banned pro-immigration posters by Shepard Fairey. She writes:

Art is also a “floating signifier.” This means art can mean and be used for any cause or to represent any idea. An artist’s intension for the work has very little to do with the way it is perceived and received in the world. In short – it’s subjective.

Carroll County School’s administration made a choice to politicize Fairey’s diversity posters and ban them, claiming that they are partisan propaganda because they were used in Women’s Marches around the world. But what about other political art? Will Carroll County public schools ban Jenny Holzer and Hans Haacke from classrooms?

RM Vaughan, writing for Art F City, is fed up with Amy Feldman’s paintings. And when a critic is fed up, well, this happens:

The works have no redeeming qualities other than as oversized examples of how shitty and decadent times have become. Feldman’s paintings are the wall-based equivalent of hiring peasants to play at being peasants in your estate gardens, the extra chandeliers in the posh hotel lobby, the last dollops of gold and poured blue glass on King Tut’s 25 pound funeral mask,  the extra season of Girls; flitting, careless excess and high-brow gluttony rendered into being with a gutting, lurid insincerity.

Matt Gleason, writing for Huffington Post, has fun ripping into the Jason Rhoades showwhich I can confirm is quite bad — at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel in LA:

But what was good for 1994–2006, the years covered in this survey, may not be good for 2017. Of the six major installations that comprise the show, three feature conglomerations of neon signage spelling out slang terms for women’s genitalia. Little is more ubiquitous to American white male artists born in a certain era than narcissistic relativism, that sentiment that the freedom to do whatever one wants should carry no moral responsibility, allow for any confrontations nor engender any consequences. In the relativism of that era, the context of being white and male added to the luster and importance of the work being “politically incorrect.” During his lifetime, Rhoades received (almost exclusively) fawning praise for defeating formal constrictions, expanding the definition of what art could be and “being edgy” with overtly racist, sexist and bigoted themes under the “aw shucks” banner of “just being a little politically incorrect.”

How did Warhol die? A new theory changes conventional thinking about a routine surgery gone wrong:

Dr. John Ryan, a medical historian and retired surgeon, has recast the story line. “This was major, major surgery — not routine — in a very sick person,” Dr. Ryan, emeritus chief of surgery at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle, said in a recent phone interview.

According to Dr. Ryan, who presented his findings on Sunday at the annual meeting of the Pacific Coast Surgical Association, Warhol’s death shouldn’t be seen as quite such a surprise. Since his retirement four years ago, Dr. Ryan, a jovial and sporty Seattleite, has been digging into Warhol’s medical history. (He got a push in that direction from his brother-in-law Hal Foster, a distinguished scholar who writes on Pop Art.) Dr. Ryan has found that the surgeon who performed Warhol’s final operation was working on someone with almost 15 years of gallbladder trouble and a family history of the same — Warhol’s father had his gallbladder removed in 1928, the year his famous son was born.

Protesters tricked conservative CPAC conference attendees into waving Russian flags with Trump’s name on it. HA! The Atlantic reports:

But the two wouldn’t call it a “false-flag” operation. “It’s true-flag operation,” Clayton told me over the phone, in a thick, mock Russian accent. “It show how Trump and Russia are so connected, they like peas in pod!” The CPAC stunt comes after a report from February 14 suggesting that Trump aides were in contact with Russian intelligence officials in the year before the U.S. presidential election. Trump himself has also praised Russian President Vladimir Putin on a number of occasions.But the two wouldn’t call it a “false-flag” operation. “It’s true-flag operation,” Clayton told me over the phone, in a thick, mock Russian accent. “It show how Trump and Russia are so connected, they like peas in pod!” The CPAC stunt comes after a report from February 14 suggesting that Trump aides were in contact with Russian intelligence officials in the year before the U.S. presidential election. Trump himself has also praised Russian President Vladimir Putin on a number of occasions.

The five directors nominated for the Best Foreign Film Oscar have released a statement of solidarity against the recent Trump administration policies:

Students at Lesley University want their MFA professor back. It’s a complicated but interesting story about the state of college life today:

A group of more than 200 alumni and current graduate students have sent a petition to Lesley University’s administration, demanding the reinstatement of Anthony Apesos—a popular professor—to the MFA in Visual Arts program at the Lesley University College of Art and Design (LUCAD) that he founded.

Nicole Miles writes about growing up in the Caribbean and learning to “draw people that looked like me.” An excellent comic:

Yet another Uber controversymaybe the worst yet? — but will it survive this one? Maybe not:

Uber’s long had skeptics, and it’s not innovative to paint Kalanick, 40, as the boogeyman of Silicon Valley, where unseemly savants exist in vast supply.

The precarious moment in the company’s eight-year history falls on Kalanick’s lap. It’s his baby after all—a startup founded on seemingly nothing more than a vague idea, without much regard for the workforce to make it possible, or even a clear idea of what business model it actually wants to pursue. Uber has jumped from one idea to the next: UberX, UberEats, autonomous cars, and now flying cars, of all things.

A very impressive visual of every New York Times front page:

Required Reading is published every Sunday morning ET, 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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