ReactorWeekend

Required Reading

by Hrag Vartanian on March 18, 2012

This work by artist Baptiste Debombourg uses over 450,000 staples and took 340 hours to complete. It is inspired by the work of 16th Century artists and engravers, Hendrick Goltzius, Jan Harmensz and Cherubino Alberti. (via thisiscolossal.com)

This week, Keith Haring journals on Tumblr, the follies of suburbanism, looking for Kraftwerk, starchitects in New York, China’s architectural gold rush, art critics pick faves, Louise Bourgeois at the Freud Museum, the evolution of the Houston and Bowery “graffiti” wall, the National Gallery of Art releases 20,000 images online and more.

 This week the large Keith Haring show opened at the Brooklyn Museum and to coincide with that exhibition the Haring Foundation is publishing some pages from the artist’s journals on a tumblelog. So far none of the images are very impressive but that’s not to say more impressive works won’t appear eventually.

 Financial blogger Felix Salmon reviews MoMA’s Foreclosed exhibition for Architect magazine and finds it is lacking practical solutions that someone would actually finance:

But one driving idea of the show holds firm, Bergdoll’s binder notwithstanding: Suburbs are generally an architect-free zone. Insofar as such creatures are spied at all, they’re employed to rubber-stamp a builder’s plans. Beyond that, they’re not wanted. Suburbanites are conservative, wherever they might lie on the political spectrum: There’s a good reason why builders have kept on churning out houses which have remained essentially the same for decades, even as they have grown steadily in size.

 Atlantic Cities has a post trying to convince us that Apple’s new ring campus in the Silicon Valley is bad for urban America. I’m not convinced but you decide.

 Just in time for the Kraftwerk retrospective next month at MoMA, Longreads reminds us about “Desperately Seeking Kraftwerk,” a 2003 article in the Guardian by Alexis Petridis, who tries to understand the band and heads out to Düsseldorf. It contains a lot of great material and one of the most telling passages is when the writer turns down an interview with the band:

Next, we get sent a list of pre-interview conditions stringent enough to make your average Hollywood superstar baulk. Hütter will not discuss Kraftwerk’s history, their KlingKlang studio or indeed anything other than the new album. This poses a problem, as nobody in England has actually heard the new album yet. You suspect the end result will bear an uncanny resemblance to Kraftwerk’s most recent German interview, in which Hütter and a fearless correspondent from Der Spiegel spend two pages attempting to bore each other to death. Its gripping highlight comes when Hütter is forced to admit that computers are smaller nowadays than they were in the early 70s. We tactfully decline their kind offer and I head for Heathrow.

 You know the recent gold rush of starchitect-designed condos in New York? Well, it seems to have dimmed, and worse:

Although none of the starchitects have suffered enough to be considered box office poison, some buildings that had not sold out when the recession hit have had to offer hefty discounts. Others, while still commanding good prices relative to nearby buildings, are not holding their initial value.

 While in China … architects, according to the New York Times, are arriving by the droves:

Over the past three years, foreign architects and designers have poured into China, fleeing economic crises at home and pinning their hopes on this country’s explosive growth. It is, after all, a place that McKinsey & Company predicts will build 50,000 skyscrapers in the next two decades, the equivalent of 10 New Yorks.

 The International Association of Art Critics, which is pretty much a dead organization with no cache in art critic circles (though I hope it is revived), has announced what they consider their best shows of 2011:

… Sarah Sze on the High Line (Best Project in a Public Space); the exhibition “Bye Bye Kitty!!!” at the Japan Society (Best Show in a Non-Profit Gallery or Space); the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” (Best Architecture or Design Show); and the Paula Cooper Gallery’s presentation of Christian Marclay’s “The Clock” (Best Show in a Commercial Gallery in New York).

 Artists visits the Sigmund Freud Museum in London to see the Louise Bourgeois: The Return of the Repressed, which “shows the impact of psychoanalysis on her art and thinking.” The blog writes:

Although she was always ambivalent to pigeon-hole her work into one genre, she readily admitted that her pieces were a form of psychoanalysis – a confessional art that allowed her to express some of her complicated feelings about her past and come to grips with her anxieties, directly accessing her unconscious.  She was also fascinated by Freud and, as part of the exhibition, the Museum has republished her essay “Freud’s Toys,” a piece in response to an exhibition of Freud’s collection …

I also like the small 1938 portrait of Freud by Salvador Dalí.

 Street art  photographer Luna Park has posted a series of images that demonstrate how the Houston and Bowery “graffiti” wall has changed over the last five years. She also links to a post on Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York that argues that the Houston mural wall is part of the larger gentrification process of “turning the Bowery into a luxury lifestyle destination.”

 The National Gallery of Art in DC has released images of 20,000 work in their online resource, NGA Images. It’s not a first, since museum since Baltimore and LA (not to mention others) have already done the same, but considering the museum’s strong collection this is something to celebrate. The artist self-portraits gallery is worth a look.

 And finally, if you ever find yourself around the MoMA and not knowing what else to do, may I suggest taking a look at Teri Tynes excellent list of “25 Things to Do Near the Museum of Modern Art.”

Required Reading is published every Sunday morning-ish, 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.

p.s. there are more images of Baptiste Debombourg’s staple mural here.

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