ReactorWeekend

Required Reading

by Hrag Vartanian on May 13, 2012

If you don't know Curly's street art work, you should. The work is often funny, insightful and never takes itself too seriously (via flickr.com/staycurly)

This week, face recognition software may help art historians solve mysteries, Picasso’s lover gets a Gagosian show, the New Aesthetic debate continues, the French elections and art, street art in Houston, Kiki Smith interviews Jenny Holzer and more.

 Remember how the US space program produced inventions that benefited our daily lives (like microwaves), well, the war on terror may (inadvertently) offer some benefits (finally) for other fields, including art history. It appears that face recognition software developed by anti-terrorist divisions may help art historians identify the people in Old Master paintings, including Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” (c. 1667) or Frans Hals’ “The Laughing Cavalier” (1624).

 Socialite writer Dodie Kazanjian has written for Vogue about muse and artist Françoise Gilot’s 1943–53 relationship (artistic and otherwise) with Pablo Picasso. The 90-year-old Gilot is currently having a show at Gagosian alongside her former lover:

Although she was well aware of Picasso’s history with women (he was dining that night with Dora Maar, his soon-to-be-discarded mistress, who was looking daggers at their table), she wasn’t a bit afraid or in awe of him. A relationship with him, as she wrote in her 1964 book Life with Picasso, was a “catastrophe I didn’t want to avoid.”

 The Creators Project is continuing the debate about The New Aesthetic and invited me and others to chime in on this supposed phenomenon — I couldn’t resist calling it “The Not-So-New Aesthetic.” Related: Paddy Johnson has waded into the debate at The L Magazine. She, like me, is not a fanboy.

 Sebastien Boncy explores the topic of street art in Houston, a city not known for walkers. He thinks, “The idea of the post-retinal is the first step toward making sense of this town as canvas.” Interesting perspective.

 What will the election of socialist François Hollande as the French President mean for the culture industry in France? Artinfo takes a look and mentions that over a week ago 362 academics, writers, and artists, including Christian Boltanski, Annette Messager and Jean-Jacques Sempé signed a letter in support of Hollande on the blog of the magazine Les Inrockuptibles.

 Artist Kiki Smith interviews artist Jenny Holzer in Interview Magazine — that publication is infamous for these kind of interview circle jerks — and while the article is generally interesting Smith comes out with a doozy that makes me wonder if she is looking at a lot of work by young artists because it seems very out of touch. She says, “I don’t see so many young people addressing social circumstance, or ecological circumstance, or economic circumstance through art today.”

 Leila Nadir and Cary Peppermint (aka EcoArtTech) were recently interviewed about their work that collides and examines the environment, art and technology and it’s definitely worth a read.  I really love this quote:

Obviously there is a bit of Dada in this work — but not Dada as simple chaos, as it is popularly invoked, but rather Dada as a shocking exposure of the limits of modern reason at the same time as it brings to the surface something that many of us have repressed from consciousness: the subliminal knowledge that there are ways of knowing the world that come from non-scientific experiences and observations. This tension between scientific expertise and everyday experience is also at play in our recent work #TrainingYRHuman.

 This week’s best internet hoax was the whole “Abraham Lincoln Copyrighted Facebook in 1845” story that has since been debunked. The Library of Congress had to point out the Lincoln photo in the piece was taken in 1846 or 47.

 In other 19th C. fun. Ever wonder who invented the clothespin? The New York Times takes a look at this household invention that made a lot of people’s lives a whole lot easier. The clothespin was first patented in 1853 by David M. Smith of Vermont, which the paper hilariously calls “the Silicon Valley of 19th-century clothespin technology.”

And some historic nuggets worth a second look:

 In 1946, Salvador Dalí and Walt Disney signed a deal to create a surreal cartoon “Destino” (Destiny) explanation of the Mexican ballad Armando Dominguez. The film finally surfaced in 2003 after languishing in the archives for decades.

 Last Address is a 2010 documentary and website devoted to remembering the artists of New York who succumbed to AIDS, including Keith Haring, David Wojnarowicz, Joe Brainard, Jack Smith but the list (sadly) goes on and on.

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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  • JosephYoung

    couldn’t find the date for the holzer/smith thing. you’d think it’d have to have been pre-Occupy but it probably wasn’t?

  • http://envelopes.wordpress.com/ NotI

    “that publication is infamous for these kind of interview circle jerks”

    isn’t that the whole point of Interview Magazine? that’s like saying The New Yorker is “infamous for its New York-centric bias.”

    • http://hragv.com Hrag Vartanian

      True, but I think many people who are clicking through may not know that about Interview so I wanted to make it clear.

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