Reactor

Required Reading

by Hrag Vartanian on August 19, 2012

Images from The Illuminator’s Free Pussy Riot projections this weekend on the Russian Consulate in Manhattan’s Upper East Side and the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood. (via The Illuminator’s Facebook Page)

This week, Žižek on Pussy Riot, the fate of an early Richard Serra is being discussed, crimes of photography, an Indiana Museum finds a Picasso in storage, National Georgraphic’s 2012 Travelers Photo Contest winners, New York’s art book shops and more.

 Here is an excerpt from a statement by Marxist intellectual Slavoj Žižek on the Pussy Riot trial:

Pussy Riot members accused of blasphemy and hatred of religion? The answer is easy: the true blasphemy is the state accusation itself, formulating as a crime of religious hatred something which was clearly a political act of protest against the ruling clique. Recall Brecht’s old quip from his Beggars’ Opera: “What is the robbing of a bank compared to the founding of a new bank?”

 The saga of Richard Serra’s groundbreaking “Shift” (1970–72) work just north of Toronto continues. The Globe & Mail newspaper reports:

Now, as development pressure around Toronto intensifies, including in the Township of King, where “Shift” is found, a struggle over the fate of this pioneering work of minimalism is under way. And it’s not just about keeping the wild raspberry bushes, lichens and goldenrod at bay. A significant moment in the “Shift” saga is occurring this week in the township as the Ontario Conservation Review Board (CRB) holds a hearing on the installation possibly being designated a heritage property.

The hearing, which started on Monday, is happening more than 21/2 years after the township’s council voted to designate “Shift,” situated on agricultural land currently planted with corn, a protected cultural landscape under the Ontario Heritage Act.

 Is photographing in public becoming a crime? The NY Times‘s Lens blog talks with Mickey H. Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, and he says:

If you’re out in public, you can take pictures. And you can report to your heart’s content. The problem is whether they know their rights or don’t know their rights and are willing to assert their rights.

 This article in the New York Times Magazine has been making waves, “A Critic’s Case for Critics Who Are Actually Critical” and here’s an excerpt:

Working as a critic, you learn to duck incoming words and shards of shattered cocktail glasses. I’ve developed pretty thick skin. Critics take a beating, especially in popular culture. Jean Sibelius’s observation — “No statue has ever been erected to a critic” — seems to be cited somewhere weekly. As well-known quotations go, this one strikes me as especially banal. It implies something disheartening about our culture.

 Rosa Ainley reviews Douglas Murphy’s The Architecture of Failure for Review 31:

Do we hate architecture because it can’t deliver (change the world) and love it because it tries? Can we, as it were, blame architecture for trying? And failing. Failure and optimism, though, are not mutually exclusive.

 An Indiana Museum discovers that a painting they had in storage for almost 50 years is a rare glass work by Pablo Picasso, “Seated Woman with Red Hat”:

The piece was donated to the museum in 1963 by industrial designer Raymond Loewy. It was believed to be inspired by a Picasso painting but not done by the legend himself, thus credited to an artist named Germmaux. As it turns out, Germmaux is not an artist’s name but is the plural of “gemmail,” the medium used to assemble pieces of glass that later light up with color. Glass was a rare medium for Picasso, who incorporated it into his works during the mid-fifties with much success.

 National Geographic has announced the winners of its 2012 Traveler Photo Contest.

 Randy Kennedy writes about his love of New York’s art book shops:

In this world the galleries don’t have the word “gallery” in the name. Many are tough to find, located along anonymous hallways of nondescript buildings. They tend to be on the small side, and some keep irregular hours. But they can be as visually sumptuous as any traditional gallery. And they are democratic places, where the art can be (occasionally, carefully) handled and where someone with means as meager as mine can afford to build a little collection.

 The creator of Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi, talks to Mother Jones about her new film, Chicken With Plums (the tailer is above), and she touches upon the strange psychology of dictatorships:

In all the dictatorships, there’s such a non-understanding of what human beings are. I mean, if you believe in the Bible, you have the story of Adam and Eve and God tells them, “Do whatever you want. The only thing you shouldn’t do is eat the apple.” What do they do the first thing? They eat the apple. So if you know a little bit the psychology of human beings, you have to understand that if you say something you should not do, then everybody wants to do it.

 Artist Marius Watz talks about “Algorithm Critique and Computational Aesthetics” at the Walker Art Center as part of the Eyeo2012 festival. It’s really geeky (in a good way) and my favorite part is when he compares algorithms and data to readymades and “found objects.”

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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