ReactorWeekend

Required Reading

by Hrag Vartanian on January 13, 2013

The tallest 20 buildings completed in 2012

The 20 tallest buildings completed in 2012. For the first time in six years the number of tall buildings completed annually around the world declined. In total, 35 buildings taller than 200 meters were completed in Asia in 2012. 16 in WestAsia, and six in North America, including only two in the US, which once dominated tall building development. (via ctbuh.org) (click to enlarge)

This week, the 20 tallest buildings of 2012, MoMA launches Louise Bourgeois website, the art market in 2013, Neil Gaiman talks about “making good art,” a rare Hiroshima photograph, Zora Neale Hurston on zombies, and more.

  The Museum of Modern Art has launched Louise Bourgeois: The Complete Prints & Books, a major website documenting Bourgeois’s extensive body of work in printmaking. In 1990, the artist donated a complete set of her prints (3,500) to the museum, and this new site will allow website visitors to closely explore Bourgeois’s prints in various stages.

  What’s in store for the art market in the coming year? Georgina Adams, writing for The Art Newspaper, suggests:

I believe the top end of the art market will continue to perform strongly, particularly in the contemporary, Impressionist and Modern art sectors. There are a number of reasons for this. First, the building of so many museums across the world will sustain buying. Although the reported “1,000 museums” in China may prove an exaggeration, many are under construction and are being stocked with works of art. Elsewhere, the Abu Dhabi Guggenheim is back on track (or at least the authorities in the emirate are anxious to tell us that this is the case). The Middle East, with its huge resources, wants to establish itself as a cultural hub on a par with other, more established centres. And billionaires’ “vanity museums” — sometimes an unfair criticism — need to buy top works of art as well.

  Joerg Colberg has a fascinating meditation on watching a car burn and why he felt the urge to take a photograph. He writes:

Photographing an event one is looking at might just be a natural consequence of that compulsive looking. Of course, one is likely to share the images with friends or whoever else will look at them (as I did). Photographing results from a desire to communicate, and modern technology has made it possible for people to achieve that very effect usually instantaneously …

  Writer Neil Gaiman’s ”Make Good Art” commencement speech at Philadelphia’s the University of the Arts this past May is an inspiring thing. If you haven’t seen it please watch. In it he explains, among other things, “If you don’t know it’s impossible, it’s easier to do.”

 

  Writing for the New York Review of Books, Gabriel Winslow-Yost examines the comic-book novels of Chris Ware:

In 1988, Gore Vidal predicted that by 2015 “The New York Review of Comic Books will doubtless replace the oldNYR.” It was a joke, of course, and a warning (Vidal preferred “book books,” as he called them), but we’re just a couple of years short now, and he wasn’t all wrong. The past decades have seen an unprecedented amount of serious attention paid to comics, and for good reason: they’re better — stranger, subtler, more ambitious — than ever before.

 

 

 Two eulogies for Aaron Schwartz the online activist who committed suicide in Brooklyn on Friday:

  • Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing calls him a “full-time, uncompromising, reckless and delightful shit-disturber”
  • Lawrence Lessig on his blog: “Aaron was always and only working for (at least his conception of) the public good. He was brilliant, and funny. A kid genius. A soul, a conscience, the source of a question I have asked myself a million times: What would Aaron think? That person is gone today, driven to the edge by what a decent society would only call bullying.”

  Architect Magazine reviews the new Islamic wing at the Louvre, and critic Joseph Giovannini writes:

Visitors peering out classical windows into the majestic Cour Visconti on the Seine side of the palace see the pavilion’s roof below, a Saharan topography of gold-tinted mesh dunes. The roof rises and falls in the courtyard without touching the sacrosanct walls or interrupting the view of the façades. The courtyard has gained an unexpected, post-classical geometry that is much kinder and gentler than Pei’s more imposing and competitive pyramid. With a keen sensitivity to the existing architecture, the addition has added a chapter on parametric design to the Louvre’s eminent history.

  A rare photo of the split atomic mushroom cloud over Hiroshima was recently discovered.

  Oh, oh … “The $60 billion industry is facing intense political pressure from an unlikely alliance of critics who say that violent imagery in video games has contributed to a culture of violence.” As the New York Times explains:

The $60 billion industry is facing intense political pressure from an unlikely alliance of critics who say that violent imagery in video games has contributed to a culture of violence.

  And this is a gem from the vaults of the internet: Harlem Renaissance writer Zora Neale Hurston explains zombies in this 1943 interview. And did you know that she claims that she is the first person to ever photograph a zombie in 1936 (the woman had died in 1907). You can see a copy of Hurston’s zombie photo here.

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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  • Rachel Fagiano

    It is not really surprising the Zora Neale Hurston would claim such a thing. Her novels and anthropological writings focused heavily on Voodun. In Voodun–one of the generative traditions involving zombie folklore–zombies are conceived of slightly differently than they are in the western tradition. Even Papa Doc implored the imagery of the zombie throughout his dictatorship–a nod to the central, albeit scary, role they have within the religion and Haitian life.

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