ReactorWeekend

Required Reading

by Hrag Vartanian on March 10, 2013

Artist William Wegman's first GIF. (via Colossal)

Artist William Wegman’s first GIF … of course, it involves his beloved Weimaraners. (via Colossal)

This week, William Wegman’s first GIF, what it means to be Canadian, books that shaped art history, copyright infringement as terrorism, auction houses in India and China, and more.

 Dutch design collective Droog pokes fun at the notion of piracy in China by unveiling its own copies of Chinese objects in a Guangzhou shopping centre.

 Photographer Naomi Harris drove over 22,000 miles across Canada in an attempt to capture her beloved homeland and explore the age-old question of “what does it means to be Canadian?”

 The books that shaped art history, and how we grapple with words to describe art.

 Is copyright infringement being treated as a form of terrorism? According to a number of sources, the Obama administration is publishes a newsletter about its efforts with language that compares copyright infringement to terrorism. This is obviously a troubling trend.

 A collaboration between Addie Wagenknecht & Pablo Garcia asked online sexcam performers to replicate iconic works of art:

Webcam Venus [NSFW] from Pablo Garcia on Vimeo.

 A Q&A with a man who is seeing the changes in India through the world of auction houses:

India is an important market for Sotheby’s. Our Indian client base continues to grow steadily. In 2012, Sotheby’s saw a 20 percent rise in the number of Indian buyers participating in our auctions and a 42 percent rise in the amount they spent with the company. Indian buyers are now active right across our selling categories – not just Indian art, but also increasingly in our impressionist and modern, international contemporary and jewelry sales.

 The world of China’s government-run auction house, Poly:

The Beijing-based company has a virtual monopoly in China because foreign houses such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s have only recently been permitted to hold auctions in the country, leaving Poly to dominate smaller local firms.

“If you need to sell an important Chinese vase or painting, then you get a better price discovery at Poly than you get at Christie’s. But you have to remember that a lot of the buying [in China] is artificial,” said Sergey Skaterschikov, founder of Skate’s Art Market Research.

“They’ve set up a fully private museum, which is the equivalent of setting up a captive institutional buyer with very little transparency. In the auction business they call it show bidding,” he added. “Their own captive demand is always available to drive the prices and the volume.”

 This week, a mini-controversy was stirred up when an editor at The Atlantic approached freelance writer Nate Thayer about writing an article for the online wing of the magazine but didn’t have money to pay him. The resulting shit storm included an extensive response by The Atlantic and a Branch conversation at The Awl about how much a writer should be paid for their writing online.

 A lovely digital rendering of The Shahnaheh, the great Persian epic. Some of the greatest works of Persian art have been renditions of this seminal text, so it’s great to see the tradition of manuscript illumination transitioning online — though you can also buy a limited edition hardcopy. The book is translated by Dr. Ahmad Sadri, illustrated by Hamid Rahmanian, and published by Jim Mairs.

 What should we do with buildings the public hates?

It cannot be said that the public hates all modernist buildings and loves all traditional buildings. And yet modernism is an acquired taste, whereas affection for traditional buildings is a more natural, innate, instinctive taste.

 And finally, Buzzfeed tries it’s meme-ified hand at what it’s like to be an art student through the world of Harry Potter. Sure, it’s a little WTF, but why not?

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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