Required Reading

Three Puppies" by Jeff Koons is part of the new reinstall of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles's new permanent collection reinstall that went on view this weekend at MOCA Grand Avenue. (via MOCA's Google+ page)
“Three Puppies” by Jeff Koons is part of the new reinstallation of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles’s permanent collection galleries that went on view this weekend at MOCA Grand Avenue. (via MOCA’s Google+ page)

This week, the Sochi Olympics look a lot like art, the internet has a style guide, art history of slavery in Canada, 101 female artists got Wiki pages recently, who benefits from NEA grants, and more.

 The Awl may blow your mind with this hilarious list of images that force you to decide if a photo is a Sochi Olympics photo or a site-specific contemporary art installation:


 Why Buzzfeed felt the need to publish an internet style guide, I’m not sure, but it’s fun to check out. Here are some things they’d like to clarify:

  • fave, faved, fave-ing (as in, “I faved his tweet”)
  • fuckup (n.), fuck up (v.), fucked-up (adj.)
  • god: Cap only if explicitly referring to or alluding to a deity; lowercase otherwise, especially in common phrases (“Thank god she was OK,” “Oh god, he thought,” “And god knows we needed all the help we could get”)
  • h/t (for hat tips)
  • pro tip (don’t hyphenate)
  • pseudo words: don’t hyphenate (e.g., “He rose from Obama stand-in to a pseudo strategist”)
  • right-click (hyphenate as both n. and v.)
  • Third World: avoid; use “developing world/country” instead
  • www: Never use in a URL unless it you can’t access the site without it (or if the URL requires the odd www1. or www2.) — all very rare instances!
  • When referring to the broader community, “queer” (as in “queer people” or “LGBT” as in “LGBT people”) is appropriate. “Gay” is not. “LGBT” is only appropriate when referring to the broader community or groups of people, not when referring to individuals.

 Want to see how much the streetscape of New York City has changed during the Bloomberg administration? These before and after images over at Architect’s Newspaper should clarify things.

 This East of Borneo interview with Billy Al Bengston and Frank Gehry discussing their 1968 collaboration at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is quite excellent:

Frank Gehry:  I was a hanger-on to the art scene because the architects that I was collegiate with at the time thought I was nuts. Even my friends at the time and those who are still my friends — some of them are dead — thought I was weird, but I didn’t know I was weird. And when the art guys embraced me, I was declared weird by association probably.

… Billy Al Bengston: Frank hasn’t yet mentioned the foremost part of the exhibition—the guards, who inevitably were a pain in the ass in those days. I happened to be very involved with the Black Power movement so I made decisions that were based on my relationship with the guards, who at the time were mostly black. I put in a comfortable couch, a television set, and where some of the walls were not open, I took out the plywood so they could see everything in the exhibition without having to move off the couch.

 People often don’t associate slavery with Canada but a a rare portrait of a slave woman hanging at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is an important statement about a rarely discussed aspect of Canada’s history:

Art historian Charmaine Nelson with a 1786 painting by François Malépart de Beaucourt of a Canadian slave. (screenshot from Montreal Gazette)
Art historian Charmaine Nelson with a 1786 painting by François Malépart de Beaucourt of a Canadian slave.

New France, and later Quebec, had an estimated 4,000 slaves from 1628 to 1800. About two-thirds were First Nations captives while a third were blacks, mostly from southern slave colonies.

… Most of the slaves in early Canada worked as domestic servants. The first, Olivier Le Jeune, was a boy from Madagascar brought to Quebec City in 1628. However, slavery did not become relatively common in the colony until the end of the 17th century. The practice of buying and selling First Nations slaves, known as Panis, was well-established by the early 18th century.

Slavery disappeared from Quebec (then called Lower Canada) by the early 19th century, said Frank Mackey, author of Done with Slavery: The Black Fact in Montreal, 1760-1840 (McGill-Queens, 2010). He estimated there were about 400 slaves in the Montreal area from 1760 to 1800.

 While February is Black History Month, this is a good time to remind people how artificial “whiteness” actually is:

The original white Americans — those from England, certain areas of Western Europe, and the Nordic States — excluded other European immigrants from that category to deny them jobs, social standing, and legal privileges. It’s not widely known in the U.S. that several ethnic groups, such as Germans, Italians, Russians and the Irish, were excluded from whiteness and considered non-white as recently as the early 20th century.

… Those who identify as white should start thinking about their inheritance of this identity and understand its implications. When what counts as your “own kind” changes so frequently and is so susceptible to contemporaneous political schemes, it becomes impossible to argue an innate explanation for white exclusion. Whiteness was never about skin color or a natural inclination to stand with one’s own; it was designed to racialize power and conveniently dehumanize outsiders and the enslaved. It has always been a calculated game with very real economic motivations and benefits.

Related: Think being an adjunct professor is hard? Try being a black adjunct professor.

 Remember the Art+Feminist Wiki Edit-a-thon we reported on a few weeks ago? Well, turns out at least 101 Female Artists got wikipedia entries that day, ArtNews reports:

By the end of the day, around 100 new entries were up (around 80 more were enhanced). The new pages, devoted to figures ranging from Australian modernists Ethel Spowers and Dorrit Black to Catalan painter Josefa Texidor i Torres to contemporary artists including Mary Miss, Xaviera Simmons, Audrey Flack, and Monika Bravo, vary widely in scope, grammar, and quality of content. But the Wikipedia team expects that blips will vanish as the hive mind has its work on the entries.

 A new study challenges that assertion that National Endowment for the Arts funding only benefits the rich, and concludes that federally supported arts programs attract people across the income spectrum, including those below the poverty line.

The study points out:

In fiscal year 2012, [the NEA’s] budget was $146 million and it awarded 2,218 grants, which reached more than 75 million Americans.

 New internet censorship laws in Turkey have freedom of speech advocates concerned:

Turkey ranks second after China in demands to ban Internet content, according to a new report by the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV) …

The Internet law was approved by Parliament on Feb. 6, and gives the authority to block access to web pages to the head of the TİB. It has been widely seen as a government move to increase control over citizens’ online activities.

 Oh geez: “Prince is officially dropping a $22 million lawsuit against 22 fans, whom he accused of ‘massive infringement and bootlegging,’ since the targeted fans have since removed links to footage of his live performances.”

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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