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This week, the Bechdel test’s impact on movie revenue, the 17-year-old who slept with Ginsburg and Burroughs, Sotheby’s redesign, internet as propaganda tool, LACMA and Tinder, and more.
Films that pass the Bechdel test tend to do better dollar for dollar than those that don’t.
Using Bechdel test data, we analyzed 1,615 films released from 1990 to 2013 to examine the relationship between the prominence of women in a film and that film’s budget and gross profits. We found that the median budget of movies that passed the test — those that featured a conversation between two women about something other than a man — was substantially lower than the median budget of all films in the sample. What’s more, we found that the data doesn’t appear to support the persistent Hollywood belief that films featuring women do worse at the box office. Instead, we found evidence that films that feature meaningful interactions between women may in fact have a better return on investment, overall, than films that don’t.
I’ve argued before that photography really is more a practice than anything, the consequence being that photographs not only have become ephemeral, they often don’t matter any longer. Because of the practice aspect, however (“I photograph, therefore I am”), photographs are intimately tied to authorship: photographs are essentially re-confirming their maker’s (author’s) presence, one picture at a time. Or more accurately, the existence of a photograph provides proof that someone felt the need to re-confirm her or his presence.
… this underage boy direct from the Bible Belt was about to lose his virginity to a much older Allen Ginsberg. “I was happy to find that I saw him handsome in a certain light,” he says. “I was never super physically attracted to him, but he’s got this Grecian, bearded Poseidon profile, you know? That’s kind of handsome, I think I can go with that.
“Basically he blew me; that was a big part of it. And he was really good at it. He did this thing where he had his hand and his mouth working at the same time, and he’d take time out to explain to me what he was doing. He was like, ‘See, you do this with your hand so that way your partner’s penis is always being touched, and when your mouth is off it, your hand is there and it keeps it warm and it keeps the sensation constant, and that shows real consideration to your partner.’ It’s very Allen that he’s always peppering anything he’s saying with little tutorials. But I was totally down for that — it was what I’d signed up for. I wanted the tutorial, I wanted to understand how the fucking world worked. I wanted somebody to help me and mentor me.”
The results of Miller’s redesign, unveiled this week after two years of work, are not so much a drastic rebrand, but feel “more like how Sotheby’s should’ve looked all along,” Miller tells Co.Design. “We wanted a kind of click moment, when suddenly Sotheby’s just felt more like itself.”
… in an attempt to present a new face to the world, [12 years ago] Sotheby’s changed its logo’s typeface from a historic serif to a clean, modern Gill Sans-based sans serif. “The idea was that they were turning over a new leaf, establishing a new transparency as a publicly traded company,” Miller says, “but what happened was they kind of severed their connection to this really historic lineage.”
… Miller replaced the 12-year-old logo with a new one that uses the elegant Mercury typeface, designed by Jonathan Hoeffler. “This font in particular was really effective for us — it has this great new/old sensibility to it stylistically. It’s chiseled, classic, and refined.”
All three Saudi modern artists interviewed said they have strong backing from members of the Saudi ruling family, but that officials cannot be seen openly supporting works that could draw the ire of the country’s religious establishment.
There have been some exceptions, such as Princess Jawaher bint Majed Al-Saud who funds an annual art week in Jiddah. Another well-known supporter is wealthy Saudi businessman Abdul-Latif Jameel who created Art Jameel that supports the London-based art collective Edge of Arabia run by Stephen Stapleton.
The documents in the archive show that the British are particularly aggressive and eager in this regard, and formally shared their methods with their U.S. counterparts. One previously undisclosed top-secret document–prepared by GCHQ for the 2010 annual “SIGDEV” gathering of the “Five Eyes” surveillance alliance comprising the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the U.S.–explicitly discusses ways to exploit Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other social media as secret platforms for propaganda.
… If American intelligence agencies are adopting the GCHQ’s tactics of “crafting messaging campaigns to go ‘viral’,” the legal issue is clear: A “viral” online propaganda campaign, by definition, is almost certain to influence its own citizens as well as those of other countries.
“Once speculators see an artist, they think there goes the neighborhood. You’re seen as the enemy in our neighborhoods, and that has to change.”
… Ms. Woolard cited a statistic that there are 93,000 artists living in New York. To put that in context, there are 73,000 4-year-olds looking for seats in pre-k every year. Even if we organize ourselves, we will still need allies to fight for low-income and affordable housing, preserving commercial workspace, and creating new ceilings for a speculative, profit-driven market. It’s crucial that we don’t remain invisible.
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.
Tabitha Arnold’s rugs pay tribute to organizers who lay their bodies on the line in the workplace, in the public square, and in the depths of private prisons.
The intentionality of Booker’s abstraction gives me the impetus to discuss something about the current zeitgeist that’s been on my mind for a while.
Large-scale installations by artist and adobera Joanna Keane Lopez and olfactory-acoustic sculptures by Oswaldo Maciá will be on view starting October 1.
After years in the making, New Time opens at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.
The museum details the process of moviemaking, from its inception in storytelling all the way to its marketing. But interwoven into these exhibits are ugly truths.
Over 125 artist studios, galleries, and exhibition spaces open their doors to the public for this year’s Jersey City Art and Studio Tour, taking place from September 30 through October 3.
The former panels, removed in 2017, featured images dedicated to Confederate Generals Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee.