This edition of Required Reading has a heavy dose of California and some very critical texts.
Jon Jackson knows how to say goodbye with style: “as the artist heads east making New York his new home. Not wanting to string LA along, he has decided to firmly break it off through a graphic billboard series posted on the famous streets of his first love.”
Mike Kelley has his first LA solo show in eight years and LA Times art critic Christopher Knight discovers it’s classic Kelly, though it’s a little hard to tell if he likes it:
Kelley mashes up classically revered ancient tales with childhood pop-culture trash. East merges with West, intellectual rigor with cheap sentiment, adulthood with adolescence, and social history with autobiography.
Donald Kuspit tears apart John Baldessari on Artnet, and if you don’t like the Californian artist than you’re going to love reading this, since it’s pure OUCH:
But the joke is on Baldessari, for the work shows the poverty of his mind and creativity, heavily dependent on the minds and creativity of others, whether those who make movies or pure art.
Over at East of Borneo, there’s an interview with Andrea Bowers that begins “Bowers turns that project on its head to reveal the abuse of ownership that has too often been the reality in the American West.” She goes on to talk about photography and colonialism, the names of those who died crossing the US-Mexico borders, and galleries as community centers.
And finally, if the new House Republicans — who have been in power for a very short time — don’t scare you, then maybe they should. They have unveiled plans to slash federal arts budgets that will include the death of the NEA, NEH, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. If this isn’t culture wars at its worst, then I don’t know what is.
Required Reading is published every Sunday morning at 7am EST, and it is comprised of a short list of art-related links (10 or less) to long-form articles, videos, blog posts or photo essays worth a second look.