Calligraphic graffiti writer Faust has responded to all the snow in the US Northeast with his distinctive text stylings. (via Laughing Squid)

Calligraphic graffiti writer Faust has responded to all the snow in the US Northeast with his distinctive text stylings. (via Laughing Squid)

This week, snow graffiti, free newspapers online, Jon Stewart on architecture, Photoshop at 25, Iranian beauty standards for women, Pussy Riot and Eric Garner, and more.

 Searching the Google newspaper archive is much easier now, and there are so many defunct publications at your fingertips.

 According to ArtNews, artist William Pope L. is not happy about having his work on the cover of Artforum this month. He explains:


“I have a very divided take about being on the cover of Artforum,” said Pope.L, who is black. “That’s something I’m supposed to want. All artist are supposed to want that. It’s really funny when you get what you want and you have no idea what it is. You have fantasies about these things, and you get drunk and you talk about these things. ‘Oh, my Guggenheim show, we’ll get drunk and we’ll be in the back with our friends.’ It’s never like that.”

“Eric Garner’s death, or Trayvon Martin’s, or Michael Brown’s, those deaths are much larger than my career,” he said. If he decides to represent them as an artist, that’s one thing, but when Artforumdecides to raise the issue on their cover—”It was one of the first times I’ve ever seen a topical cover… No, really, I’ve never missed an issue in 50 years”—things become more complicated. “It’s troubling,” he said.

 The Charlie Hebdo attacks highlighted the danger of political cartooning, and there are still cartoonists in Algeria, Ecuador, France, India, Kuwait, Malaysia, Spain, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe who face serious threats for their work:

Just days ago, Malaysian cartoonist Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque, better known as Zunar, was arrested over a tweet he posted criticizing Malaysia’s judiciary. A cartoon he posted on his Twitter account showed Prime Minister Najib Razak as the judge in a high-profile case involving an opposition leader.

Governments have historically employed tools ranging from threats, smears and prison time to assaults and even murder to silence cartoonists, according to Edward Lordan, professor of communications at West Chester University and author of “Politics, Ink: How Cartoonists Skewer America’s Politicians.”  “As thought leaders, cartoonists can be extremely influential,” Lordan said.

 Jon Stewart’s most memorable architecture moments, according to Architect magazine, including:

 How Photoshop, at the age of 25, is adapting to this social media-obsessed world:

Photoshop began as a way to procrastinate from working on a doctoral thesis. In the late 1980s, Thomas Knoll, who was studying computer vision at the University of Michigan, began creating a collection of image-processing utilities for his younger brother John, who was a digital-effects specialist at Industrial Light & Magic. The program, which the brothers named Display, kept growing, and soon many of John’s friends at I.L.M. were using it.

In 1988, Adobe agreed to buy the program, but it didn’t really have high expectations. Adobe gave the brothers no extra resources to finish the software; the company didn’t even require them to go to Silicon Valley to work on it. John remained at Industrial Light & Magic, dreaming up new features for Photoshop, while Thomas stuck it out in Ann Arbor, where he wrote every line of code in the first version.

“The end result was, I never did finish my Ph.D.,” Thomas said. But after about two years, he did finish Photoshop. On Feb. 19, 1990, Photoshop 1.0 began shipping. It was an instant success. Over the next decade, Adobe sold more than three million copies.

All the Photoshop tool-bar menus through the years:


 Pussy Riot released their first English-language song, and it is a tribute to Eric Garner:

 A hundred years of Iranian beauty standards for women in a minute:

 Presenting a collection of xxx snowpeople:


 Read a lost Sherlock Holmes story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that was recently discovered in a Scottish attic:

… here is the full transcript of ‘Sherlock Holmes: Discovering the Border Burghs and, by deduction, the Brig Bazaar’:’

We’ve had enough of old romancists and the men of travel, said the Editor, as he blue-pencilled his copy, and made arrangements for the great Saturday edition of the Bazaar Book. ‘We want something up-to-date. Why not have a word from “Sherlock Holmes”?’

 Today are the Oscars. Here are some facts that may interest you about campaigns to snag the golden statuette:

  • Oscar voters are 94% white, 77% male and have a median age of 62.
  • 56% of ‘Best Picture’ nominees were released in either November or December.
  • The cost of a ‘Best Picture’ winning Oscar campaign is around $10 million
  • Half of all the money spent on Oscar campaigns will go on advertising
  • A page 1 advert in The Hollywood Reporter during Oscar season costs $72,000.
  • PR consultants are paid $10k-$15k, plus bonuses of $20k per nomination/win.
  • It costs around $3,500 to prepare a Hollywood actress for the red carpet
  • Oscar nominated films earn average of $12.7m more than films not nominated
  • A ‘Best Picture’ Oscar win is worth $3 million in increased box office gross
  • A Golden Globe win is worth $14.2 million
  • The non-financial benefits to studios of an Oscar ‘Best Picture’ are worth $7m
  • Best Actor winners can expect a $3.9m salary increase
  • It’s just $500k for Best Actress winners

 How is drag like blackface, if at all? This is an extreme point of view, but there are some good points about the different types of drag:

Here’s my proposal: In the same way that many queens listened to the transgender community’s concerns last year over use of controversial terms like tranny within drag culture, we can listen to women this year. Without chilling drag’s wonderful tradition of free expression, we can take this moment to ask if our drag personae and performances truly celebrate feminine gender expressions, or if they lazily mock them. I know that this kind of sensitivity is possible, because some queens are already excelling at it. Just last week, I saw Brooklyn queen Lady Bearica Andrews perform a number in which she literally threw off the marionette strings of domesticity to become an independent woman. It’s rare and risky for a queen to create work that so directly addresses women’s issues, but the audience was on its feet, screaming. Judging from that experience, I don’t think that listening to women’s concerns will hurt us. In fact, I think it may make our drag even richer.

 How Wednesday Addams (of the Addams Family) would respond to catcalling (pretty funny):

Required Reading is published every Sunday morning ET, and 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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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.