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A view of the cover and one of the graphically zany spoofs from a June 1995 edition of “Spy” (via Google Books)

This week’s Required Reading is a little late because we continue to recover from the rambunctious Friday night in Bushwick that was Beat Nite. But here you are…

If you don’t know the work of 82-year-old Thornton Dial, well, now is as good as a time as any. The Indianapolis Museum of Art sent a team down to Alabama to meet with the artist and in return we all got some wonderful blog posts from brilliant conservator Richard McCoy on Art:21 and a post on the Indiana museum’s own blog. Both are worth a serious look. Dial is getting a solo show at the Indianapolis Museum, Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial, which opens on February 25 and is curated by Joanne Cubbs. The exhibition promised to “show Dial as an important contemporary artist working in the 21st century,” according to McCoy. I can tell this show will be a must-see.

Google has posted every issue of the classic 1980s/90s magazine SPY online. This publication was influential in its day for the sense of humor, its graphic design (specially its typography), and pithy writing. Now you don’t even have to go to your local library to check it out.

Paddy Johnson is curating a show of animated GIFs in Ohio, and while I’m still not convinced that this form is an important medium, I do think it’s valuable and important to read her thoughts as someone who has been following, promoting them, and thinking about them for quite a while. She explains:

After all these gifs aren’t just blinking images, they are the beginning of a new conversation.

This is not art but very important, “Why Is the Military Creating an Army of Fake People on the Internet?” Great, I can now foresee a time when blog posts critical of the US government or military will be barraged with negative comments. I have already noticed our posts critical of China are receiving comments from Chinese commenters with very not-quite-fake but seemingly manufactured online profiles that makes me wonder if they are being created by people posing as “real” people. For more about this phenomenon online and how autocratic regimes are exploiting the online world, listen to CBC Spark’s Feb 6/9, 2011 podcast, where Evgeny Morozov, author of The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom, “warns of the dangers of the internet becoming a tool for repressive governments to use for censorship and surveillance.”

Every wonder what art theft statistics would be visualized? Well, Art Theft Central suggests you think about this:

From 2003–2008, about 50,000 objects were reported stolen to INTERPOL each year. To put that figure in perspective, Hartford’s Wadsworth Atheneum … and the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s entire collections including the objects on display and in storage total roughly 50,000 items respectively.

Here’s a helpful article in the New York Times that profiles artist Linda Benglis, who has a solo show up at the New Museum. Though I can’t stop laughing at the sentence that she “one-upped Jackson Pollock’s action paintings in the late 1960s” — I mean, give me a break. But nonetheless, the short profile is a helpful primer for those unfamiliar with her work.

Required Reading is published every Sunday morning at 7am-ish 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.

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Required Reading

This week, the National Gallery of Art finally acquired a major work by Faith Ringgold, the director of The Velvet Underground talks film, North America’s Hindu Nationalist problem, canceling legacy admissions, and more.

Did Judy Chicago Just Troll Us?

Nowhere in the museums’ advertising blitzkrieg for the performance were we told to bring our wildfire-season masks as well as our covid masks, and covid masks don’t prevent smoke inhalation.

Hrag Vartanian

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

One reply on “Required Reading”

  1. For those of you interested in the work of Thornton Dial, he’ll be having a one man show here in New York at the Andrew Edlin Gallery opening March 19.

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