OpinionWeekend

Required Reading

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French artists MTO imagines a dystopian future censored by Google Earth and Street View. (via Fusion)

This week, swapping a run-down house and a Henry Moore sculpture, only 18% of Artforum covers have featured art by women, the mysterious world of the “sneakernet,” how Imelda Marcos bought a Goya, and more.

 An interview in Guernica with Françoise Mouly, The New Yorker‘s art editor, whom they call “one of the most influential editors in comics and illustration of the last thirty years”:

I tend to want to publish things that don’t exist, that nobody else does. There are no good comics for young kids because nobody has ever bothered to do this before. I wouldn’t want to be in the business of publishing what I was publishing with Raw—independent comics—because there are plenty of people who are doing it just fine: Drawn and Quarterly and Koyama Press and First Second and so on. But I still feel like we fill a need. We’re doing everything we can to actually get our books in the hands of kids who don’t necessarily have parents who would be reading books to them at home. I’m more concerned about them getting good books. There’s still a sense of mission, of doing something useful, which allows me to still have a publishing business.

 A crazy (but interesting) project by a Kansas City artist proposes a swap between a run-down house in a poor neighborhood of the city and a major public artwork at the local art museum:

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Specifically, A. Bitterman would shift to the east Henry Moore’s Sheep Piece (1971–72), a public sculpture at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, while a vacant house would take up pride of place on the museum grounds, adjacent to the world-famous Shuttlecocks by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.

 Micol Hebron’s research discovered that only 18% of Artforum covers have featured art by women:

Of the 526 monthly covers produced since 1962, when the prestigious art industry bible first launched, only 18% feature art by women. Works by male artists made a whopping 74% of the covers; 8% are unidentified, since they feature works such as historic African sculpture, in which the artist goes unnamed.

 An Xiao Mina writes about the “sneakernet” and how we can understand it:

Indeed, the practice of sneakernets is global, with political consequences in countries that try to curtail Internet access. In China, I saw many activists trading media files via USB sticks to avoid stringent censorship and surveillance. As Cuba opens its borders to the world, some might be surprised that citizens have long been able to watch the latest hits from United States, as this Guardian article notes. Sneakernets also apparently extend into North Korea, where strict government policy means only a small elite have access to any sort of connectivity. According to news reports, Chinese bootleggers and South Korean democracy activists regularly smuggle media on USB sticks and DVDs across the border, which may be contributing to increasing defections, as North Korean citizens come to see how the outside world lives.

 Brilliant line by Choire Sicha:

But the actual problem with the Internet isn’t us hastily tweeting off about foolish people. The actual problem is that none of the men running those bazillion-dollar Internet companies can think of one single thing to do about all the men who send women death threats.

 The story of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s supposed Goya and where it ended up (in the collection of Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines):

Ferdinand Marcos was overthrown in February 1986. Philippine authorities took possession of what assets could be found, including Imelda’s trove of 2700 pairs of high-fashion shoes. She had also assembled a collection of sketchy paintings attributed to big Western names: Botticelli, Raphael, Michelangelo, Titian, El Greco, Velázquez, van Gogh, Picasso, etc., etc. Needless to say, those rich attributions drew raised eyebrows. The Frick Collection’s Everett Fahy called them “outrageous.” Many of the works had been purchased, for bargain prices, from the New York gallery of LACMA board member Armand Hammer. The works were intended for the Metropolitan Museum of Manila. Imelda spoke of building a world-class encyclopedic collection for the Philippine public, but it seems that most of the art purchased for it ended up in her private residences.

 A rare deep-sea encounter with a sperm whale:

 This is too good not to share — “Game of Thrones and the End of Marxist Theory”:

It can also give us hope for the future. A properly materialist reading of Game of Thrones can only conclude that, as a matter of historical necessity, in the fifth season the White Walkers will burst through the Wall, the dragons will break free from their petulant queen and her cloying white-savior complex, strange sea monsters will turn the Braavosi banking houses into heaps of rubble with a sweep of their vast tentacles, and all will unite with the smallfolk of the land to dethrone all the bickering pretenders, melt the Iron Throne into tractor parts, and build a new and better society.

And maybe one day, in the not-too-distant future, when Marxist theory is no longer needed, people will enjoy telling each other fantasy stories set in that strangest and most mystical of eras, a time of malign magic and crushing poverty — the early twenty-first century.

 Among the books in the US that people most request to be censored is Sherman Alexie’s award-winning young adult novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Here’s the top 10:

  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  2. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  3. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
  4. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  5. It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
  6. Saga by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples
  7. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  9. A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard
  10. Drama by Raina Telgemeier

 Look how young Snapchat is:

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 The original Associated Press report on Lincoln’s assassination:

WASHINGTON, APRIL 14 — President Lincoln and wife visited Ford’s Theatre this evening for the purpose of witnessing the performance of ‘The American Cousin.’ It was announced in the papers that Gen. Grant would also be present, but that gentleman took the late train of cars for New Jersey.

The theatre was densely crowded, and everybody seemed delighted with the scene before them. During the third act and while there was a temporary pause for one of the actors to enter, a sharp report of a pistol was heard, which merely attracted attention, but suggested nothing serious until a man rushed to the front of the President’s box, waving a long dagger in his right hand, exclaiming, ‘Sic semper tyrannis,’ and immediately leaped from the box, which was in the second tier, to the stage beneath, and ran across to the opposite side, made his escape amid the bewilderment of the audience from the rear of the theatre, and mounted a horse and fled.

The groans of Mrs. Lincoln first disclosed the fact that the President had been shot, when all present rose to their feet rushing towards the stage, many exclaiming, ‘Hang him, hang him!’ The excitement was of the wildest possible description…

 A hilarious spoof of gaming culture and gentrification:

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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