OpinionWeekend

Required Reading

Incredible images of the mysterious abandoned 'Chicken Church' built in the Indonesian jungle (via Daily Mail)
Incredible images of the mysterious abandoned ‘Chicken Church’ built in the Indonesian jungle (more images & story at Daily Mail)

This week, Eid cards, a mysterious “Chicken Church,” Cosby and Smithsonian, the best Dutch galleries in the US, an architect talks about the perfect sandcastle, and more.

 Eid Mubarak to those who celebrate Ramadan, and in that spirit I wanted to share this post on the lost art of Ramadan greeting cards:

It was once a routine for most families to spend time appropriately selecting, purchasing, writing and posting Eid greeting cards to friends and families. But now, it has become a rarity.

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 As the Cosby exhibition at the Smithsonian continues to generate controversy for the publicly funded institution, Philip Kennicott, writing for the Washington Post, has a very lucid piece on the controversy:

I revisited the exhibition to remind myself how visible Cosby is in it. After 40 appearances of his name, I stopped counting. Worse, the institution has played down the financial relationship between the Cosbys — who donated more than $700,000 to the African Art Museum — and the institution. Although the Smithsonian asserts that the Cosbys’ underwriting of the museum was “publicly available information,” a museum spokesman didn’t divulge the information when asked a direct question by The Post in an e-mail exchange last November. Only later did it acknowledge this connection to The Post and the Associated Press.

 Are the Dutch galleries as the National Gallery of Art the best collection galleries in the US? The Modern Art Notes podcast with Tyler Green talks to NGA curator Arthur Wheelock:

 The mystery of a painting few people knew were missing, a portrait of former US President Gerald Ford:

Next on the list, the framing store — the presidentially named Kennedy Framers on Charles Street in Beacon Hill. The owner had no memory of anyone bringing in a presidential portrait for framing over the years, and no, nobody had come in to complain that a Gerald Ford portrait had gone missing.

 Artist and journalist Molly Crabapple gives great interview to the Great Discontent:

Q: Do you feel a responsibility or a desire to contribute to something bigger than, or outside of, yourself?

A: I do, in a few ways. First of all, I’ve been so lucky to be a part of this community in New York and in the world, and to be a part of a community of people I love, whether they’re artists, writers, activists, or just fucking people. Ultimately, all we have is each other, and we have to take care of each other as communities, because I don’t feel like we live in societies that are going to do that for us. My primary responsibility is to my community, and whenever someone is in trouble, sick, arrested, or even just has to move and is too broke to afford it, we try to have each other’s backs, because who else is going to, right?

One of my primary drives is that I fucking hate hypocrisy. I hate it so much. I hate hypocritical, comfortable, self-congratulatory bastards who are complicit in terrible things. I like to eviscerate them with my art, and I believe that’s why I like journalism, too: I can speak to those people very honestly and demand that they tell everyone the truth. They may or may not, but at least I get to ask the questions.

 Architect Renzo Piano explains how to build a perfect sandcastle. It starts:

1 Be clear about the fact that building a sandcastle is a totally useless operation. Don’t expect too much; it’s going to disappear, mainly because there’s no point making the castle too far away from the sea. A sandcastle’s relationship to water is more important than its appearance. Study the waves, then decide where to position your castle – too low on the shoreline and the sea will immediately destroy it, too high and you have no waves to flirt with. It sounds complicated but it’s simple and instinctive.

 Love your arts job? Doesn’t mean you should be properly paid, according to Lyn Gardner:

We all know that the biggest subsidisers of the arts are those who work in the arts. Very little work would ever make it to the stage if it was not for people giving their labour away for free, or being paid very poorly for what they do.

As the recent Stage Directors UK report indicated, even those who appear to be sustaining enviable careers are often surviving on fees that would be laughed at in other industries.

 Expecting artists to work for free hands the reins of cultural production to ruling elites, according to Miranda Campbell:

We’re living in an era where fame does not mean fortune, despite dominant perceptions that achieving visibility equates with financial success. Essayist David Rakoff lampooned the “old fantasy of carnal chaos of drop cloths, easels, turpentine, raffia-wrapped Chianti bottles holding drippy candle ends, and cavorting nude models,” highlighting instead how painful, tedious, and lonely artistic work can be.

Making art “requires the precise opposite of hanging out” and is often “a deeply lonely and unglamorous task of tolerating oneself long enough to push something out,” characterized by a “lack of financial security and the necessary hours and hours of solitude spent fucking up over and over again.”

 Good luck trying to figure out if this commercial is real or a spoof (who can tell anymore?):

 A man runs from a cheetah in a hallway #yourewelcome:

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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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