A vendor walks past a sand sculpture of Osama bin Laden created by Indian sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik on a beach in Puri, India May 2. (Stringer/Reuters) via Boston Globe’s The Big Picture

Better late than never … here’s this week’s recommended reading and looking.

The Boston Globe‘s The Big Picture has two good photo essays this week: one, devoted to Afghanistan, another to the assassination of Osama bin Laden.

Hans Ulrich Obrist conducts a interviews Julian Assange over a e-flux. I always suspected how cold and clinical Obrist’s interview style is but this one takes the cake. There’s something almost soul-less in the Q&A but it is — nonetheless — an interesting read for the vast array of topics it touches upon.

The Independent talks to artist Barbara Kruger. Here’s an interesting segment:

“In 1983, you started to feel things percolating in the art market and I decided to address that in my work. I did a show with Annina Nosei [the New York gallerist] more focused on the commodity status of the art object: the ones that said “Buy me, I’ll change your life”. Those shows sold out in like two days. But I didn’t have a pot to piss in.” (In 2004, an original “I shop therefore I am” serigraph sold at Philips de Pury for $600,000, though Kruger herself never saw much profit from those early labours).

A stunning visualization of the power of tweets and the breaking Osama death news. It all started from an account that only had 1,016 followers, which is not a large number in the Twitterverse. This was the BIG tweet.

Turns out a degree in art doesn’t mean you have more of a chance of being unemployeed.

ArtThreat reviews Better This World, a film that exposes the “dark cloud of state oppression of social justice activism.”

Ben Street writes about how an artist’s work changes when they die or — in the case of Ai Weiwei or Gustave Courbet— when they are imprisoned:

When Gustave Courbet was incarcerated in 1871 under a questionable accusation of involvement in violence during the Paris Commune, he produced a small body of paintings necessarily reduced in scale from his better-known works of the 1850s. A small still-life in the National Gallery, made while Courbet was in Sainte-Pelagie prison in Paris, develops an additional layer of meaning in the context of the solitude and melancholy of the prison cell (although the fact he managed to sneak in paints and canvas suggests it wasn’t quite Guantanamo).

In the non-art world … a Washington Post reporter explores exactly who is Bradley Manning, the man who is in custody by the US authorities for supposedly leaking classified documents to Wikileaks.

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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This week, the world’s lightest paint, Pakistan’s feminist movement, World Puppy Day, and were some of Vermeer’s paintings created by his daughter?

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Hrag Vartanian

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