50 Years of David Bowie style in one GIF by Helen Green (GIF courtesy Helen Green / www.helengreenillustration.com, and used with permission)

50 Years of David Bowie style in one GIF by Helen Green (GIF courtesy Helen Green / www.helengreenillustration.com, and used with permission)

This week, David Bowie’s style as a GIF, Sean Penn and El Chapo, wealthy artists and grants, MOCA’s new permanent collection installation, and more.

 Sean Penn interviewed El Chapo and the internet lost its mind. The strangest revelations appear to be that Penn doesn’t know much about technology:

At 55 years old, I’ve never learned to use a laptop. Do they still make laptops? No fucking idea! It’s 4:00 in the afternoon.

But isn’t this exactly what Warhol’s Interview magazine all about? Celebrities interviewing celebrities? Barf.

 The always thoughtful Jen Graves asks if wealthy artists should receive arts grants:

“Shannon, did you know that [award winner] David Shields is in a movie with James Franco bragging about making $200,000 a year?”

“Oh, no, you’re kidding,” Halberstadt said. “Oh, that’s not good.”

We laughed, and then started serious-talking.

It turns out that neither Halberstadt nor Birnie Danzker knew how much money Shields made. They hadn’t seen the movie or read the book it was based on. (Paul Constant documented Shields’s forthcomingness about his $200,000 yearly income from his endowed writing professorship at the University of Washington plus other gigs, and last month explained precisely why funders should “Stop giving cash awards to David Shields.” Hint: For the love of god, he doesn’t need them.)


 “In May 2011, Madrid’s protest camp became the first Western example in the wave of protest camps that would occupy central squares of cities all around the world.” Now a long article by Julia Ramirez Blanco on the V&A’s blog explores what happened and what it meant through the lens of design. It’s really fascinating:

In pure DIY style, they built a complex structure of grassroots urbanism, demonstrating how an alternative society might look.

Between May 15 and June 12, the square became a site of collective creativity. One of the main activities involved the continuous production of self-made banners and placards. Exhibited in the square, they contributed to the reclaiming and re-symbolising of the space. Although banner-making took place all around the square, a Graphic and Visual Arts Committee worked systematically to create banners and other symbolic elements for display.

 Teju Cole creates a grid of screenshots indicating where people have been killed by US police. I don’t think it is entirely successful — since it has a very alienating quality — but it does invite more investigation into the actions and incidents, which is always welcome:

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 Chloe Wyma reviews Dave Hickey’s new book 25 Women. Here she is at her best:

Occasionally, the casual sexism that pokes through Hickey’s prose makes him look less like the art world’s enfant terrible than its dirty old uncle. Epithets like “haughty Southern bitch” and “surfer slut,” applied to the renowned postminimalist sculptor Lynda Benglis and the abstract painter Mary Heilmann, respectively, stand out as lame misfires in otherwise rigorous, thoughtful essays. (Compliments to whoever had the good sense to nix the book’s working title, “Hot Chicks.”)

The author claims there is “no agenda” behind “25 Women.” But Hickey’s mulligan stew of autobiographical memoir and intellectual jazz is an attempt to reappropriate feminism from “academic feminists” who value art as a weapon of consciousness-raising and social critique. Identity politics are conspicuously absent from the book. In their place, he introduces his own menagerie of sacred cows and privileged terms: sophistication, worldliness, cosmopolitanism and abstraction.


 Carolina Miranda talks to curator Helen Molesworth of LA’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) about the new installation of the permanent collection, which tells a new story of art in the United States:

“This historical story that we tell, it begins with this idea that New York stole the art world after World War II, and that there’s a certain kind of Modernist described by critic Clement Greenberg and everything proceeds apace,” Molesworth says. “For many, many years, we were very comfortable with that story. But then, as a result of the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, gay liberation, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the rocking of our geopolitical boundaries and the rise of the Internet, we come to realize that the story we used to tell doesn’t begin to encompass the fullness of the world as we know it.”

 There’s a feminist graffiti artist in the UK who just made a statue of stuffy Queen Victoria anatomically correct:

 Sorry, grammar nerds:

Singular “they,” the gender-neutral pronoun, has been named the Word of the Year by a crowd of over 200 linguists at the American Dialect Society’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. on Friday evening.

About time.

 Ever wonder what guns the Republican Presidential candidates own? The Telegraph has you covered:


 The story behind São Paulo’s ‘angry’ graffiti: Pixação:

Pixação is also about visibility, particularly the kind that can only be achieved through daring acts of courage. In its most basic form, rolê de chão or “pavement cruising”, the targets are walls and the risk is relatively low – although it is still a criminal offence that carries a potential prison sentence.

… This hostile relationship is ingrained in the very language of pixação. For instance, pixadores never use the term “paint” or “spray”. Instead, they prefer “arrebentar”, “detonar” or “escancarar” (“smash”, “blow-up” and “destroy”). Some typical pixador monikers translate as “shock”, “neurosis”, “death”, “scare”, “nightmare”, “danger” and “nocturnal attack”.

This anger towards the city is much more than teenage bravado or youthful rage. It is rooted in a sense of social injustice that is intrinsically connected with the pattern of uneven urbanisation that began in the 1940s and continues today. Seeking to remake São Paulo into a modern city, elite reformers and boosters of the 1940s and 50s embarked on ambitious urban renewal projects. In addition to infrastructural improvements, a street widening programme, the construction of a massive urban park (Parque Ibirapuera) and other beautification projects, the main feature of São Paulo’s urban renewal was its modernist skyscrapers.

 And this is funny

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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.

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic.

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