Ursula von Rydingsvard's bronze "SCIENTIA" (2016) sculpture is the latest edition to MIT's public art collection. It is located at 550 Main Street (Cambridge, MA) and is situated in front of the university's McGovern Institute for Brain Research. (A gift commissioned by Lore Harp McGovern for the McGovern Institute for Brain Research and the Public Art Collection of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, photo: Jerry L. Thompson)

Ursula von Rydingsvard’s bronze “SCIENTIA” (2016) is the latest addition to MIT’s public art collection. It is located at 550 Main Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (A gift commissioned by Lore Harp McGovern for the McGovern Institute for Brain Research and the Public Art Collection of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, photo: Jerry L. Thompson)

  • In a Paris art gallery in 1960, three naked women covered themselves in blue paint and made impressions of their bodies on paper as an orchestra played and guests wearing formal dress looked on. It was part of artist Yves Klein’s performance and now BBC speaks to one of the models involved:

One of the women who painted their bodies and Klein’s canvases that night, and on numerous other occasions, was Elena Palumbo-Mosca … Anthropometry paintings go on show at Tate Liverpool, Ms Palumbo-Mosca, now 81, rejects the notion that she was exploited and says she was more than just a “living brush” or a traditional passive model.

Jennicam would now be construed as some kind of quirky performance art, a sideways comment on the hi-def version of modern life. The graininess, the black-and-white, the interminable 15-second wait between any possibility of action would all have been part of a deeply considered artistic manifesto published on Facebook. If anyone today happened to notice Jennicam floating in the ocean of contemporary livebloggers selling/testing/posing/unboxing/sexing, it would be a curiosity for approximately 45 seconds. Three updates tops. Then we’d get bored and move on to something a little more, well, alive. But at its peak, she literally crashed the web.

  • The Modern Art Notes Podcast talks to curators Keith Christiansen and author and art historian Christina Bryan Rosenberger about the new Valentine de Boulogne show at the Metropolitan Museum and the Agnes Martin show at the Guggenheim. Have a listen:
  • 99% Invisible discusses one site, McMansion Hell, that dissects the McMansion craze that many think is ruining contemporary residential architecture:

Many McMansions would also not be complete without columns, often oversized or undersized relative to their apparent structural purpose. In theory, a set of columns should physically and visually balance the thing they are holding up. Wagner notes that “if you have these really big columns and they are holding up the tiniest little pediment or portico it looks like pretty ridiculous.” Big columns conjure images of wealth (like banks) and power (like state capital buildings).

A newcomer in rural government, where how deep one’s roots go might count as much as how much money a person has, White is flagrant in treating his campaign as an experiment based on his writing. He uses words like “revolution” and “takeover” despite visible and intense displeasure on the part of the neighbors he says he aims to empower. And all this is happening in a part of remote, white America, in which being an adult black male briskly rounding an aisle in the grocery store is enough to startle another shopper.

The top three art museums have never been run by a woman. The Louvre, the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art are treasure-filled, international destinations. They are also big businesses, together attracting more than 20 million people a year. A large portion of these visitors are tourists who spend money at hotels and shops along the way to contemplating the Rosetta Stone or taking selfies with the Mona Lisa. Museums directly contribute $21 billion a year to the American economy alone, and far more thanks to the indirect spending of their visitors.

Many women work as curators. In American art museums, about 70 percent of curators are women; where I work, at the Victoria and Albert, also known as the V&A, the figure is about 75 percent.

Yet women remain scarce in the directorial roles. A 2014 report released by the Association of Art Museum Directors suggested that gender might not matter in selecting the best candidates, but that museum boards and their search committees, still predominantly male, may be appointing in their own image.

Maybe life is the hard way, I don’t know. When the show was great, it was never as enjoyable as the misery of the show being bad. Is that human nature?

Though he shares few of his political commitments, in many ways, Trudeau campaigned in the style of Podemos’s Pablo Iglesias. He was in no way a left-wing candidate, but like Obama to his south and like his father before him, he knows how to appeal to the Canadian conscience.

He called himself a feminist and assembled a gender-balanced cabinet. He appointed a significant number of people of color to cabinet positions, including “badass” defense minister Harjit Sajjan.

Sajjan’s record as a Canadian intelligence officer in Afghanistan who turned prisoners of war over to the Afghan forces to be tortured gets left out of most media coverage, which instead focuses on Trudeau’s multicultural administration.

This of course is the insidious danger of Justin Trudeau. He is the embodiment of the “edgy white liberal,” a living Ted Talk, a cosmopolitan George W. Bush with Jeb Bartlett’s politics. But his image has been carefully stage-managed, obscuring policies that track much further right than his shirtless photobombs and parade appearances are designed to suggest.

U.S. military vets and current service members support Kaepernick by saying things like they did not serve overseas so that some police in their own communities are allowed to kill American citizens with no accountability. “We did not fight for that.” Vets also point out Congress keeps denying them assistance and they are forced to depend on charity. Martin Luther King Jr, Muhammad Ali and Jackie Robinson also said similar things that would support these protests. Now we have #NoDAPL across the country in 100 cities, #BlackLivesMatter at #StandingRock, and high school athletes taking a knee across the country, not against the military but against the injustices they see in their communities. So it starts small but it means people and communities should talk and not shout at each other. It’s nationwide. At football games. On TV. Wow. These numbers will only grow. #NoDAPL.

Mr. Trump’s meltdown in the closing weeks could be dismissed as a sore loser’s bizarre attempt at rationalizing his likely defeat. But his trashing of the democratic process, in service of his own ego, risks lasting damage to the country, and politicians of both parties should recoil from him and his cynical example.


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.