Required Reading

This week, the death of the newspaper arts critic, an interview with Lorna Simpson, good things that happened in 2016, populism in Trumplandia, and more.

Tehran-based BMDesign Studios dreamed up this concept as a way to collect rainwater on the roofs of buildings located in hot and dry climates. As water access becomes a major battleground, architects will have to adapt. All the conceptual renderings for this school project are quite impressive. (via Dezeen)
  • Bye, bye, newspaper arts critics:
    • Critics at newspapers are dying off even faster than print journalism. Theatre critics, film reviewers, A&E editors, and arts writers of every kind have been stripped from dailies and weeklies around the country. “Nobody can quantify the number of arts jobs lost because if you’re left at a paper you are probably doing more than one job,” American Theatre Critics Association chair Bill Hirschman says. “You are covering theatre, writing breaking news stories, doing advance features and acting as the arts editor all at once.”
  • A South African writer, Ruth Hopkins, reflects on the lack of recognition of the extensive history of racial terror in the United States (h/t @johnedwinmason):
    • That act of remembering and honouring seems near criminal when Montgomery’s history is taken into account. Montgomery was the capital of the domestic slave trade state before the civil war. The domestic slave trade was fuelled by ever expanding plantations in the South and their demand for labour, which skyrocketed after the transatlantic slave trade was abolished in 1807. In Alabama, the slave population increased from less than 40, 000 in 1808 to 435, 000 in 1860. After slavery was outlawed, 363 racial lynchings took place in Alabama between 1877 and 1950, according to EJI’s research.
    • … Stevenson compares this demonstrative amnesia to the Germans, who built a Holocaust memorial in the middle of Berlin, to remind everyone: never again. “Imagine if the Germans would commemorate the Nazis? That would be absurd. We are a post-genocidal society without any recognition for the atrocities of the past,” says Stevenson.
  • Artist Lorna Simpson is on the new Modern Art Notes (MAN) Podcast:

  • Well, 2016 wasn’t all bad. For instance:
    • 9. In December, the United States and Canada announced a joint permanent ban on all offshore oil and gas activity in the Arctic. [CBC News]
    • 22. The WHO announced that measles have been eradicated in all of the Americas, from Canada to Chile. It’s the first time the disease has been eliminated from an entire world region. [NBC]
    • 27. World hunger reached its lowest point in 25 years. [New York Times]
    • 29. Myanmar swore in its first elected civilian leader in more than 50 years. [BBC]
    • 30. Black incarceration rates fell in the United States. Not fast enough, but certainly something worth celebrating. [Washington Post]
  • Populism in Trumplandia:

  • This man keeps photoshopping himself into Kendall Jenner’s photos. @KirbyJenner is a self-described “Amateur Model / Lover of all things / Fraternal Twin of Kendall Jenner,” and he has accumulated over 500,000 followers by placing himself into Jenner’s Instagram pics. They are creepy but well done.

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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