Required Reading

This week, all the art we don’t see in museums, the Met Museum’s problems, Tiny Trump takes off, what you need to know about 4chan, and more.

The Tiny Trump meme has really taken off in the last few days as people around the world are having fun showing how truly small the new US President is. (via Reddit’s Tiny Trump subreddit)

We all knew that museums don’t show the majority of their collection, but Kimberly Bradley pr0vides some stats:

Overall percentages paint an even more dramatic picture: the Tate shows about 20% of its permanent collection. The Louvre shows 8%, the Guggenheim a lowly 3% and the Berlinische Galerie – a Berlin museum whose mandate is to show, preserve and collect art made in the city – 2% of its holdings. These include approximately 6,000 sculptures and paintings, 80,000 photographs, and 15,000 prints by artists including George Grosz and Hannah Höch.

I have to admit I find the New York Times article asking if the Metropolitan Museum is a great museum in decline a little bizarre considering overspending, rather than real structural issues are the issue, but it’s still worth reading. Though I am troubled by the language of “decline,” which echoes the language of empire and the colonial looting that created the collection in the first place:

Moreover, Mr. Campbell, by many accounts, has handled the economic crisis by hunkering down in a defensive crouch rather than reaching out to unite the staff — and the full board — behind his efforts. Internal critics say he failed to appreciate the upheaval caused by the turnover of three-quarters of the curatorial leadership through departures and retirements. They describe the pervasive sense that institutional memory is going out the door and the fear that the Met’s mission to educate through scholarship has been overshadowed by its desire to attract millennials through social media.

The title says it all, “Art museum hosts a speed-dating night and only women show up. Here’s what happens next“:

The clock ticks 10 minutes past 6:30 p.m. as the awkward truth of the situation dawns on the women. A few men walk past the picture window on Main Street, but none turns and enters. Hogan, now sure that no surprise attendees are in store, finally breaks the ice by gathering the women together and stating the obvious.

Decolonizing desire by Dalia Gabriel:

Embedded within the constituent discourses of love – of desirability, emotional labour, support and commitment – are codes of social value assigned to certain bodies; of who is worthy of love’s work. The Hottentot and the harem in Ponzanesi’s essay are quite different paradigms of the desiring gaze. The harem is marked by often multiple brown women’s bodies viewed through a voyeuristic eye; tension is created through the intimation that their potent sexuality is “under lock and key” – their bodies are often loosely clothed, and it is implied they are unaware they are being watched. Erotic thrill is generated through the tantalising possibility of possession. In contrast, representations of the Hottentot woman provide a paragon of objectification: the focus is on the minute, invasive and dehumanising details of an individual woman’s body. The archetypal narrative of the Hottentot is of course the case of Saartjie Baartman, a South African Khoikhoi woman, whose body was toured around 19th Century European circuses; her particular body shape put forward as representing the ‘essence’ of all African women, and as an object of sick European fascination. Even in her death she was not spared the racialised misogyny of the European gaze; her brain, skeleton and sexual organs remained on display in a Paris museum until 1974, more than 150 years after her death in 1815.

Dale Baren writes a must-read piece about 4chan, the message board frequented by nihilistic angry young men. He writes:

Trump’s younger supporters know he’s an incompetent joke; in fact, that’s why they support him.

It’s difficult to recall what started Gamergate because, like much of 4chan-style content, it never made sense on the surface. The mind tends to discard such things as nonsense. Nonetheless, there was a beginning. In 2014, a jilted lover claimed his ex-girlfriend had been unfaithful to him. He tried to prove to the internet that he was wronged in an embarrassing and incoherent blog post. The target of his post, his ex, happened to be a female game developer.

Soon 4chan and other like minded men who felt wronged by women, took up the rallying cry. The effort somehow moved from lurid interest in a particular woman’s sex life to a critique of video games. Gamergaters believed that “SJWs” (Social Justice Warriors) were adding unwanted elements into their video games, namely things which promoted gender equality.

Strangely enough, they believed this was happening not because video game creators and the video game press were interested in making and reviewing games that dealt with these issues, but because there was a grand conspiracy perpetrated by a few activists to change video games.

Pretty great use of infographics (should be a companion to any copy of the Iliad IMO):

Someone built a snow sculpture of Trump’s head at the Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan (link) and people are using it as a urinal:

The was also a Donald Trump float at the Carnevale Viareggio 2017 in the Italian region of Tuscany, and it’s pretty great:

Some people dislike comments, I don’t (well, not always):

This man is trying to godsplain to the Catholic Pope:

And finally there is the absolutely shocking story of the assassination of the North Korean dictator’s brother in Malaysia. First:

And then this twist:

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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