Required Reading

This week, Schultz controversy at the Whitney Biennial continues, Tom Finkelpearl writes about the impact of the NEA, British actors playing American role, new emojis, and more.

Photographer John Kucko captured this icy home in Webster, New York. Kucko told Colossal that the building is roughly 20 feet from the rocky shores of Lake Ontario. (via Colossal)
  • The “Schutz storm” of the Whitney Biennial has dominated art world headlines all week, and one of the most extensive — and well-researched — pieces is by Josephine Livingstone and Lovia Gyarkye in The New Republic:

In her painting, Schutz has smeared Till’s face and made it unrecognizable, again. The streaks of paint crossing the canvas read like an aggressive rejoinder to Mamie Till Mobley’s insistence that he be photographed. Mobley wanted those photographs to bear witness to the racist brutality inflicted on her son; instead Schutz has disrespected that act of dignity, by defacing them with her own creative way of seeing. Where the photographs stood for a plain and universal photographic truth, Schutz has blurred the reality of Till’s death, infusing it with subjectivity. The angle of the painting’s view is directly over the body as if Schutz is looming in her imagination. The colors are pretty. Looking at it is like stepping inside a dream that Schutz had about Emmett Till in his coffin. Since this case is one so importantly defined by visual legacy and competing narratives, an artist seeking to paint him ought literally to know better.

Last week a new study was released that shows how culture functions on a neighborhood level. The report by the Social Impact of the Arts Project at the University of Pennsylvania, led by Mark Stern and Susan Seifert, is titled “Culture and Social Wellbeing in New York City.” Funded by the New York Community Trust’s Cultural Agenda Fund and The Surdna Foundation, it is based on reams of data from several city agencies, the U.S. Census Bureau, and other sources. Their analysis says that the abundance of cultural assets in neighborhoods correlates with improved outcomes for crime, education, and health. One intriguing finding is that the improvements are more pronounced in lower- and moderate-income communities. That is, high rates of cultural assets in well-off neighborhoods do correlate with improved social indicators. But in the lower income communities there is greater benefit. This research looks at community ecologies, interlocking multiple measures of well-being. Cultural participation predicts lower rates of serious crime, lower rates of child abuse and neglect, and better results in public schools. Culture is good for the spirit and good for the city as a whole. Now we have a study that supports the idea that culture is an integral ingredient of a thriving neighborhood.

The fundamental question that Jackson doesn’t address—but that his remarks imply—is whether the imaginative leap that it takes to do a part well contributes to or detracts from a performance. In other words, do actors’ efforts to create characters strip away what’s interesting about the actors themselves, as people rather than as bearers of skills? In the case of Kaluuya, the gap between the experience of being a black person in Great Britain and the United States is perhaps not as wide as Jackson assumes, which is something that Kaluuya addressed in a recent interview in GQ. “The Brixton riots, the Tottenham riots, the 2011 riots, because black people were being killed by police,” he said. “That’s what’s happening in London.” When it comes to the experience of racial minorities, appearance is, to a significant extent, experience; a Klan member or a racist police officer won’t ask a black person for a passport—any more than for a diploma or a bank book—before launching an epithet or an attack. Kaluuya acknowledged as much in the same interview when he said, “I resent that I have to prove that I’m black. . . . I see black people as one man. When I see people beaten on the streets of America, that hurts me. I feel that.

Another problem was Campbell’s friskiness with certain women on the staff. He had been warned about it early in his tenure but still carried on. More recently a legal action was brought against him and the Met, but it was settled.

“What Mr. Rivello did with his Twitter message was no different from someone sending a bomb in the mail or sending an envelope filled with anthrax spores,” Lieberman says. “It wasn’t the content of the communication that was intended to persuade somebody or make them feel badly about themselves; this was an electronic communication that was designed to have a physical effect.”

Conservative news outlets, including one with links to a top White House official, are singling out individual career government employees for criticism, suggesting in articles that certain staffers will not be sufficiently loyal to President Donald Trump by virtue of their work under former President Barack Obama.

The articles — which have appeared in Breitbart News, the Conservative Review and other outlets — have alarmed veteran officials in both parties as well as current executive branch staffers.

The legend has been passed down by NBA generations, chronicled like a Homeric odyssey. The tale they tell is of Kevin Garnett and the 2007-08 Celtics, and the seminal moment of a revolution. Bryan Doo, Celtics strength and conditioning coach, recalls it as if it were yesterday, how before a game in December of that season, an unnamed Celtic — his identity lost to history, like the other horsemen on Paul Revere’s midnight ride — complained to Doo of incipient hunger pangs.

“Man, I could go for a PB&J,” the player said.

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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