Weekend

Required Reading

This week, a $100,000 toilet, Kushners unwelcome at the Met, a walker’s guide of NYC, self-publishing photo books, Jean Nouvel’s embarrassing statement, and more.

This fully functional “Louis Vuitton”-covered toilet is on sale for $100,000. It’s by LA-based artist Illma Gore, who rose to prominence with her nude depiction of then-candidate for president Donald Trump. Gold toilets are a thing in our new gilded age. Ugh. (via yourcentralvalley.com)

Behind the Facebook profile you’ve built for yourself is another one, a shadow profile, built from the inboxes and smartphones of other Facebook users. Contact information you’ve never given the network gets associated with your account, making it easier for Facebook to more completely map your social connections.

… Facebook isn’t scanning the work email of the attorney above. But it likely has her work email address on file, even if she never gave it to Facebook herself. If anyone who has the lawyer’s address in their contacts has chosen to share it with Facebook, the company can link her to anyone else who has it, such as the defense counsel in one of her cases.

Vanity Fair‘s Emily Jane Fox wrote that as Trump’s administration flounders and special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation closes in, Ms. Trump and Kushner have seen their options dwindle — and Kushner could face very real legal peril.

Fox described the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual All Hallow’s Eve benefit — “the sort of event where Ivanka Trump, before her unexpected career detour to Washington, D.C., might have once held court” — which was attended by multiple close friends of Ivanka and Kushner, but from which Ms. Trump was conspicuously absent this year.

After her father’s surprise election a year ago, Ms. Trump and Kushner have felt a distinct chill from many longtime friends and acquaintances, a process Kushner somewhat bloodlessly described as “exfoliation” of people who “didn’t have a lot of character.”

  • Writing about the Morning Star exhibition, curated by Jason Baerg and Darryn Doull, Rhéanne Chartrand says (though wade through the artspeak):

In “Morning Star,” anamnesis is activated to become an act of survivance that generates Indigenous futurities. Indigenous futurisms are more than simply imaginations of the future time; they are active articulations of the future in the present through a relinking of past with present, and the reconfiguration and reorientation of hope and action towards positive and prosperous Indigenous futures.

  • In The Calvert Journal, Owen Hatherley writes about the history of Gevorg Kochar’s and Mikael Mazmanyan’s Soviet-era modernist masterpiece, the Lake Sevan Writers’ Resort:

In the mid-1920s, Kochar and Mazmanyan had been involved with the “left art” group Standard, an Armenian equivalent to communist avant-garde groups like LEF in Moscow and New Generation in Kharkiv. Their ideas were opposed to those who tried to create a “national school” in Armenian Soviet architecture; the image on the first issue of Standard, a montage of Lenin atop some cranks and cogs, gives a good idea of where they were coming from. Subsequently founding the Organisation of Proletarian Architects of Armenia, they argued for ignoring the stylistic elements of historic architecture in favor of engaging with climate and topography. So their Writers’ Resort is laconic, rationalist and calm: four storeys, built into the lower part of the peninsula, with curved balconies and a glazed stair-tower to offer a view over as much of the lake as possible. In 1937, not very long after the Resort hosted its first guests, Kochar and Mazmanyan were arrested and deported to the Arctic Circle, about as far from Lake Sevan as it’s possible to imagine. They would spend 15 years in Norilsk before they were “rehabilitated” after the death of Stalin.

To help launch her Kickstarter, Ford hired a friend who had done a successful Kickstarter of his own. Her fundraising goal was $25,000, which covered the printing and design subsidy as well as costs of the donor rewards. She launched the fundraiser in November 2014, and then spent a month “at the computer for 18 hours a day. I don’t think people are prepared for the amount of work it takes to be successful with Kickstarter,” Ford says.

She spent her days appealing to everyone she knew for donations, pitching the project to media outlets, and doing interviews with many that were hungry for blog content. She also posted to Twitter and Facebook repeatedly. “I noticed that when I walked away from the computer for a break, the pledges would stop, so I got back on there, tweeting and sharing. It was like stoking a fire. As soon as you stop, it stops.”

To her surprise and the publisher’s, she raised $35,000. PowerHouse said, “Yes, of course we want to do this project now,” Ford says. She hadn’t yet signed a contract, and says it crossed her mind that she was in a position to approach other publishers, or even self-publish the book. But she decided to sign with powerHouse.

  • Graphic designer, artist, and photographer Micheal Silber is behind Deli Grossery, which documents the different food pictures in delis and bodegas across New York. It’s pretty great as a record of our material culture. (Brokelyn has the story):

In Jim Crow-era America, the open road was not open to all. For African Americans, Route 66, the iconic cross-country highway, was dangerous. It was dotted by racist signs and Sundown towns, cities— Glendale included—that warned blacks to “leave town by sundown.”

In 1936, a postal worker named Victor Green set out to create a guide that would help black travelers drive the “Road of Dreams” safely, and as he put it at the time, “without embarrassment.” What he published was the Negro Motorist Green Book. Up until the final year it was published in 1966, the guide listed thousands of safe havens that comprised a nation-wide network for people of color, from barbershops to ballrooms.

Today, studying the Green Book and preserving its sites is essential to recasting U.S. history, says historian and artist Candacy Taylor.

Of the 224 original Green Book sites in Los Angeles, only about 8 percent still stand, mostly due to neglect and gentrification, which is why Taylor has made it her work to catalogue every remaining one.

However, Louis C.K.’s “apology” devolves into an attempt to paint himself as suffering and worthy of sympathy. He says that until the Times report, he did not realize the full extent of the harm he caused women by taking out his penis and masturbating in front of them. He also tries to reduce his culpability by noting that, at the time of his actions, he thought simply asking if it was OK to masturbate in front of women was enough to guarantee consent.

Sean Parker: Facebook was designed to exploit human “vulnerability

“That means that we needed to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever … It’s a social validation feedback loop … You’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology … [The inventors] understood this, consciously, and we did it anyway.”

  • And then this dress showed up on the runway during Milan Fashion Week. It’s by Moschino:

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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