MRVDV’s WOW but controversial design for skyscrapers in Korea. (image via

This week, architectural drama, Voina arrests, Gerhard Richter at the Tate Modern, image search tools that will change your life, plagiarism and cartoonists and a chromatic typewriter.

 After the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, you’d think we’d be over the fetishization of the Twin Towers but alas the latest design by Dutch firm MVRDV for skyscrapers in Seoul is causing all types of weird reactions from the commentatoratti. It looks pretty stunning if you ask me, and it looks like towers pushing through clouds, which coincidentally was the architects’ intention.

The architects have responded to the mini-controversy:

It was not our intention to create an image resembling the attacks nor did we see the resemblance during the design process. We sincerely apologize to anyone whose feelings we have hurt, the design was not meant to provoke this.

 In other architectural news, and this one is truly shocking, the brand new Niemeyer Center for the Arts in Aviles, Spain, is slated to close this week. That’s only nine months after its opening and coincidentally on the 104th birthday of its designer, legendary Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer.

The Atlantic explains the sad story:

For the residents of Aviles, the Niemeyer Center was a brief source of pride, a dazzling monument to culture in a gritty industrial town. It was seen not just as a source of revenue but also a source of inspiration, a way to revive the dismal urban fabric of Aviles and lift the spirits of its citizens. For Spain, however, the sweeping complex, marked by its elegant sculptural forms that so brazenly uphold the virtues of art, was a glaring example of overspending on the regional level.

 Leonid Nikolaev, of the radical Russian performance group Voina, was detained by police last Sunday at 8pm during a protest rally against election fraud in St. Petersburg, Russia. His current whereabouts are unknown. Three days later the St. Petersburg police issued an arrest warrant for another Voina-affiliated artist, Natalia Sokol.

 TJ Clark reviews the Gerhard Richter show at the Tate Modern for the London Review of Books. He does an elaborate probe of the painter’s work and reading his journey through the body of work can feel like thumbing through his personal journal:

Perhaps Richter is a petit bourgeois nihilist: the question the righteous leftist commentators might have asked themselves, however, is what the nerveless attitude allows him to ‘say’ about neo-Leninism; whether nihilism (whatever its class ascription) is now the only vantage point from which the ghost dance of revolution can be chronicled.

 Seven image search tools that will change your life (via Brainpickings), including TinEye, which helps you identify the artist or original source of photographs and artwork that you stumble upon on Tumblr or elsewhere.

 This is an interesting article in the Washington Post on why cartoonists are treated differently than reporters in cases of plagiarism. This conversation began when bloggers started noticing that Oklahoma-based cartoonist David Simpson had been ripping off deceased cartoonist Jeff MacNelly (formerly of the Chicago Tribune) and others for decades.

 And finally, a stunningly beautiful chromatic typewriter that would make writing about colorists, like Claude Monet, a whole lot more interesting.

Required Reading is published every Sunday morning-ish, and it is comprised of a short list of art-related links (10 or less) to long-form articles, videos, blog posts or photo essays worth a second look.

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.