Weekend

Required Reading

This week, when Canadian students called the art of Carrie Mae Weems racist, Alexa and the blind, Ta-Nehisi Coates on Kanye, black jazz ambassadors during the Cold War, and more.

Italian artist Manuel de Rita (aka Peeta) loves to create abstract murals on buildings that play with our sense of space. Seem more images of his work on Colossal (via Colossal)

The letter argued that the work “perpetuates hatred and restrictive stereotypes,” and called for its removal. The students were not appeased by this gesture. They staged a sit-in. Gallery staff encouraged them to sit on benches. The students wanted to stand in front of the works, blocking the view of other gallery-goers, and were angry that gallery staff would not permit them to do so. Security was increased. The works stayed up, despite mounting negative attention from local politicians, the media, and student and community groups. The president of Dalhousie maintained his commitment to freedom of expression, while actively distancing himself from both the gallery and Weems’s work in an editorial in the Dalhousie News.

You know, this was obviously a great opportunity for them to tour the world and to go to new places. But it was – there was a paradox at its heart, which is you’re being asked to stump for a country that doesn’t treat your own people as equal citizens. And that is the great dilemma of America’s stance in the Cold War at that time. So my effort in making this film was really to understand how each individual artist responded to that question in their own words. And we really looked around the world for pieces of archive, interviews, memoir writings, whatever we could find where Louis Armstrong, or Duke Ellington, or Dizzy Gillespie could answer that for themselves.

And what’s so great about these musicians, they insist on almost unanimously telling it like it is – not sugar coating anything, being honest. And that comes through both in what they say and in how they play. And that’s what really was the most successful, and probably from a State Department point of view, the least expected outcome of this. But it’s what really worked.

When you take the remnants of a council flat to the Venice Biennale, what are you really exhibiting? Fragments of historic British architecture perhaps – but also the suffering of the 213 families who once called Robin Hood Gardens home, some of whom will still be living in the block as their neighbours’ homes are torn down around them.

It is the appalling treatment of poor people which is at the real heart of the show and betrays a blunt curatorial callousness. The true subject of the V&A exhibition, as with the ICA’s, is people in pain, architecture is just the lens through which we ogle them.

Now, at 82—and with a different technology on offer—Dad is willing to adapt. After his initial fumbles with the Echo, he begins to get the hang of it, asking Alexa for football scores and stock-market updates, or to tell him who the president of Venezuela is. He discovers that, for some reason, Alexa isn’t set up to report the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s Nikkei index, and he begins to enjoy posing questions the device can’t answer. He taunts it the way everyone else does: “Alexa, what would you like for breakfast?”

It is hard to express the depth of the emergency without bowing to the myth of past American unity, when in fact American unity has always been the unity of conquistadors and colonizers—unity premised on Indian killings, land grabs, noble internments, and the gallant General Lee. Here is a country that specializes in defining its own deviancy down so that the criminal, the immoral, and the absurd become the baseline, so that even now, amidst the long tragedy and this lately disaster, the guardians of truth rally to the liar’s flag.

They hope the new technology will demonstrate the potential for water as an interactive medium for creativity, art, entertainment and communication, to better connect people to their physical environment.

“If you think about it, as we walk in rain, wash our hands or even work in laboratories, we are constantly interacting with water,” said Umapathi.

“So we started asking the question, if this beautiful and inspiring material which is ever-present could give us a ‘calm’ computer interface. To show that this is possible, we have created the Programmable Droplets system for interaction.”

The Mail acknowledged that the Afriforum statistics on the murder rate of white farmers could not be verified, but said that this was because the South African government had “refused” to release such statistics since 2007. Alongside the allegation that the state was currently in the process of seizing all land belonging to white people, this was one of the more outright fabrications the piece contains: while statistics were not released between 2007 and 2010, they have been made public every year since that point. Police figures for the 2016 to 2017 financial year show that there were 19,106 murders in South Africa, with 74 of those murders taking place on farms and plots of land used for small-scale agriculture. It takes only slightly more work to cast doubt on the other claims.

The lack of interest in Soutine here may be found in the circumstance that our artists, over-burdened with a too-conscious search for a clean departure from the past, were too much impressed with innovations that lent themselves clearly to logical analysis and reconstruction. Whereas, on the surfaces, Soutine is not only too traditional in outlook, but he technically defies analysis of how to do it. But it is precisely this impenetrability to logical analysis as far as his method is concerned, that quality of the surface which appears as if it had happened rather than was “made,” which unexpectedly reminds us of the most original section of the new painting in this country. Viewed from the standpoint of certain painters, like De Kooning and perhaps Pollock, about whom there is no reason to imagine any real Soutine influence, certain qualities of composition, certain attitudes toward paint which have gained prestige here as the most advanced painting, are expressed in Soutine in unpremeditated form.

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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