Weekend

Required Reading

This week, a submerged sculpture in the Maldives, the anonymous angel to female artists, Belgrade as the capital of stolen art, examining the inaugural Yeditepe Biennial in Istanbul, and more.

The Coralarium is the newest aquatic sculpture by artist Jason deCaires Taylor and the semi-submerged sculpture is located in a coral lagoon in the Maldives. See more images on Colossal. (courtesy Colossal)
  • As much as I love this story about Susan Unterberg, who has revealed her identity after anonymously giving $5.5 million to other female artists over the last 22 years, the part about Carrie Mae Weems is unbelievable:

The artist Carrie Mae Weems recalls sitting at her desk in Syracuse in 2014 “feeling very anonymous and misunderstood and trying to figure out how to make some new work” when she got the call.

“I was offered this extraordinary gift,” she said. “It was important, because I needed the money, but more than anything, I needed the encouragement and the support to keep making, to keep pushing — to continue to work in spite of all of the pressures.”

If she felt like that in 2014, then there’s no hope for the rest of us.

  • I can’t resist sharing this bat-shit crazy article about the Whitney Museum in the National Review. Liam Warner is trying to make the case that the Meatpacking District institution is “not an art museum” because “It had shunned art and preferred razzmatazz.” Cue eyeroll, but here’s some more:

In other words, the exhibit commits the cardinal sin of art, which is naked didacticism. The materials belong, if anywhere, in a history museum because they are historical artifacts, not artistic works. Of course protest and injustice are fine subjects for art, but the artist must refine his anger into a subtle creation. The Third of May 1808 is a protest painting. The changes in color and brightness are striking; the viewer sees the main figure about to be shot, then the corpses of those already shot; he immediately wonders how he would feel if he were that terrified peasant. “F*** the Draft” does exactly none of this.

Belgrade, as you know, is *inaudible* the biggest capital maybe in the whole world for stolen art. So…the….let’s call it the Serbian mafia, it would be a number of individuals who, would, amongst other things, deal with ancient objects and would have clients in the west.

The Yeditepe Biennial also appeared to be an implicit challenge to the Istanbul Biennial, which has been organized by İKSV since 1987. Demir said at the beginning of the festival: “When compared to other biennials, Yeditepe Biennial is the first where the unique samples of traditional arts are exhibited . . . It is very important for these artworks, which have been locked up in indoor areas and had difficulty to find their deserved value, to meet with people and appear before them.” In an interview with the government-run TRT World media outlet, curator Serhat Kula commented, “Yeditepe Biennial believes that both sides have a lot to learn from each other. Contemporary art can learn from the aesthetic value of the traditional arts, whereas traditional arts can make use of the dynamic tone of contemporary arts. There was a cleavage for many years between both. We think it’s time to break the taboo and ask the necessary questions. These two fields are not rivals, they are neighbors.” Perhaps this too was a reference to the Istanbul Biennial, whose 2017 edition, curated by Berlin-based artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset, was titled “a good neighbor.”

Of course, you might be wondering if any readers actually read through all 3000 pages. But authors deploy a host of tricks in service of gathering page reads — from big fonts and wide spacing to a “link back.” Some authors would place a link at the very front of the book, to sign up to a mailing list. The link would take them to the back of the book, thus counting all pages read. It’s not clear whether any of this actually works. A spokesperson for Amazon told The Verge that Amazon uses a standardized page count that won’t take big fonts or wide spacing into account. A June blog post by the Kindle Direct Publishing Team assured authors that the KENPC system (Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count) recorded pages read with “high precision” and that the company was constantly working to improve its “fidelity.”

  • This week, model Adesuwa Aighewi released her directorial debut, “Spring in Harlem,” which explores the beauty Of Muslim women (Forbes has the story):

Kara Swisher: What took you so long? I think, as you know, many people feel disappointed with Facebook’s behavior and the slowness, given the power that you have, or the power over the market you have. I don’t wanna say what’s your excuse, but that’s kind of the question. What was the problem?

Mark Zuckerberg: We just weren’t looking for these kind of information operations. We have a big security operation. We were focused on traditional types of hacking. We found that and notified both the government and the people who were at risk, but there’s no doubt we were too slow to identify this new kind of attack, which was a coordinated online information operation.

You can bet that that’s now a big focus of the security effort that we have here. We’re very focused on making sure that we get this right, not just broadly, but in all the elections that are coming up. 2018 is an incredibly important election year, not just with the important midterms here in the U.S., but you just had the Mexican elections. You have Brazil. You have India coming up at the beginning of next year. There’s an assortment of elections around the EU. We’re very serious about this. We know that we need to get this right. We take that responsibility very seriously.

Related: “The Biggest Spender of Political Ads on Facebook? President Trump

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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