Weekend

Required Reading

This week, Tulsa’s new $465 million park, an Assyrian relief goes to auction, the rise of Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie declaration, and more.

An Assyrian gypsum relief of a Winged Genius. Reign of Ashurnasirpal II, circa 883-859 BC 7 ft 4 in x 6 ft 5 in (223.5 x 195.5 cm) will be coming to auction. Part of the collection of the Virginia Theological Seminary, the sale will underwrite a scholarship fund. It’s rare that a relief of this quality goes to auction. (image courtesy © Christie’s Images Limited 2018)

The park has a five-acre adventure playground for children aged two through 12, with seven different realms targeted for different age groups. Volcanoville was built specifically for toddlers and includes a padded play area with low-level climbing elements in bright colors. Charlie’s Water Mountain has a spray area, mist area, tunnels, dams and streams, and a water lab.

It is no secret that I regard all the “Dead Sea Scrolls” fragments in this book as modern forgeries (a view shared by Torleif Elgvin and Michael Langlois). When I started reading it, I was therefore surprised to see that there is no thorough discussion of issues like provenance and forgery (see my review). The volume as a whole shows a fascinating lack of interest in the these issues, and the authors seem to avoid an explicit discussion of them. Especially noting that some of the authors (esp. Kipp Davis) present some fairly sharp and fine observations that cast serious doubts on a majority of the fragments’ “authenticity”, it is all the more strange to see that there is no discussion that leads to(wards) a conclusion of the essential questions: Are these fragments (or some of them) forgeries or most likely forgeries, or should they (or some of them) be regarded as possible “authentic” Dead Sea Scroll fragments – despite being unprovenanced? Instead of a thorough discussion of these issues, it is tacitly assumed that all the fragments are Dead Sea Scroll fragments (cf. for instance the title of the book) and worthy of being part of the dataset.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby was painting in her high-raftered studio in Los Angeles in early 2017, when she got the text from a friend. Just a few years earlier, she had been selling works for $3,000 apiece. Now, one of her paintings had just sold at Christie’s in London for $3 million, more than six times its estimate.

Why Are White Dudes The Only People Who Leave Negative Comments On My Essays?

Among the sculptures here (all from 2018) are a number of glazed, salt-fired stoneware “face jugs,” objects that trace their lineage to early African American pottery traditions, and even further back to West African and Greek and Roman classical sculpture. In an interview from 2015, Leigh said that the face jugs of the black diaspora were “made to look ugly to ward off evil spirits,” but if there is ugliness in her versions of the form it is of the most jolie laide variety. Head with Cobalt comprises a head set on a thick neck, with a footed base, a curved handle emerging from the back of its skull, and a flared opening at the top—the latter element turns this object into a vessel, while at the same time functioning as a crown. Its features—the two that it has—are unmistakably African: wide, flat nose and full lips, marks of beauty for some and derision for others. There are no eyes for this face to see, no ears to hear. The pot is glazed black, for the most part, but examine the flared opening and you will notice that the edge and the interior are dappled in milky white and cobalt blue (the result of Leigh’s labor-intensive salt-firing technique); that same white and cobalt is finely spattered over the side of the head and along the edge of the lips. The effect is cosmic—a metaphor, perhaps, for the realms of knowledge and imagination, as plentiful as the stars, that black women have carried with them over generations and across oceans in order to persist and survive, to maintain cultural traditions and ensure community.

Focusing the conversation on the ethics of disseminating speech rather than the actual content of that speech is hugely useful for the far right for three reasons. Firstly, it allows them to paint themselves as the wronged party — the martyrs and victims. Secondly, it stops people from talking about the actual wronged parties, the real lives at risk. And thirdly, of course, it’s an enormous diversion tactic, a shout of “Fire!” in the crowded theatre of politics. But Liberals don’t want to feel like bad people, so this impossible choice — betray the letter of your principles, or betray the spirit — leaves everyone feeling filthy.

  • Sesame Street deleted this already but it really peeved lots of people off (including me). We know the truth:

  • Happy Sunday!

Nearly half of cellphone calls will be scams by 2019, report says

… The barrage of fraudulent calls has taken a more dire turn in recent months, as scammers have targeted immigrant communities with urgent calls claiming ambiguous legal trouble. Across several U.S. metropolitan areas with large Chinese populations, scam callers have posed as representatives of the Chinese embassy while trying to trick Chinese immigrants and students into revealing their credit-card numbers. The scammers told people that they have a package ready to be picked at the Chinese consulate office, a first step in a ruse, or that they need to turn over information to resolve a legal issue, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

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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