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Swann Auction House has blogged some color Polaroids by one of the masters of 20th C. photography, Ansel Adams. As they point out, “These small-format Polaroids represent two qualities not often associated with Adams: a small scale and color.” (

This week, essays and reviews on Occupy and criticism, British Modernism, Herzog’s Biennial piece, The Art Newspaper misses the point in Russia, New York’s design community is strong, a Triennial review and a look at representations of violence.

 How are criticism and Occupy related? An essay by Talib Agape Fuegoverde in the Brooklyn Rail explores the topic:

The current essay series invites critics to address “what many have described as a crisis for the state of art criticism” in the past decade, a period in which the authority of an academic venue such as October has allegedly declined due to a “combination of political and economic shifts, technological advances, and, perhaps, a fatigue with ‘theory.’ ”

 TJ Clark reviews two books about Picasso and British Modernism over at the London Review of Books:

Modernism is a strange artistic formation. In it, time and again, originality — which remains anachronistically the goal — lies on the other side of subservience. There is no such thing, it turns out in practice, as well-tempered learning in modernism, reasonable apprenticeship, picking and choosing the imitable. And this is a problem particularly for a genteel art culture — for a culture like England’s, whose arrogance over the past century has been most powerfully manifest in its false moderacy.

 Many critics are enamored with Werner Herzog’s piece at the 2012 Whitney Biennial, but Paddy Johnson isn’t. She writes:

Get a grip, people. Art doesn’t need all these bells and whistles. The whole score reads like a device to support the footage, a crutch that wouldn’t be necessary if the original work were simply hung.

 The Art Newspaper published an alarmist article about a recent Russian court decision that a pro-religious t-shirt design constitutes an extremist work and should be banned. Reading their article you’d think this was a simple case of freedom of expression but Marina Galperina at Animal NY takes them to task and points out this is more about hate and that The Art Newspaper missed the point:

They’re not artists. The biker types who wear these shirts are from the Union of Orthodox Banner Bearers of extreme Christian monarchist picketers. Here’s some photos of them hanging out in the forest conducting mock executions by shooting bows and arrows at pictures of gay dudes. Classy.

 The Center for Urban Future has released a new report that points out that New York graduates double the number of design students as other cities and that these newly minted designers “have become critical catalysts for innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth.”

In 2010, 4,278 designers and architects graduated from New York schools, while only 1,759 in LA, 1,552 in Chicago, 1,343 in San Francisco and 1,128 in Boston. And 20% of the students at New York design and architecture schools are foreign students, which is very high compared to the national average of 11%.

 The New York Review of Books‘ Eric Banks takes a stab at the New Museum’s Triennial, which he describes as:

” … a tidy, clean, professional-looking affair, much less rowdy than the average international biennial, and despite an admirable number of far-flung return addresses, much of it seems almost domesticated by the rigid floor plan of the New Museum itself.”

 Shaun Randol writes about images of violence and war — including Harun Farocki’s recently closed Images of War (at a Distance) show at MoMA — for the Los Angeles Review of Books:

The oscillations between flippant references to video gaming and worries about such comparisons are puzzling, but they also reflect the schizophrenic nature of not only conducting war from a distance, but also of being trained by the same video game technology from which soldiers attempt to instill a measure of distance.

Required Reading is published every Sunday morning EST, and it 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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Hrag Vartanian

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

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