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Heart as Arena (aka Brent Burket) has photoshopped his interpretation of Jeff Koons’ proposal for a public art work at The High Line park. It actually looks more interesting than the steam locomotive they are proposing to dangle from high above. (via

This week, Koons’ hanging train, Mona Lisa date change, Bloomberg gets its name on Hirshhorn balloon, 20 must-see artist websites, the exit of Exit Art, the Dictionary of American Regional English is complete, 60 Minutes to tackle contemporary art and more …

 The curious thing about the announcement this week that the Jeff Koons train, which may end up at The High Line park in Manhattan, was that everyone thought it was destined for the LA County Museum of Art. The LA Times‘ Culture Monster blog explores what happened:

“… [LACMA] just moved a 340-ton rock about 100 miles by surface streets in order to build Michael Heizer’s $10-million installation on campus, ‘Levitated Mass.’

But Govan called the train ‘much more complicated than anyone imagined. That’s what the initial feasibility studies proved: that it was safe, possible and more complicated than anyone thought.’ He cited the complexity, the financial downturn of 2008 and the museum’s need to prioritize its big expenses as reasons for the delay.

Is LACMA committed to going ahead with plans? ‘Just being honest, we are taking this one step at a time,’ Govan said. ‘The [LACMA] board never made a commitment to the train; they made a commitment to studying it.’”

 Does it matter what the exact year Leonardo’s Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa was painted? Kinda. The Art Newspaper reports:

“Until now Leonardo’s portrait has been dated to around 1503-6, but this is being formally altered to about 1503-19.”

 You know the giant “bubble” that the Hirshhorn Museum is planning to lodge in its big hole, I mean courtyard, well, now it has an official name, “The Bloomberg Balloon.” Am I the only person that doesn’t like the fact that there is a big corporate name attached to a prominent part of a Smithsonian museum? Will they be selling ad billboard space on The Mall too?

 Ever wonder about the relationship of urbanist Jane Jacobs and the proto-neocons? Jacob Epstein explores this historic footnote in The New York Review of Books.

 Kyle Chayka of Artinfo has compiled a solid list of 20 must-see artist websites. And though it is internet art heavy — it is the web after all — it’s really wonderful to see so many different types of artists exploring the medium in some original ways. Some comments… IMHO I don’t think John Baldessari’s site deserves to be on that list and David Hockney’s copyright disclaimer is just douchey.

 Rachel Corbett has an article on Artnet about the closing of Exit Art, the renowned New York nonprofit that has served the city’s art scene for decades. About the decision to close, Pap0 Colo explains:

“I want to close … Exit Art was a love story, a wonderful magical moment, but like all great love it was an anomaly. All great love ends in tragedy because one of them has to die.”

 Bookstores may be a dying breed but this Dutch shop in a 13th century Dominican cathedral in Maastricth, Holland is quite stunning.

 On Friday, we reported on the new Art Breaks art “commercials” that were curated by MoMA PS1 and Creative Time and will be broadcast on MTV but do you know the story behind the creation of the original MTV logo?

“Everything seemed too normal-looking. Frank suggested that the logo needed to be less corporate somehow, de-faced or graffitied.”

 The Dictionary of American Regional English has finally been completed. The project, which was begun 50 years ago by scholars at scholars at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is also the longest funded project by the National Endowment for the Humanities. If you think this research was solely for academic interest then you’d be wrong:

“For example, Hollywood has discovered DAR. A number of dialect coaches associated with American film and theater have used examples from DARE’s collection of 1,483 audio recordings to try to nail particular regional dialects. Actress Diane Keaton used DARE’s Mississippi tapes to practice for her role in the 1986 film Crimes of the Heart.”


Even more astonishing is DARE’s use as a tool for solving crime. Forensic linguist Roger Shuy, working on the Unabomber case in the 1990s, employed DARE to develop a complete cultural, religious and educational profile of the suspect, based on his voluminous manifesto. The profile proved to closely resemble convicted Unabomber Ted Kaczynski.

 And, tonight on the 60 Minutes TV news show, Morley Safer explores contemporary art … again — his foray into the field 20 years ago was just embarassing and essentially revolved around the “is it art?” question — and let’s see what he has to say this time out.

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.

3 replies on “Required Reading”

  1. Just what the world needs… a museum spending tons of money on Koons’s ugly, shallow, pointless art rather than spending that money on collecting the work of other artists whose work is far better but is less expensive because they are not art world celebrities but actual working artists.

    No more Koons’ no more Hirsts!

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