Weekend

Required Reading

This week, a floating village in New York, the Black Space Manifesto, Greg Tate’s criticism, Anish Kapoor’s terrible Brexit art, and more.

BIG is one ambitious architectural firm and their latest imaginative endeavor is called Oceanix City and it’s a concept for floating villages that can withstand hurricanes. Their first prototype will be built on New York’s East River. More images and info at Dezeen (via Dezeen)

Then he moves on to the furore surrounding Open Casket, Dana Schutz’s painting of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old African-American boy who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955 for wolf whistling at a white woman. When it was included in the Whitney Biennial in 2017, there was an outcry over whether a white artist has the right to use such subject matter as source material. “Why can’t a white person tell the story of a black person?” he asks. “I made a film about Jean-Michel Basquiat. Was I exploiting him by making that movie about him? I think I did him a solid by making that film. My daughter Lola says: ‘Everyone is pink inside.’

We are Black urban planners, architects, artists, activists, and designers working to protect and create Black spaces. Our work includes a range of activities from engagement in historically Black neighborhoods, to hosting cross-disciplinary convenings and events.

While what we do is very important, the way we do it is also critical. Acknowledging our past oppressions, triumphs, future aspirations, and challenges, we’ve created this manifesto to guide our growth as a group and our interactions with partners and communities. We push ourselves, our partners, and our work closer to these ideals so we may realize a future where Black people, Black spaces, and Black culture matter and thrive.

For a generation of critics, Tate’s career has served as a reminder that diversity isn’t just about a splash of color in the group photo; it’s about the different ways that people see, feel, and move within the world. These differences can be imperceptible, depending on where your eye lingers as you scan the newsroom. What made Tate’s criticism special was his ability to theorize outward from his encounters with genius and his brushes with banality—to telescope between moments of artistic inspiration and the giant structures within which those moments were produced. “Flyboy 2,” published earlier this month by Duke University Press, largely consists, like its predecessor, of critical essays, interviews, profiles, and short riffs. But, a quarter of a century on, the question animating his work has come into sharper focus. What he’s been exploring through his criticism has been something “less quantifiable,” as he puts it, than culture, identity, or consciousness. What Tate wants to understand is “the way Black people ‘think,’ mentally, emotionally, physically,” and “how those ways of thinking and being inform our artistic choices.”

Named Brexit, Broxit, We all fall Down and created specifically for the Guardian, Kapoor’s latest attempt at political activism sees a map of the UK split down the middle; counties, cities and green pastures roll into a bleeding chasm, pulling anything and everything into its orbit.

Acting as a tight-fisted metaphor for the violent divisions caused in the aftermath of the UK’s referendum vote, the piece has instead drawn laughter from primarily women on social media, who have made comparisons to sanitary towels, and poses the question whether Kapoor can differentiate between a harrowing apocalyptic gorge and female anatomy. (In the words of critic and curator Audrey Wollen: “Beware Male artists making artwork about emptiness, / nothing does not belong to you, / girls own the Void, / back off fuckers.”)

Much like the politics of female sexuality, “the Void” in art has invited much-convoluted hyperbole, stretching from Yves Klein’s 1960 photograph Leap Into the Void to Thomas Heatherwick’s honeycomb-like architectural object Vessel.

The ingredients for this demise have been brewing for decades. In 1977, clothing accounted for 6.2 percent of U.S. household spending, according to government statistics. Four decades later, it’s plummeted to half that.

Apparel is being displaced by travel, eating out and activities—what’s routinely lumped together as “experiences”—which have grown to 18 percent of purchases. Technology alone, including data charges and media content, accounts for 3.4 percent of spending. That now tops all clothing and footwear expenditures.

Several reasons are behind this shift. Some are beyond the control of apparel companies, as societal changes drove different shopping behavior. But missteps by these companies along the way have hastened the death of clothing.

Every Major Female “Star Trek” Character, Ranked By Lesbianism

What’s new about the recent revelations is that they show the extent to which today’s deep-pocketed helicopter parents have gone into overdrive, using brazen schemes to corrupt the college admissions process yet more. One unnamed parent spent a cool $6.5 million to ensure the right college admitted his or her child. Others paid hefty amounts to get their kids’ college admissions test scores falsified or even hired proxies to take the tests for them. Famous actors and financial titans made huge payments to university sports coaches, who then lied to admissions officers, claiming that the young applicants were champions they had recruited in sports like water polo, crew, or tennis. (The kids may have known how to swim, row, or play tennis, but star athletes they were not.)

Twitter and my design shop, Mule, used to be right across the hall from each other in a run-down shitbox of a building in San Francisco’s SOMA district. We were friends with a lot of the original crew that built the platform. They wanted to build a tool that let people communicate with each other easily. They were a decent bunch of guys — and that was the problem.

They were a bunch of guys. More accurately, they were a bunch of white guys. Those white guys, and I’ll keep giving them the benefit of the doubt and say they did it with the best of intentions, designed the foundation of a platform that would later collapse under the weight of harassment, abuse, death threats, rape threats, doxing, and the eventual takeover of the alt-right and their racist idiot pumpkin king.

All the white boys in the room, even with the best of intentions, will only ever know what it’s like to make make decisions as a white boy. They will only ever have the experiences of white boys. This is true of anyone. You will design things that fit within your own experiences. Even those that attempt to look outside their own experiences will only ever know what questions to ask based on that experience. Even those doing good research can only ask questions they think to ask. In short, even the most well-meaning white boys don’t know what they don’t know. That’s before we even deal with the ones that aren’t well-meaning. (I see you, Travis.)

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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