Weekend

Required Reading

This week, the beautiful new Green New Deal video, Edward Gorey’s life as art, a really bad review of DC’s Tintoretto exhibition, a David Lynch cameo, and more.

The LA Times offers us a fuller look at the Mueller Report and this graphic demonstrates how much of the report has been redacted. A fantastic use of visual journalism. Read their full report. (screenshot by the author via LA Times)

Facebook’s other problem was that it didn’t understand the wealth of antipathy that had built up against it over the previous two years. Its prime decision makers had run the same playbook successfully for a decade and a half: Do what they thought was best for the platform’s growth (often at the expense of user privacy), apologize if someone complained, and keep pushing forward. Or, as the old slogan went: Move fast and break things. Now the public thought Facebook had broken Western democracy. This privacy violation—unlike the many others before it—wasn’t one that people would simply get over.

Christie’s arch-rival Sotheby’s is in the art-advisory business, having paid up to $85 million three years ago for Art Agency, Partners, a firm founded in 2014 by a trio of art advisers. But the jury is still out on the long-term effect of its performance. In its latest financial disclosure, Sotheby’s said the firm made $6.1 million last year, up from $5.8 million the year before but down from $6.6 million in 2016. Sotheby’s said the amount initially paid for the firm reflected the house’s need to bolster the roster of its contemporary-art experts and boost private sales, which it said the firm has done. It also said the AAP-related sales tracked in its financial statements comprise fees paid to the firm but don’t include private sale or auction activity by the advisory firm’s clients.

Mr. Gagosian said he hasn’t been tracking revenue at Sotheby’s art-advisory firm, though he said the latest figures “don’t sound too exciting.”

At the same time, Gorey may also linger in obscurity because he was an intensely private person. He had friends, but he seems to have kept a measure of emotional distance from everyone. “I feel that he was somehow unable and/or unwilling to engage in a very close friendship with anyone, above a certain good-humored, fun-loving level,” the poet John Ashbery, who knew Gorey at Harvard, told Dery. Nor did he have any long-term romantic relationships; “I am fortunate in that I am apparently reasonably undersexed or something,” he once said. Gorey has at times been labeled a recluse, but it seems more accurate to say that he was a loner who experienced the world by proxy, through the culture that he so voraciously consumed and produced. “[H]e lived much of his life on the page, in the worlds he conjured up with pen and ink, and did most of his adventuring between his ears,” Dery writes. “In large part, the art is the life.”

You expect, as in the case of Tintoretto, to see a retrospective in two separate museums. You expect to wander to three other places in Venice to see lots of major Tintorettos and a dozen other churches if you’re really committed to see individual altarpieces. The Venice retrospective succeeded because, in terms of marketing and how the curators arranged the shows there, visitors were almost commanded to go the extra mile, literally. Italians expect you to absorb things by osmosis, slowly, in bits and pieces. In Washington, you don’t, can’t, and shouldn’t. You have to do it in one place, with the best work, or don’t do it at all.

Sustained, long-term activism can take a detrimental toll on activists’ mental health. These recent deaths — of people affected by and actively working in social justice movements — have renewed the conversation around how activists have to work to protect their mental health as they work to protect the rights of their communities.

… They’re timely conversations, as social and political issues like March for Our Lives or Black Lives Matter take center stage in our national dialogue. And it’s not just issues of gun violence or racial inequality that keep activist up at night. Environmental disaster, attacks on reproductive justice, the rise of violent white nationalist terrorism — all these are fights that social justice activists and advocates feel compelled to address. And the pressure can be suffocating.

  • David Lynch has a creepy cameo in the video for the new Flying Lotus release, “Fire Is Coming,” which is directed by Steven Ellison and David Firth:

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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