The way that Grindr has most changed the movies, in both explication and implication, is perhaps most evident in lensing proximity of bodies. It’s not hard to imagine a scene in Call Me by Your Name (2017) in which Elio (Timothée Chalamet) and Oliver (Armie Hammer) transcend the chasms in their age and maturity levels to acknowledge their desires for one another by a fountain is suddenly intruded upon by a graphic that reads “0 feet away” over their respective heads, as they pas de deux around the fountain’s base. The Ornithologist (2016) places its protagonist, Fernando (Paul Hamy, voiced by director João Pedro Rodrigues), in the woods, in near isolation. He abandons his tech, ignores calls from his lover, goes off his meds. Yet, in spite of this, the loneliness he experiences itself becomes a point of eroticism. He is in proximity to no one but the natural world around him. In his feverish, almost phantasmagoric journey, he creates a topography of desire, where eroticism, identity, and loneliness are inextricable. Could those feelings be themselves products of a Grindr world, part of this, as Michael Hobbes asserts, “epidemic of gay loneliness”?
- I suggest everyone learn more about the prison abolitionist movement, and this profile of Ruth Wilson Gilmore is a good place to start:
Prison abolition, as a movement, sounds provocative and absolute, but what it is as a practice requires subtler understanding. For Gilmore, who has been active in the movement for more than 30 years, it’s both a long-term goal and a practical policy program, calling for government investment in jobs, education, housing, health care — all the elements that are required for a productive and violence-free life. Abolition means not just the closing of prisons but the presence, instead, of vital systems of support that many communities lack. Instead of asking how, in a future without prisons, we will deal with so-called violent people, abolitionists ask how we resolve inequalities and get people the resources they need long before the hypothetical moment when, as Gilmore puts it, they “mess up.”
“Every age has had its hopes,” William Morris wrote in 1885, “hopes that look to something beyond the life of the age itself, hopes that try to pierce into the future.” Morris was a proto-abolitionist: In his utopian novel “News From Nowhere,” there are no prisons, and this is treated as an obvious, necessary condition for a happy society.
- A fascinating article discusses questions about authenticity around Minimalist art works:
The answers can be as complicated as the questions themselves, which spring from the Guggenheim’s acquisition in 1990-92 of a trove of nearly 350 Minimalist and conceptual works amassed by the Italian count and fervent collector Guiseppe Panza di Biumo. In some cases what Panza had purchased was not a physical work of art but the right to fabricate one from industrial materials according to specifications the artist set down on paper, often under the assumption that more than one version might be produced. The artists—most notably, Donald Judd—were sometimes dismayed by Panza’s fabrications, raising further questions about whether a work of art should be considered authentic.
Armed with a $1.23m grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the museum set out in 2010 to conduct rigorous research into questions surrounding the preservation and display of art in the Panza Collection. Jeffrey Weiss, then the museum’s senior curator, and Francesca Esmay, the Panza Collection’s conservator, pored over archival records and conducted hundreds of hours of interviews with artists, studio assistants, fabricators and curators while inspecting every inch of around 150 selected works of art. (Some of those works exist in more than one iteration.)
- Archeologist Lamya Khalidi points out what most of us knew all along, namely that “in western eyes, not all ‘Notre Dames’ are created equal”:
During the 10 years of my career I spent working and living in Yemen and reconstructing its past, I discovered a country with a history so rich, a landscape so beautiful, and a population so generous that it was impossible not to fall in love with it. While many may be unfamiliar with Yemen, they will likely be familiar with its plethora of “Notre Dames” which, as well as being symbols of Yemen’s national identity, are an important part of our communal human history.
To Yemen we owe the Queen of Sheba and the palaces and temples of the Sabaean kingdoms, the incense trade, the Marib dam, some of the earliest Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities and the monuments they raised, and archives dating as far back as the 9th century BC. And to Yemen we also owe the oldest and most splendid mud and stone vernacular architecture in the world, and a unique protected ecosystem unknown elsewhere in the world, on the Uneso world heritage island of Socotra. The fragile natural heritage of the island of Socotra is being undermined by Emirati development, as they annex it and turn it into a deluxe tourist destination, all the while continuing to bomb civilians and Yemeni heritage.
- Coco Fusco reviews Vivien Green Fryd’s new book Against Our Will: Sexual Trauma in American Art Since 1970:
What is most unusual for an art historical study, however, is that Fryd applies “trauma theory” both to discussions of audience engagement and to her analysis of feminist artworks themselves. Whereas trauma is medically defined as a psychological or emotional response to deeply disturbing experiences for individuals, cultural theorists since at least the 1990s have expanded trauma theory to embrace collective responses to large-scale catastrophic events such as war and slavery, the ethics of witnessing, and the symbolic representations of trauma in literature and film. Those theorists have explored the ways that literature and film represent the psychic disjunctures of trauma as well as its impact on readers and viewers, who are enlisted as ethical witnesses of unspeakable acts. Fryd’s approach differs slightly from this tradition because she concentrates on the curative power of feminist art for survivors. She wants us to look at art as a practice that enables survivors to “work through” and thereby resolve the kind of suffering that the feminist movement named and politicized.
- In case anyone was confused, “No, You CAN’T Use Any Internet Photo as ‘Fair Use’: Appeals Court”:
“After examining the four [fair use] factors, we conclude that none weighs in favor of Violent Hues,” writes Circuit Judge Diana Gribbon Motz, who authored the decision. “Considering these factors together, it is clear that the copying here fails the ‘ultimate test’ of fair use: Violent Hues’ online display of Brammer’s Photo does not serve the interest of copyright law. […]
“We reach our conclusion with the recognition that the Internet has made copying as easy as a few clicks of a button and that much of this copying serves copyright’s objectives. Many social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are specifically designed for the participatory ‘sharing’ — or copying — of content. We express no opinion as to whether such sharing constitutes fair use. We note, however, that Violent Hues’ use is not of this kind. […]
“Violent Hues did not comment on the Photo, promote the Photo, ‘remix’ the Photo, or otherwise engage with the Photo in a way that might stimulate new insights. What Violent Hues did was publish a tourism guide for a commercial event and include the Photo to make the end product more visually interesting. Such a use would not constitute fair use when done in print, and it does not constitute fair use on the Internet.”
- Gérard Araud was the French ambassador to the US and he is frank about what he thinks about Washington, DC, and French politics:
The “yellow vest” demonstrations against Macron are basically the demonstrators who, more or less, voted for Trump here. It’s people coming from small cities, from rural areas, lower-middle-class, saying, “We have been left behind.” And, on the right, our conservative party is moving in the same direction as the Republicans are here. Suddenly this party which was traditionally conservative is becoming really protectionist, obsessed by immigration, and obsessed by questions of identity. You know: “France is a Judeo-Christian country,” which means basically anti-Muslim. There is a uniformity in the crisis, and you see it also in Brexit.
It’s not by chance that your president has been elected by Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, while our Rust Belt, in the north of France, has elected five or six members of Parliament on the far-right.
Once Trump told Macron, “I have given everything to the Israelis; the Israelis will have to give me something.” He is totally transactional. He is more popular than [Benjamin] Netanyahu in Israel, so the Israelis trust him. That’s the first bet, Kushner told me. The second is that the Palestinians may consider, it’s their last chance to get limited sovereignty. And the third element is Kushner is going to pour money on the Palestinians. Don’t forget, the Arabs are behind the Americans. The plan is 50 pages, we were told, very precise; we don’t know what is in the plan. But we’ll see.
The problem is that the disproportion of power is such between the two sides that the strongest may conclude that they have no interest to make concessions. And also the fact that the status quo is extremely comfortable for Israel. Because they [can] have the cake and eat it. They have the West Bank, but at the same time they don’t have to make the painful decision about the Palestinians, really making them really, totally stateless or making them citizens of Israel. They won’t make them citizens of Israel. So they will have to make it official, which is we know the situation, which is an apartheid. There will be officially an apartheid state. They are in fact already.
- This article about the collapse of the humanities at US colleges and universities is scathing:
Search committees must become cognizant of the ways in which such jobs reinforce inequality in the profession. That they haven’t yet done so reflects the dominance of the tenured in the workings of the job market, of those ensconced in a system that believes paying one’s dues — taking substandard, temporary work — is the sacrifice one must make to work in the modern university. The AHA — and tenured professors more generally — must reject and dispel such thinking. While the AHA cannot, of course, control what jobs universities advertise or how they advertise them, it should name and shame colleges that ask historians to work difficult (or impossible) jobs for peanuts. It should encourage universities to stop asking candidates to spend an inordinate amount of time putting together materials to apply for jobs that everyone knows are crummy and exploitative. An AHA-published “shame list” would expose the institutions and departments that post job ads which are clearly inequitable. Over time, such a list might serve to arrest such egregious practices.
- A scientist claims that we have five years to save ourselves from climate change:
“People at this point haven’t come to grips with the irreversibility of this sea-level rise problem,” Anderson said, displaying a map that shows the site of Harvard’s new $10 billion Allston campus inundated after 3 meters of sea-level rise. He followed that map with images of Manhattan shrunken by encroaching waters and Florida missing its southern tip.
“When you look at the irreversibility and you study the numbers, this along with the moral issue is what keeps you up at night,” Anderson said.
- Wondering how impeachment works in the US? This is a step-by-step explainer:
Do you know exactly how impeachment works? I’ll admit, I didn’t know it all.
But this explainer is super helpful ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/tn1vxyJqsl
— Nathan H. Rubin (@NathanHRubin) April 26, 2019
- This whole thread should be required viewing for anyone eager to learn more about female sex organs. She is one amazing sex educator (with a suitable wardrobe):
PLEASE WATCH! SEX EDUCATION OUR SCHOOL SYSTEM(S) FAILED TO TEACH US IN A THREAD: Part 1 – The Vulva pic.twitter.com/jyQdorwQn2
— Jordan✨☥ (@jordannjust) April 23, 2019
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.