Crowd pleaser Seung Mo Park’s work is on display in the 56 Bogart building as part of 2012 Bushwick Open studios. (photo by the author)

This week, inequality in the art market, is Tokyo provincial, Gerhard Richter, the new George W. Bush portrait, are online curators kidding themselves and more.

 The New York Times has increasingly been tackling the have and have nots divide in the art world. Their latest article is the most direct examination of that issue yet. Titled “How the Art Market Thrives on Inequality,” it includes many thought on the issue, including:

“Many economists say that art can’t be in a bubble because, frankly, it’s not much of an investment in the first place. Unlike stocks, an artwork’s price reflects numerous nonfinancial intangibles, like the pleasure of owning a painting or, perhaps more important, its ability to signal the owner’s vast wealth and erudition.”

 Is the Tokyo contemporary art scene thoroughly provincial? Chinese art magazine Leap weighs in.

 Massimo Bartolini’s outdoor library looks impressive — if impractical.

 What is the divide between copywriters and art directors? Here are some posters to clarify that for you. (via Swissmiss)

 The rise of German painter Gerhard Richter.

 When did judges become the arbiters of art?

“Hardly a month goes by without a court being asked to settle a dispute over the nature of artistic meaning, expression or authenticity.”

 Did you know that the brand new portrait of President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, has been unveiled. Christopher Knight of the LA Times provides us with his take and his lede is priceless:

“If you were a former president of the United States and the time came to have yourself recorded for posterity in an official oil portrait, would you choose to be portrayed next to a smooth-talking horse thief fleeing a lynch mob? How about pillaging bandits? Or maybe the minions of rapacious timber barons?

Probably not. Unless, that is, you are George W. Bush.”

 Choire Sicha does a great take down of the whole bullshit idea that bloggers, particularly picture bloggers, are curators. I particularly love this line:

“Anyway, replace ‘curator’ with ‘people who are really picky with what they share on Facebook’ and maybe Joe Hill will be right on the money!”

 This final one isn’t art-related — well, not directly — but have you read Wikipedia’s entry on toilet paper orientation?  If not, you should as it continues “riveting” facts like this:

Toilet paper when used with toilet roll holder with a horizontal axle parallel to the wall has two possible orientations: the toilet paper may hang over (in front) or under (behind) the roll … In surveys of American consumers and of bath and kitchen specialists, 60–70% of respondents prefer over.

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.

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic.