- Bette Midler tried to embarrass young people at the Metropolitan Museum looking at their phones instead of their art, but the responses tell you that people don’t like to be told how to spend their time in museums:
What’s wrong with this picture? pic.twitter.com/JbD8iqo5M3
— Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) December 8, 2019
- Meghan McCarron ponders why we watch US politicians stuffing their faces at state fairs:
Food, in other words, has long reflected the beauty and corruption and cruelty of American democracy. Rewarding people with food for voting has been illegal since 1948, so the relationship is now mediated through money, with fundraising events like the Iowa Democratic Party’s Polk County Steak Fry or, more commonly, private dinners where you can, say, pay $353,000 to sit with George Clooney. If you want to eat with a candidate nearby, you’d better be the kind of person who has zero need for free beer; it’s a privilege to dine while a candidate speaks, or at least that’s the idea. The beer and bonfires don’t sound so corrupt in retrospect.
With the rise of mass media, and the loss of election feasts, politicians replaced feeding everyday voters with symbolically eating everyday food in front of those voters. Franklin Roosevelt chowed down on a sandwich while sitting in a car during the 1932 campaign; Robert Kennedy crouched over a diner counter while managing his brother’s run for president; Ronald Reagan swung by an Alabama McDonald’s for a Big Mac in the 1984 race; Bill Clinton notoriously swung by McDonald’s as often as he could and ate almost everywhere else.
- A really interesting thread on what is illegal to build in many major US cities:
Things that are illegal to build in most American cities now, a thread:
— Wall St. Bailout Stan (@CascadianSolo) December 10, 2019
- It appears the Parthenon Marbles (often referred to as the Elgin Marbles) were more damaged than previously thought when they were initially shipped to London, a new report says:
By comparing the casts with present-day 3D scans of the west frieze – which was removed from the monument in 1993 and is now in the Acropolis Museum in Athens – she revealed features that are now lost, including the faces of some of the sculptures, and chisel marks showing they had intentionally been chipped away by Victorian-era vandals.
While it has long been known that the casts preserve some lost sections, Payne’s research showed that the copies were more accurate than expected, with most of the casts deviating by barely a millimetre from the originals.
- Abby Sun reflects on the field of documentary and who funds it:
Unfortunately, I look around independent documentary and find that institutional critique by filmmakers about festivals and how they’re run is in short supply. I know of Nazlı Dinçel’s recording of tech crew at the Ann Arbor Film Festival saying sexist and racist things about her on hot mics while she worked as a venue manager; John Wilson’s Vimeo-commissioned short on Sundance, a piercing critique of the exclusionary effects of Sundance’s built landscape and industry-dominated spaces; and Charlie Lyne’s Sight & Sound-commissioned documentary on Sheffield Doc/Fest, which he utilized to investigate the curiosity of an egalitarian festival badge contrasted with the ever-present hotel hierarchy employed by festivals to separate its guests into definable tiers. (Lyne gives out the insider tip that the industry hangout at the end of the evenings is in fact the lobby bar of the Mercure Hotel, the most exclusive and expensive of the accommodations, and that it’s possible to hobnob with gatekeepers and filmmakers without having a pass at all if you know where to go.) There’s also Zia Anger’s My First Film, a scathing live performance about the inherent misogyny in independent film and the flattening language of commercialism, as well as the false promises of film school and a system that supposedly rewards dedication and hard work.
- If you wanted to take a looooooong walk, then this might interest you. It’s the longest walkable distance on earth and it stretched 14,334 miles, beginning in L’Agulhas, South Africa, and ending in Magadan, Russia:
- Did you know that 70% of the world’s blood plasma is of US origin? And that blood accounts for 2% of the country’s exports? Unbelievable. It’s because the US is the only developed nation to pay for blood donations:
The number of collection centers in the United States has more than doubled since 2005 and blood now makes up well over 2 percent of total U.S. exports by value. To put that in perspective, Americans’ blood is now worth more than all exported corn or soy products that cover vast areas of the country’s heartland. The U.S. supplies fully 70 percent of the world’s plasma, mainly because most other countries have banned the practice on ethical and medical grounds. Exports increased by over 13 percent, to $28.6 billion, between 2016 and 2017, and the plasma market is projected to “grow radiantly,” according to one industry report. The majority goes to wealthy European countries; Germany, for example, buys 15 percent of all U.S. blood exports. China and Japan are also key customers.
- TikTok admitted it suppressed the reach of queer, fat, and disabled creators because:
TikTok also kept a separate list of “special users” who were considered to be “particularly vulnerable.” Many of the creators on this list, Netzpolitik discovered, made videos with the hashtags #fatwoman or #disabled, or had rainbow flags and other LGBTQ+ markers in their profile. TikTok moderators marked these creators with an “Auto R,” which meant that their videos, after hitting a certain amount of views, would be banned from TikTok’s algorithm of suggested videos that appear in every user’s “For You” feed. As a result, these creators’s videos would reach a much smaller audience than the average user. For many, dreams of going “TikTok viral” and gaining notability on the platform would be squashed by the policies.
Moderators had only about 30 seconds to identify supposed markers of autism, down syndrome, or more generally “disabled people or people with some facial problems such as birthmark, slight squint and etc.” A source at TikTok told Netzpolitik that these instructions were confusing to the moderators themselves.
TikTok confirmed to Netzpolitik that these policies were implemented in the past, though not anymore. “This approach was never intended to be a long-term solution and although we had a good intention, we realised that it was not the right approach,” a spokesperson told Netzpolitik.
- Kenneth Stern, writing as one of the people who devised our current understanding of “anti-semitism,” ways the Trump administration has weaponized it is worrying:
But starting in 2010, rightwing Jewish groups took the “working definition”, which had some examples about Israel (such as holding Jews collectively responsible for the actions of Israel, and denying Jews the right to self-determination), and decided to weaponize it with title VI cases. While some allegations were about acts, mostly they complained about speakers, assigned texts and protests they said violated the definition. All these cases lost, so then these same groups asked the University of California to adopt the definition and apply it to its campuses. When that failed, they asked Congress, and when those efforts stalled, the president.
As proponents of the executive order like the Zionist Organization of America make clear, they see the application of the definition as “cover[ing] many of the anti-Jewish outrages … frequently led by … Students for Justice in Palestine, including … calls for ‘intifada’ [and] demonizing Israel”. As much as I disagree with SJP, it has the right to make “calls”. That’s called free speech.
- This is beautiful:
I cant get over this videoooo pic.twitter.com/dvsRU4HE6T
— Nana Oye (@OpokuOye) December 8, 2019
Required Reading is published every Saturday, 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.
The Association of Art Museum Directors announced a shift in its longstanding policy, which restricted the use of funds from sales of art to new acquisitions only.
Martín Mobarak may have broken Mexican law, but he burned the proof.
Artists reflect on histories of oppressive power structures in Brazil in this exhibition at the Visual Arts Center at the University of Texas at Austin.
Your list of must-see, fun, insightful, and very Los Angeles art events this month, including the Maya Codex of Mexico at the Getty, Beatrice Wood, Trenton Doyle Hancock, and more.
Your list of must-see, fun, insightful, and very New York art events this month, including Xaviera Simmons, Cristina Iglesias, Mire Lee, and more.
With explosions of color and materiality, Cave has his own enigmatic ways to funnel the funk through histories of adversity.
Kapwani Kiwanga invites viewers to look with only the quiet glow of natural light seeping in through the skylights, illuminating a nuanced way of seeing race.
Funding options at UB include full-tuition scholarships for MFA students, the Arthur A. Schomburg Fellowship Program, and additional opportunities for MA students.
This week, Godard’s anti-imperialism, in defense of “bad” curating, an inexplicable statue, criminalizing culture wars, and more.
I inserted the text from five press releases into DALL-E and this is what it churned out.
As protests rage across the country following the death of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini, Iranian and Kurdish artists are creating work in support of freedom.