- Moeko Fujii’s gorgeous essay for the Point about theater director Yukio Ninagawa is also a poignant reflection on belonging. Fujii writes about her experience watching Ninagawa’s adaptation of Macbeth:
Lady Macbeth took the stage. I sat back. I knew what was coming: she was going to play a Schubert sonata on her cello. What I didn’t expect was the irritated violence with which she flicked her sleeves back to play, the odd angle at which she had to twist her head so that her headpiece wouldn’t hit the scroll. It wasn’t easy, her body said, to play a cello in a kimono. A deliberate moment of difficulty was introduced to this supposed sleek union of East and West: a slight fizzle, an incongruence. It moved me. Ninagawa had made her practice this motion again and again, demanding it look exactly like this: not easy.
- According to the New York Times, the sale of fake prints is on the rise. Apparently, “[i]mprovements in photomechanical reproduction techniques have made it easier for forgers to produce deceptive fake prints.” Here’s who’s in the market:
The most prevalent fake prints are those falsely attributed to Lichtenstein and Warhol, experts said. But forgers have also brought to market multitudes of fake Picassos, Klees and Gerhard Richters, as well as phony works attributed to Marc Chagall, Joan Miró, Salvador Dalí and Henri Matisse.
- Yale University’s Art History Department has scrapped its survey course in (mostly Western) art history. From the Yale News Daily:
Decades old and once taught by famous Yale professors like Vincent Scully, “Introduction to Art History: Renaissance to the Present” was once touted to be one of Yale College’s quintessential classes. But this change is the latest response to student uneasiness over an idealized Western “canon” — a product of an overwhelmingly white, straight, European and male cadre of artists.
- Archaeologists in northern Iraq have found 10 ancient stone reliefs depicting a procession of Assyrian gods. From the National Geographic:
“Assyrian rock reliefs are extremely rare monuments,” said Daniele Morandi Bonacossi, an archaeologist at Italy’s University of Udine, who co-led the recent expedition. With one exception, no such panels have been found in their original location since 1845.
- A new report on diversity in publishing was published by Lee & Low Books. It doesn’t look too good:
The latest diversity numbers in book publishing were released this morning. Figures show the industry is JUST AS WHITE as it was four years ago. This study includes 153 book publishers & agencies, including The Big 5 publishers, which control nearly 80 % of the market. @LEEandLOW pic.twitter.com/IjHQ6MNIsL
— Esmeralda Bermudez (@LATBermudez) January 28, 2020
- Once a month, designers and typographers around the world gather to debate fonts. The debates are as entertaining as you think they would be, but they’re also taken seriously. Fabrice Robinet writes for the New York Times:
TypeThursday, which began in 2015 at a Brooklyn bar and has expanded to eight cities around the world, is a place to put a face to a typeface. And to vent. Because even in the digital age, making fonts is time-consuming, human labor.
- Critiques of American Dirt continue to circulate. Earlier this week, 137 writers (including Carmen Maria Machado, Rebecca Solnit, and Valeria Luiselli) published a letter on Literary Hub asking Oprah Winfrey to reconsider American Dirt in her book club. On Remezcla, Alejandra Oliva suggests seven other books that “get it right”:
If the uproar around American Dirt is maybe making you realize that you don’t know as much about the border as you might want, or you just want to throw your support behind people writing about their own experiences of the border, Latinidad and immigration, here’s a list of titles to start with.
- On the anniversary of the publication of The Bluest Eye, Hilton Als revisits Toni Morrison and her debut novel for the New Yorker:
Loneliness and hurt are often an artist’s first tools, and Morrison put hers to work by remembering and writing about the world she’d come from: the funk of poverty as well as its flowers, the ghost stories that her father, a welder and a Jack-of-all-trades, told his children. In a way, “The Bluest Eye” builds on those tales and honors the years when, without knowing it, Morrison was preparing to become an artist.
I’ll be preparing your Required Reading while Editor-in-Chief Hrag Vartanian is away.