Banksy got into the Valentine’s Day spirit and released an image of his newest piece in Bristol on Friday (Valentine’s Day). He posted about the new wall piece on his Instagram account (via @banksy)

  • The Oscar-winning short animation flick is available on YouTube. Called “Hair Love,” it’s by Matthew A. Cherry and tells the story of an African American father learning to do his daughter’s hair for the first time:
YouTube video

IT’S MUCH WORSE than you think over at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and even worse than the Los Angeles Times reported late last year. In November, the Times wrote that the museum officially maintains the cost of replacing its four core structures with a controversial new building is $650 million but that, in fact, the real working figure secretly used in-house is $750 million.

However, in a January 2018 email just obtained through California Public Records Act disclosures from the L.A. County Treasurer and Tax Collector, a county official warned colleagues that the $750 million figure is really at the low end of the likely cost. At 6:00 p.m. on January 29, 2018, Antoinette Chandler fired the gun that is now smoking: “The LACMA project costs have increased from $675 million to a range between $750-900 million.” The rising costs so alarmed Ms. Chandler that she advised “capping the County’s contribution to $125 million and identifying additional security/sources of repayment for the proposed $300 million financing to ensure the County isn’t obligated to repay any portion of the transactions.”

Art historian Lucy Bradnock also analyzes the impact of the “Cremation Project,” in terms of both Baldessari’s personal artistic evolution and the art-historical context of his work. “On one level, ‘Cremation Project’ marked a stand against the kind of figurative and Pop-inflected painting that had dominated art teaching on the West Coast from the 1940s to the 1960s,” she writes in The Burlington Magazine, adding that “it also marked Baldessari’s transition to artistic maturity.” “But in its theatricality, its humour (Baldessari baked cookies out of the ashes) and its reification of the paintings’ remains, the work also points to the kinds of critical paradoxes that were to characterise the Los Angeles Conceptualism of which Baldessari has long been regarded as a leading proponent.”

Indeed, few artists were as pivotal to the Los Angeles art scene as Baldessari, a role reinforced by his longtime work as a teacher. “In provocative ways, Baldessari sought to undercut the hierarchy, instrumental logic, isolation, and predictability of work,” art historian Robin Kelsey writes in Critical Inquiry. “Within the institution of art education, he sought to create a play community, with the internal rules of its activity a matter of constant negotiation.”

Public art claiming to represent our collective memory is just as often a work of historical erasure and political manipulation. It is just as often the violent inscription of myth over truth, a form of “over-writing”—one story overlaid and thus obscuring another—modeled in three dimensions. In the United States, we speak of this. Discussions of power and erasure as they relate to monuments are by now well under way. The astonishing, ongoing absence of public markers of the slave trade, for example—of landing sites and auction blocks, of lynchings and massacres—is a matter of frequent public discussion, debate, and (partial) correction, albeit four hundred years after the first enslaved peoples landed on American shores. In the UK, meanwhile, we have to speak not simply of erasure but of something closer to perfect oblivion. It is no exaggeration to say that the only thing I ever learned about slavery during my British education was that “we” ended it. Even more extraordinary to me now is how many second-generation Caribbean kids in the UK grew up, in the 1970s and 1980s, with the bizarre notion that our families were somehow native to “the islands,” had always been there, even as we pored over the history of “American slavery.”

The need for scale dictates hulking “superblocks,” and the desire to break up these blocks a little explains the colorful panels and other exterior choices. Efficiency dictates the buildings be wide enough for “double-loaded” corridors, with apartments on both sides, but not so wide that the apartments are narrow and dark. This in turn favors a structure shaped like a right-angled U, C, E, or S. Two- or three-bedroom apartments work best at the corners, so one-bedrooms and studios predominate.

The boom has also been shaped by zoning that sometimes leaves downtowns and suburban commercial districts as the only practical spots for new housing. Ordinances requiring a minimum number of parking spaces per apartment unit factor in, too: Where minimums are relatively high, as in Texas, the best solution can be wrapping the building around a parking deck, a style known as the Texas doughnut. Where they’re lower, the ground-floor podium will do. City planners also often require developers to devote street-front podium space to shops and restaurants.

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NASA has confirmed that an asteroid larger than the tallest man-made structure in the world is currently traveling towards Earth at a speed of almost 34,000 miles per hour. Thankfully, it’ll likely miss us by a few million miles.

… The colossal space rock, which is expected to pass over our planet from a distance of around 3.6 million miles, is estimated to have a diameter of around 3,250 feet, making it large enough to potentially “trigger a nuclear winter and mass extinction events” should it collide with Earth.

  • This is a big deal. The Harvard Law Review published a note dismantling the claim that criticism of Israel constitutes a legally cognizable claim for discrimination. From their conclusion:

The weakness of the discrimination claim is constitutionally significant for anti-BDS litigation. It reveals that, despite states’ assertions to the contrary, the government does not have a compelling antidiscrimination interest that could trump countervailing First Amendment interests. Moreover, the weakness of the discrimination claim matters beyond anti-BDS laws. The past decade has seen antidiscrimination law weaponized to undercut a human rights movement that has opponents at the highest levels of the U.S. government — a trend that threatens other controversial political movements that the government may seek to undermine. Chilling disfavored political movements is precisely what the First Amendment is meant to protect against.

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.

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