• Trump’s failed reelection bid hasn’t stopped the weird “Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again” executive order. Kriston Capps writes:

But the forces that his White House set in motion could outlive his administration: The GSA appears to have adopted a modernism ban, without any authorization in place. What seemed to be a pipe dream for admirers of classical architecture back in February now looks like procurement policy at the federal agency that manages office space and needs for the U.S. government. Design is already underway in Alabama for what might be Trump’s first mandatory classical courthouse.

The goal of the BMA’s plan was and remains a noble one and should not be discarded.

As Bedford told me in an interview about museums and equity in October: “It was not defensible to make broad equity claims, do a Mark Bradford exhibition in our galleries, then pay a guard $13.50 an hour to guard these priceless works of art. That’s not the spirit of this institution.”

At $13.50 an hour, about $28,000 a year, an entry-level guard makes more than the state’s minimum wage of $11 an hour. But it’s still low enough to qualify as “very low income” within Baltimore County, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It’s low enough to qualify a full-time guard at the BMA for Section 8 housing vouchers — and for that, museum officers and trustees should be embarrassed.

  • I know we want to celebrate Trump’s loss but Zeynep Tufekci has some sobering points about the next strongman who may come to power in the US:

Make no mistake: The attempt to harness Trumpism—without Trump, but with calculated, refined, and smarter political talent—is coming. And it won’t be easy to make the next Trumpist a one-term president. He will not be so clumsy or vulnerable. He will get into office less by luck than by skill. Perhaps it will be Senator Josh Hawley, who is writing a book against Big Tech because he knows that will be the next chapter in the culture wars, with social-media companies joining “fake news” as the enemy. Perhaps it will be Senator Tom Cotton, running as a law-and-order leader with a populist bent. Maybe it will be another media figure: Tucker Carlson or Joe Rogan, both men with talent and followings. Perhaps it will be another Sarah Palin—she was a prototype—with the charisma and appeal but without the baggage and the need for a presidential candidate to pluck her out of the blue. Perhaps someone like the QAnon-supporting Representative-elect Lauren Boebert of Colorado, who first beat the traditional Republican representative in the primary and then ran her race with guns blazing, mask off, and won against the Democratic candidate, a retired professor who avoided campaigning in person. Indeed, a self-made charismatic person coming out of nowhere probably has a better chance than many establishment figures in the party.

I’m also wondering if having a department that is devoted to African and African diasporic art will maybe mitigate or stop tokenistic representation?

“Absolutely. One of the goals is to broaden and be inclusive of what we call modern, contemporary African art and to start rigorous research and collecting in that area. It isn’t tokenistic, rather than seeing one art object related to this area, you begin to see a cluster that is meaningful and thoughtfully acquired. It’s also reflecting the multiplicity of perspectives from the continent of Africa and the African diasporic experience. There are multiple stories and narratives to be told through the various works that we collect and they can’t be told through a singular painting or photograph or sculpture. The history is too rich and too complex. That’s why you need a department that can be steadfast and focused on building these stories.”

  • Katie Couric talking to Mary Trump about her uncle’s loss is pure joy. The only part that is silly is Couric thinking Trump did something good in the “Middle East,” but we all make mistakes:
YouTube Poster

Maybe these would have been better if they all started with red in the top left or something, and cycled through. They don’t randomize the order of the colors in the main Google logo, right? Ultimately these little blobs just resemble toys or crunched up candy wrappers. At best it’s plaid, and that’s Slack territory.

At first I thought the little red triangular tabs were a nice visual indicator, but somehow they messed that up too. Each icon could have had the tab in a different corner, but Calendar and Drive both have it on the bottom right. They’re different kinds of triangles, at least — but that’s a freebie from trigonometry.

You’ll also notice that the icons have a sort of lopsided weight. That’s because against a light background, different colors have different visual salience. 

  • I had almost forgotten all about LiveJournal, and then I saw this (Thanks, Rea!). And anyone who watches Mandalorian probably knows about the weird endangered frog egg-eating thing Baby Yoda did (it was a little disturbing). Well, some people are calling it out and the title alone says it all:

Did Baby Yoda Commit Genocide?

It’s been 24 hours and yet it’s still hard to believe … that a presidency erected on gilt and deception met its end in a ramshackle industrial-zone parking lot near an I-95 exit in Philadelphia. Trump, a real-estate and showbiz man, understands the symbolic power of location, location, location. He entered the political arena riding a golden escalator in the skyscraper that bears his name and contains his penthouse, a reminder that the affairs of state and his own possessions would always be intertwined. He gave interviews in the Lincoln Memorial, hoping the architecture’s grandeur would obscure his pettiness. He must have appreciated the idea that his personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani—who came to national prominence standing amid the rubble of another architectural landmark—would choose the Four Seasons Hotel in Philadelphia as the spot to challenge the will of the people. It is, after all, the city’s newest, fanciest, highest hotel, occupying the upper floors of its tallest tower, the Comcast Technology Center, designed by an actual Sir, Lord Norman Foster. What better place to broadcast lies?

Required Reading is published every Saturday, 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.

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.