Required Reading

This shiny object on Mars, which was spotted by Curiosity Rover, has been generating a lot of discussion online. (via Boingboing)
This shiny object on Mars, which was spotted by Curiosity Rover, has been generating a lot of discussion online. Signs of extraterrestrial life? Weird erosion? It’s anyone’s guess. (via Boingboing)

This week, Michelangelo goes to jail, the sad story behind a famous Vietnam War photo, Richard Arschwager dies, the art market is evil, China’s art market has shrunk, and more.

 The Italians are something quite radical with art. Michelangelo’s great unfinished sculpture, “La Pietà Rondanini” (1552–64) is being temporarily relocated to a Milanese jail. Why?

The supporters of the project believe that “La Pietà Rondanini,” with its underlying themes of suffering and forgiveness, will have a positive impact on the psyches of the inmates, many of whom have never come into contact with works of art.

And where will it exactly be displayed?

The Carcere di San Vittore is a 19th-century prison, designed as a radial structure with a central panopticon. The sculpture will be installed at the heart of the panopticon and will be visible from all of the prison’s wings. Rome’s Istituto Centrale per il Restauro is handling transport, conservation and safety issues. Boeri has told the Italian press that the public may also be allowed to see the work in its new setting.

  The story behind Eddie Adams’ iconic photo of the Vietnam War is quite incredible, particularly the tale about the guilt the photographer felt for the way be depicted the South Vietnamese general:

Eddie personally felt that the photo did a massive injustice to the General and ultimately ruined his life, he did seek him out to personally apologize for the irreparable damage to his honor and reputation.

  Gagosian Gallery has announced the death of artist Richard Artschwager on their homepage. He passed away at the age of 89 and only days after his retrospective at the Whitney Museum closed.

  Christian Viveros-Faune has written one of those “art market is evil” articles that we’ve come to expect every once in a while, but he uses a rather old paradigm to explain it, “Uptown money” versus “Downtown art.” Huh? What decade is this?

  Portland Art reviews Sigmar Polke’s show in Oregon and Victor Maldonado writes, “This exhibition attempts and succeeds at giving us a peek into the breadth of Polke’s confounding anti-style approach to the craft of picture making.”

  China’s auction houses may be slipping and may no longer be the largest chunk of the auction martket. And sales are very much down at the country’s leading auction houses.

  A nice story of how the big bad Warhol Foundation helped a small nonprofit in upstate New York with a censorship issue.

  Sotheby’s called the cops on a Florida pastor trying to pass off fake paintings by Damien Hirst:

Then, on Jan. 31, Sotheby’s notified Mr. Sutherland that there had been a problem with the authentication. Three hours later, Mr. Sutherland e-mailed the undercover officer, prosecutors said in court papers. Mr. Sutherland went on to tell the undercover officer that he had another spin painting and three of Mr. Hirst’s “dot” paintings. He provided provenance papers and agreed to sell the lot for $185,000.

  The story of art collector Steve Cohen, as told by n+1 in a rather dreamy prose:

I wonder what the Art Collector thinks, late at night, as he ignores the phone calls from his lawyers, stops calculating the probability of prison, and surveys what $700 million has bought him. Maybe he is a boob and sees in Pollock’s swirls nothing more than a mirror of his own wealth. Maybe he has become infatuated with the scale of his consumption: the goal has shifted from acquiring individual works to assembling a mountain of art. If you are not managing more money, you are managing less.

  And six of the New York Times‘ correspondents to China share their experiences during a recent event at Asia Society:

But, the panelists all noted, state controls on the media and information remain repressive even in the face of rapid economic growth and technological advance. “What still interests me is whether that economic freedom translates into political freedom,” said Rosenthal, adding she is “a little disappointed” she hasn’t seen a greater push for change and press freedoms. Wong agreed that increased Chinese use of the internet and social media “doesn’t show that there’s a revolution brewing,” and that the state, in contrast, may use the web to “strengthen its rule.”

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.

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