This week, major Banksy dramas, Sou Fujimoto’s cloud-like Serpentine Pavilion, a queer history of computing, improv doesn’t pay, claims of discrimination at the El Museo del Barrio, and more.
- The “child slave labor” mural that Banksy created on a wall in North London last year for the British Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was removed and put up for auction in Miami. (Guardian, Feb 22)
- In the 11th hour the work was withdrawn from sale by the auction house. (Guardian, Feb 24),
- A councilor in the London borough where the mural was original situated has hailed the decision to halt the sale, and he hopes it will return to his district because, “People were really proud to have a piece of art by an internationally renowned artist appear in the area … It’s a piece that residents have enjoyed and really valued. It’s brought visitors from all over London and put Wood Green on the map.” (Haringey Independent, Feb 24)
- The mystery that is Banksy is profiled in this month’s Smithsonian magazine.
- And on Friday, a strange press release had the screens of lazy reporters buzzing with rumors that Banksy was arrested … but it was obviously a hoax. Art Threat has downloaded a PDF of the press release in question, which has since disappeared from the internet.
The Rhizome blog has started an interesting series on the queer history of computing:
… as traced through the lives of five foundational figures [Alan Turing. It is both an attempt to make visible those parts of a history that are often neglected, erased, or forgotten, and an effort to question the assumption that the technical and the sexual are so easily divided.
The first post is devoted to Alan Turing, the early 20th C. British mathematician who was influential in the establishment of computer science.
Just in case you thought the issue of unpaid talent is unique to the contemporary art world, perhaps you should read this about the struggle of improv artists at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater:
The business model of Upright Citizens — a for-profit theater — came under scrutiny in December, when a comedian, Kurt Metzger, criticized on an Upright Citizens’ stage the policy of not paying stand-ups, a complaint taken up by fellow comics on social media. But improv artists forcefully defended the theater, saying its ticket prices ($5 to $10) created opportunities for exposure to a comedy-savvy audience and industry, which could lead to future fame.
That sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Richard Jackson is having a retrospective at the Orange County Museum of Art and critic Carolina Miranda says it’s very good.
As the war in Mali rages, many people may be unaware that the ancient treasures of the West African country aren’t only in Timbuktu but includes the 4,000+ manuscripts in Djenné, and there is hope:
The digitisation project funded by the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme will be completed at the end of July. The dedicated team of seven workers would like to continue their important work, and the library is actively seeking funding for the continuation of the programme and for other important tasks, such as conservation and cataloguing of the manuscripts. Timbuktu’s manuscript libraries have received funding from the US, South Africa, Spain, Norway and Dubai, among others.
But turning back Timbuktu, UNESCO is raising $11m to save Mali’s heritage, particularly the manuscripts damaged during the recent fighting:
Mali’s minister of culture, Bruno Maïga, said in an interview with The Art Newspaper that 2,000–3,000 manuscripts had been destroyed by rebels at the state-supported Ahmed Baba Institute of Higher Learning and Islamic Research in Timbuktu. “These were manuscripts which had been set aside for conservation or digitisation,” he explained.
The minister believes that “the rest of Timbuktu’s manuscripts have been saved.” He says that ultimately the 300,000 manuscripts should be returned to Timbuktu, which is “where they belong, since that is where they have most meaning.”
New York’s museum of Latin American and Caribbean art is in the news for a claim of discrimination:
The former director of El Museo del Barrio and the board of that museum are in a legal battle, with her claiming gender discrimination and a hostile workplace while the museum says she was dismissed for poor performance.
Women’s rights activists in Egypt are using street art to reassert their history in the country post-Revolution:
“They are already deleting female activists from our history books,” says Shady Khalil, the co-founder of Noon El Neswa, a gender-sensitive street art collective. “In order to help reverse the effects of this and many other attacks on women’s rights, we have been creating graffiti campaigns with the purpose of reclaiming women’s rightful position in public spaces.”
What is metamodernism? “… metamodernism … denotes the to-and-fro occupation of both the positions of modern attachment and postmodern detachment.”
A review of The Classical Tradition by Anthony Grafton, Glenn W. Most, and Salvatore Settis explains:
But though much of the pleasure of this volume derives from the swirl of curious details—the “symposium” originated not as an academic conference but as a ritualized drinking party; the word “parasite” derives from the Greek for “fellow diner”; the eleventh-century Byzantine polymath Michael Psellus wrote some 1,100 works—its ambition is far greater. With this ambition comes a set of difficult problems that may be summed up in three words: “The,” “Classical,” and “Tradition.”
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.