This week, MoMA’s Rauschenberg/Johns closet, Libeskind rails against autocrat-serving architects, Piero della Francesca at the Frick, Dalí’s curious 1958 interview with Mike Wallace, Cory Arcangel in The New Yorker, and more.
Did the Museum of Modern Art push Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns’ relationship back into the closet in their latest exhibition?
Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns were lovers during this six-year period of collaboration, and their relationship had a profound impact on their art. For years, the art world ignored this vital component of the Johns/Rauschenberg story, while the artists themselves kept mum on the matter. But 2010’s exhibition Hide/Seekat the National Portrait Gallery broke the silence, openly exploring the artists’ sexuality as it intersected with their work — the first ever gay-themed exhibition at a major American museum. That was over two years ago. Now, in 2013, MoMA is sending Johns and Rauschenberg back into the closet.
Architect Daniel Libeskind is speaking out against architects who build gleaming towers for despots:
“I’m not interested in building gleaming streets for despots; I prefer making work in the challenges and constraints of a democracy than working in a homogenous system,” he added.
“I can’t separate the formal geometry from the context of who they were commissioned by and the morality of those states.”
Related? Royal Institute of British Architects has called on students to report companies offering unpaid architecture internships and said it “deplores any architects treating students this way.”
Walter Kaiser reviews the Piero della Francesca exhibit at the Frick Collection for the New York Review of Book. He writes:
In significant ways, Piero’s paintings are the quintessential artistic expression of the quattrocento humanism given definition by authors like Leonardo Bruni, Poggio Bracciolini, Poliziano, Vittorino da Feltre, and Pico della Mirandola — much as the Pazzi Chapel in Florence is the architectural expression of those same Renaissance ideals. Describing an orderly, rational world of individual freedom and dignity inspired by the world of classical antiquity, they extol the virtues of eloquence and learning, liberty and aspiration, personal nobility, goodness, and beauty. With inherent hopeful optimism, they depict an ideal universe of the imagination in which man, endowed with unlimited capacities and encompassing intelligence, has the possibility of perfecting himself and creating a harmonious society of virtuous citizens. That ideal world is one of the noblest dreams of Western man, and it suffuses the paintings of Piero della Francesca; for they depict, as Berenson wrote, “his dream of surroundings worthy of his mind and heart, where his soul would feel at home.”
This classic 1958 interview of Salvador Dalí by journalist Mike Wallace is pretty bizarre (as you’d suspect) but not only for the expected Surrealist elements, but also for the way Wallace “sells” Parliament cigarettes, the show’s sponsor:
As the Armory Show starts this week, it may be a good time to look back at the original Armory (no relation). James Panero writes about the Armory at 100 for the New Criterion.
The New Yorker profiles artist Cory Arcangel. An earlier incarnation of the article’s title essentially called him this generation’s Warhol, but thankfully saner heads have prevailed at the magazine and it is currently titled “Futurism,” though that’s also a loaded term in an art historical context. And I should mention the author seems a little star struck with Arcangel:
His delight in the drawing was evident, and I realized that fixating on his Perl code was like grilling Jackson Pollock about why he used house paint.
And it’s packed full of not very useful references to Modern Masters:
Although gaming is one of Arcangel’s key subjects, he isn’t a gamer, any more than Édouard Manet was a matador or George Bellows a boxer.
… and …
Andy Warhol is the default reference when curators and collectors bring up Arcangel’s work. Anointing a young artist “the new Warhol” is as clichéd as calling a color “the new black,” and it’s perhaps telling that, in 2002, Arcangel modified the video game Hogan’s Alley so that players shoot at an avatar of Warhol instead of at gangsters. I asked Arcangel how he felt about the comparison. Predictably, he cracked wise. “Forget about Warhol,” he said. “I want someone to compare me to Seinfeld!”
And not all courtesy the writer:
Afterward, as we walked along Tenth Avenue, the conversation turned to painting. “I’ve been on a Keith Haring kick lately,” Arcangel said. “But I wonder — and I know it’s an old question — where can painting go after so many hundreds of years? I think the best artists acknowledge the joke. I really admire Roy Lichtenstein for bringing comics into the art industry.
Felix Salmon comments on the latest Knoedler Gallery-related lawsuit, this one is featuring Toronto mega-collector David Mirvish;
In any event, this lawsuit is a rare glimpse into a side of the art world which is very rarely seen — a purely mercenary world of co-investments and speculative bets, where stakes in artworks are bought and sold with an eye to making many millions of dollars in profit should a convenient hedge-fund manager turn up brandishing a $17 million check.
And a trailer for a new film about the role of graffiti and street art in the Egyptian Revolution (h/t Wooster Collective):
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.