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The Illuminator Collective collaborated with Chilean projection collective Delight Lab to project an anti-capitalist message on the infamous Wall Street Bull, in both Spanish and English. (courtesy the Illuminator and Delight Lab)
  • Calvin Tompkin’s epic New Yorker profile on the often mythologized Kerry James Marshall offers illuminating personal and artistic insight on the multi-talented, masterful painter, from his lovely romance story with his wife to his determined attitude toward, well, everything:

“There isn’t anything I can’t do,” [Marshall] said. “I am not going to be found not knowing how something works.” He is bone-certain that knowing how things work gives him a freedom and an independence he would not otherwise have. Marshall once told a group of doctors, only half joking, that with a couple of weeks’ study he could do brain surgery.

  • Generations of Gullah Geechee people have preserved their coastal cultures, in part through the art of basket weaving:

The keepers of the craft are the Gullah Geechee, descendants of the enslaved Africans who worked the rice and indigo plantations along the swath of coast from northern Florida to southern North Carolina. The Gullah Geechee, also known as the Gullah, in the South Carolina Lowcountry — the eastern marshlands, sea islands and beaches extending from Charleston to Georgia — say the sweet grass basket is inextricable to their culture.

As Latin scholar Maria S. Marsilio points out, “carpe diem” is a horticultural metaphor that, particularly seen in the context of the poem, is more accurately translated as “plucking the day,” evoking the plucking and gathering of ripening fruits or flowers, enjoying a moment that is rooted in the sensory experience of nature.

It captures the struggle of the nation’s top public health agency to persuade the public to embrace vaccination and prevention measures, including mask-wearing, as cases surge across the United States and new research suggests vaccinated people can spread the virus.

The document strikes an urgent note, revealing the agency knows it must revamp its public messaging to emphasize vaccination as the best defense against a variant so contagious that it acts almost like a different novel virus, leaping from target to target more swiftly than Ebola or the common cold.

Cuomo didn’t act alone when he engaged in “unlawful sex based harassment.” The report repeatedly drilled in the grotesque lengths to which the governor’s senior staff—led by his top aide Melissa DeRosa—covered up multiple and harrowing accounts of his misconduct. And it revealed that the head of advocacy of Times Up and the famed attorney Roberta Kaplan offered their approval of a letter that never went public but “denied the legitimacy of Ms. Boylan’s allegations, impugned her credibility, and attacked her claims as politically motivated (including with theories about connections with supporters of President Trump and a politician with an alleged interest in running for Governor).”

  • This heart-wrenching story of a Nigerian medical student who realized his missing friend had appeared as a cadaver speaks volumes about police violence in the country. Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani wrote in the BBC about the disturbing event and its consequences:

Mr Egbe sent a message to Divine’s family who, it turned out, had been going to different police stations in search of their relative after he and three friends were arrested by security agents on their way back from a night out.

The family eventually managed to reclaim his body.

Mr Egbe’s shocking discovery highlighted both the lack of corpses available in Nigeria for medical students and what can happen to victims of police violence.

  • The Picture Collection of the New York Public Library — utilized by generations of artists, including Andy Warhol — may close to the public. [Update 8/10/21 3:09pm: A spokesperson from the NYPL has alerted Hyperallergic that the collection will remain open to the public in the Art and Architecture Room]:

In the longstanding tension between accessibility and preservation, the conservators have prevailed, unwilling to accept the inevitable attrition of borrowed images through wear or theft. “Either it is ephemera and doesn’t belong in a research library, or else it is an archive that should be preserved,” William P. Kelly, director of the research libraries, said in an interview. “We’re trying to move it from being an outlier and satellite to being an integral part of the collection.”

  • For anyone feeling the perils of aging during the pandemic, read “fuck-up” Brandy Jensen’s take on getting older:

You aren’t old, you are merely disappointed. It can feel like the same thing but it’s not, which you are sure to discover 30 or 40 years from now. I know it’s not particularly helpful to hear that, nonetheless it’s the truth. Things will happen in your life you cannot imagine now; you will get things you have yet to discover you even want at all. There are years and years ahead of you to make good decisions and terrible ones. But you’re far more likely to make more of the latter kind if you indulge your envy now.

  • Florida A&M University, an HBCU, set a prime example of what schools should be doing to help students during these difficult times:

Larry Robinson, the president of Florida A&M University, announced the school spent over $16 million to cover fees, tuition, and unpaid student account balances during the 2020–2021 school year.

  • Considerations for accessible cultural programming have plummeted since pandemic restrictions have slowly loosened. Read Brijana Prooker’s article on the disappointing shift, which will particularly impact disabled individuals:

I anticipated accessibility being ripped away as vaccinations revved up. But feeling like I was finally given so much joy, only to have it taken away, has been more heartbreaking than I envisioned.

Refusing to give up hope, I reached out to 11 arts venues—including one I had bought multiple virtual tickets from over the pandemic and three I was hoping to buy virtual tickets from this summer. 

The answers I got ranged from genuinely well-intentioned to performative PR deflections. There was a lot of waxing poetic about past virtual events rather than answering my questions about future accessible programming. There were multiple requests to speak “off the record” and a lot of hemming and hawing when I asked for clarification on what continuing virtual programming “in some form” actually meant.

As the country’s most populous city strives to lure back tourists and office workers, it has undertaken an aggressive campaign to push homeless people off the streets of Manhattan.

City workers used to tear down one or two encampments a day. Now, they sometimes clear dozens. Since late May, teams that include sanitation workers in garbage trucks, police officers and outreach workers have cruised Manhattan around the clock, hitting the same spots over and over.

  • This week, James Baldwin admirers celebrated the anniversary of his birth (August 2) by sharing their favorite quotes, clips, and more by the writer:
  • Lyme disease is a scary prospect, which many people know little about. Bloomberg breaks down some of our pressing questions about the tick-borne illness.
  • California will soon experience dwindling pork supplies as a 2018 vote about animal welfare in the state takes effect.
  • I’ve been subsisting on a diet of tomatoes and peaches since August 1. Sound the alarm!:

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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Jasmine Weber

Jasmine Weber is Hyperallergic's news editor. She is an artist and writer based in Brooklyn, particularly interested in Black art histories and visual culture....