Required Reading

Cumming artist teaches George W. Bush how to paint” from FoxAtlanta (h/t AFC — btw his paintings aren’t really looking better)

This week, US is tops, LA’s MOCA drama in GIFs, UAE’s censorship problems, Michael Crichton on Jasper Johns, The Thing is back, and more.

 The US reclaims the top spot from China in terms of art sales:

The value of sales in the Chinese market decreased by 24% to €10.6bn as demand cooled and lower priced works of a lesser quality came on to the market. However, counterbalancing this sharp decline to some degree, sales in the US experienced an uplift of 5% over the past year, reaching a high of €14.3bn.

Most European markets performed poorly in 2012. Sales were virtually stagnant in the UK, while nearly all the other large markets such as France, Germany and Italy experienced declines, and overall sales in the EU down by 3%.

Related: Top 25 Artist Markets for 2012 via Art Market Monitor

 Carolina Miranda probably feels the same about the operatic drama that is LA’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) museum as the rest of us, but she decided to illustrate a version of it using reaction GIFs. Enjoy.

 And the latest LA MOCA twist is that they may — nothing has been finalized, and this all seems a tad bit bizarre — a deal with the National Gallery of Art in DC rather than the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in LA (LACMA):

Any agreement would not include financial or fund-raising assistance for the Los Angeles museum, leaving its fiscal problems unsolved. But an agreement could help lift its own efforts to raise money and ward off, at least temporarily, a merger with a wealthier and more powerful neighbor: the Los Angeles County Museum of Art or the University of Southern California.

LA Times critic Christopher Knight says the idea is “big, fat nothing-burger.”

 “The question of censorship looms large this month in the United Arab Emirates, a time when art and cultural events fill the calendar.” from “Artists and Show Navigate Cultural Boundaries in UAE” by Vinita Bharadwaj, New York Times

 The artist Jasper Johns as writer Michael Crichton knew him:

Crichton is also interested in how Johns thinks, and how he communicates what he thinks, and how this is all manifested in the art that he ultimately makes. He relates the following surreal exchange from their first ever conversation:

“Why did you make that change?”
“Because I did.” His tone implied great reasonableness, as if that were the only possible answer.
I persisted: “But what did you see?”
“I saw that it should be changed.”
Since I wasn’t getting anywhere, I tried another approach. “Well, if you changed it, what was wrong with it before?”
“Nothing. I tend to think one thing is as good as another.”
“Then why change it?”
By now, he was getting exasperated with me. He sighed. There was a long pause. “Well,” he said finally, “I may change it again.”
“Well, I won’t know until I do it.”

 The Hole gallery was featured in the New York Times‘ Fashion/Style section and they received what must be the funniest headline in a while, which reinforces the fact that it’s more of a scene than an art endeavor: “Art? Oh Yeah, We’re Here to Party.” #LOL

 The Thing — usually writted the thing or THE THING — revolutionized the net art world of the 1990s, and now it’s back:

Rhizome digital conservator Ben Fino-Radin contacted Staehle some time in 2011, fearing The Thing might soon be lost to the forces of entropy. Along with archivist and filmmaker Jason Scott, creator of the BBS Documentary, they embarked on a mission to recover the system. But reviving decades-old computers loaded with archaic software is never as easy as simply booting them up and extracting data. Any sufficiently old and dirty machine runs the risk of shorting out when plugged in, and even then there’s no guarantee the data will be readable on modern machines without some serious digital forensics.

 The drama of the Jan Cowles and Larry Gagosian Lichtenstein painting lawsuit has finally been settled. Tom Dean gets to keep his Lichtenstein.

 Is the idea of rediscovering an artist after he or she dies a myth? One writer at The Art Newspaper, David Ekserdjian, says yes:

The long view suggests that while some artists inevitably go up and down in the rankings, especially when it comes to the second best, there are exceptionally few genuine rediscoveries of slumbering giants.

 The discussion about art on Tumblr continues with an essay by artist Brad Troemel at The New Inquiry regarding the “accidental audience“:

What becomes of art when the majority of those interacting with it don’t recognize it as such? What happens “after art”?

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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