Two different photographers have created similar series that explore the personal impact of war on Western soldiers. Top: Photographer Lalage Snow captured the faces of British soldiers in Afghanistan before, during, and after their war experiences in her series We Are the Not Dead (start date unknown). (via ModernMet); Bottom: Photographer Claire Felicie did a very similar series, Marked (2009–), with US marines in Afghanistan. (via ModernMet). Do the photos reveal anything? Are we reading into them?

This week, the economic imperative for investing in art, dogs in pantyhose, the Renoir thief, sexism in architecture, street art in Palestine, GIF search engines, and more.

 Canada’s The Globe and Mail newspaper explores the economic imperative for investing in the art. The author writes:

American neuroscientist Gregory Berns, in the introduction to his 2008 book Iconoclast, wrote: “To see things differently than other people, the most effective solution is to bombard the brain with things it has never encountered before.” Living and travelling abroad is a great way to do this, but for most of us that isn’t a practical reality. Arts and culture on our home turf offer us the chance to “bombard” our brain with new stimulus without leaving town.

 An interview with French director Olivier Assayas over at The Brooklyn Rail is a good read. He discusses the changing face of of the counterculture from the 1970s to today:

Your information did not come from TV or the bourgeois media or the radio. It came from the free press, from what you heard in meetings, collective gatherings very similar to Occupy Wall Street — disturbingly similar I must add. So you were building your own channels of communication. You not only read the newspapers, you sold the newspapers. It was not about doing business but about being part of the channels of the counterculture.

 Remember the story of the Renoir that was supposed found in a Virginia flea market for $7? Turns out that was fake, and the story is a lot more shady:

Renoir Girl’s true name: Marcia “Martha” Fuqua. A former phys ed teacher, she runs a driving school out of her Lovettsville home in rural Loudoun County. She is no stranger to legal drama — or to the art world.

 And this is happening in the world: Luxury hotels with artist-in-residence programs.

 Over at Architect magazine, Carolina Miranda interviews Denise Scott Brown (co-founder of Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates, aka VSBA) about sexism in architecture and a career in design. Some of what she reveals in shocking:

[Architectural historian] Colin Rowe got furious with me. He once said to me, “Denise, you must admit that I was Mr. Mannerist of the 1950s.” He felt that Bob was taking his role. I said to Colin, “If you are criticizing Bob, you should be criticizing me, because we both did this stuff.” He looked at me totally unbelievingly. Then, at a party, he put his arms around me holding his whiskey glass, spilling his whiskey down the back of my neck, and said, “Denise, cara mia. Fuck you, bitch!”

 We opined about the controversial “Jew in a Box” display in Berlin two weeks ago, but now writer James Kirchick from the Jewish journal Tablet takes part and reports back. His lede is priceless, “It’s not often that someone compares you to the Hottentot Venus, Tilda Swinton, and Adolf Eichmann, all in the same hour.”

 In the world of memes, dogs wearing pantyhose is a meme in China and the photos look rather amazing, even if they also look, how shall we say, “problematic”:


 Ever wonder how the chess set got its look and feel? Jimmy Stamp explores the history on a blog post for the Smithsonian. Ever wonder why the Knight on your chess looks like it’s screaming?

According to the British Museum, Selene’s horse “is perhaps the most famous and best loved of all the sculptures of the Parthenon. It captures the very essence of the stress felt by a beast that has spent the night drawing the chariot of the Moon across the sky … the horse pins back its ears, the jaw gapes, the nostrils flare, the eyes bulge, veins stand out and the flesh seems spare and taut over the flat plate of the cheek bone.” Now you know why the knights in your chess sets always look like they’re screaming in agony.

 From MOCAtv, “This video provides brief insight into the struggle of Palestinian street artists living in the Palestinian Territories, and how they use graffiti to communicate in a state of perpetual oppression and injustice.”

 Are you considering doing a PhD? Maybe you should reconsider, and you probably will after reading Rebecca Shuman’s “Thesis Hatement” on Slate. It all strangely sounds like the art world:

What if you’ll never have time to read books, and when you talk about them, you’ll mostly be using made-up words like “deterritorialization” and “Othering” — because, as Ron Rosenbaum pointed out recently, the “dusty seminar rooms” of academia have the chief aim of theorizing every great book to death? And I can’t even tell you what kind of ass you have to kiss these days to get tenure — largely because, like most professors, I’m not on the tenure track, so I don’t know.

 A GIF search engine for all your GIFing needs: GIPHY. Though you can also use Google Images.

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.

The Latest

Avatar photo

Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.