Required Reading

A look inside Donald Judd's home studio in Manhattan's Soho neighborhood. It will be open for tours in June. (via ny.curbed.com)
A look inside Donald Judd’s home studio in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood. It will be open for tours in June. (via ny.curbed.com)

This week, anger at MoMA’s plan to destroy the American Folk Art Museum building, art market tidbits, the Digital Library of America, academia’s servants, foundational principles, and more.

 Martin Filler, writing for the New York Review of Books, is incensed at the Museum of Modern Art’s decision to destory the architecturally significant American Folk Art Museum:

The most basic task of any museum must be the protection of works of cultural significance entrusted to its care for the edification and pleasure of future generations. This imperative rightfully takes precedence over acquisition, interpretation, outreach, or any number of other activities now believed to be crucial to the survival of our great art repositories. Sometimes a museum gains its holdings with much strategic forethought, and at other times serendipitously, as when a long-coveted neighbor’s plot suddenly becomes available. Yet the moral responsibility remains the same.

The New York Times also published a series of Letters to the Editor on the same topic.

 Art Market Monitor has some interesting tidbits:

 Sarah Kendzior has written for Al Jazeera about “Academia’s indentured servants” … namely adjunct professors:

Most adjuncts teach at multiple universities while still not making enough to stay above the poverty line. Some are on welfare or homeless. Others depend on charity drives held by their peers. Adjuncts are generally not allowed to have offices or participate in faculty meetings. When they ask for a living wage or benefits, they can be fired. Their contingent status allows them no recourse.

 Have you heard about the Digital Library of America? It’s a thing, and its “a large-scale attempt, to knit together America’s archives, libraries, and museums.” The executive director explains:

We have everything from daguerrotypes of Abraham Lincoln; we have images of women marching for the vote in Kentucky, from the Kentucky Digital Library; we have a lot of really amazing Civil Rights Movement content, from the Digital Library of Georgia and elsewhere; we have the book Notes on the State of Virginia written by Thomas Jefferson; we have paintings by Winslow Homer.

 Artnet has released the auction results for the first quarter of 2013. They report:

… artnet reports that during Q1 2013, global art sales volume was down 7% compared to 2012 levels, but showed promising signs of growth. In the United States and the United Kingdom, sales volume was up 6% and 7%, respectively, with sell-through rates remaining above 70% in both countries. The positive trend seen in these two countries is in contrast to the performance of the Chinese art market, which has seen a 50% decline in value sold in mainland China in Q1 2013, compared to the previous year.


Worldwide, the top 10 artists in the first quarter of 2013, by value sold at auction, include Pablo Picasso (Q1 2013 sales: US$87.6 M), Gerhard Richter (US$44.9 M), Joan Miró (US$44.3 M), Amedeo Modigliani (US$43.1 M), Jean-Michel Basquiat (US$42.3 M), Francis Bacon (US$36.8 M), Claude Monet (US$30.2 M), René Magritte (US$29.2 M), Egon Schiele (US$28.0 M), and PierreAuguste Renoir (US$22.2 M).

 Remember the interview with architect Denise Scott Brown a few weeks ago which discussed sexism in architecture? Now there’s a petition to have the Pritzker Prize recognition her work and contributions to Robert Venturi’s 1991 Pritzker Award.

 Ever wonder what are Foundations for? The Boston Review tackles the topic:

But whatever the personal virtues of wealthy philanthropists, Posner presents us with a forceful challenge to the role of foundations in a democracy. (Posner worries most about the perpetual charitable foundation, but the challenge is more general.) A democratic society is committed, at least in principle, to the equality of citizens. But foundations are, virtually by definition, the voice of plutocracy. The assets of a modern philanthropic foundation are set aside in a permanent, donor-directed, tax-advantaged private endowment and distributed for a public purpose. These considerable private assets give it considerable public power. And with growing wealth and income inequality, their apparent tension with democratic principles only intensifies.

 A private museum grows in Dubai.

 Vandalog is talking to some street artists about how they dealt with the topic of history in their Bushwick Collective murals (Part 1Part 2, Part 3 is forthcoming).

 And the largest museum survey of artwork made with Polaroid cameras ever held in America is taking place now the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Centre at Vassar College in upstate New York:

But why do people still want Polaroid photographs in an age when digital-camera filters and photo apps can exactly mimic Polaroid’s aesthetic? Florian Kaps, The Impossible Project’s Austrian founder, believes the answer lies in the uniqueness of the object itself. “The Polaroid is really one-of-a-kind photography. Each time you look at the image you can be sure the artist himself touched it.”

 Ai Weiwei wrote an op-ed that appeared in the Guardian and Creative Time Reports. There’s nothing new here, but for Weiwei fans it should be interesting. I also think it’s a stretch for him to write, “every day in China, we put the state on trial.”

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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