- Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts got a big donation of Dutch Old Masters paintings and has instantly become a hub of Dutch and Flemish art. Sebastian Smee of the Washington Post has the story:
The gifts that made all this possible, and which were a long time in the making, came from two local couples: Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo and Susan and Matthew Weatherbie. Together, in 2017, the van Otterloos and Weatherbies donated 114 Dutch and Flemish paintings by about 75 artists. Their long-term relationships with scholars at nearby universities, with fellow Boston collectors (including Maida and George Abrams), and with MFA curators like the Dutch and Flemish expert Ronni Baer (now at Princeton University) made the Boston museum a natural home for their collections.
- Erik Piepenburg reflects on three decades of “New Queer Cinema” for the New York Times:
New Queer Cinema didn’t tug at the heart, it kicked the crotch. Its AIDS-themed films especially — they were the storm after the calm of earlier life-affirming movies that mourned the young dead like “Longtime Companion,” which in 1989 politely asked straight people to pay attention. Three years later, Gregg Araki’s “The Living End” warned everyone to run for cover.
It’s not as if gay-themed movies weren’t being made at the time. It’s just that the straight-made ones that got attention — box-office hits like “The Crying Game” and “Basic Instinct” — were part of a media landscape that was, as Benning said on the panel, “responsible for the kind of pain that I was in by not representing my identity at all.”
- Owners of an important modernist house designed by Marcel Breuer, and located on Long Island, demolished it before preservationists could save it. Zachary Small has the story for the New York Times:
“Modernist architecture is endangered,” she added, citing two other recent destructions: a Connecticut home by the Brutalist architect Paul Rudolph and a helix-shaped house by Bruce Goff in Oklahoma.
Two years ago, the real estate developers Shimon and Judy Eckstein purchased the Geller home’s one-acre lot at 175 Ocean Avenue for $975,000, according to property records. In December, Waytkus contacted the homeowners after she learned through a colleague that they were considering demolition.
“It was gone within three weeks,” Waytkus said.
The Ecksteins did not respond to multiple phone calls requesting comment.
- Simon Maghakyan writes for Foreign Policy on how cultural desecration is a form of racial discrimination:
The ICJ’s decision against Azerbaijan has global significance for several reasons. First, it is precedent-setting for sidestepping UNESCO, the United Nations’ ineffective cultural organization that is effectively governed by member states such as China, Saudi Arabia, and Azerbaijan, and instead technically delegating the world’s only body with enforcement power—the U.N. Security Council, which is principally tasked with maintaining international peace and security—with overseeing threatened cultural heritage.
Second, it links deliberate cultural destruction with racial discrimination under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Third, the decision sends a message to nation-states that sovereignty does not license a government to erase cultural heritage sites. The ICJ ruling, therefore, creates a new, yet narrow, pathway for fighting cultural destruction.
The most obvious beneficiaries of the ICJ decision are persecuted peoples with ethnic ties to a neighboring nation-state. Greece, for instance, could apply to the ICJ under the new ruling to challenge Turkey’s ongoing conversion of Greek cathedrals to mosques. Oppressed and stateless peoples like the Hazaras in Afghanistan, Rohingyas in Myanmar, and Uyghurs and Tibetans in China, whose cultures have been targeted by state actors, on the other hand, are unlikely to benefit directly from the decision given that the ICJ is a legal venue for U.N. member states.
- A new scanning technique is teaching us things about human anatomy that weren’t easy to see before, including the damage COVID-19 is doing to human lungs:
Tafforeau and Walsh are part of an international team of more than 30 researchers that has created a powerful new kind of x-ray scan called hierarchical phase-contrast tomography (HiP-CT). With it, they can finally go from a complete human organ to a zoomed-in view of the body’s tiniest blood vessels and even individual cells.
The technique is already providing fresh insights into how COVID-19 damages and reshapes the blood vessels of the lungs. And while its long-term promise is hard to define, because nothing quite like HiP-CT has ever existed before, researchers excited by its potential are enthusiastically dreaming up new ways to understand disease and more rigorously chart the terrains of human anatomy.
“What is perhaps a surprise to most people is we’ve been studying the heart anatomically since hundreds of years ago,” says UCL cardiac anatomist Andrew Cook, “but there isn’t a consensus about the normal structure of the heart, particularly the muscle cells, and how it changes as the heart beats.”
A technique with HiP-CT’s promise, he says, is something “I’ve been waiting for my whole career.”
- Ever wonder if Wall Street is ripping off retirees? Well, workers scored a rare win over Wall Street and this tidbit is in the report by Daily Poster:
Currently, the median 401(k) balance for Americans 65 and older is just $64,548. That amount could be as much as 40 percent higher, if it wasn’t for fees paid to Wall Street.
- Circus performers have been suffering because of the lack of events during the pandemic, but many are finding a new audience on TikTok. Jessica Lucas, writing for Input magazine, has the story:
But in September of last year, after an audience member posted a clip of Lepiarz that went viral on TikTok, everything changed. The video, which features Lepiarz brandishing a flaming whip, has been viewed almost two million times.
The clip’s success motivated him to join TikTok, where he shares tricks and performances. “It did really well really quickly,” says Lepiarz, who has gained nearly one million TikTok followers on his@jacqueszewhipper account since signing up for the platform in October. He was able to join TikTok’s Creator Fund — which requires influencers have 10,000 followers and 100,000 video views over the last 30 days — in under a week.
- The Wayne County Medical Society Foundation, in association with Digital Media Works, produced a hard-hitting documentary exposing human sex trafficking and pornography and its aftermath and guess who they found were the most frequent clients:
Recent reports indicate that the most frequent buyers of sex are Legislators, Law Enforcement, and surprisingly clergypersons.
- This AITA on Reddit about some guy not liking the Indian food his girlfriend cooks is worth it if only for the comments that roast him.
- Truly great art:
- Wordle is the newest fad among netizens but Zoom isn’t going away, that’s for sure (also, why you can’t resist Wordle by Kyle Chayka at the New Yorker):
Required Reading is published every Thursday afternoon, 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.
Increased oil tanker truck traffic would “seriously degrade” the experience of viewing the canyon’s Indigenous rock art, said one advocate of the site.
This week, AP Style Twitter goes wild, the “enshittification” of TikTok, and did people actually come flooding back to New York City after COVID?
Scores of cultural heritage sites are in ruins amid a fragile truce and an ongoing war of narratives.
Jafar Panahi was arrested last July, after he participated in protests at the notorious Evin prison.
Join the New-York Historical Society on February 10 for a virtual conversation about our changing relationship to the natural world with Julie Decker, John Grade, and LaMont Hamilton.
Designed by artist Christine Egaña Navin, the items will be offered by Project Art Distribution at this weekend’s NADA Flea Market.
The French painter felt he had to rise to the challenge of one question above all things else: What exactly is it to be a modern artist?
Philipsz’s haunting sound and video artworks serve as a poignant witness to the lives and artistry of victims of the Holocaust.
Passamaquoddy citizen Chris Newell is imparting his knowledge of the Wabanaki Confederacy to advise on the Portland Museum of Art’s expansion.
Presented by Northwestern’s Block Museum and McCormick School of Engineering, this new exhibition seeks empathy at the boundaries of life. On view in Evanston, Illinois.
The artist’s site-specific museum exhibition Three Parallels glows with choreographed colored light.
In an open letter, European institutional leaders defend Manuel Borja-Villel, who has faced right-wing attacks for his progressive programming.