• Journalists know that large sections of the public don’t trust their work but 65% of them believe they do “a very or somewhat good job reporting the news accurately,” according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, which collected responses from 11,889 US journalists. Seven in 10 journalists said they are “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with their job and 75% of them said they’re either “extremely” or “very” proud of their work (as a journalist myself, I wouldn’t be that confident). But they still have many concerns, among them:

More than half of journalists surveyed (57%) say they are “extremely” or “very” concerned about the prospect of press restrictions being imposed in the United States. And about seven-in-ten journalists (71%) say made-up news and information is a very big problem for the country, higher than the 50% of U.S. adults who say the same. At the same time, four-in-ten journalists say that news organizations are generally doing a bad job managing or correcting misinformation.

A large majority of journalists say they come across misinformation at least sometimes when they are working on a story, and while most say they are confident in their ability to recognize it, about a quarter of reporting journalists (26%) say they have unknowingly reported on a story that was later found to contain false information.  

  • Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight wrote a scathing report about a dubious exhibition featuring the artworks of a donor to California State University, Long Beach, mounted inside a gallery and public museum that were named after her in return for a $10 million dollar gift. The benefactor in question is Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld and, according to Knight, her work is abominable:

In the Kleefeld paintings in the Kleefeld gallery at the Kleefeld museum, what makes the “well of being” so peculiar is that the art is frankly terrible — by far the worst I’ve seen on display in a serious exhibition venue, public or private, for profit or nonprofit, in years. The creaky Romantic fantasy of the numinous artist, isolated from mundane labors, turning her back on the modern world to get in touch with higher truths, is on display. The fiction abounds in gift-shop-quality illustrations representing cosmic consciousness. (The artist, a longtime resident of Big Sur on the central California coast, has shown most often at the luxury Ventana Inn and Spa nearby.) Smeary rainbows, abstract faces sequestered inside expressionist faces, and crude landscapes of mountains and woodlands are splattered with random dribbles of color, like thrift-store Jackson Pollocks. Except not as good.

  • A rare moment of truth-telling at the Art Basel fair in Switzerland:
  • Bill Gates thinks that NFTs are a scam. It’s hard to disagree with that. Ryan Browne reports for CNBC:

Speaking at a TechCrunch talk on climate change Tuesday, the billionaire Microsoft co-founder described the phenomenon as something that’s “100% based on greater fool theory,” referring to the idea that overvalued assets will go up in price when there are enough investors willing to pay more for them.

Gates joked that “expensive digital images of monkeys” would “improve the world immensely,” referring to the much-hyped Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection.

  • A beautiful, mournful installation by artist Craig Walsh in Charlotte, North Carolina (video courtesy @nowness):
  • Kim Phuc Phan Thi, the Vietnamese girl who was captured fleeing a deadly napalm attack in Associated Press photographer Nick Ut’s iconic photo of the Vietnam War, is now a 59-year-old woman. In an article for the New York Times, she wrote about her experience of growing up under the shadow of being globally recognized as the “Napalm Girl”:

Growing up, I sometimes wished to disappear not only because of my injuries — the burns scarred a third of my body and caused intense, chronic pain — but also because of the shame and embarrassment of my disfigurement. I tried to hide my scars under my clothes. I had horrific anxiety and depression. Children in school recoiled from me. I was a figure of pity to neighbors and, to some extent, my parents. As I got older, I feared that no one would ever love me.

Meanwhile, the photograph became even more famous, making it more difficult to navigate my private and emotional life. Beginning in the 1980s, I sat through endless interviews with the press and meetings with royalty, prime ministers and other leaders, all of whom expected to find some meaning in that image and my experience. The child running down the street became a symbol of the horrors of war. The real person looked on from the shadows, fearful that I would somehow be exposed as a damaged person.

  • Did you know that dolphins have been flocking to the waters of New York? Isn’t that great news? William J. Broad reports for the New York Times:

The dolphin revival around metropolitan New York — which has the nation’s most developed coastline — stands in sharp contrast to grim periods of disease and soaring death rates that have periodically plagued East Coast waters. In 2013, droves of dolphin carcasses washed ashore first in New Jersey and then in Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida, the mammals’ winter home. Many of the bodies tumbled in the surf, badly deteriorated. The suspected killer was a deadly virus.

Now, like humans flocking to New York despite the bidding wars for apartment rentals, the marine mammals seem to be enjoying the city’s crowded waters again. Possible explanations include improved habitat quality, warmer water because of climate change, and the recovery of menhaden stocks, experts say. Dolphins feast on the schooling fish, eating up to 20 pounds a day.

New Yorkers are spotting dolphins in such places as the East River, which separates Manhattan from Brooklyn and Queens. A pair showed up in the waters off Greenpoint, Brooklyn, last year, eliciting gasps from onlookers and scientists.

  • Finally, I’ll leave you with this:

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.

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Hakim Bishara

Hakim Bishara is a Senior Editor at Hyperallergic. He is also a co-director at Soloway Gallery, an artist-run space in Brooklyn. Bishara is a recipient of the 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation and Creative Capital...