Recognize this painting? Found above a light switch in the artist's childhood bedroom, Keith Haring rendered his famed "Radiant Baby" motif in gold and blue during a trip home to visit his parents in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. The four-by-five-inch artwork was nearly painted over by a previous homeowner, but the Garner family, who moved in 20 years ago, preserved and even asked Haring's father to authenticate the piece. It recently sold it at auction for $143,750, alongside a shelf unit built by Allen Haring for his children and two posters the artist created in the late 1980s. (photo by Charles Daniels, courtesy Dr. Christine Isabelle Oaklander)

Dictee’s anniversary provides an opportunity to consider Cha’s remarkably wide influence and celebrate her monumental achieve­ment. The Yale Review has invited five contributors—poet Ken Chen, writer Zahra Patterson, poet and translator Uljana Wolf, and visual artists Latipa and Yong Soon Min (the latter a friend of Cha’s)—to reflect on Cha, Dictee, and the book’s influence on their own work.

Thus, the great gift of queer forms is their potential to teach us how to receive, negotiate, and meaningfully respond to the world’s fundamental diversity. With this in mind, I want to suggest that friendship can offer a potent model for better understanding, relating to, and studying queer forms in all their variety—both those transmitted to us from the feminist and queer past and those still being invented—while helping to enrich and refine our commitments to contemporary gender and sexual freedom movements. Friendship is the kind of social relation that comes closest to modeling the world-opening aspect of forms, for its unique brand of solidarity is the most local, intimate, and intense site for the negotiation of differences between two people.

@archaeodeath

#stitch with @Steph Vikings are a modern popular phenomenon, not a ‘race’, ethnicity, people, tribe, culture or language. #Vikings #norsetok #archaeology #history

♬ original sound – Archaeodeath

Had I heard him correctly? Who else can’t read cursive? I asked the class. The answer: about two-thirds. And who can’t write it? Even more. What did they do about signatures? They had invented them by combining vestiges of whatever cursive instruction they may have had with creative squiggles and flourishes. Amused by my astonishment, the students offered reflections about the place—or absence—of handwriting in their lives. Instead of the Civil War past, we found ourselves exploring a different set of historical changes. In my ignorance, I became their pupil as well as a kind of historical artifact, a Rip van Winkle confronting a transformed world.

In 2010, cursive was omitted from the new national Common Core standards for K–12 education. The students in my class, and their peers, were then somewhere in elementary school. Handwriting instruction had already been declining as laptops and tablets and lessons in “keyboarding” assumed an ever more prominent place in the classroom. Most of my students remembered getting no more than a year or so of somewhat desultory cursive training, which was often pushed aside by a growing emphasis on “teaching to the test.” Now in college, they represent the vanguard of a cursiveless world.

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.

The Latest

Required Reading

This week, Godard’s anti-imperialism, in defense of “bad” curating, an inexplicable statue, criminalizing culture wars, and more.

Hrag Vartanian

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

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