- Financial Times critic Ariella Budick wrote a scorching review of Wolfgang Tillmans’s retrospective at MoMA. Unfortunately, the article is paywalled, but here’s a little taste:
Now everyone can do what Tillmans did in the 1990s: cherish the magic of banality. Sure, he was uncannily prescient about today’s deluge of pets, plants, selfies, sunsets and dick-pics. He saw such undistinguished snapshots as agents of empathy, all-in-one oracles of feelings, thoughts and ideas. But what happens to your uniqueness when your insight becomes obvious? MoMA sets out to make an argument for a body of work that winds up foundering on its own mediocrity. Asserting that he got there first isn’t enough.
Tillmans dismisses the whole idea of a photograph as aesthetic object, yet he also gets prickly when critics dismiss his work as shallow. “A painting by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner or George Grosz of a nightclub scene from 1924 Berlin [is] seen as culture in a museum,” he has said. “Whereas people would shrug off a wild night at the Front nightclub as a decadent party.” He appears to confuse subject matter with form. Grosz made nightlife meaningful because he brought his gifts as painter and draftsman to bear on political satire. Tillmans has no such power.
- Sociology professor Hannah Landecker thinks that viruses are “more like cone snails than hijackers.” She might be right. Here’s a snippet from her essay on e-flux:
As with many apparently innocuous explanatory tropes, this figure of the viral hijacker perhaps hides as much as it reveals. It transposes the idea of an individual or a group of individuals storming a vehicle and overwhelming its drivers and passengers by force; of a temporary and illegal deviation of a normal journey; of violence and coercion in the name of another cause. The hijacker is a terrorist, a thief, a stranger looking to take the wheel. It appears to transparently explain things. But is this a good description of a virus and the creatures it is capable of infecting? Perhaps we should try some other imagery on for size.
- The “Scooby-Doo” character Velma Dinkley is gay. Deal with it:
- Princeton University finally announced that it will divest from fossil fuels. Better late than never, right? Chelsey Gilchrist and Claire Kaufman report for the Nation:
Unlike divestment wins at Harvard, Columbia, and other universities, Princeton’s policy is the first in America to acknowledge Big Oil’s unethical presence in its climate research and investments. ExxonMobil specifically has significant influence at Stanford, MIT, UT Austin, and the Georgia Institute of Technology. But it’s not just Exxon. BP, Chevron, Shell, and other oil and gas giants are also deeply entrenched within university research around the country.
- Former (and beloved) Hyperallergic Senior Editor Elisa Wouk Almino writes about the craft of translation and her life as a bilingual immigrant to the US for Catapult:
Portuguese was my first language, but it was quickly followed by English. Portuguese was the language I spoke with family, and English was the language I primarily spoke at school. My vocabulary in English is more complex; it’s become my primary language of expression. Most of the time, English words come to mind first. But to this day, I have the impression that when I speak in English—absorbing its quicker, staccato pace—I bury bits of myself in the process.
- This fascinating video shows how alleys are going extinct in New York City:
- Artists must start preparing for a post-capitalist society, according to writer-thinker Max Haiven:
Artists and culture workers had a role or a spectrum of roles under the cosmology of capitalism. Today their meaning is in flux as that cosmology crumbles. But they also afford one of the few legitimate venues through which we are permitted to think cosmologically from within our cosmology.
As a result, one of the things that defines the condition and challenge for artists and cultural workers today is to help envision and put into practice what might yet come after capitalism catches up to its cosmology and collapses inward on itself. While some artists and culture workers are turning to face this problem directly, my argument here is that all are, in some way or another, contending with it indirectly or unconsciously, and this contention appears in the ways they are organizing, collaborating and collectivizing.
- Autumn leaves through the windows of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York:
- Meanwhile, in Brooklyn:
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.
Goya’s Coded Love Letter to the Duchess of Alba
Goya neatly clothes himself in his own world of fantasy: He will have her in the end. In life, where the climate is much chillier, it was, alas, to be otherwise.
Witches Take Over Westchester
Bowen’s multimedia art is an alchemical mix of the sensuous and arcane, and it is more than a little witchy.
The Public Theater Explores the Hurricane Katrina Diaspora in shadow/land
Written by Erika Dickerson-Despenza and directed by Candis C. Jones, this lyrical meditation on legacy, erotic fugitivity, and self-determination is on view in NYC.
14 Art Books and Catalogues We’re Reading This Month
Anthologies and catalogues on feminist art in Latin America, Native mound building, Armenian photography, and more are on our reading list.
Saudi Arabia Announces $1M “Freedom of Expression” Art Award
Kanye West, Roman Polanski, and Carl Andre are among the shortlisted artists.
The Rubin Museum Presents Death Is Not the End
Tibetan Buddhist and Christian works of art made across 12 centuries explore death, the afterlife, and the desire to continue to exist. On view in NYC.
British Museum Offers Greece “Exclusive NFT” of the Parthenon Marbles
“With the power of blockchain technology, there will be no question who the real owner is,” said a British Museum spokesperson.
MoMA to Co-Curate Exhibition With NYPD
Arrest Me, Daddy hopes to cast a more positive light on the work of law enforcement officers.
When I Am Empty Please Dispose of Me Properly
Ayanna Dozier, Ilana Harris-Babou, Meena Hasan, Lucia Hierro, Catherine Opie, Chuck Ramirez, and Pacifico Silano explore the myths of the American Dream at Brooklyn’s BRIC House.
Repatriation-Inspired Fragrance Line Hopes to Heal Collector Wounds
The exotic scents of the Rapatriement line offer solace and joy to dismayed collectors who were forced to return looted artifacts.
Mediocre Painting Thought AI-Generated Revealed as Work of Real Artist
Visitors who spoke to Hyperallergic said they were “horrified” to learn that a human could come up with such a banal and poorly executed artwork.
Pratt’s 2023 Fine Arts MFA Thesis Exhibition Is On View in Brooklyn
The two-part exhibition features the work of 41 graduating artists across disciplines, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, and integrated practices.
Prince Harry to Star in New Van Gogh Biopic
The estranged prince said he took the role to raise awareness of mental health issues.
Newly Discovered Trove of Vermeer Works Reveals He Painted Mainly Dogs
A cache of 243 paintings found in an English castle, all depicting canine subjects, suggests Vermeer’s true aspiration was to become a dog portraitist.