- British institutions still often categorize women artists as “muses” and “wives,” not as artists in their own right. Author and art historian Katy Hessel explains in the Guardian:
The Whitechapel is more progressive than other London institutions. Visiting the National Gallery this week, I found that of the shockingly low six works on view by women in the entire museum, two mention male artists in their 50-word labels. In the 22 works on view by the referenced male artists (Frans Hals and Peter Paul Rubens), there is not a single mention of the female artists in their lives (Judith Leyster and Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun). There are only nine female artists in the entire collection.
- The demand for TikTok-fueled “secret menus” is wreaking havoc on some restaurant chains, Linda Chong writes for the Washington Post:
This became an issue for some Chipotle locations when the orders kept workers from their usual pace, according to Chris Brandt, the company’s chief marketing officer. A Chipotle service manager who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution said increased demand for items like fajita veggies and vinaigrette, which require a lot of prep time, makes overworked employees’ jobs even harder.
- For the Nation, Jack Mirkinson looks into the New York Times’s history of harmful coverage of the LGBTQ+ community following last week’s open letter from Times contributors and supporters urging more just reporting:
We’ll never know how things would have been different if the Times had chosen to use its hugely influential platform to sound the alarm about AIDS in a concerted way. We only know what happened when it didn’t. Similarly, it’s impossible to quantify how the current wave of anti-trans hysteria would be altered if the Times decided to stop treating the existence of trans people as a knotty problem for society to solve. But the paper’s insistence on its current trajectory is, as the authors of the open letter noted, giving elite cover and ammunition to the far right, which has taken to using Times stories to bolster its anti-trans crusading. There is no hint that the Times leadership is worried about any of this.
- Poet and artist Pamela Sneed penned a personal essay in Them about the legacy of R&B musician and queer Black icon Big Mama Thornton:
It was through the Black lesbian poetry scene l became aware of figures like Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Gladys Bentley, and the handsome and distinguished Big Mama Thornton. The Black women blues singers were openly bisexual and queer even before that was a category. Many donned men’s apparel and sang openly — or with heavy innuendo — of their woman lovers. Yet what drew me to Thornton in particular was how she stood unapologetic in who she was. Her frame and her voice imposed itself on the world. There are debates about her sexuality, but no doubt in presentation and in life she was queer. I think women like her gave me the permission I needed to exist.
- Scholar and curator Eddy Portnoy asks why the religious or ethnic identities of celebrities are often omitted from obituaries? Writing for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, he points out that many writers didn’t mention Richard Belzer’s Jewish identity when he died:
Which is why it’s been strange to read obit after obit in outlets like The New York Times, The Guardian and The Hollywood Reporter, among others, that didn’t bother to mention that Belzer was Jewish — even when, as the Jewish Telegraphic Agency pointed out, the character for which he was best known, Det. John Munch on “Homicide: Life on the Street” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” identified as Jewish. Obituaries, after all, are meant to be the final stock-taking of a person’s life. They should include the basics of who they were. And one of the basics of Richard Belzer is that he was a Yid.
- This week, Seattle became the first US city to add caste as a protected class to its municipal code. Harmeet Kaur reports on this historic win for the Seattle Medium:
Seattle’s ordinance is a key first step in raising awareness around caste discrimination, said Maya Kamble, a DC-based product manager at Amazon whose team is based in the city. Kamble, who is president of the anti-caste group Ambedkar Association of North America and uses an alias publicly, said caste-oppressed people in the US have so far had little recourse to address issues of bias and discrimination due to a lack of understanding and protections. Now, in Seattle, that has changed.
- For Gothamist, Ben Yakas illuminates the origins of New York City’s color-coded subway system alongside some fascinating graphics from its early stages:
The map inspired by D’Adamo, which was finally released in 1967, was the first on which each route was shown separately. Yet despite the color-coding innovation, the map was not a hit with the public — or even with D’Adamo.
The layout was messy and overly busy, stuffed with white rectangles, confusing intersections of routes and transfer points, and random reddish-colored boxes.
“When I saw it, I almost cried, because it was such a horror show,” D’Adamo said. “It looked like somebody threw a box of strawberries at the map.”
- Fourth-grade students in DC created protest posters celebrating representation in literature in response to ongoing book bans, presented by Allison Acosta on the DC Area Educators for Social Justice blog:
The fourth graders read the NEA Today article “Why We Need Diverse Books” and then looked at literature in their classroom for examples. Some students took photos of themselves with “mirror” and “window” books. Students will continue to add to the display of mirror, window, and sliding glass door books throughout the year. Soffer also read aloud A Kids Book About Systemic Racism and the class discussed why it is important not only to show diverse characters, but also to have authors who represent a wide range of backgrounds, or “Own Voices” books.
- In Wired, Vauhini Vara investigates the dissolution of the once-popular “Buy Nothing” groups that tried to shift away from using Facebook as their sole platform:
It turned out that Clark and Rockefeller, the Buy Nothing founders, also considered Facebook an uncomfortable fit. When I talked to them both on a Zoom call last summer, Rockefeller, 53, was on her parents’ porch in glasses, a delicate blouse, and a shaggy silverish bob, while Clark, 56, sat at her dining table wearing a ponytail and a fuzzy cardigan. “We used Facebook because it was a free tool, and it had a lot of reach. There were a lot of reasons that we picked it,” Rockefeller explained. “But we realized very early on that it also came with some things that conflicted with our mission.”
- The hosts of queer history and news podcast Safe Space share the story of nonbinary Britsh painter Gluck’s 1942 self-portrait, created just after a breakup and now housed at the National Portrait Gallery:
- You may have heard that there are major changes going on in the Israeli government (and the role of the judiciary) and this TikToker gives you a very basic rundown of what’s going on:
- Sometimes the apple does fall far from the tree:
- A few days ago, Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders accidentally wandered into a TikTok video and it went viral:
- And then an MSNBC anchor decided to ask him about the footage:
- Ok, that’s quite a story:
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.