‣ Museums pose a number of challenges to visitors’ mental health, but Roxana Azimi reports for Le Monde on the ways some institutions are trying to be conscious of neurodiverse visitors:
Above all, the aim is to avoid the language of illness or disability, words that label and confine. “The aim is not to cure, but to empower, outside of the medical framework,” said Yoann Gourmel, director of audiences and cultural programming. When it comes to relieving depressive episodes, discouraging suicidal thoughts and supporting people with autism spectrum disorders, the art world does not claim to replace medicine but, more simply, to play its part.
‣ Curator Lucy Lippard’s new book, grounded in “stuff” rather than a traditional memoir-style timeline, was reviewed by critic Megan O’Grady for the New York Review of Books:
Stuff isn’t, of course, really about the stuff. As Lippard notes, what she owned of material value she long ago donated to the New Mexico Museum of Art. (In 1998 the museum held an exhibition of Lippard’s collection, including Judy Chicago’s Red Flag, a print depicting a tampon being removed from a vagina. The museum displayed the image with a warning label, to which Lippard added one of her own: “Think for Yourself.”) What remains—an assortment of personal photographs, gifts, and souvenirs of travels far-flung and local—is less clutter than totemic assemblage. Lippard cites Nancy Holt’s three-page 1971 textual work, Studio Tour: Daytime, as a literary precedent, but Stuff would not be out of place next to other recent sidelong autobiographies, such as Janet Malcolm’s photo-inspired personal essays, Still Pictures: On Photography and Memory (2023), or Aisha Sabatini Sloan’s annotated photo essay, Captioning the Archives (2021), which uses the work of her photographer father, Lester Sloan, in a series of personal reflections on race and culture.
‣ Writer Elisa Wouk Almino reviews author and translator Katie Briggs’s debut novel for the LA Times:
The pages in “The Long Form,” as in Briggs’ first book, “This Little Art,” don’t look like those you see in most others. There are diagrams, deep indentations, copious line breaks, white space and emphatic ALL CAPS. Helen explains that she needs “space” and “time” because what she’s trying to get across is “not fully sayable.” This book would need to expand, go long — 430 pages, to be exact. “It would need a new form.” The author extends in many directions to meet the task of articulating love.
Briggs began the quest in “This Little Art,” whose title refers to literary translation — a vocation the author pursued against all advice. That nonfiction debut was filled with starts and stops and empty space; sometimes a page contained only a line, or a question.
‣ And in other book news, Tope Folarin pens a review in the Nation of Tremor, writer and photographer Teju Cole’s newest novel:
Cole’s latest novel, Tremor, represents a new development in the genre’s ongoing quest to divest itself of the trappings of fiction. This is a novel that does not fit easily within any container; to the contrary, it is a high-wire act, beating its own, defiant path through the weightless air. Tremor is about middle age and its protagonist’s growing awareness of the inevitability of death, and how death interrupts everything, including and especially the stories of our lives. As a result, it resists the storytelling impulse that accompanies even the most rebellious works of autofiction.
‣ The latest antitrust lawsuit against Google exposed that it manipulates search results to lure us into spending more money, confirming what we’ve all suspected. Megan Gray reports for Wired:
Google likely alters queries billions of times a day in trillions of different variations. Here’s how it works. Say you search for “children’s clothing.” Google converts it, without your knowledge, to a search for “NIKOLAI-brand kidswear,” making a behind-the-scenes substitution of your actual query with a different query that just happens to generate more money for the company, and will generate results you weren’t searching for at all. It’s not possible for you to opt out of the substitution. If you don’t get the results you want, and you try to refine your query, you are wasting your time. This is a twisted shopping mall you can’t escape.
‣ Writing for the Washington Post, Karen Attiah reflects on five years since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, recalling a jarring moment at a Time magazine event that same year:
Two gigantic vertical screens cycled through the “Guardian of the Truth” covers, one cover image phasing into the next. Jamal’s came up as Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough” thumped the air. People were dancing. I watched as Jamal’s cover faded out, and then the screens moved on to other notable covers from the past year or two.
After a few minutes, the image of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman appeared. His April 2018 cover was the headlined, “Charm Offensive: Should the World Buy What the Crown Prince Is Selling?” I realized then that the party was a celebration of all that Time had done that year. I had forgotten that MBS was one of Time’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2018.
So a murder victim and his alleged killer were shown on the same level, in the same way, both of them party props.
‣ TikTok historian Kahlil Greene delves into White celebrities whose families built wealth through slavery (including Ben Affleck, who made the absolutely baffling decision to get married on a former plantation!?):
‣ TikToker @sapphicsapphy shares an important perspective on the use of the term “unhoused” in lieu of “homeless”:
‣ Even the gavels in Congress are a flop:
‣ The marketing psychology of floor design is truly wild:
‣ And finally, some impressively detailed Crayon color theory to ~brighten~ up your day:
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.