The world’s first inflatable concert hall, jointly designed by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki and British-Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor, will begin touring ravaged areas of Japan. (via Spoon Tamago)

The world’s first inflatable concert hall, jointly designed by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki and British-Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor, will begin touring ravaged areas of Japan. (via Spoon Tamago)

This week, Detroiter definitely don’t want to sell DIA’s art, US gov’t shutdown may mean Library of Congress’s website goes offline, thinking about portraiture, real estate’s love affair with art, the world’s first inflatable concert hall, and more.

 Detroiters have spoken (emphasis mine):

Of those who took part in the survey, 75% said they do not want city workers’ pensions cut at all to help pay down debt, while 19% said they favored reducing pensions for that purpose, and 2% favored eliminating them.

Also, 78% of respondents said they oppose a possible plan to sell DIA [Detroit Instute of Art] art to help resolve the financial crisis.

Related: NY Times‘s Dealbook reports: “Detroit’s municipal pension fund made payments for decades to retirees, active workers and others above and beyond normal benefits, costing the struggling city billions of dollars and helping push it into bankruptcy, according to people who have reviewed the payments.”

 If the US government shutdown happens, and it can happen as early as Tuesday, October 1, then the Library of Congress will shutdown their website.

 Perhaps this is a sign of a major shift in publishing, as two of the top paid books on Apple’s iBookstore are self-published: Melody Grace’s Unbroken at the number seven spot, and Melody Anne’s Seduced at number 17.

 Now this is useful: a table of New York museum hours.

 Jörg M. Colberg on portraiture:

Photography’s ultimate cruelty is that you cannot take a picture without involving an act of selfishness, however miniscule it might end up being. Portraiture, the depiction of another person, makes this overabundantly clear. You point your camera at another person, with or without their consent, and you want something: A picture.

Related: Grant Snider tackles self-portraiture in a recent comic:

Whole comic here.

 What’s going on in St. Petersburg, Russia? The Art Newspaper reports:

St. Petersburg’s contemporary art scene is at “a low point”, said Dmitri Ozerkov, the head of the State Hermitage Museum’s contemporary art department. Ozerkov was speaking during a public discussion at the Hermitage Museum earlier this month.

The decline, he said, “is connected to the fact that many have left for Moscow, or gone abroad, for various reasons that we won’t discuss now.” He also pointed to the lack of an art market in St Petersburg.

 Real estate and art are becoming very cozy bed buddies, according to Art Market Monitor:

Globally recognized art is becoming a feature of real estate development aimed at the mobile rich. Nowhere is that more evident than in Miami where two Argentine developers are using art to market their flagship Florida projects. Alan Faena has the large Faena District project and Eduardo Constantini has the new Oceana Bal Harbor for which he bought two Jeff Koons sculptures for $14m …

 Remember Antonio Gaudi’s famously unfinished Basílica de la Sagrada Família in Barcelona? Now there is a suggestion that the building, which was begun in 1882, will be finished by 2026. Could this be true? The video released by the foundation for Basílica de la Sagrada Família gives you some artist renderings of what the finished project might look like when complete:

 Dezeen picks some of its favorites from this year’s London Design Festival.

 Some good reporting on the refugee crisis in Syria by The New York Review of Books:

  • Beyond the Camps: Images of the Syrian Exodus” by Hugh Eakin and Alisa Roth (September 24, 2013): “In sheer numbers alone, the scale of Syria’s humanitarian crisis is difficult to grasp: a third of the country’s 22.5 million people have abandoned their homes; 10 percent have fled the country, including more than one million children.”
  • Syria’s Refugees: The Catastrophe” by Hugh Eakin and Alisa Roth (October 10, 2013)

 Five myths about the MacArthur “genius” grants, including:

The foundation does not use the name “genius grant”; the news media coined that nickname in 1981, when we named our first class of Fellows, and it stuck.

 Popular Science is shutting down the comment section of their website, and their reasons are quite fascinating:

A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics. Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. Scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to “debate” on television. And because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science.

 In the ultimate geek art move, DeviantArt user Dirk Loechel has posted a size comparison of a whole range of science fiction spaceships.

Required Reading is published every Sunday morning EST, 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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Hrag Vartanian

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