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Posted inOpinion

Required Reading

In this week’s recommended reading … photo essays on Afghanistan and the death of Osama bin Laden, a profile of Barbara Kruger, art won’t make you unemployed, how death (or imprisonment) changes an artist’s work, Hans Ulrich Obrist talks to Julian Assange, and a profile of suspected WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning.

Posted inArt

Towards Transparency and Justice, Learning from Wikileaks and Wojnarowicz

What do Wikileaks and the art world’s response to the censorship of David Wojnarowicz’s “A Fire in My Belly” by the Smithsonian have in common? Both make public what elites want to keep secret. They illustrate how little, if anything, can be hidden anymore and demonstrate how the more something is concealed the more the demand for it to be revealed grows.

What the complex and seemingly unrelated stories of Wikileaks and the censorship of “A Fire in My Belly” at the National Portrait Gallery’s Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture highlights is how insiders, or those with insider access, can use their privilege to unsettle the status quo when it isn’t working anymore.

Posted inOpinion

Julian Assange Is a 21st Century Marat

An Australian internet activist named Julian Assange (bio) exposes top secret American diplomacy on an international website.

He’s profiled last June in The New Yorker by Raffi Khatchadourian, photographed by Phillip Toledano, has a warrant issued for rape in Sweden, he’s denial bailed in the UK, and the right-wing American politicians (which is almost all of them, nowadays) want him to be tried for treason.

Yes, this must be the 21st Century.

Why am I reminded of Jacques-Louis David’s “The Death of Marat” (1793)? Probably because there is a faction in the world today who is trying to martyr Assange as a prophet of the new flesh, though so far they’re losing.