Weekend Reads

Josef Albers on #TheDress, Picasso the Thief, & More

Josef Albers on #TheDress, Picasso the Thief, & More
FYI, the text is supposed to be red

Armory Week is around the corner, people! Fuel up on aisle-appropriate chit-chat by reading these articles from around the web.

Straining for Structure: David Salle delivers a candid, painter-to-painter review of MoMA’s “The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World,” taking the show to task for ignoring “structure,” which he defines as “the sense of a painting’s internal rationale.” Pay special attention to his effusive praise of Mark Grotjahn (“close on to a modernist master”) and his crushing takedown of Oscar Murillo (“there is no way to bring [Murillo’s paintings] to life, because they never lived in the first place”). (Art News)

Is the ISIS Art-Destroying Video Fake?: Los Angeles Times critic Christopher Knight takes a second look at the hard-to-watch video of the terrorist army obliterating ancient artworks in Mosul—in the name of holy iconoclasm—and suggests that the artworks being smashed may actually be plaster replicas, with the staged destruction "a grotesque perversion of performance art, cynically designed to inflate the image of Islamic State power." (LAT)

"Knee-Jerk Activism": JJ Charlesworth reacts to the cultural boycott of Israel, writing that "it's starting to turn artists into mouthpieces for a political outlook which, rather than being radical and freedom-loving, is in fact deeply conformist and censorious, and not really about anyone's freedom, neither Palestinian nor Israeli." Agree or disagree, his observations are astute and productive insofar as they attempt to take the conversation in a new, hopefully less divisive direction. (Artnet)

Did Picasso Pickpocket the Louvre?: “Highly readable” and “academic essay” don’t often appear side by side, but when they do you can be sure its worth your time. Art crime expert (and Phaidon author) Noah Charney’s short piece delves into Pablo Picasso’s alleged involvement with Apollinaire in the theft of several ancient Iberian statue heads from the Louvre in 1907—the very same heads he based the faces of his Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) on. Did he do it? Probably, but the story (and the art) is so good we hardly care. (Arte, Individuo y Sociedad)

"Welcome to Planet Trans": Holland Carter's review of the New Museum's "Surround Audience"Triennial focuses on disintegration and what he calls "border crossings," places where artists defy dichotomies and commonplace categories to realize heretofore unthinkable possibilities. He also mentions an aspect of the show many other reviewers have glossed over: though its artists are so-called "digital natives," the works themselves are more likely to exist in the good old physical world. (New York Times)

Josef Albers on #TheDress: OK, we know everyone will have forgotten about this whole thing by Monday, but for now: the Atlantic’s CityLab uses Albers’s 1963 color theory book Interaction of Color (as well as its app version, produced by Yale University Press) to explain how the hell people are seeing that dress as white and gold. (CityLab)


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