Required Reading

Kosovar visual artist Petrit Halilaj created a metaphorical nest that connects the inside and outside spaces of the Reina Sofia’s Palacio de Cristal in Madrid. Explaining the work, he said, “I wanted to conceive Palacio de Cristal as a place for the celebration of love.” More images and info at Colossal (via Colossal)

Ava D: You understood the dangers of American policing, the criminalization of Black, native, and brown people, 50 years ago. Your activism and your scholarship has always been inclusive of class and race and gender and sexuality. It seems we’re at a critical mass where a majority of people are finally able to hear and to understand the concepts that you’ve been talking about for decades. Is that satisfying or exhausting after all this time?

Angela D: I don’t think about it as an experience that I’m having as an individual. I think about it as a collective experience, because I would not have made those arguments or engaged in those kinds of activisms if there were not other people doing it. One of the things that some of us said over and over again is that we’re doing this work. Don’t expect to receive public credit for it. It’s not to be acknowledged that we do this work. We do this work because we want to change the world. If we don’t do the work continuously and passionately, even as it appears as if no one is listening, if we don’t help to create the conditions of possibility for change, then a moment like this will arrive and we can do nothing about it. As Bobby Seale said, we will not be able to “seize the time.” This is a perfect example of our being able to seize this moment and turn it into something that’s radical and transformative.

The problem? The proposed agreement with Museum of the Bible (MOTB) and Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc (HL) is a terrible deal for the people of Iraq. Nor is it necessary: Green has already promised to return their artifacts, and MOTB/HL are obligated to do with or without this agreement.

The Daily Beast has received a copy of a draft of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Antiquities of the Republic of Iraq and HL/MOTB. (Despite MOTB’s repeated insistence that it is a separate organization and is not implicated in HL’s actions, they are both identified as “the second party” in the memo. Green appears as the signatory for both organizations). The memo draft is the product of ongoing negotiations between the two parties and thus no individual element of it can be firmly credited to either side. That said, it’s a shoddy deal for Iraq. So bad that the Iraqi people themselves have felt compelled to respond. An article published in an Arabic newspaper on Aug. 15 expressed grave concerns about the terms of this proposed memo calling it “exploitative and degrading.”

  • In one of the most ridiculous pieces in the New York Times arts section in a while, Hetty Berg, the director of the Jewish Museum Berlin, pretends to be open to debate. It’s a total lie, of course, as the museum has proven it will refuse to discuss BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions), and has silenced those who do. BDS isn’t even mentioned anywhere in the article. The German government is equally bad on this same issue. Of course, the New York Times knows this issue very well, as they reported on the former director’s issues just last year, so you’d think a mention of BDS would be warranted, but nope, right down the memory hole. Pathetic.
  • We need to confront uncomfortable truths about philanthropy. In the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Lucy Bernholx writes:

Philanthropists insist that they provide support in an apolitical way. But since the entire philanthropic world exists as an artifact of political choices — the tax and corporate code first among them — this is simply not possible. It is not a coincidence that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s admonishment of white moderates applies perfectly to nonprofits and foundations. The white moderate, King said, is one who is “more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.” It’s shameful to admit it, but until white-led philanthropy and nonprofits see ourselves as King did, real change is not possible.

  • A former Department of Homeland Security official, who is a lifelong Republican, gave a chilling interview to Vice about Trump and what he saw while he was part of the administration.

As a disabled woman, people ridiculing and mocking my appearance is practically the most predictable thing about social media.

I was born with Freeman-Sheldon syndrome, a genetic bone and muscular disorder, and I’m also a freelance writer and disability activist, which means that part of my job is being very active and visible on social media. And because I look different, people have called me everything from “disgusting” to “a blobfish” to saying that I should be banned from posting photos of myself because I’m too ugly.

  • There’s a really hilarious mayoral race happening in Cranston, Rhode Island. The Providence Journal has the story:

Comedian, actor and politician Adam Carbone is running on a platform of puns. He came to the debate dressed as a hot dog in a bright yellow suit. He said he mustard his courage to introduce himself by singing the Oscar Meyer weiner song with Cranston lyrics, and said that if elected, he would work his buns off.

His billboards are pretty funny (and bizarre), too.

  • A new documentary by Russia’s state atomic agency offers newly declassified footage of the biggest thermonuclear bomb of all time, the “Tsar Bomba.” It was tested by the Soviet Union in 1961 and was so powerful that people saw the flash from up to 630 miles away. Here’s the story in Popular Mechanics, and the documentary on YouTube (with captions):

Required Reading is published every Saturday, 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.

This week, Ava DuVernay interviews Angela Davis, newly declassified footage of the world’s largest nuclear explosion, poking fun at wealthy Brooklyn moms, and more.Read MoreWeekend, Required ReadingHyperallergicRead More

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