Sunday Reading List for a Rainy Day (October 13)

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NY Magazine: The more I think about Jerry Saltz’s latest tirade about all the “insidious new art cliches” surrounding us, the more I think his argument is just silly. In general, I love the Saltz, but lambasting an entire generation for being junior postmodernists and MFA robots? Really?  “It’s everywhere, and it all looks the same…. That history is almost always straight out of sixties and seventies Artforummagazines or the syllabi of academic teachers who’ve scared their students into being pleasingly meek, imitative, and ordinary.” So what does that leave as good or authentic art from an entire generation, Jerry? Pretty much nothing. This argument is too broad, too insulting, and too thin.


One of 24 MacArthur recipients, Carrie Mae Weems will receive $625,000 over the next five years, to spend any damn way she wants. According to the artist, winning the award was “the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard.” ARTnews’s Robin Cembalest interviews Weems about her upcoming retrospective at The Guggenheim, her advertising campaign against gun violence, her success at getting a peony named for an African American hero, and a number of other topics. Weems is a hugely significant artist, and this interview is a an opportunity to hear her thoughts directly.


I have a friend who claims eating at Woodberry Kitchen is like being in a Wes Anderson movie, and not in a good way. The food is good, but there’s something impossibly twee and self-satisfied about the whole experience and it makes her uncomfortable. For those of us who wish we actually lived in a Wes Anderson movie, here’s a small caveat: a new book by Matt Zoller Seitz, called “The Wes Anderson Collection.” The book includes an intro by Michael Chabon, a detailed overview of Anderson’s films, and a number of newly available photos and images of artwork.

According to Chabon, “Anderson’s films, like the boxes of Cornell or the novels of Nabokov, understand and demonstrate that the magic of art, which renders beauty out of brokenness, disappointment, failure, decay, even ugliness and violence, is authentic only to the degree that it attempts to conceal neither the bleak facts nor the tricks employed in pulling off the presto change-o. It is honest only to the degree that it builds its precise and inescapable box around its maker’s scale version of the world.”


New Walters Art Museum Director Julia Marciari-Alexander sat down with Baltimore City Paper’s Baynard Woods to discuss her desire to bring contemporary art to interact with historical art, to create a generation of museumgoers (rather than exhibition-goers), and the ideal size of the ego of a museum director. Oh, and I love this portrait by JM Giordano.


Washington Post’s Mark Jenkins praises the “transience of existence” captured in Marissa Long’s photographs of piles of organic materials in ‘Offerings,’ a solo exhibit at Civilian Art Projects. He also calls them “beautifully lighted, carefully composed and rooted in Western fine-art tradition. They recall those still-life paintings that contemplate mortality, or simply flaunt a hunter’s latest victims. But the evocation of death and decay isn’t necessarily grim. There’s also an agreeably playful side to Long’s work that suggests she’s more of a surrealist than a classicist.” Long’s photographs are the ultimate food porn: oddly edible and precious, and a little gross at the same time. Is it FOOD or is it something else???! They make me hungry. It’s kind of rare for a Washington Post Art Critic to rave, so it might be worth checking out.


We will end with a fun quiz: Ikea or Death. Which name belongs to death metal and which to Ikea? Swedish meatballs by any other name would not taste so, um, Swedish. Or something.

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