Morning Links

Morning Links: Part Musical Hypnotist, Part Ranting Madman Edition

The cover of one of The Fall’s classic LPs, from 1984.


For the Observer, Daniel Grant surveyed the question “Should Museums Be Allowed to Sell Donated Works of Art?” “Certain categories of art may be less amenable to restrictions than others,” he writes. “Notable works of Dutch and Flemish art have a solid place in art history, while contemporary art will not remain contemporary for very long, making a demand for permanent display difficult to accommodate.” [Observer]

“Thousands of Herero people died in a genocide. Why are Herero skulls in the American Museum of Natural History?” The New Yorker looks into a situation involving bones sold to the museum by a German anthropologist. [The New Yorker]


In hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, artists are working to keep going, and the New York Times has a survey of some of them as seen by MoMA PS1 director and curator Klaus Biesenbach, and Christopher Gregory, a Puerto Rican photojournalist. “Through decades of economic hardship, and years of financial crisis, the art world in Puerto Rico has had to learn to survive during lean times through a new artistic “sharing” economy—sharing knowledge; resources; and access to infrastructure, materials and spaces,” the story states. “Might these artists now serve as an example—and catalyst—for other communities?” [The New York Times]


Deborah Solomon reviewed the new Joseph Cornell and Juan Gris show at the Met for the New York Times. “Working in his cramped cellar,” she wrote of Cornell, “he arranged five-and-dime objects into richly poetic tableaus that prove that sometimes it’s better to think inside the box.” [The New York Times]

“From Picasso to Andy Warhol, visual artists have long been lured by the magic of music,” the Guardian suggests before an image gallery of cool cover art in “Art & Vinyl, Artists & the Record Album from Picasso to the Present” at the Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco. Among the artists whose wares you can ogle: Wolfgang Tillmans, Yayoi Kusama, Ed Ruscha, and Keith Haring. [The Guardian]

For the New Yorker, Vinson Cunningham went and looked at Byron Kim’s show at James Cohan in New York, full of paintings the artist makes of the sky on Sundays. “Some of the fun of the Sunday Paintings is in their variance,” Cunningham writes. “The blue sky is an ineradicable trope, but Kim’s minute, almost excruciating attention to coloristic detail shows how much bounty the cliché flattens.” [The New Yorker]

In Memoriam

Mark E. Smith, the fierce and fantastically literary mastermind of the post-punk band The Fall, died at the age of 60. Rolling Stone writes, “Part musical hypnotist, part ranting madman, Smith was a singular figure in post-punk.” [Rolling Stone]

In tribute, go watch a very cool video on YouTube of The Fall playing live on the English TV show The Old Grey Whistle Test accompanied by dancers choreographed by Michael Clarke. [YouTube]

Margaret Atwood wrote a tribute to departed science-fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin for the Washington Post. “Where in the world could we find a society in which the happiness of some does not depend on the misery of others?,” Atwood writes. “Neither Ursula K. Le Guin nor I knew, but it was a question that Le Guin spent her lifetime trying to answer, and the worlds she so skillfully created in the attempt are many, varied and entrancing.” [The Washington Post]


Arthur Miller wrote a killer letter to Newt Gingrich in 1995 standing up for the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Paris Review just put it up online. “The arts are not going to die in America because Congress turns its back on them—the artist is a weed that can survive in the cracks of a sidewalk,” Miller wrote. “But in the act of supportings its arts, Congress demonstrates a pride in our arts which I know will move most American artists to tap their highest artistic ideals in return.” [The Paris Review]

The English photographer Joseph Ford works with knitter Nina Dodd to create mesmerizing pictures in which people wearing custom-made clothes get camouflaged into their surroundings. The Guardian has a bunch of double-take-inducing examples to see. [The Guardian]

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