weekend links: net neutrality, Maggie Nelson, Grindr

  Claudia "CLAW" Gold's trademark cartoon paw.   Beau Roulette/Courtesy of  Beyond The Streets

Claudia "CLAW" Gold's trademark cartoon paw. Beau Roulette/Courtesy of Beyond The Streets

The FCC repeal of net neutrality is official, and it’s bad news for artists whose work employs the Internet. Artists like the Occupy Museums collective, whose work relies heavily on the Internet, will suffer, as well as up-and-coming artists looking to gain visibility online. “This puts access out of reach for many people, thus accelerating income inequality,” says artist Mira Schor, “and, further, the kind of small-scale web presence that artists have and rely on—having an artist’s website, running an online journal, or having a modest blog… will suffer as a result.” [Hyperallergic]

Who is Vera Kelly? Certainly not who, or what, you might think. Rosalie Knecht’s second novel follows, on the surface, a CIA agent during the Cold War, but it is no hyper-masculine, 007 spy thriller, dragging us along in a series of near escapes, both rooted in a present moment that loses relevance almost as soon as it arrives and forever driving us forward to resolution.  Rather, the novel engages insistently with Vera Kelly’s past, and the particular aspects of her life that landed her in this position: she is a lesbian in the 1960s, she is lonely, she struggles with mental illness. “What kept me turning the pages,” Kristen Martin writes, was “the bildungsroman folded into the spy novel.” [BOMB]

Maggie Nelson certainly has some things to say about genre, and undoubtedly has any numbers of words with which to say them.  But as for her role in queering a genre—she’s not sure she can take on that mantle. In this interview, Annie DeWitt and Maggie Nelson talk about Nelson’s newly reissued book Something Bright, Then Holes, the process of a book’s “becoming,” and Pope Francis’ answer to desperation. [The Paris Review]

Also in The Paris Review: Varlam Shalamov’s “Forty-Five Things I Learned in the Gulag,” a frightening reminder of how fast civil society can break down and the cruelties that human beings are capable of enduring (and inflicting). Shalamov spent six years enslaved in the gold mines of Kolyma under Stalinist rule. His book Kolmya Stories is now available in English courtesy of the New York Review of Books. [The Paris Review]

On the one-year anniversary of the Grindr publication Into, the dating app has launched a Los Angeles-based production studio to support LGBTQ video work. This expansion seeks to counter Internet algorithms’ censorship of video content that contains slang that it deems offensive, including words like “gay” or “queer.” Though Into’s production branch retains ownership over the videos it backs, creators are able to obtain access to a much broader viewership. (To read more about the initial creation of Into, see this Mashable article.) [Digiday]

Vandalism, or public art? The answer often seems to depend on the artist’s level of fame and the context in which the public views their art. In a warehouse near Los Angeles’ Chinatown, a survey is on display of the work of 100 street artists and fine artists inspired by street art, with an emphasis on those who maintain a studio practice, showcasing the work of both living and deceased artists. The show—featuring work by such household names (or sidewalk names, so to speak) as Keith Haring, Jenny Holzer, The Guerilla Girls, and Jean-Michel Basquiat, as well as younger artists like AIKO, Ron Finley, and Patrick Martinez—is not backed by a museum. In keeping with the culture of street art, curator Roger Gastman says he wanted to do the show outside of a museum, to “not have to follow the museum rules and create kind of the new guard.” [NPR]

Despite the controversy Wes Anderson’s newest film, Isle of Dogs, engendered critically as a result of its flat portrayal of Japanese characters, few would argue that the film flounders when it comes to design. The lead graphic designer for the film, Erica Dorn, a half-Japanese designer new to the film world, is the mastermind behind these graphics who brought together a range of art traditions, references, sketches, and illustrations in an effort to produce the “authentic” world Anderson demanded. Dorn talks about this process and all that went into her first venture into the film industry in this video. [It’s Nice That]

Many people know Penelope Spheeris as the director of goofball movies like Wayne’s World and Black Sheep, but before making it big she made the legendary documentary The Decline of Western Civilization, a chronicle of LA’s punk scene in 1979 and 1980. The film and its two sequels captured life in the city throughout the ’80s and have cemented her artistic legacy. Unfortunately, Spheeris turned away from filmmaking in the late ‘90s due to mistreatment at the hands of the Weinstein brothers, marking a sad ending to the successful director’s career. Learn more about Spheeris and her work in this intimate interview. [D Magazine]

At the Devin Borden Gallery in Houston, artists Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolin have brought an engaging and multifaceted context to contemporary drag culture, exploring the political and social history of drag queens in Houston. The Scene (Houston: 1969-1981) reflects upon and draws from archives and events that have irreversibly shaped the drag scene today. Space and time are integral to the pieces in this exhibit; although they are rooted in the past, the works serve to continuously remind the viewer of the present moment. [Arts and Culture TX]


—Juliet Gelfman-Randazzo