weekend links: surveillance state, skin care, Andres Gonzales

Image from  No Man’s Land: Views from a Surveillance State  by Marcus DeSieno, copyright the artist from the book  No Man’s Land,  published by Daylight Books.

Image from No Man’s Land: Views from a Surveillance State by Marcus DeSieno, copyright the artist from the book No Man’s Land, published by Daylight Books.

Good news: Last year, 11.7% of adults in the U.S. reported reading poetry within the past year—the highest percentage on record over a 15-year period. This is likely attributed to the growth of poetry’s common accessory, social media, especially when you notice that the most growth in poetry readership is within the subgroup of adults aged 18 to 24. Either way, the increase is definite: poetry reading is up. Read the rest of the data to see how other subgroups performed. [NEA]

Photographers have the eerie and awesome power of controlling their subjects and recording stories. What if the photographer is omnipresent and inanimate? Marcus DeSieno’s new monograph, No Man’s Land: Views from a Surveillance State, takes images from surveillance cameras stationed in empty parks and inverts them. The photographs, hacked from the cameras by DeSieno, were screenshot on his computer with a large format camera, then transformed into photo negatives using a 19th-century photography process of applying salt. [Hyperallergic]

Waxing poetic about skin care started long before 2017, when skin care routines became a symbol for mental health. Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel The Master and Margarita sees a 30-year-old woman accepting a lotion from the devil’s agent, applying it, and gleefully watching her dermatological transformation before her eyes. Her crow’s feet disappear. Her eyebrows become symmetric. Her eyes turn green. The search for a miracle elixir has captivated markets for centuries, with the earliest written demonstration in an early Chinese commentary on the I Ching. [The Paris Review]

Sex and the City would seem strange to produce today. The NY-based show stands for a fantasy where freelancers can don expensive heels in a perpetual and ambiguous April/May. But there is something to be said for the show’s vapidity and the dreamworld it created. As it aged, its flaws became more apparent. Television post-Sex and the City is less style-conscious and more diverse, and it is perhaps because of the wonderfully frustrating show that we have better representations on television. [Vanity Fair]

Pier Paolo Pasolini was one of Italy’s foremost leftist intellectuals in the 20th century. The poet and filmmaker (known mostly in the U.S. for his film Salò, a notoriously shocking and controversial work) is often criticized for supposedly siding with police over students in the 1968 student protests that rocked Italy and the U.S. alike. This piece looks at Pasolini’s politics and attempts to resurrect the important artist’s reputation, which has been besmirched by years of out-of-context allegations. [Jacobin]

David Hammons, a contemporary American artist whose work often draws inspiration from African-American art history, has a plan for a permanent public art installation in Manhattan. The 325-foot-long, 52-foot-tall “shed” would extend into the Hudson River, where Pier 52 once stood. It was recently approved by the New York State legislature. The pier used to be a hub for Manhattan’s gay subculture in the 1970s, and Hammons’s piece, constructed from thin poles of brushed stainless steel, would be an homage to that community. Because of its design and location, the piece, called Day’s End, will become easier or more difficult to see based on the time of day and the weather. [artnet]

Andres Gonzales photographs the items left behind in schools where shootings have occurred. Memorabilia like teddy bears, index cards, and balloons play an important role in the healing process, but grouped together and catalogued, as in Gonzales’ forthcoming book American Origami, begin to feel tremendously tragic. For this project, he has visited Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Fla.; Columbine High School in Colorado; Virginia Tech; Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.; and Umpqua Community College in Oregon. “The takeaway from this work,” Gonzales explains, “is to realize the inadequacy of that response and that we take accountability for how we behave in the aftermath of these mass shootings. That sending condolence cards, while they do mean something, it's not enough and that our political response is not enough.” [NPR]

Congratulations to Michael Anthony García and the rest of this year’s Austin Critics Table Award winners! García took home the top artist recognition, while Co-Lab Projects won for best body of work and best solo gallery exhibition for the Claude van Lingen: Timekeeper show and ICOSA Gallery won for best group gallery exhibition for Yo soy aqui / I am here. García’s latest exhibition, Continental Divide, is on display at St. Edward’s University until June 9, and you can support ICOSA at our Disparate Elements reading/ICOSA fundraiser event happening at Big Medium on June 14. [Austin 360]

And congratulations to the staff at The New Yorker, who unionized this week. Raise that fist, Eustace! [New York]

Finally, we are deeply saddened this week by the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Their lives stood for the ongoing pursuit of creativity, and it is a true loss for the world that they are now gone. Here’s an article published earlier this week about how Spade influenced and shaped wardrobes and Bourdain’s 1999 New Yorker article that began his career as a journalist. If you are feeling low and at the end of your tether, please don’t hesitate to reach out for help.


—Audrey Deng and Sean Redmond