weekend links: bad art, Earth Overshoot Day, The New Mods

Frida Avacahdo. Image courtesy  sadanduseless.com.

Frida Avacahdo. Image courtesy sadanduseless.com.

Maybe the unattractive self-portrait I painted with acrylics in my seventh grade art class that kind of looked like a cross between a Raggedy Ann doll and a bruised pear was actually... great art? The meaning of the word “ugly” in the context of art has been in flux since weird-looking babies were painted in medieval times, but art we perceive as “bad” or “good” has more in common than art we consider just okay. “There’s a sense of brazenness to unintentionally bad art,” writes Katy Kelleher. “It embodies desire gone awry.” [Paris Review]

BLT: bacon, lettuce, tomato, or Botticelli, Leonardo, Titian? There’s a new online fad of portraying famous works of art through sandwiches. We’ve got Salmon-dore Dali. Girl with a Pear Earring. Michelsandwichelo. A Mermelt. Mona Cheesa. Peter Paul Ruebens. Sloppy Leonardoe. I’m on a roll! [Sad and Useless]

For those who say that the Internet is The End of Reading, meet BookTube. This is an online community of mostly young adults who subscribe to channels, follow their favorite bloggers, and wrestle in the comment section over books. For children and teens who love reading, but are also seeking a community online, BookTube provides a setting to debate with those who are obsessed with the same series, have different takes on the same characters, and just want to nerd around about the same things. “I think for a lot of the people who are into watching BookTube videos, it feels like taking a recommendation from a friend.” [The New York Times]

We love a good conversation between novelists. Here, Viet Thanh Nguyen talks to Arundhati Roy, the self-described “hooker who won the Booker.” Roy does not write magical realism, though she does write people who live in graveyards. She considers herself socially inept, but a fearless listener. She is not a writer-activist, but she is exhilarated by a demand to be political. “It would be exhausting to keep quiet and to sit. It would be exhausting and it would be terribly boring. I was just speaking to some young students who asked me how they deal with the trolling and hatred that many of us have to deal with. I said, ‘Imagine if they liked me. How horrible would that be?’” [Los Angeles Review of Books]

August 1 was Earth Overshoot Day, a deeply depressing holiday that marks the date upon which humans have used more resources than the earth is able to regenerate in a year. We made it seven months—two days fewer than last year. On a less depressing note, here are some art projects that imagine or undertake a solution to our nightmarishly destructive approach to sustainability and our home. [Frieze]

You may have seen Dark Stock Photos, a Twitter account that highlights the weirdly messed up corners of Getty Images. The subtext of this account is why were these photos were taken? Is it an attempt to apply to absolutely all situations? If that is the impetus, Getty has been doing a lackluster job creating visibility for other, much more present, communities, such as those who embody the contemporary “modest” style and identity. Photographer Nina Manandhar is working to change this, creating a series for Getty entitled The New Mods that explores the modest style community among young people in the UK. [It’s Nice That]

Last week, Nia Wilson, an 18-year-old black woman, was murdered on the platform of a BART station in Oakland, California, about fifteen minutes from where I live. Response in the Bay Area has been swift and wide-ranging: posters of Wilson’s face have been strewn about BART stations, vigils held in her honor, and there is a heightened nervousness around public transportation. But the response to Nia’s death also reveals the ways in which Americans across the country are conditioned to mourn the death of women, particularly “beautiful” women. In the midst of this conversation, we must remember that this was not an isolated event—this was a hate crime, and should be treated as such. "Her killing is not, as Oakland’s mayor, Libby Schaaf, said, 'senseless.' It is not, as implied by the San Francisco Chronicle’s headline—'Divergent Paths Met Tragically on Oakland Platform'—the result of some awful serendipity. It is a reflection of how this country values the lives of black women.” #SayHerName [The New Yorker]


Juliet Gelfman-Randazzo

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