weekend links: Elia Alba, the personal essay, psychology of distaste

Elia Alba,  The Dreamweaver (Chitra Ganesh)  (2013).  Image courtesy the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation/ Hyperallergic.

Elia Alba, The Dreamweaver (Chitra Ganesh) (2013). Image courtesy the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation/Hyperallergic.

Inspired by iconic yet often whitewashed "Hollywood Edition"-style shots from Vanity Fair, The Supper Club is artist Elia Alba’s five-year project that reimagines fellow artists of color in fantastical and Afrofuturist photographs, each subject presented as a tableau with an accompanying nickname characteristic of their art. Alba’s images will be presented at New York’s 8th Floor gallery this September, alongside transcripts of socio-politically charged conversations from the dinners she hosted for her photo subjects and peers, all of which will be published as a book in 2018. [Artsy]

This past weekend, a pop-up exhibit about O.J. Simpson opened at the Coagula Curatorial in LA’s Chinatown. The O.J. Simpson Museum features original art by various artists, bootleg T-shirts, media artifacts about the case, and other memorabilia that captures the public’s obsession with a trial that is still considered a major cultural moment intersecting race, sex, celebrity, and violence. While not a nuanced examination of the case, the museum is a look into our belief that murders and celebrity deaths are abnormal spectacles rather than indications of a larger culture of violence. [Hyperallergic]

Back in May, Jia Tolentino boldly declared that the personal-essay boom is over. But is it true? Merve Emre considers the works of Durga Chew-Bose, Mary Gaitskill, and a host of others in this wide-ranging exploration of the essay and its various manifestations. Tl; dr: the essay is as vital a literary form as ever. [Boston Review]

Conspiracy theorists, take note: the iPhone as we know it was created in 2007. So what is this Native American holding in Mr. Pynchon and the Settling of Springfield, a mural painted by Umberto Romano in 1937? And does it have anything to do with William Pynchon, Thomas Pynchon's earliest colonial ancestor? [Motherboard]

“The Coffins of Paa Joe and the Pursuit of Happiness” is a two-part show running at Jack Shainman Gallery and collaboration between gallerist-collector Shainman and a Ghanaian craftsman. Joe’s eleven coffins, displayed alongside 16th century portraits, modern art, photography, and antique ritual masks, are designed to look like 15th century castles the same way some coffins resemble a favored object from the life of the deceased, such as “a Mercedes-Benz or a Nike sneaker.” [Art News]

We all have our favorite books—but what do we make of the books we don’t like? I, like the author of this essay, have no use for Ulysses, and yet it’s often considered the crown jewel of modern literature. This essay does not make me feel any differently toward that overrated experiment, but I do appreciate the insight it provides into taste and how it serves as a window, revealing our individual conceptions of what literature is, what it should do, and what it’s for. [The New York Review of Books]

And Austin fans, we’d be honored if you’d consider voting for us for best non-Chronicle publication in this Best of 2017 poll. Sign if you agree! [Austin Chronicle]

—Jae Lee and Sean Redmond

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