weekend links: Judy Chicago, The Boys in the Band, pregnancy fiction

 Judy Chicago,  Rainbow Man  (1984).  Image courtesy  BOMB Magazine.

Judy Chicago, Rainbow Man (1984). Image courtesy BOMB Magazine.

Artist Judy Chicago, creator of The Dinner Party, widely considered the first landmark piece of feminist artwork (on permanent display at the Brooklyn Museum), discusses toxic masculinity in the context of her series PowerPlay. The pieces and their garish, theatrical masculinity have taken on greater resonance as we've become more aware of the many ills that traditional concepts of masculinity (and the paranoia, fear, and anger it provokes) wreaks on our social fabric. [BOMB]

On Monday, the revival cast of Mart Crowley’s classic queer play The Boys in the Band uploaded multiple videos reading contemporary queer poetry. The videos, curated by poet Danez Smith, celebrate gay culture and set examples of queer men embracing who they are. Here you can read more of Smith’s ideas behind the video series and view 10 of Smith’s selections. [NYT Magazine]

Pregnancy seems to generally get ignored in fiction, but author Jessie Greengrass didn’t realize it until she experienced it. She wanted to both write a novel about the medical history of pregnancy and have a baby; while researching for the novel, she realized that there is a scarce amount of pregnancy represented in fiction, and when pregnancy is present, it is generally viewed as an inconvenience. Greengrass opens a much-needed discussion about pregnancy in fiction while arguing that there is something we can all learn from the female experience of bearing a child. [The Guardian]

After the well-deserved success of Citizen, Claudia Rankine decided to pursue playwriting. In fact, she said she got the idea while on a book tour for Citizen. She said there’s no way to talk about race in a sustained way, and her play, which debuted in Boston and runs through April 1, allows for that conversation. Austin bonus: she’ll be reading at the Blanton on April 5. [Boston Magazine]

Author Sherman Alexie finally addressed the rumors of sexual harassment that have swirled around him in recent days... sort of. His vague, non-apology has left many unsatisfied. Although details are scant, the sheer volume of voices speaking out have added to the legitimacy of the claims, prompting the Institute of American Arts to rename its MFA Alumni Scholarship and many authors to drop references to him from their books. [Seattle Times]

Amanda Gorman, the first national youth poet laureate, says she got her start as a writer at an intersection of neighborhoods in Los Angeles. At school, she was constantly surrounded by white people, whereas at home, she was solely around people of her own race; this dichotomy, along with a Ray Bradbury novel, led her to being the “weird” and passionate writer she is today. [The New York Times]

In the wake of the Parkland school shooting, poets Tenaya Nasser-Frederick and sam sax contemplate the significance of Allen Ginsberg’s legendary poem “Howl.” Though reluctant to approach Ginsburg’s work at first, Nasser-Frederick says it stings now more than ever: “The fact that you have this metaphor for the military-industrial complex being a god of child sacrifice… It just hits you over the head with how pertinent that is this past week.” The two poets contemplate Ginsburg’s genius and how it can help us get through today’s trying times. [KQED]

Have you ever thought a sculpture looked so good that you could eat it? Apparently someone has, and that has led to the phenomenon of edible sculptures. This past week, the Arlington Museum of Art hosted the Eat Your Art Out Fundraiser, which celebrates this innovative art form by providing cake samples and champagne to ticket holders. So if you ever want to eat some art, head over to Arlington, Texas. [Dallas Observer]

Austin arts collective Raw Paw suffered a devastating and unthinkable act at the beginning of 2018: arson. Raw Paw co-founder Chris Rock said they were already barely surviving when the fire took place, so the event really felt like a tragic end. Luckily, their family and friends showed up with their arms open for a recent benefit, and they’re working to rebuild everything from the ground up. [Austin Chronicle]

Chicago rapper Valee debuted his album GOOD Job, You Found Me this past week, and it is riddled with anarchy-driven fire! Over the past two years, he has been building up to this point, and here, we learn four things about his EP that will formally introduce us to the unorthodox style that Valee brings to the table. [DJ Booth]

Last week, the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL) opened in Morocco. The museum, like Cape Town’s Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art, focuses on exhibiting Africa’s own artists, hosting initiatives that cultivate their respective scenes, and, most importantly, bringing a gift to Africa that they can call their own. The Zeitz Museum has been a huge success since its opening last year, and MACAAL is hoping to continue this promising trend. [Artsy]

—Nia KB and Sean Redmond