weekend links: Obama Lit, Writers Resist, J20 Art Strike

Running Fence
Running Fence

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Running Fence (1972-76). Photo by Wolfgang Volz, courtesy the artists.

Can we characterize novels according to presidential eras? How will we someday define “Obama Lit”? Christian Lorentzen considers authenticity and its’ problems in this decade’s literature, the four types of novels that came out of the Obama years, and the dystopian novel to come. [Vulture]

This Sunday, on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday and only five days before the inauguration, writers across the country have organized Writers Resist events to raise questions about the ideals of democracy and free speech. (Check out Austin’s event at BookPeople.) As a precursor to the event, Lit Hub is publishing a selection of contributions about resistance. #Writeourdemocracy [Lit Hub]

Art museums, meanwhile, are preparing for January 20 by hosting the J20 Art Strike—some of them, anyway. Over 100 artists, curators, and gallerists have called for museums and cultural institutions to close their doors in protest; supporters include Cindy Sherman, Hilton Als, and Tania Bruguera. [ARTnews]

As another form of resistance before doomsday, LA artists are donating blood for Illma Gore’s latest anti-Trump piece. Gore discusses the project and future art actions, working with guerrilla art collective INDECLINE to continue the fight. [The Creators Project]

Other artists, meanwhile, are hoping to convince our fascist overlord to ditch the wall and replace it with a revamped version of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Running Fence. We can dream. [artnet]

Controversy surrounded this year’s STAAR exam when middle school students were asked to interpret the structure of a poem. The poet Sara Holbrook admitted that she couldn’t answer the test’s questions about her own work, proving once again the fallibility of our standardized tests. [The Huffington Post]

Good news, Austinites: The city has introduced a new artist-in-residence program. The nine-month residency will have the artist work with city departments on problem-solving initiatives. This year’s program will focus on Austin’s Watershed Protection Department. [Austin American-Statesman]

More good news for Austin folks: Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner recently donated the show’s archives to the University of Texas at Austin’s Harry Ransom Center. Visitors can peruse inspiration boards, scripts, costumes, props and more. [UT News]

MOMA also recently released their archival collection online. Flipping through the vast collection, you’ll find historical tidbits about the museum as well as a few oddities. [frieze]

—Katie Lauren Bruton and Sean Redmond

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