weekend links: Adrian Piper, vulnerable boys, aggressive water

Gender neutral glyphs in assorted fonts. Image courtesy MGMT./ Eye on Design .

Gender neutral glyphs in assorted fonts. Image courtesy MGMT./Eye on Design.

At the Adrian Piper retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, I signed a contract agreeing that “I will always mean what I say.” The man working the booth told me that he could never sign that contract because he is an actor. I disagreed with his take on the meaning of the agreement wholeheartedly, but I think that discrepancy is precisely what Adrian Piper was hoping for in her piece, Registry. This essay examines Piper as a political artist, a philosophical artist, a poetic artist, a defender of her own work and a critic of the institutions within which she practiced. “Dear Friend, I am not here to pick anyone up, or to be picked up. I am here alone because I want to be here, ALONE,” reads one of the business cards Piper handed out when she was approached in public. It’s the only business card I carry in my wallet. [n+1]

Every time I think about Holden Caulfield my face morphs into a sarcastic pout. It is not his fault; it is all of the boys I’ve met in real life for whom Caulfield is “so real” that have caused this involuntary tic. I also—full confession—have never read The Catcher In the Rye. Maybe a tiny revolt against those boys, or against middle school English teachers. I felt similarly when I read Hamlet. I acknowledge that I am likely missing the point. Anyway, here, on the 67th Anniversary of The Catcher In the Rye’s bookstore debut, are its first reviews. [Bookmarks]

And here are one hundred of its best one-star reviews. I’m sure it’s great! [Lithub]

Speaking of toxic masculinity: in a new wave of fiction, children’s book and YA authors are consciously writing male protagonists that don’t have to choose between being strong or being sensitive, instead depicting men and boys who interrogate their own emotions and support and engage with the women around them in a complex manner. This movement is predominantly driven by male authors. “If men are the perpetrators, then we are the ones who must address our behaviour. We must consider what it is we’re teaching – or not teaching – boys that makes some of them grow up into the men who are exhibiting this toxic behaviour.” Boys! Can! Be! Vulnerable! Too! [The Guardian]

Do you know what “aggressive water” is? How about “iceblink”? “Hydropot”? Read on for more H20-related definitions, especially if you are thirsty for knowledge. So sorry, would love to backstroke on that pun. [Lapham’s Quarterly]

At the Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin, Mexican-American artist Vincent Valdez’s The City I is now on display. The centerpiece of the show is a 30-foot-tall panel depicting modern-day Ku Klux Klan members, a Chevy driving towards them, all painted in haunting grayscale. Valdez is aware of the controversy his work provokes, and he is not deterred by it. “I aim to bring an awareness into institutions that are sometimes considered safe spaces,” he says, “somewhat sterile in their ability to confront and respond to the world.” [Artsy]

Prince, the ampersand, emoji, and Gloria Steinem have at least one thing in common: they have all been at the forefront of the intersection of gender identity and design innovation. Recently, the design firm MGMT. has taken on the gender-neutral pronoun, seeking to design a glyph that simply notates non-binary identity. “It’s really an open-ended question of how type represents gender and what that means.”  [Eye on Design]

Veronica Ortuño runs Las Cruxes, a boutique/art space in Austin that we are big fans of. She brings in some of the city's finest artists and musicians regularly, and on top of that, she hosts fun events for the community, including a regular game night, mixtape club, and more.  Ortuño sits at the heart of East Austin's arts community, and if you haven't met her, listen to this podcast and then stop by her shop and say hi. [Glasstire]

Within bitforms gallery, in New York, an office space emerges. On the wall of the office is a television screen that plays a detailed rendering of the office, zooming in to highlight minute details. The show, entitled The Pointer, is specifically about whiteness. Here is an interview with the artist, Ryan Kuo, that played out over Google Docs. “Digital interfaces, as we now understand them, result directly from the logic of whiteness, and they indeed demand complicity or resistance. Interfaces determine user behaviors by projecting illusions that are apparently neutral and have evidently good intentions, such as clearing a path through a darkly unknowable space for the movements of the will.” [Bomb]



Juliet Gelfman-Randazzo