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Weekend Reading Roundup

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When we aren't seeing new work and writing about it, we're probably reading. Here’s a selection of some articles that we’ve read in the past couple of weeks and found particularly engaging. Some are recent, while others are older and touch on ideas or issues that we’ve been thinking about as we write and commission new pieces. As always, if you have thoughts or comments, tweet us @bigredandshiny!

–The BR&S Editorial Team


Daniel Kunitz, "'I'm Not Making Hippie Pottery':A Q&A with JJ PEET and Tom Sachs," Blouinartinfo, September 27, 2014

For the past few months, the Rose Art Museum team has been working with video artist, sculptor and ceramicist JJ PEET in anticipation of his residency at Brandeis University. This interview has remained one of my favorite pieces of reading about his work. In it he talks about his handmade ceramic PROXY_Cups, the intersection of craft and fine art, and how daily rituals inform his work. His presence on campus also underscores a recent increase of exhibitions—especially in the Boston area—that focus on contemporary ceramic artists such as Arlene Shechet at the ICA, Nicole Cherubini at Samson Projects and the 100 Years of American Ceramics show at the MFA.
–Scout Hutchinson

Benjamin Genocchio, “The Future of Art Criticism and News Online According to Four Innovative Editors,” artnet News, November, 10, 2015

Although some months old, I found this piece in artnet News to be particularly relevant as I consider what art criticism means to Boston and the assets and obstacles of an online-only art site. I particularly appreciated the editors’ resounding support for publishing quality over quantity. And, yes, Dan Fox of Frieze, “let’s slow down the Internet.” Stay tuned for more thoughts on the subject!
–Lisa Crossman

Martine Syms, "Portfolio: Martin Syms," Frieze, April 11, 2016
Martine Syms on coalition politics: "I got a home and it ain't contemporary art nawmean." Martine Syms on what you should do everyday: "Every morning you should watch the made-for-television performance of Samuel Beckett's Not I (1972)." A portfolio and reflection that also includes motivational text messages, this is a great entry into really interesting work from Martine Syms, incorporating found footage, academic tweets and a diary entry. It also includes opportunities for TV watching that are good for any weekend: Fubu Web, a public access program Syms runs.
–Maia Dolphin-Krute
Ariel Levy, "Beautiful Monsters," The New Yorker, April 18, 2016
To paraphrase Edith Wharton, a woman's life is like a house full of rooms, and her most profound secrets are kept in a room we never see. That's why I so appreciate and admire Beautiful Monsters, Ariel Levy's profile of Niki de Saint Phalle. Weaving Saint Phalle's life around her most laborious, and greatest, project, The Tarot Garden in Tuscany, Levy explores why and how Saint Phalle insisted on working. "I’m following a course that was chosen for me, following a pressing need to show that a woman can work on a monumental scale,” Saint Phalle writes. Though I find it cloyingly irksome that Levy frames the story around madness and obsession--Saint Phalle spent time in an institution and underwent electroshock therapy--overall Beautiful Monsters approaches that secret room, allowing us to see how and why Saint Phalle created her massive, monumental works on her own terms.
–Leah Triplett Harrington
John Herrman, "Media Websites Battle Faltering Ad Revenue and Traffic," The New York Times, April 17, 2016
One doesn't get into the publishing business, be it art criticism or international news, out of passion for ad revenue and site traffic. Although we’re a non-profit, like any publication we are dependent on site traffic and the revenue derived from pageviews. A lot of this traffic depends on the whim of social media algorithms and whether our posts reach—or fail to reach—an audience through those platforms. As outlined in this New York Times article, Facebook drives an inordinate amount of traffic to media outlets, but as the company continues to monetize visibility by selling “reach”, audience engagement has steadily declined, a trend that we’re hardly immune to. You may have noticed the lack of ads on our website in the last few weeks—we recently ended our partnership with NectarAds, with whom we worked since returning from our hiatus in 2012. They helped us to expand and solidify the reach of Big Red & Shiny, and for that we are extremely grateful. We plan to start working directly with local organizations and businesses to fill these empty spaces on our site and to bring you more relevant information about our region and our community.
–Brian Christopher Glaser
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