Twitter was everything this week. Highlights: Kayne releases Ye, the Pusha T/Drake beef continues, Kim K visited the White House, racism is not a side effect of Ambien, Adrian Piper continues to challenge us, Brokeback Mountain the opera had its New York premiere, abortion rights are under attack in the US, saturation divers are a thing, the history of mac & cheese is complex, and The Bachelorette is trash worth thinking about.
1. Pitchfork: What We Saw at Kanye’s Ye Listening Party in Wyoming
Kanye released his much anticipated Ye at a listening party in Wyoming on Friday. The album is getting mixed reviews and most news outlets are publishing multiple pieces about it. Generally, most are reviewing the album, with one about what the album means in the wake of Kanye’s endorsement of Trump and comments about slavery.
I liked this piece a lot because it did not talk so much about the album but about the spectacle of its release. Kanye flew a bunch of music writers and influencers to a ranch in Wyoming to listen to the album. The whole event was live-streamed and fans, as well as skeptics, from around the world tuned in.
I have listened to the whole album multiple times and the whole thing feels like a public act of apperception. Kanye still doesn’t seem to know how to talk about women or know anything about politics on the album. To some, Ye is another for forgivness, for others it is not. Either way it is a personal decision. For now, I am siding with the many critics that say it is too early to know what to think.
2. BuzzFeed: Here’s How This Whole Drake/Pusha-T Feud Started And Why It’s Only The Beginning
The Pusha T vs. Drake Feud got even more complicated this week. Pusha released “The Story of Adidon” claiming that Drake has a secret son along with a picture of Drake in blackface. Drake responded to the whole thing with a very white press release. The whole thing is a hot mess and is changing the history of rap beef. Right now it seems that Pusha is winning but this is far from over.
Kim K went to the White House to meet with Donald Trump to talk about pardoning Alice Marie Johnson, who is a 63-year-old woman that has served 20 years of a life sentence for a nonviolent drug offense, and prison reform. Kim is getting a lot of flack for this. Personally, if Kim wants to speak with the President about pardoning a nonviolent drug offender I am all for it. I do agree with critics that she probably could have spent more time talking about prison reform and not just pardoning one person… because there are too many Alice Marie Johnsons in the US prison industrial complex to count.
People of all races, religions and nationalities work at Sanofi every day to improve the lives of people around the world. While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.
— Sanofi US (@SanofiUS) May 30, 2018
ABC canceled Roseanne after Roseanne Barr tweeted that former Obama White House Aid Valerie Jarrett, who is black, looks like the offspring of “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes.” In a statement, Roseanne blamed it on Ambien and LOL! Sanofi, the makers of Ambien said that is not a known side effect.
Barr’s firing and the cancellation of Roseanne are also significant as many streaming services including Hulu are pulling reruns from their platforms.
Adrian Piper’s work has always challenged viewers to look at their lives and society in a more complex way. Her new retrospective, Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions, 1965–2016, at MoMA is no different. According to arts writer Jillian Steinhauer, Piper has “deconstructed the categories we use to classify ourselves and is instructive at a time of intense debate over how ideas of identity shape American politics.” Her work requires careful slow looking and personal reflection, eliciting a “transferring of agency—of obligations and responsibilities—from her to us.”
6. Daily Beast: How Landmark LGBT Movie ‘Brokeback Mountain’ Became an Opera
Brokeback Mountain–the opera–had its New York premiere this weekend at Lincoln Center, timed perfectly at the beginning of Pride month. The opera is receiving mixed to unfavorable reviews, but the one thing they all have in common is how much they want to love the opera. Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times writes that, “Some new operas are exasperating because they fall far short of their potential. Charles Wuorinen’s ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ though, is exasperating because it falls just short.” In his interview with the Daily Beast Wuorinen stated that this opera deals with “relevant and concerning issues” of today, and that is just why its falling short is so devastating.
7. The Guardian: Fears Trump’s anti-choice picks could set back abortion fight for a generation
Trump is trying to make good on his promise to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark case that legalized abortion in the US. He is doing this by nominating anti-choice judges to lifetime appointments in district and state courts. “For the vast, vast majority of people, the final word on what our constitution means and whether critical laws are properly enforced is from these lower courts.” These lifetime appointments mean that judges could be seated for 50 years, deciding cases on “theological crusade[s].”
8. Atlas Obscura: The Weird, Dangerous, Isolated Life of the Saturation Diver
I had no clue what saturation divers were before reading this article. Saturation divers “do construction and demolition work at depths up to 1,000 feet or more below the surface of the ocean. “Diving to that depth—or just about any depth—involves breathing pressurized air” which requires a lengthy decompression at the end—roughly 1 day for every 100 feet. But “after a certain time at pressure, divers’ bodies become fully saturated with inert gas, and they can remain at that pressure indefinitely, provided they get one long decompression at the end.” Divers live is special pressurized chambers for the duration of a job—sometime nearly 2 months. It is a dangerous job, where flushing a toilet is a multi-step two person process. There is little glamour and it’s a job that few people know about.
9. Zacalo: Why Everyone Loves Macaroni and Cheese
I love mac & cheese. Most people I know also do. Personally, my cheeses of choice are a combination of different cheddars. Sometimes I’ll add gruyere, or maybe a smoked gouda, but not often. My grandmother also used mostly cheddar, and my aunt uses a mix of cheddar, Velveeta, and sour cream. Everyone has their own recipe with its own history.
Macaroni and cheese has been an American staple since Thomas Jefferson popularized it, but “to understand the evolution of macaroni and cheese is to realize that pursuit of the ‘cheapest protein possible.’” Historically, the cheese had been made on farms, often by women. In 1851 the first cheese factory opened in the US making it one of the first foods to be industrialized, and a staple of American ingenuity, survival, and celebration.
10. Grace Berry: Power-Ranking This Season’s Limo Exits on the Bachelorette
All of the shows in the Bachelor series (The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, The Bachelor Pad (my favorite), The Bachelor in Paradise, The Bachelor in Paradise: After Paradise, and The Bachelor Winter Games) are hot messes of social experiments. I have been following Grace’s coverage of the Bachelor/Bachelorette series for years. Seeing her post pop-up on my Facebook feed is actually what got me into watching the series. Grace’s comments are funny, smart, witty, and she says what we are all thinking. If you think you are too highbrow to watch the trash that creates The Bachelor franchise think again. There is always a way to over analyze reality TV.
“I have been a stalwart advocate for the legacy of Charles White. I have said it so often, it could go without saying. I have always believed that his work should be seen wherever great pictures are collected and made available to art-loving audiences. He is a true master of pictorial art, and nobody else has drawn the black body with more elegance and authority. No other artist has inspired my own devotion to a career in image making more than he did. I saw in his example the way to greatness. Yes. And because he looked like my uncles and my neighbors, his achievements seemed within my reach. The wisdom he dispensed to the many aspiring artists who gathered around him was always straightforward: do your work with skill and integrity, everything else is superfluous. It is a right time for him to be considered again in the fullness of his expertise. And fitting that he should be recognized with a survey in three of the best museums in the world.” – Kerry James Marshall
Rumors that Vergne would be leaving MOCA grew after The Times reported that the museum director had put his $4 million Hollywood Hills home on the market this spring.
That report followed Vergne’s firing of MOCA’s highly respected chief curator, Helen Molesworth, a move that surprised those in the art world who praised her as a champion of diversity in programming. The firing came shortly after MOCA suddenly canceled its annual gala fundraiser in February after its honoree, Mark Grotjahn, dropped out over growing concern that past honorees have all been straight white men. – Deborah Vankin
NY Magazine: The End of Nature at Storm King Art CenterThe 500-acre Storm King Art Center is about an hour north of New York in the Hudson River Valley, in the shadow of Storm King mountain, which was named by the now-forgotten writer and editor Nathaniel Parker Willis, who lived thereabouts in the mid-19th century, and once exalted “The tallest mountain is … looked upon as the most sure foreteller of a storm … He seems the monarch, and this seems his stately ordering of a change in the weather. Should not STORM-KING, then, be his proper title?” – Carl Swanson
*All images taken from reference articles*
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