Roundup: Art, money and Art Basel, plus taco gentrification

Roundup: Art, money and Art Basel, plus taco gentrification
A woman passes a painting on a piece of plywood near Ferguson City Hall at the end of November. Missouri arts organizations want to preserve these as historical works of art. (Alexey Furman / EPA)

The frazzle from Art Basel, oodles of art and money, the rise and fall of American tent cities, the gentrification industrial complex. Plus: rethinking L.A.'s Pershing Square, Jeff Koons designs a book cover, and a sculpture about sexual aids that is inspiring the purchase of, um, said sexual aids. It's all in the Roundup…

— Let's start with the hard news: Buzzfeed has an interesting essay about the rise of the so-called "online vigilante journalist": amateur information gatherers who have gone from reporting information to a type of digital policing.


— A pair of Missouri arts organizations are attempting to preserve art and sayings drawn on the plywood that protected storefronts during Ferguson protests.

— Controversy has once again ensued around the Elgin Marbles, the Parthenon sculptures that reside at the British Museum in London. The museum has sent one of these to the Hermitage in Russia, on the occasion of that institution's 250th anniversary. This is infuriating the Greeks, who would like the sculptures back. Tiffany Jenkins at The Scotsman says the move has turned art into a political pawn.

Ralph Baer, the so-called father of the home video game console, has passed away. (Museum of the Moving Image)

— And we have another one of those the-L.A.-art-scene-is-hot-hot-hot stories, this time from the Wall Street Journal. Sentence that made me snort-laugh: "Los Angeles seems to be having a New York moment."

— How do the Greeks respond to the discovery of a tomb with a possibly blue-eyed man from the time of Alexander the Great? With a Skai TV 3-D video tour, of course. (See embedded video.)

— Artist Hans Haacke, whose work has always tackled questions of money and influence, currently has a piece at the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York that takes on one of the conservative Koch Brothers. More on that show here.

— Speaking of money, finance journalist Felix Salmon has a story about how Art Basel isn't really about art. It's an economic summit for the stateless rich. Literally.

— In other Art Basel news, Dan Duray picks apart a panel about art and Instagram held during Art Basel. Pure sublime ridiculosity.

— The one good thing about Basel is that Jerry Saltz's Instagram feed tied to the whole thing has been pretty darn boss. And he did it all without even going to Miami…

— Public radio's Marketplace has a terrific story about the "gentrification industrial complex" — the companies and individuals whose business models are based on flipping the economics of a neighborhood. A fascinating, essential piece of journalism.

— And now that we're on the subject of gentrification, here's a video that tells the story of gentrification through tacos.

That Paul McCarthy sculpture that depicted an 80-foot sexual aid? Well, it's been a boon to Parisian vendors of those very same sexual aids. Who says contemporary art can't inspire pleasure?

Jeff Koons designed the cover for producer Brian Grazer's new book, "A Curious Mind."


— Frances Anderton at KCRW has a terrific timeline and story about Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles and the plans to redesign it. Not a moment too soon, because the current Ricardo Legorreta look from the early 1990s feels less park and more fortress — in a disconcerting Easter egg color scheme.

— In the wake of the eviction of hundreds of people from a Silicon Valley shantytown, a geographer rounds up interesting links related to the history and phenomena of tent cities.

— “Fear, assuaged by consumption.” In the spring, starchitect Norman Foster, in conjunction with Mexican architect Fernando Romero (he of the Soumaya Museum) released a video for plans for a new airport in Mexico City. In the Avery Review, critic Ana María León picks the design apart bit by nationalistic bit.

— There have been a lot of racial/watermelon controversies in the news recently. William Black at The Atlantic explores the fruit's history as a racist trope. Fascinating article.

— And last but not least, your moment of balls on an escalator. (Weisslink)

Find me on the Twitters @cmonstah.