A 1,700-year-old Bethlehem church gets a revamp by Italian masters, a Boston museum rents out its masterpieces, a British institution puts its garbage on view and a couple of terrific essays on New York's 9/11 memorial site. Plus, cloud music, GIF art, monkey selfies and the bland, standardized design of the American home — all in today's Round-Up:
— Let’s start with the super-duper important stuff: the Japanese studio that makes Hayao Miyazaki’s films. There are all kinds of rumors that it is set to shut down, but the head of Studio Ghibli says that the legendary animation studio is merely looking at a restructuring. I pray that’s the case.
— The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, which dates back, in parts, to the 4th century AD and is one of the Holy Land's most fought-over sites, is getting some much needed repairs, including the replacement of its bullet-pocked windows. Italian master craftsman have arrived in the West Bank to help lead the effort, which is being undertaken with international funds.
— From the Department of Icky Institutional Practices: Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts has been trying to improve its bottom line by renting out artworks to for-profit companies, a practice that is frowned upon in the museum world. My colleague Mike Boehm would like to recommend this song for all the Bostonites who are pining for their masterpieces.
— More Icky: On Marina Abramovic and her unpaid work (which I wrote about last week), artist and arts lawyer Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento writes about getting around the legal problem of actually having to pay people by asking for “volunteers."
— How much trash does a museum generate? A LOT. One British museum has chronicled it and put the evidence on view.
— The unreality of affordable housing in New York: 53,000 artists apply for 89 affordable housing units in a Harlem building. (Hyperallergic)
— How Facebook and other social media sites help coyotes smuggle migrants to the north.
— Wondering why all those Central American parents are sending their unaccompanied kids to the U.S.? This moving photo essay by Sean Sutton chronicles the heightened gang violence in Honduras. (Tico Times)
— A couple of terrific pieces of writing related to New York’s 9/11 Museum: Adam Gopnik looks at the history of the monument in the New Yorker, while Karrie Jacobs gives the whole Ground Zero suite of buildings a thorough going-over in Architect.
— Frank Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial is once again under fire, this time in a report issued by a House of Representatives committee. Metropolis magazine says that Gehry has shown “almost biblical patience” throughout the whole process.
— Plus, New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman comes out against the idea of expanding the city’s intimate Frick Museum, a Beaux-Arts mansion designed by Carrère and Hastings. “The proposal,” he writes, “looks banal and inelegant.”
— A really interesting meditation on the unvarying interior design of American homes as seen on YouTube: “American rooms are a kind of product, built as quickly and cheaply as possible to a standardized specification.” This is a design quality that can be seen in the videos of artist Ryan Trecartin, who spoofs the blandness, while using the space to execute all kinds of hallucinatory hijinks. (@AugustBrown)
— The cultural critics at the New York Times are spending the slow weeks of August imagining what types of shows they might want to see. Art critic Holland Cotter devises an imaginary museum of his life. I somehow made it into the story about music. I love the idea of a concert in an art crating facility. And I love that these stories come with animated GIFs.
— I can’t wait for the Silver Lake hipsters to get hold of this one: Apparently the old practice of maintaining an ornamental hermit — not arm candy, but a person who serves a certain intellectually decorative purpose — is back (sort of).
— A crude photograph of a post by Anonymous from the notorious 4chan chat rooms has reportedly sold for $90,000 on eBay. If you missed out on that one, you can always bid to be a part of a blog post about the artwork via a separate auction on eBay. Meta overdose.
— Plus, a good primer: Paddy Johnson is covering the history of GIF art over at Artnet.
— Rant of the Day: Designer Stefan Sagmeister says you are not a storyteller. If you don’t appreciate schoolyard levels of swearing, do not watch. (@vidalia)
— A hacked milling machine that spreads poetry.
— And, finally, I leave you with a piano that plays songs composed by clouds.
Find me on the Twittering machine @cmonstah.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times