Today, we talk about flags, both Confederate and gay pride. The Getty Museum and the Broad acquire some valuable artworks (including a rare Renaissance bust). And stories on the increasingly blurred boundary between the worlds of museums and commercial galleries. Plus: a rare L.A. house may be headed for the wrecking ball, the designer behind a popular paper cup pattern is found after digital reporting, and a wild architectural pavilion in London will eventually make its way to Southern California.
— A Confederate monument is spray-painted with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter in the wake of the Emanuel AME killings in Charleston. All of this comes as South Carolina (and the rest of the nation) debates the prominence of the Confederate flag at the South Carolina hStateouse. (South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called for its removal on Monday.) Interestingly, the flag that we recognize as the Confederate flag was a battle flag, not the flag for the Confederate states. PBS Newshour has more on its history.
— And some very interesting thoughts from poet Claudia Rankine, who wrote a wonderful essay on mourning and the black body in the wake of Charleston.
— In happier news, New York's Museum of Modern Art has added the gay pride flag to its design collection. To mark the occasion, the museum's blog has published a fascinating interview with its creator, Gilbert Baker, who designed it in 1978. He discusses his influences (such as the preponderance of bicentennial flags in the mid-1970s) and how he sought to create a symbol that countered the pink triangle used by the Nazis. Read this piece!!
— The San Diego Museum of Art lays off two in restructuring.
— The Getty Museum has acquired an early portrait bust by Gian Lorenzo Bernini that has been out of public view for almost a century. This is L.A.'s second Bernini. The first was acquired by LACMA as part of the museum's 50th anniversary celebrations. William Poundstone, in the meantime, rounds up the Berninis in various U.S. and Canadian collections in a very interesting post.
— Plus, the Broad museum goes on an acquisitions spree, picking up works by Ed Ruscha, John Baldessari and Jeff Koons. (Can we call a Koons moratorium at the Broad? According to the website, the collection already has 30+ works by the artist. All the purchases combined probably equal the GDP of a Caribbean nation.)
— Artspace has an interview with Carlos Rivera, the founder of Art Rank, in one and two parts. The service ranks contemporary artists on whether they are good buy or sell opportunities based on, among other things, Google searches, hashtags and Instagram data. It's the sort of thing that is begging for the intervention of some artist/hacker type who knows how to skew online metrics with a few well-placed scripts.
— Plus, the growing phenomenon of commercial galleries hiring established museum curators to organize important shows.
— Richard Prince's Instagram appropriation paintings most frequently raise questions related to copyright. But they touch on important issues of authorship in the remix age, writes law professor Christopher Sprigman.
— Because sometimes it's all about the poetry of the headline: "Pretentious Tino Sehgal Delivers Absurd Talk With Tina Brown to Baffled Bankers In Basel During Art Basel."
— Migrants who die while trying to enter Europe often end up in mass graves or in vast refrigerated morgues. The German art collective Center for Political Beauty aims to give them proper burials.
— Angelenos, if you see a flash of bright light, it could be photographer Jonathan Castillo taking a picture of you. (All of it recalls the work of Andrew Bush's "Vector Portraits," compiled into the book "Drive" in 2008.)
— Missouri's Springfield News-Leader has a terrific story about the origins of a popular piece of industrial design: the very '90s teal and purple pattern called "Jazz" employed on thousands of disposable plates and cups manufactured by the Solo company. The related Tumblr of fan art is pretty spectacular, including the Jazz car and Jazz socks. Also: Jazz nailtips.
— One of the most important modern homes in Los Angeles, designed by architect Craig Ellwood in the late 1950s, may be in danger of being demolished.
— PBS has an interesting piece on what may become of Cuba's historic, trapped-in-amber architecture with the re-establishment of diplomatic relations.
— Yale University has been photographing a mysterious 15th century map — which may have guided Columbus on his journey to the new world — and making interesting discoveries.
— Last but not least: Yelp's take on "Whistler's Mother."