Did Neanderthals create the hashtag? Also in today's Roundup: Mayan settlements rediscovered in the Mexican jungle, the rise of the luxury city, the total dude-fests at Artforum and the Whitney Museum, the paintings of David Lynch and that sublime point where Hello Kitty and Jewish philosophy intersect.
— Let’s start with the cats: A lot pixels have been spilled on debating whether Hello Kitty was a cat. But Tablet Magazine wins the think-off, with a piece that uses the work of philosopher Maimonides to understand Kitty’s not-a-catness. The New Yorker gets an honorable mention for this morning’s Hello Kitty cartoon (also for its Colin Stokes piece Friday that takes a closer look at the animal nature of Scooby-Doo, Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse).
— Researchers report that Neanderthals created cave art. In fact, recent findings in Gibraltar reveal a series of Neanderthal works that look a whole lot like hashtags. We are them and they are us. (Weisslink)
— Two Maya cities have been rediscovered by Slovenian researchers in the jungles of Mexico.
— Break up major museums in order to save them, writes Hrag Vartanian: “We need to fight the idea that museums must keep growing to stay relevant or survive.” I’m all for this. I’ve always thought decentralized arts institutions would make so much sense in a sprawled-out city like L.A. Would love to see some LACMA/Getty/MOCA off-shoots in South L.A. or the Valley.
— An interesting piece about the rise of the “luxury city,” urban areas that cater to the wealthy. And it’s not just New York. L.A. is among them.
— Hilarie Sheets pens a pretty epic profile of filmmaker David Lynch and his new show at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Lynch says he sees his filmwork as an attempt to make “moving painting.” (Also, in doing my research for this morning’s story about art exhibition trailers, I completely overlooked Lynch’s exhibition trailer, which is amazing and which I’ve embedded in this post.)
— “Do you know how repetitive grief is? The same thing; not just every day, every hour” — from a terrific interview with novelist Francisco Goldman about love, loss and learning to drive in Mexico City, in the L.A. Review of Books.
— Critic Jerry Saltz counts up the ads in the September issue of Artforum and he doesn’t like what he sees. In other words, it’s a dude-fest out there. (For the record, artist Micol Hebron has been doing this for years. In fact, it inspired a major piece of art that was on view here in Los Angeles. Take the time to watch the video. Culver City gallerist Susanne Vielmetter nails it.)
— Related: The Whitney has rehung its permanent collection galleries and it has a whole lot of dudes.
— Architecture, also very dude-ish. Dallas Morning News architecture critic Mark Lamster takes a look.
— Miranda July has an app. And now Jeff Koons has a work that can only be seen via app. Which makes it a great time to link to Greg Allen’s roundup showing various works of contemporary art with Koonsian flourishes Photoshopped into them. Nothing like a little shininess to make things look expensive.
— Plus: John Baldessari tattoos.
— Jason Farago has an interesting piece about the importance of El Greco over at the BBC, tied to a show of the artist’s work on view at the Prado in Madrid.
— A ridiculously over-sexualized rendering of the new Spider-Woman has inspired artist Brett White to show male comics superheroes in the sorts of sexy outfits and poses generally reserved for women.
— A pair of artists are using Detroit’s street steam as a screen for making ghostly projections.
— A highly unusual Joshua Tree home — its form looks inspired by an armadillo — designed by organic architect Kendrick Bangs Kellogg is for sale. It’d make an excellent lair for a Hollywood villain.
— Plus, a couple of interesting institution updates: The L.A. County Museum of Art has gussied up its blog “Unframed,” and the Library Foundation has a pretty awesome Tumblr devoted to mining the menu collection at the L.A. Public Library.
— Last, but not least, the L.A. River before it was paved.