Roundup: Art world lessons -- how to get an MFA in an hour, nudity on Facebook

Roundup: Art world lessons -- how to get an MFA in an hour, nudity on Facebook
Dancers perform on the red carpet at the LACMA gala over the weekend. The museum has announced a slew of new gifts, donated on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. (Rich Polk / Getty Images for LACMA)

A museum tallies its anniversary gifts, a free MFA (in less than an hour!), a digital vault for historic works of video art, a new biennial grows in Chicago, and a high fashion movement in Congo. Plus: The low pay of part-time college faculty, and an artist proposes swapping a decayed house for great work of public sculpture in Kansas. Lots going on in the Roundup:

— Roughly a quarter of part-time college faculty and their families are on public assistance, according to an analysis by UC Berkeley.


— An artwork based on surveillance survives a court challenge.

— Russian artists try to find a way to work around obscenity laws.

— Critic Jerry Saltz writes a worthwhile long read on museums as historical warehouses in a period dominated by the contemporary on the occasion of the opening of the new Whitney Museum in New York.

LACMA has pulled in all kinds of new gifts on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, including a canvas by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and a new Monet. 

An MFA you can get in under an hour — without paying a dime. Bay Area artist Jeremiah Jenkins has set up his own art institute at a San Francisco project space, where visitors can get their own (unaccredited) degree in no time. Best part: You won't have to study theory or be $40,000 in the hole afterward.

— In Kansas City: An artist is proposing swapping a condemned house on the city's economically depressed East side with a public sculpture belonging to the Nelson-Atkins Museum.

— The Museum of Modern Art has been digitizing its collection of analog video. And it is now creating a digital vault to secure them. Some good geek reading.

— How viral accounts often strip the history out of art.

Facebook is now OK with nudity, as long as it's art. FYI, the link that follows contains naked woman's parts à la Gustav Courbet.

— An unusual conservation job: Taking care of Auschwitz's gruesome objects.

— Teju Cole has an interesting essay on how photographs can convey crisis without actually showing violence.

"I went in a Bacon fan, and left wondering how he conned so many people." Critic Jonathan Jones is totally over Francis Bacon.

— Speaking of cranky critics, Dave Hickey says the art world totally sucks and it's the fault of identity politics. I'm sure there's a parallel universe where this makes sense.

— Conceptual artist Allan McCollum, who is interested in creating masses of unique, yet similar objects, made a conceptual work that resides in the pages of a newspaper.


A fledgling biennial for architects rises in Chicago. Tribune critic Blair Kamin offers analysis. (Subscription required.)

— Curbed has an explainer on that surreal drought photo that appeared in the New York Times.

— Remember Jennicam? An interview with the woman behind the first Internet lifecast — who, these days, prefers to remain private.

— Al-Jazeera has a beguiling little documentary about an unusual high fashion movement in Congo: The Society for Elegant People, among whom style (and color) are used to make statements of joy, peace and power. (Starts after the 7:00-minute mark)

— This brings me to the trailer for "Iris," the latest documentary by Albert Maysles, on fashion icon Iris Apfel. I'm looking forward to this one. (Lonny)

— And last but not least, Artnet stories that sound like they could also run in the Onion.

Find me on the Twitters @cmonstah.