The L.A. River’s renewal plan has a starchitect on board.
— Architect Frank Gehry has been secretly working with the City of L.A. on plans to revitalize the L.A. River. Not everyone is a fan of the idea.
— A staggering piece by Joseph Giovanni in the Los Angeles Review of Books on the many ifs plaguing LACMA's Peter Zumthor building, including questions of debt and design.
— More New Yorkers heading west: Chelsea gallerist Derek Eller is doing a pop-up in Elysian Valley.
— A controversial portrait of Pope Benedict XVI — made entirely out of condoms — has gone on view at the Milwaukee Art Museum.
— Critic Ben Davis on what the merger between ARTnews and Art in America magazines means for art and the media.
— A staggering list of executives associated with the Brazilian petrochemical giant Petrobras are under investigation for embezzling. Apparently some of the cash was used to purchase works of art — now on view at the Museu Oscar Niemeyer in Curitiba.
— So not everyone thinks that land artist Michael Heizer's magnum opus, "City," is all that.
— Architecture critic James Russell thinks that the design of the new Google HQ, by architects Thomas Heatherwick and BIG, could offer a more flexible model for the corporate headquarters of the future. (ArtsJournal)
— An interesting Q&A with New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl on criticism, poetry, sculpture and the editor who gave him a "spine transplant."
— We are all Mexico's disappeared students: A work by artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer uses facial recognition technology to match the viewer's face to one of the faces of the missing 43 from Ayotzinapa.
— The nude sculpture by 19th century American sculptor Hiram Powers that became an abolitionist icon has gone on view at the Smithsonian in Washington.
— What would a syllabus for a course about urban design and social justice look like? Brentin Mock at Citylab made one — and I am about to get reading. (Colorlines)
— Speaking of urban design: El Salvador's bus system was shut down on the order of a powerful criminal gang — a terrifying look at how a city's entire transport infrastructure can be brought down by gang violence.
— Photographer Philip Montgomery's black-and-white images offer a rich chronicle of life in our new civil rights era.
— Art, death and marriage: Dana Goodyear of the New Yorker has a can't-put-it-down feature about the life and marriages of Mission School artist Barry McGee and his relationship with painter Margaret Kilgallen (who passed away in 2001) and Clare Rojas, the singer and painter who is now his second wife.
— For those who like their art corporate: Artillery has a helpful overview of art installations inside locales such as Taco Bell and Banana Republic.
— The Hollywood Reporter has a great profile of L.A. billboard girl Angelyne. Interesting facts: she listens to NPR and can turn food into the likenesses of the famous, creating a portrait of Bette Davis out of mussel shells. (Somebody please curate these into a biennial.)
— And last, but not least, your moment of Chente: an enterprising Internet type in Mexico has launched an open call for art for the first ever "National Biennial of Digital Vicente Fernandez Collage" on Tumblr — in honor of the legendary Mexican balladeer (who apparently is quite into Photoshop). The requirements: art must contain Fernandez's mug, and the artists must live in Mexico — or know where it is. Looking forward to seeing the final show.