Joseph Wright, An Experiment on a Bird in an Air Pump, 1768, oil on canvas.
- Do your youthful memories resemble a montage from Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation of Inherent Vice? Do you pine for the freewheelin’ days of Charles Manson and the Fugs? If you happened to know that the latter was a rock band founded in 1964, or that its name comes from Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead, you might be the sort of person who would buy Ed Sanders’s massive archive of 1960s counterculture documents, which he now plans to sell. Sanders, a poet and musician, is best known for his definitive biography of the Manson family (The Family), and, of course, for cofounding the Fugs. He’s also, at the age of seventy-six, something of a meticulous hoarder. His archive, Jon Kalish writes, comprises four hundred banker’s boxes of documents and photographs: “He’s got them organized by date and subject, all carefully catalogued in a 200-page single-spaced directory. Attached to the garage is a small building that used to be his writing studio until it, too, filled up with boxes.” It is perhaps unsurprising that Sanders, who lives in Woodstock, likens his collection to a “big mushroom.”
- On June 27, writer and artist Dennis Cooper found that his blog of ten years—really more of an online multimedia installation—had been mysteriously erased by Google. Last Friday, Cooper took to Facebook to let his readers know that the situation has been resolved. Sort of. Cooper writes, “Google finally responded to me after a month of my complaints, international press, thwarted internal investigations, the petition, and so forth on July 15th … What followed was about three weeks of discussions, negotiations, and so on. Finally, a week ago, Google suddenly announced that they were going to send me the data for the DC’s blog and my e-mail account. They did, and that’s how and when the standoff ended.” Why the fuss? There are many known unknowns. (According to Google, an unnamed user flagged an unknown image as “child pornography.”) Meanwhile, Cooper will have to restore each post by hand.
- The blisteringly slow overhaul of the New York City transit system will now feature … e-books. To celebrate the New Golden Age of Underground Wi-Fi, Penguin Random House will provide 175 free titles to passengers as a part of its Subway Reads program. But don’t expect a digital copy of The Man Without Qualities—this stuff is short. “On Sunday, Subway Reads started delivering novellas, short stories or excerpts from full-length books to passengers’ cellphones or tablets. The idea is for riders to download a short story or a chapter and read it on the train. Subway Reads will even let riders choose what to read based on how long they will be on the subway—a 10-page selection for a 10-minute ride, a 20-page selection for a 20-minute excursion, a 30-page selection for a 30-minute trip. Delays not included.”
- The bizarre trial over a painting not by Peter Doig has come to its conclusion. Last week, a judge decided that Doig is not the artist behind a 1976 work signed by one Pete Doige, a former Ontario inmate (who is probably dead). Confused? So is everyone else. But we do know that art dealer Peter Bartlow and former corrections officer Robert Fletcher will not receive $7.9 million in damages. For their part, art experts everywhere are pissed that the case ever went to court. Amy Adler, law professor at New York University, points out that the law, in this example, was useless: “For most of us this seems galling because we all assume that an artist has the last word about whether a work is his. Even if the judge had declared the work authentic, the art market would have disregarded the court. Everyone understands that Doig has the last word in the art market, and the market will never treat it as a Doig. The law is, in a sense, irrelevant here.”