Weekend Reading List

Prison labour as artisanal nostalgia, David Tang's dinner advice, and octopus intelligence: what to read this weekend

Tim Hawkinson, Octopus, 2007. Photographic collage on foam, 2.4 x 3.6m. Courtesy: The J. Paul Museum Los Angeles, The Pace Gallery, New York, and the artist.

Tim Hawkinson, Octopus, 2007, photographic collage on foam, 2.4 x 3.6m. Courtesy: The J. Paul Museum Los Angeles, The Pace Gallery, New York, and the artist

Tim Hawkinson, Octopus, 2007, photographic collage on foam, 2.4 x 3.6m. Courtesy: The J. Paul Museum Los Angeles, The Pace Gallery, New York, and the artist

  • What happens when prison labour is ‘disguised as creative catharsis’, a method of rehabilitation and recovery for the incarcerated? Chelsea Hogue finds out how Maine’s labour programme is sold to tourists as a form of arts-and-crafts nostalgia.
     
  • Over at frieze, Phoebe Blatton takes on the BBC’s struggles with gay programming in its ‘Gay Britannia’ season, and the ways in which the media creates amnesia just as much as it does awareness.
     
  • From the New York Times’s ’Say Something Nice About Donald Trump’ recurring column to its hiring of Bret Stephens, Alex Nichols in Current Affairs dissects what liberal calls for tolerance and ‘different points of view’ really mean for an op-ed page in which 11 out of 12 regular columnists are white, in a majority non-white city – ‘something that the columnists themselves would find scandalous if they actually took any of their stated values seriously’.
     
  • 'Octopuses are the closest we can come, on earth, to knowing what it might be like to encounter intelligent aliens.' Don’t miss Amia Srinivasan’s London Review of Books essay on octopus intelligence.
     
  • ‘It takes a red-hot fearlessness to go so tender’. Dodie Bellamy revits Kathy Acker’s writing on literature, logic and the libido for issue 189 of frieze, out now, while Juliet Jacques reviews Chris Kraus’s recently published biography of the first female ‘Great Writer as Countercultural Hero’ for frieze online.
     
  • Entrepreneur, ranconteur and founder of fashion label Shanghai Tang, David Tang has died at 63. Here’s the Financial Times’s agony uncle columnist on suiting up with Kim Jong Un’s tailor, and the secret to a successful dinner party.

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