Weekend Reading List: The Aspiration of Athleisure; The Beauty of Keanu Reeves

What the frieze editors have been reading this week

Frank Bowling, photographed by the artists Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin at his home in London, 2012. Courtesy the artists

Frank Bowling, photographed by the artists Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin at his home in London, 2012. Courtesy: the artists

  • ‘Many stories these days provoke anxiety, dread, and a kind of awe at the foolishness of fellow human beings. Luckily, the Internet has recently provided us with an unlikely antidote to everything wrong with the news cycle’: At the New Yorker, Naomi Fry pays tribute to our quite unlikely saviour: the actor Keanu Reeves.
     
  • ‘Emotional, enthusiastic, interested in everything, Marshall Berman had more to give intellectually than anyone I’ve ever met.’ In the LARB, the Dean of American Rock Critics, Robert Christgau, pays tribute to his late friend, the philosopher Marshall Berman.
     
  • The Middle of the Day: From the frieze archive, a conversation between Courtney J. Martin and painter Frank Bowling, whose major survey opened at Tate Britain this week.
     
  • ‘Dementia stopped Peter Max from painting. For some, that spelled a lucrative opportunity.’ Amy Chozick on kidnapping, homicide and painting, for the New York Times.
     
  • ‘I once heard that every painting is a solution to the problem of how to best carve light, but it is only at that moment that I finally understand what that could mean.’ Chloé Cooper Jones writes on philosophy and beauty, for The Believer.
     
  • ‘Bret Easton Ellis came to Bennington a heavily scarred young man. He had a lot of talent. He also had a suitcase full of drugs.’ At Esquire, the oral history of Bennington, the most decadent college of the 1980s.
     
  • ‘The memory of what happened in Tiananmen and elsewhere, in cities and squares now ringed with silence, refuses to go.’ On the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, Nikil Saval remembers China’s ‘Long 1980s’, for n+1.
     
  • ‘Lululemons announce that for their wearer, life has become frictionless. It clothes us in an ideal that merges work and play to the point where they become indistinguishable, and effort feels like pleasure.’ Moira Weigel on the politics of athleisure, for Real Life.
     
  • What We Carry in the Flesh: frieze contributing editor Rianna Jade Parker on Simone Leigh’s sculptural celebrations of the architecture of the Black female body.
     
  • ‘A Memory Palace for Brothers who Flew Just Close Enough to the Sun & Created the Storm’: At Granta, Ellah Wakatama Allfrey pays tribute to Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina, who died on 21 May.
     
  • Also at Granta, an essay from Wainaina himself, published in 2005: ‘How to Write About Africa’.
     
  • ‘Indeed, there are moments when changing the stories we live within is the only way to keep going.’ At the LARB, Roy Scranton writes on two books that reckon with a world shaped by of climate change.

Charlie (Eurasian eagle owl) and Scops (white-faced scops owl) in Frieda Hughes’s kitchen. Courtesy and photograph: Frieda Hughes

  • Listen: Ahead of the film adaptation of Elif Batuman’s novel The Idiot, the Turkish-American author speaks with filmmaker Sandi Tan about movies, #MeToo and what they were like as teenagers (The Cut).
     
  • ‘Too Many People Want to Travel’: At The Atlantic, Annie Lowrey explains how massive crowds are causing environmental degradation, dangerous conditions, and the immiseration and pricing-out of locals.
     
  • ‘This work offers a repertoire of experiences and possibilities as a means of empowerment.’ At frieze, Andrew Hibbard profiles New York-based choreographer Okwui Okpokwasili, whose intensely physical performances are a protest against forgetting the stories that go untold.
     
  • ‘Fans love aging musicians not only because they are time-travel machines — they love them for those musicians’ defects, for the way that as long as they’re still creative, they hold a mirror up to our own aging and offer clues to where we are going.’ At the New York Times Magazine, Vanessa Grigoriadis profiles Madonna at 60.
     
  • Watch: On the opening days of the Venice Biennale, Laure Prouvost – who is representing France – led frieze into the subterranean entrance of ‘Deep See Blue Surrounding You’.
     
  • For The Times Literary Supplement, Sylvia Plath’s daughter, Frieda, wrote about the benefits of living with owls.

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Janiva Ellis, Catchphrase Coping Mechanism, 2019, oil on linen, 2.2 x 1.8 m. Courtesy: the artist and 47 Canal, New York; photograph: Joerg Lohse

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