Weekend Reading List: the IKEA Way, CryptoKitties and Syria’s Art Diaspora
What to read this weekend: inside the world of crypto-collectibles, Ingvar Kamprad’s moral manifesto and tracing a culture as it disperses
- 'He leaves a great body of work and a trail of devastation. But like most artists, he was after beauty, too.’ Don’t miss Michael Bracewell’s tribute to The Fall frontman Mark E Smith (1957–2018).
- And Jes Skolnik writes for Pitchfork on the darker side of memorializing Mark E Smith: 'we should listen to those who loved him and those who loathed him in equal measure’.
- Over at the New Yorker, Eliza Griswold maps Syria’s artistic diaspora: what happens when a culture disperses?
- With the death of IKEA billionaire Ingvar Kamprad, it’s worth revisiting this sharp profile of the furniture chain’s founder by Daniel Birnbaum, written for us in 1996 – it takes a look at his 1976 text The Testament of a Furniture Dealer: 'It is easy to forget that Kamprad's highly-strung manifesto concerns a furniture company, and not some religious or political movement hoping to save mankind from the temptations of worldly evil.’
- In the Financial Times, Edwin Heathcote asks: if IKEA introduced affordable modernity to the world, just what kind of modernity was it? 'Take the Billy bookcase. It is, arguably, the most successful piece of modern furniture. It is also rubbish.'
- Writing in the Paris Review, Daniel Penny takes us into the strange world of crypto-collectibles.
- 'Why do people in some places – but not others – become radicalized, driving revolutions into previously uncharted territory?’
- And finally, Charlotte Higgins profiles the beloved Mary Beard for the Guardian’s Long Read.