The “post-human” vocoder sounds of Kraftwerk, Afrika Bambaataa, and Laurie Anderson have a surprising origin: top-secret military projects. A New Yorker video tells the fascinating story of the evolution in uses for a war-time voice encoding technology initially deployed in World War II missions, from Germany to Hiroshima.
- “Up and coming” at 80: British artist Rose Wylie’s bold, “quasi-cartoonish” paintings only started to gain attention five years ago. Now we hear of a belated but bountiful accolade: she’s just won the £25,000 John Moores prize, an honor previously bestowed on artists like David Hockney and Peter Doig.
- The MacArthur Foundation has just named recipients of its 2014 “genius” grant: twenty-one creative individuals in an array of fields—including cartoonist Alison Bechdel, documentary filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer, and public artist Rick Lowe—will each receive $625,000. The presence of Project Row Houses founder Rick Lowe on the list is a “big win” for social practice art, writes the LA Times’ Carolina Miranda. “Lowe’s award, in many ways, helps confer mainstream prestige to the form. But it also highlights the level of commitment that well-produced activist art can demand.
- Good news for New York City Municipal ID Card holders: card carriers will get yearlong free admission to thirty-three museums and cultural institutions, including the Met and MoMA PS1. Such perks are designed to attract all New Yorkers to sign up and help undocumented immigrants who lack an official ID.
- Focusing on activist makers from Suzanne Lacy to Antanas Mockus, the Santa Monica Museum of Art’s new show examines junction of art and social justice programs, asking: “Should we judge activist art on the way it looks or the social change it creates?”
- For the new edition of its biennial Art 50 list, Newcity Art names fifty influential artists who call Chicago their home, from socially engaged artist Theaster Gates and photographer Dawoud Bey to “non-commercial” art collective Temporary Services.
- For his Alcatraz show, Ai Weiwei has created 176 portraits of political prisoners and exiles, from Edward Snowden to Tibetan pop singer Lolo. By using Legos, he says he’s referencing the precariousness of human rights and the threat of political imprisonment.