Required Reading


‣ For History Today, Isabella Rosner tells the story of Annie Parker, a 19th-century artist who was frequently incarcerated and crafted detailed embroidery using her own hair as a thread:

Between her hairwork embroideries and her presence in workhouse records and newspapers from Kent, London and further afield, we know significantly more about Annie Parker than we do about many other late 19th-century women. It is clear that Parker had become an object of widespread fascination. But even with this surplus of information, we are left trying to find the ‘real’ Annie Parker, the one not sensationalised in newspapers as a ‘notorious woman’ described as having ‘“a screw loose somewhere,” and it seems […] to have been just where the alcohol goes to’. In print she is mythologised and sensationalised, her agency lost. In stitch we have not only her own words, but also a glimpse into how she expressed her emotions, passed the time, and perhaps found some peace behind prison bars. 

‣ Writing for New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, Michael Waldman explains that President Obama was right about Citizens United and how it opened the door to foreign money in US politics:

Well, it’s been 12 years. A recent fine levied by the Federal Election Commission suggests that Obama was right — and that court rulings and administrative paralysis have made our elections ever more vulnerable.

Canadian steel tycoon Barry Zekelman has agreed to pay $975,000 to the FEC after steering corporate donations to a pro-Trump super PAC, in violation of a federal prohibition on foreign influence in U.S. elections.

Super PACs can receive unlimited funds, including from corporations, if the group’s spending is done “independently” of the candidate it supports. This would have been illegal before Citizens United.

‣ Famed Vogue editor Anna Wintour kept her glasses on during the recent Conde Nast firings and people are not having it:

‣ This week, the Ayodhya temple was consecrated by Indian (or Bharat) Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Built atop a mosque that was destroyed by mob violence in the 1990s, the Hindu temple is very symbolic of the new Hindu-First India. France 24 has the story:

YouTube video

Writing for Time, Audrey Truschke says the new temple in India “serves as the biggest political testament yet to Hindu supremacy over Indian Muslims.”

‣ White, minimalist canvases in museums are always the butt of jokes:

‣ Infinity rooms have competition:

‣ Taking a three-year-old to New York City is a unique experience:

‣ A good reminder that some rights women currently enjoy were only granted under US law recently:

‣ Imagine eating squid in a restaurant and this happens:

‣ Some days, amirite?

Required Reading is published every Thursday afternoon, and it is comprised of a short list of art-related links to long-form articles, videos, blog posts, or photo essays worth a second look.





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