Bits: 08.11.09

Mural near Dikeman and Dwight, Red Hook, Brooklyn, photographed by Stephan Geras

• New NEA head Rocco Landesman on the organization's old slogan, "A Great Nation Deserves Great Art": "We might as well just apologize right off the bat."

• It's confirmed: the Obama/Joker poster is a bona fide media meme. It must be if Shepard Fairey is weighing in on it. "I have my doubts about the person's intelligence," he tells the LA Times. "It's not grammatically correct. It would be 'socialist' ... Obama is not Marx. He didn't create socialism..."

• Bloomberg's top-museum-salaries list is out and -- no suprise -- MoMA's Glenn Lowry tops it, raking in a cool $1.32 million last fiscal year (down from $1.95 million the previous year).

• Ben Davis' "The Museum Bubble" -- via @enjoybanking -- writes about big salaries pulled in by museum execs like the Getty Trust's James Williams who made $1.28 million in compensation, "even as his investment decisions led to the loss of 205 jobs." He continues: "I am not of the camp who hates on art students just because they were sold the idea that art could be a lucrative and glamorous career, or who thinks that art dealers are the spawn of Satan (only some of them are). But the art bureaucrats at the top, those pious guardians of our nonprofit castles of culture -- they deserve our scorn right now." Worth reading.

• Behold, the DORYU 2-16 pistol camera, a 16mm police-issue film camera from Japan.

• The LA Times' Christopher Knight responds to Rush Limbaugh, who says Obama's healthcare logo is "damn close to a Nazi swastika logo":
Asserting a resemblance between the two logos is like saying Limbaugh resembles Gary Busey because both men have two eyes, a nose, a mouth and a drug addiction. Obama's healthcare logo includes no eagle, Roman symbol of imperial authority, and it has no swastika, the bent-arm cross designed by Hitler himself as the emblem of National Socialism. Instead, the Obama design surmounts the red, white and blue landscape of his presidential campaign logo with a caduceus, the winged staff entwined with serpents that derived from the rod of Asclepius, son of Greek god Apollo. An ancient symbol of healing, the rod is often used as a medical logo. So the Obama design shows a medical symbol above the American landscape.

Make that two hitches: The claim that Nazism embraced healthcare is obscene.

• More moss graffiti.

• A new street-art animation by BLU in Bologna.

100 Years of Design Manifestos.

• Sock monkey? Feh! Spock monkey!

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