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Centerpoints: Boetti, Murakami, Klein and di Suvero

In today’s edition, resurgences: In interest in Alighiero Boetti’s Afghani-made maps, in austerity, and in free expression around the world.

di Suvero

• There’s renewed interest in the work of late Italian artist Alighiero Boetti (1940-1994), whose work is the subject of a new book, Boetti by Afghan People: Peshawar, Pakistan, 1990, and the new exhibition game plan at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid. For his Mappa series, he hired Afghanis — first in their native country, then in exile in Pakistan after the Soviet invasion — to embroider a giant world map in which land masses are filled in with the flags of the countries that control them. As photographer and Boetti collaborator Randi Malkin Steinberger notes, the artist (who was affiliated with the Arte Povera movement) “wasn’t going to Afghanistan because it was cheap labor, he considered them to be co-authors of the work.”

• Now open in Paris’ Galerie Perrotin, Takashi Murakami’s Homage to Yves Klein. Murakami — whose Walker projects include a commissioned billboard (2004), wallpaper installation (2002) and the exhibition Superflat (2001)  — riffs on International Klein Blue (IKB), a staple of last winter’s Walker/Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden show Yves Klein: With the Void, Full Powers.

• Now installed in New York’s Zuccotti Park, Mark di Suvero‘s Joie de Vivre — the “Weird Red Thing” on Occupy Wall Street maps — has become an icon for the movement, writes Greg Allen, “[w]hich is good, because di Suvero himself is an icon of artistic involvement in political action, activism, and social justice.” (Photo via Hyperallergic.)

• At the New York Review of Books, Tony Judt ponders austerity, in art and in politics: “The wealth of resources we apply to entertainment serves only to shield us from the poverty of the product; likewise in politics, where ceaseless chatter and grandiloquent rhetoric mask a yawning emptiness.” Via C-Monster.

• Citing ousters of despots in places like Libya and Egypt, the Columbia Journalism Review‘s Justin Martin hails a “global surge in freedom of expression“:

I’m not declaring victory. Dictatorships will exist long into the future, and many journalists in places like Mexico, Pakistan and Russia currently live in outright hell. But the capacity of autocrats to control their country’s conversation is slipping, and with it slides the longevity of their fiat.

• As photographer Nan Goldin lends her lens to luxury shoemaker Jimmy Choo, Damien Hirst has designed a label for Somerset Cider Brandy.