Recent links of note:

Google, Shmoogle. Reference Librarians Are Busier Than Ever
James R. Hagerty, The Wall Street Journal

In this “information age” of search engines and smartphones, staff members at the public libraries strewn across our nation are still finding their services in high demand. As it turns out, many people (and not just those who drag their knuckles along the ground behind them as they walk) trust these researchers with both their day-to-day “facts” and their more in-depth studies. With our growing awareness of the unreliability of search engines, and their inability to provide results free of the influence of politics and money, the news should not be as surprising as it may initially seem. Read James R. Hagerty’s Wednesday “A-hed” in The Wall Street Journal for the full story.

Why Would Anyone Pay $450 Million for the ‘Salvator Mundi’? Because They’re Not Buying the Painting
Tim Schneider, artnet News

Though stories on art rarely pique the interest of the greater population, tales of the excesses of auction houses seem to strike a nerve. This week, international headlines were made when a sale at Christie’s concluded with a yet-unnamed buyer purchasing Salvator Mundi, a restored painting recently attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, for a total of $450.3 million (buyer’s premium included), shattering the previous record for a work sold at auction by over 122 percent. Much ink has been spilled on the matter, with many writers speculating on the identity of the mysterious buyer and the rationale behind spending almost half a billion dollars on a small, heavily damaged, and fairly uninspiring image. Count Tim Schneider among these writers, who discusses in artnet News how self-branding and conspicuous consumption is to blame for these sorts of unfathomable spikes. His account conveys a morose truth about the absence of connoisseurship in the “artworld” today: “It feels less to me like marketing overcame connoisseurship than that connoisseurship was irrelevant from the start.” True words, though many in the arts will lay the blame with capitalism rather than where it is really deserved—the anti-art, anti-knowledge “theory” that pervades the market and that has left truth at the proverbial door.

From our pages:

Studio visit: Michael Bennett’s Requiem
Dominic Green