Recent links of note:

“On the Sixth Day”

Charles Nicholl, London Review of Books

Francesco Petrarca (1304–74), one of the “tre corone” of early Italian literature with Dante and Boccaccio, was much more than the namesake of the Petrarchan sonnet. His most famous work, often called Rerum vulgarium fragmenta (Fragments of things in the vernacular) or Il Canzoniere (The Songbook), certainly demonstrates his mastery of poetic form. But he was also a prolific epistolarian, a writer of dialogues, one of the first scholars to actively seek out lost manuscripts, and the creator of that legendary figure of his love sonnets, Laura (a real woman, but one whose life was thoroughly fictionalized in Petrarch’s poetry). In his engrossing review of Petrarch: Everywhere a Wanderer, Christopher Celenza’s brief introduction to Petrarch and an overview of Petrarch’s works, Charles Nicholls aims to restore the crown of Petrarch, now the least known of the tre corone. For more on Petrarch, read Eric Ormsby’s “A confusion of harmonies” and “Petrarch: a splendid excess.”

“More Than 75 New York Galleries Are Slammed With Lawsuits for Allegedly Violating the Americans With Disabilities Act”

Eileen Kinsella, Artnet News

The blind seem to be leading the blind to New York art galleries’ websites—on the way to the piles of cash that lawyers glimpse hiding behind murky federal laws about online accessibility for disabled people. Recently, seventy-five New York galleries have been hit with lawsuits claiming that they violate the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, which states that companies must ensure that disabled people have “full and equal enjoyment of public accommodations,” including internet services. The 2008 Web Accessibility Initiative, which suggests coding that will enable audio screen-reading along with other guidelines, is not federal law. Thirty-seven of the recent lawsuits against New York galleries were filed by the legally blind Brooklyn resident Deshawn Dawson, who demands, among other things, “special code that would enable browsers to describe images for people with impaired vision.” But updates to websites, especially to complex, image-heavy ones like those of many art galleries, are costly and have “the potential to be devastating for some galleries,” according to Maureen Bray, the executive director of Art Dealers Association of America. While ADA online compliance has been on Congress’s radar for years, a representative for Congressman J. Luis Correa of California, a state that deals frequently with ADA lawsuits against small businesses, said his staff was “unaware this has spread into the art world.”

“Churchill’s ‘strongest link’ in the Battle of Britain: new museum tells story of Biggin Hill airfield”

Maev Kennedy, The Art Newspaper

A new museum attached to St. George’s Chapel at Britain’s Biggin Hill airfield will open tomorrow despite protests from former chapel employees and many others. The museum plans to tell the story of Biggin Hill, Churchill’s “strongest link” in the 1940 Battle of Britain, with an archive compiled largely from donated artifacts and interviews with local community members, including survivors and descendants of the 454 pilots who died on missions based at the airfield. Those opposed to the museum have attacked it from all sides with complaints ranging from historical concerns to aesthetic reservations: the building looks like a concentration camp, some say, its bricks are too German, it required the removal of historic trees, and more. The petition against the project currently stands at 26,000 signatures, but Robin Lee, the museum’s architect, says the real problem is simply jealousy; the protesters are fighting over something “they wanted to build themselves but couldn’t achieve.”

From our pages

“Drop the hammerklavier”

James Panero

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