Go Inside the Minds of Art's Most Famous Female Readers

The Reader is an art project that creatively plunges into the inner life of art history’s most voracious female book lovers.

We bet she’s thinking “I have it made.”Woman Reading in the Forest, Gyula Benczur (1875).

Museums and galleries are full of them. They have captivated art lovers for centuries, and launched a thousand questions. But who are they? Well, they are women enjoying a good book—and now they’re getting their moment in the sun. The Reader is a new online art, writing, and sound project that gives voice to the many mysterious women depicted as readers in paintings—inviting viewers to imagine their inner lives in rich detail. Created by the Kadist Art Foundation in early 2015, the site’s organizers, Joseph del Pesco and Enar de Dios Rodriguez, invited artists from around the world to create inner monologues for historical women on canvas—elevating them from one dimensional objects into real characters.

Artists who have so far contributed to the project include Christine Sun Kim, Marcelline Delbecq (Paris), Adriana Lara (Mexico City), Beatriz Santiago Muñoz (Puerto Rico), and many others to be announced. The paintings used in the project were selected from the online archives of established museums, which according to the KAF make them “liable to criticism and new kinds of interpretation.”

The Reader Wreathed with Flowers, Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot.

“In researching paintings by anonymous artists and unknown subjects, we discovered an unusual recurrence of women reading books, where the text on the pages of the book is indecipherable, and the book remains unidentified,” says Joseph del Pesco. “The contents of the pages of these books, abstracted in brushstrokes, suggest a world of possible narratives. This led to a series of questions like: Who are these women? Are the details of their lives and stories lost to an erosion of historical record? What was her relationship to the book? We started to think about the women, the book, and the painter as three characters in a possible narrative formation.”

The Reading Girl, Theodore Roussel.

Artists and writers invited to participate in the project were tasked with creating a provocative “intermingling of fiction and museological record.” The result is a charmingly irreverent take on both art history and the male gaze/beautiful-woman-as-muse dynamic. In a text by Christine Sun Kim (read by Tarnia Jones) The Reader (by Harold Knight) thinks to herself “I smell corned beef with garlic. I hear water boiling and metal clinks coming from kitchen. I smell my own wine breath. I feel a small burp coming from below. I wonder if it is okay to browse books. I find it easier to take a vertical book out with a finger and thumb, but not when there is a weighty horizontal book above it, holding vertical books down like a fort (hovering with a grin).”

The Reader by Harold Knight

On an interesting note, Sun Kim is deaf but often makes audio artworks. This adds a new dimension of inventiveness to her imagined dialogues, which include sensory prompts like the appearance of “invisible thick fog” and “heat emits from mouth/nose/ears.”

One of the most recent contributions, from Adriana Lara, contains a section of the Marquis de Sade’s Philosophy in the Bedroom, dramatically altering the viewing, or “reading” of a painting of two young girls.

Imagine this image with an apocalyptic voice over. Two Girls Reading, Arthur George Walker.

While we’re unable to embed the full audio recording, check out the for more on this thought-provoking project.

Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

The future generations will have to live on this Earth for years to come, and, not surprisingly, they're very concerned about the fate of our planet. We've seen a rise in youth activists, such as Greta Thunberg, who are raising awareness for climate change. A recent survey indicates that those efforts are working, as more and more Americans (especially young Americans) feel concerned about climate change.

A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

The poll found that concern for the environment isn't a partisan issue – or at least when it comes to younger generations. Two-thirds of Republicans under the age of 45 feel that addressing climate change is their duty, sentiments shared by only 38% of Republicans over the age of 45.

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The Planet

The healthcare systems in the United States and the United Kingdom couldn't be more different.

The UK's National Health Service is the largest government-run healthcare system in the world and the US's is largest private sector system.

Almost all essential health services in the UK are free, whereas in America cost can vary wildly based on insurance, co pays and what the hospitals and physicians choose to charge.

A medical bill in the US

One of the largest differences is cost. The average person in the UK spends £2,989 ($3915) per year on healthcare (most of which is collected through taxes), whereas the average American spends around $10,739 a year.

So Americans should obviously be getting better care, right? Well, the average life expectancy in the UK is higher and infant mortality rate is lower than that in the US.

RELATED: The World Health Organization declares war on the out of control price of insulin

Plus, in the U.S., only 84% of people are covered by private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Sixteen percent of the population are forced to pay out of pocket.

In the UK, everyone is covered unless they are visiting the country or an undocumented resident.

Prescription drugs can cost Americans an arm and a leg, but in the UK, prescriptions or either free or capped at £8.60 ($11.27).

via Wikimedia Commons

The one drawback to the NHS system is responsiveness. In the UK people tend to wait longer for inessential surgeries, doctor's appointments, and in emergency rooms. Whereas, the US is ranked as the most responsive country in the world.

RELATED: Alarmingly high insulin prices are forcing Americans to flock to Canada to buy the drug

The New York Times printed a fair evaluation of the UK's system:

The service is known for its simplicity: It is free at the point of use to anyone who needs it. Paperwork is minimal, and most patients never see a bill. … No one needs to delay medical treatment until he or she can afford it, and virtually everyone is covered. …

According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States spent 17.2 percent of its economic output on health care in 2016, compared with 9.7 percent in Britain. Yet Britain has a higher life expectancy at birth and lower infant mortality.

Citizens in each country have an interesting perspective on each other's healthcare systems. UK citizens think it's inhumane for Americans have to pay through the nose when they're sick or injured. While Americans are skeptical of socialist medicine.

A reporter from Politics Joe hit the streets of London and asked everyday people what they think Americans pay for healthcare and they were completely shocked.

via Found Animals Foundation / Flickr

Service dogs are true blessings that provide a wide array of services for their owners based on their disability.

They can provide preventative alerts for people with epilepsy and dysautonomia. They can do small household tasks like turning lights on and off or providing stability for their owners while standing or walking.

For those with PTSD they can provide emotional support to help them in triggering situations.

However, there are many people out there who fraudulently claim their pets are service or emotional support animals. These trained animals can cause disturbances in businesses or on public transportation.

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