Behold the Winners of the 280-Character Story Contest

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Stephen Aubrey, “Cohabitation”

Our first night living together, we took in that puppy howling outside the door. An auspice, I thought. But we’d never done this before. We didn’t know how small things can grow, what little space we can be left to live in. We were not the sort to abandon something until we were.

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A Starry Night Crowded With Selfies

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The city’s summer tourist season is ending, but visitors still crowd four and five deep in neck-craning hubbubs, brandishing phones to take close-ups and grinning selfies and somehow partake of “Starry Night,” the van Gogh masterpiece at the Museum of Modern Art.

The crowds were ceaseless all summer, as they are much of the year — bobbing, weaving, snapping away, denying quiet contemplation. They puzzle no less an art lover than Ann Temkin, the chief curator of painting and sculpture, who has watched the “crazy magnetism” of the painting and her beloved Vincent grow ever since cameras first appeared on phones.

“It’s as if taking a photo of a work in a museum means ‘seeing’ it to a viewer, even though someone like me worries that taking the photo replaces seeing it in the slow and thoughtful way I would ideally wish,” Ms. Temkin ruefully concedes at the bustling museum. “And the problem with all the photo-takers is that they make it impossible for someone who wants to do that kind of looking to do so.”

Selfie Factories: The Rise of the Made-for-Instagram Museum

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Art in the Age of Instagram

If “made-for-Instagram” exhibits suggests something about our selfie-dominated culture, it didn’t start in places like the Museum of Ice Cream. It started on the internet and then spilled out everywhere else—in nature, in restaurants, even in the contemporary art world.

In 2015, the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian opened Wonder, an immersive art experience featuring nine contemporary artists. One room featured a prismatic rainbow made from 60 miles of thread; another room was wallpapered with dead insects; in another, 10 towers of index cards stacked and glued together loomed over visitors like volcanic rock formations. The exhibit, for those who experienced it, was bizarre, beautiful, and at times bewildering. It was also Instagram gold.

Where, though, do we draw the line between art and Instagram filler? What separates the monochromatic paintings of the avant-garde movement, like Ad Reinhardt’s series of square, black canvases, from a room devoted to the color blue in Ferney’s Color Factory? To someone without a robust sense of art history, why does an exhibition like the National Building Museum’s “Beach,” a 10,000 square-foot installation featuring deck chairs and umbrellas set up amid one million white plastic balls, belongs in a category apart from the Color Factory’s yellow ball pit?

Signs of the Times

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Who run the world? Collaborative filtering recommender algorithms. Also known as ‘Customers who bought this item also bought…’ suggestions. They’ve become ubiquitous in the online world, determining what we look at, buy and like…

Hopefully, you are now. Which was the point of putting these giant signs up in locations around New Zealand.

See also this video on BBC.

Digital Artist Yung Jake Scores With Emoji Portraits

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Depicting celebrities like Justin Bieber, Leonardo DiCaprio, Willow Smith and Kim Kardashian West (with strawberry lips and Magic 8 Ball eyes), Yung Jake’s paintings are sprightly renditions of digital images he began making in 2015 with an application developed by Vince McElvie, a business partner and friend. Using emoji.ink as his tool, Yung Jake found he could “paint” pointillist portraits assembled from hundreds of goofy images of movie cameras, rabbits, moons, clouds, smiley faces, honey pots and, yes, poop.

“I just happened to be good at it, so I did a bunch of celebrities,” Yung Jake said in a text message, his preferred form of communication. “I sent a lot to my famous friends knowing they’d post.”

The Faces Behind Craigslist’s “Strictly Platonic” Personal Ads

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It remains an essential paradox of the city—that a place with so many people living so close together can also be so isolating. This is one of the phenomena that the photographer Peter Garritano hoped to explore in “Seeking,” a series of portraits of New Yorkers who have posted advertisements in the Strictly Platonic personals section of Craigslist. The world has acclimated to the fact that people might go online to find a mate, but there are fewer formal avenues through which to find friends, perhaps because friendship is not always acknowledged as something that people have to go out in search of. “We already know everyone’s looking for love,” Garritano told me in an e-mail. “I’m more concerned with our social requirements beyond romance.”

Garritano contacted his subjects through their ads (he got no response to “90 or 95%” of the messages he sent, he told me) then arranged the sittings, where he would come up with the mood for the shots more or less on the spot, based on the subjects’ personalities and his interactions with them. “Seeking” presents each portrait alongside the subject’s Craigslist ad, which, taken together, convey a dizzying range of interests, personalities, desires, projects, anxieties. Many of the people posting are new to town, hoping to get a foothold in New York life. “I’m not sure exactly how to approach the city,” a young man writes, adding that he figures that his chiselled looks could earn him some fast cash working in adult entertainment, if only he had a friend to advise him. Others are veteran New Yorkers in need of a change of pace.