• Art/Language
  • Ideas, Passions and Extremes

    Like thousands of other Stoppard fans, I’m reading Isaiah Berlin’s Russian Thinkers in preparation for doing a Coast of Utopia marathon in May—3 plays, one after another, starting at 11am on a Saturday morning. As soon as the New York Times and the New Yorker reviewed the plays and both referenced the usefulness of Berlin’s […]

  • Art/Language
  • Inside Talking to Inside

    Donald Hall’s definition of poetry: human inside talking to human inside. It may also be reasonable person talking to reasonable person, but if it is not inside talking to inside, it is not a poem. This inside speaks through the second language. It is the ancient prong of carbon in the arc light. We all […]

  • Current viewings
  • Carnegie Museum of Art

    More from Pittsburgh: Carnegie Museum of Art Modern Japanese Prints: 1868–1989 The show includes stop-in-your-tracks stunners by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892) who lived his life on the cusp between old and new Japan. Garnered from private collections, these Yoshitoshis from the 36 Ghosts series display his technical brilliance–vignetted color and the exactitude of a fine pen […]

  • Current viewings
  • The Mattress Factory

    Just back from 4 days in Pittsburgh. AKA The Burgh. It’s my favorite misunderstood city. And one that offers a full complement of visual language experiences. The Mattress Factory Art Museum The Mattress Factory has been exhibiting experimental/installation art for 30 years and boasts 3 permanently installed James Turrells, a Yayoi Kusama, among others. A […]

  • Art/Language
  • Rooting

    I’ve now heard two interviews with Elif Shafak, the Turkish novelist who was taken to court by right wing factions in Turkey for having mentioned the Armenian genocide in her fiction writing. I have not yet read her latest novel, Bastard of Istanbul. Even though the American reviews of the book have been mixed, I […]

  • Art/Music
  • French or German, Pick One

    Robert Benchley, of Algonquin Round Table fame, once claimed that there are two kinds of people in the world–those that divide the world into two groups, and those that don’t. In the spirit of Mr. Benchley’s dichotomous claim, here’s one from Anthony Tommasini’s New York Times review of the Boston Symphony: The composer Ned Rorem […]

  • Art/Language
  • The Love of Forms

    Celestial Music I have a friend who still believes in heaven. Not a stupid person, yet with all she knows, she literally talks to God. She thinks someone listens in heaven. On earth she’s unusually competent. Brave too, able to face unpleasantness. We found a caterpillar dying in the dirt, greedy ants crawling over it. […]

  • Art Making
  • Morphing Encounters with Art

    A recent article in the New York Sun describes a Flickr-based project called “Impressions of MoMA” or iMOMA, in which photos of the MOMA’s collection have been gathered together–150,000 items not counting the video and film libraries. Started last August by brothers Travis and Brady Hammond, iMOMA now includes 11,000 photos taken by over 2,000 […]

  • Art Making
  • Grumpy, but with a Purpose

    Jing Zhou, an associate professor of management at Rice University, has researched how grumpy people are more creative problem solvers. “It’s a departure from the general management philosophy that a positive mood leads to creative problem-solving,” said Zhou. A mood of contentment doesn’t fit with creativity. So bad moods can spark creativity, says the experts. […]