• Aesthetics
  • From a High Small Place

    Self Portrait with Masks, James Ensor It is easy for someone like me, who has been studying art for a lifetime, to convince myself that I have an accurate measure of the dimensions of a particular artist’s operative domain. But gratefully that conceit has not resulted in a callow disregard, and I love when my […]

  • Science
  • The Mystery of Memory

    The Persistance of Memory, by Dali Penelope Lively has a view of memory that reflects my own beliefs about this extraordinary thing we can do with our minds. In an article in the Guardian by Sarah Crown, Lively’s view is stated clearly: “The idea that memory is linear,” says Penelope Lively, crisply, “is nonsense. What […]

  • Textiles
  • Textilia

    Richard Tuttle, an artist I hold with deep regard, loves textiles. A few years ago he was asked by curator Mary Hunt Kahlenberg to put together a show of 25 Indonesian ceremonial textiles. His choices as well as the commentary captions he wrote—referred to by him as “love letters” to each of the pieces—were published […]

  • Ideas
  • Sheepism

    Nicholas Wade, one of the better scientific contrarian journalists, has written about why Jared Diamond’s blockbuster Guns, Germs and Steel is misleading as well as why cats are, without question, utterly useless. (That last topic garnered thousands of emails in passionate protest. Many cat lovers, myself included, are convinced that felines are angelic energies embodied […]

  • Art Making
  • Go for Interesting

    Howard Zinn Some of my favorite advice for living came through Howard Zinn by way of The Impossible Will Take a Little While, a collection of essays about and by people who did not give up even though the deck was stacked against them. To paraphrase the outspoken, truth-wielding Zinn, he says you have to […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Kirkeby: Beyond Classifcation

    (Photo: Tate © The artist) Robert Storr, dean of the School of Art at Yale and commissioner of the 2007 Venice Biennale, has written about the Per Kirkeby exhibit at the Tate Modern. The first paragraph of Storr’s commentary is actually one of the most succinct and accurate descriptions I’ve read of the current “exercises […]

  • Poetry
  • Harrison’s Four Elements

    The Four Elements I. Pasiphaë Wife: word and vow. Invisible. Bound— as heat is to flame. No god did this, no pretty, facile cow. A kingdom of men, blinded. And me—burning to be seen. Burning for him. I chose, did not haggle over price. At last, in the ashes, after, you see me. I made […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Lasse Antonsen: The Layers of Meaning

    (Photo courtesy of Lasse Antonsen) Painter extraordinaire and friend Marcia Cannistraro (to whom I will always be indebted for giving me her studio when she moved out of Boston) stopped by this weekend and introduced me to Lasse Antonsen. Lasse’s exhibit, The Continuous Translation, was completing its run at the Artist’s Foundation Gallery at the […]

  • Aboriginal art
  • Spaciality and Language

    Aboriginal rock painting, Kakadu, Aust. Credit: Thomas Schoch As a follow on to my earlier post on human spaciality, Stanford assistant professor of psychology, neuroscience, and symbolic systems Lera Boroditsky has written a piece on Edge that explores how individual languages shape the way speakers think about space, time, colors and objects. She demonstrates that […]

  • Ideas
  • Crossovers

    Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail and now Free: The Future of a Radical Price is out promoting his book. (I know, I know, the irony is too tempting isn’t it? No the book is not free, and neither are his speaking engagements. But I digress…) Now with a review in the Times Book […]