• Aesthetics
  • The Terroir-Driven Life

    Mosel, the German valley most associated with Riesling wines (Photo: Friedrich Petersdorff) I’ve been laboring to write about (mostly) art making and creativity on this blog for almost 10 years. One of the overarching themes has been the search for language that comes in close, authentically, to the experiences I have when I am in […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Sieve the World

    Kana’an 3, from a new series Jane Hirschfield, poet and Buddhist, is my favorite guide to the overlapping territory shared by spirituality and creativity. In her books Nine Gates and most recently, Ten Windows, she moves back and forth between the artistic process and the interior life of the soul. In Ten Windows she writes, […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Pitch Perfect

    Agnes Martin (Photo: Mildred Tolbert) From the newly released Agnes Martin: Her Life and Art, by Nancy Princenthal: Martin’s mature paintings (she destroyed most of her early work) are incontrovertibly right, in the sense that they convince us that not a single preliminary decision or incident of execution could have been changed without damage. Composed […]

  • Aesthetics
  • China, in Fragments

    The only way I can imagine discussing my time in China is from a few small side glances. The incomprehensible immensity of the country, the complexity of its 6,000 year history, the speed with which everything that cannot adapt to China’s streamlined, extraordinary collective vision of the future is being torn down, discarded and abandoned—I […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Evocative Objects

    ‘Ghost Dance Dress’: Southern Arapaho artist, Oklahoma, circa 1890 (Photo: Joshua Ferdinand) The best way I know of dealing with the scale and scope of the Metropolitan Museum is to walk through and let the objects find you. Art critic Michael Kimmelman did his own version of the “evocation stroll” in the company of numerous […]

  • Aesthetics
  • No Logic Here

    “Book for Architects,” by Wolfgang Tillmans (Photo: Francesco Galli) Over the past ten years, I have photographed buildings in ordinary and extraordinary contexts in thirty-seven countries on five continents. Displaying the complexity and the irrationality—sometimes madness—and at other times the beauty of architecture, these pictures in their totality seem to me a little daunting but […]

  • Aesthetics
  • The Sweet Unheard

    Of all the poets who delve into writing, creativity and the nature of art making, Jane Hirschfield is the closest to my way of seeing things. I go back to her books over and over again. Now another to add to my library: Hiddenness, Uncertainty, Surprise: Three Generative Energies of Poetry. These three essays were […]