• Books
  • Taking Flight

    Small Point, Maine Angeles Arrien assembled The Four Fold Way after spending many years living with indigenous cultures as a cultural anthropologist. She observed that these non-first world cultures actually did a better job of offering their residents a way of life that has more access to joy and happiness than ours. In case you […]

  • Books
  • Sense Making

    “Night Sea,” by Agnes Martin (Photo: San Francisco Museum of Art) What we read and hear, how we form our sense of a something—the way we give shape and meaning to information—is going through a major evolution and change. When I read the personal accounts of how people responded to the invention of the printing […]

  • Art Making
  • Makers Unite

    My granddaughter Siena drawing in the Rothko room at the newly opened East Building of the National Gallery, Washington DC (Photo: Mona Wilcox) We have to help each other. That may sound trite, but it has come to mean a lot more to me over the last dark weeks. When my spirits flagged, I have […]

  • Art Making
  • The Private and the Political

    From Doris Salcedo’s Disremembered series. These sculptures are made with raw silk threads interspersed with more than 12,000 tiny, blackened needles. “Handwoven thread by thread and needle by needle, each delicately beautiful but menacing garment embodies a painstaking gesture of mourning.” (Detail) I’m not the only one stymied. Many of us are struggling with we […]

  • Art Making
  • Benedictions

    Sally Mann (Photo: Liz Liguori) Finding fully immersive distractions to defend against the relentlessly ugly political news has become a daily ritual. Like so many others, I go out each day in search of sustenance in a landscape that has been ravaged by the locusts of lies, hatred and distrust. Protecting the inner landscape and […]

  • Books
  • Memory’s Truth: Three Memoirs

    Family diary of Florentine merchant Pepo d’Antonio di Lando degli Albizzi from the 14th century (Photo: The Newberry Library) Memoirs have been around for a long time, but their occurrence increased significantly around 1990. Interest in that literary category has continued, growing 400 percent between 2004 and 2008 alone, which has led many to call […]

  • Books
  • Tiny Rectangles

    Some of my tiny rectangles. (And yes, there are others) Now this is a headline perfectly designed to be click bait for the likes of me: On the Heartbreaking Difficulty of Getting Rid of Books But I’m glad I took the bite since Summer Brennan‘s essay was perfect for me: thoughtful, humorous and yes, reassuring. […]

  • Art World
  • Worthy Women

    Ocean, by Vija Celmins, 2003 (Photo: C4 Gallery) Dave Hickey has written about art by cantankerously taking down the academic art establishment, languaging his outrage in a spectrum that ranges from snarky to lyrical, oscillating in tone between a Walt Whitman-like effulgence to just one more Western cowboy dopey dude. He’s not my favorite critic […]

  • Art Making
  • The Strange and the Familiar

    “Lajiva”, from a new series In his essay, The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism, Jonathan Lethem writes, “It’s not a surprise that some of today’s most ambitious art is going about trying to make the familiar strange.” That line is a reference to the 18th century poet Novalis whose early romanticism was captured in his […]