• 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 […]

  • Ideas
  • Song of a Convalescent

    Michael Rau and Matthew Yates Crowley (Photo: American Repertory Theater) The window is a small one, so you will need to move quickly. If you are in the Boston area and are interested in idea-driven theater that captures the mind and the imagination both, here’s one for you: Song of a Convalescent Ayn Rand Giving […]

  • Books
  • Finding Squares

    Marilynne Robinson (Photo: Big Think) Recently I wrote about Richard Diebenkorn and described how deeply his work and approach to life informed my way of art making and being in the world. In that post I referenced Adam Gopnik‘s description of squareness: Cézanne, unique among the masters, was utterly square. Diebenkorn, the perfect representative of […]

  • Ideas
  • The Boredom/Bliss Continuum

    Slow accretion of ice on a window in winter Note: The following post is pulled from the Slow Muse archives. What caught me on the reread was the note left by David Foster Wallace with his final manuscript: “Pay close attention to the most tedious thing you can find (Tax Returns, Televised Golf) and, in […]

  • Aesthetics
  • The V Word

    Ernesto Pujol (Photo: FIAF) Vulnerability, a meme that previously had little traction outside the world of self-help literature and 12 step programs, has gone mainstream. Brene Brown came at it straight on in a Tedx talk back in 2010. That speech went viral immediately and she became the “vulnerability expert” almost overnight. Brown’s contention is […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Slow Looking, Boredom and Contemporary Art

    Frank Auerbach, Reclining Head of Gerda Boehm, private collection Over the fall months James Elkins, the prodigiously prolific writer about art, art history, criticism and art appreciation, wrote a series of pieces for the Huffington Post. (I wrote about his series here.) One of those articles as a title—Are Artists Bored By Their Work?—that is […]

  • Ideas
  • Cognitive Tools

    One of my favorite spots on the web is the annual World Question* presented by The Edge. Each year a provocative question is posed, then answers flow in from every profession and point of view. It is a fascinating cross section of thinking, perspectives and insights. The question being asked for 2011 is: What scientific […]

  • Ideas
  • Spring Leaves the Station

    A visual/verbal commentary on a few days in New York City, where spring has come and spread its gorgeousness everywhere. First on the list: The High Line, my favorite urban touchstone for seasonal drift. Two views looking south from 20th street—two months ago and this weekend: Comparing urban flora and fauna in February and then […]

  • Ideas
  • Spry, Wise and Distinguised

    A special message for all my younguns friends out there: Beware of contempt about growing old. It may be harmful to your health later on. As reported by Kay Lazar in the Boston Globe, what you think about aging while you are still young can impact how it happens to you when it does: When […]