• featured
  • The Certain and the Uncertain

    My granddaughter Siena, exploring all the available painting surfaces The assault on reason and human values that is ongoing in the political landscape isn’t confined to the ideological arena. When life’s bandwidth gets hijacked daily, resource allocation happens by default (especially for those of us over 50 who have to husband our energy.) As a […]

  • Politics
  • Bring on the Counter-Narratives

    Fingersmith, at A.R.T. (Photo: A.R.T.) Counter-narratives become much needed palliatives when the storyline of daily life becomes poisonous. Watching the transition to a new regime of power in Washington is like a flashback to the most addled aspects of the 1950’s. As Thomas Friedman recently wrote in the New York Times, “There is actually something […]

  • 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 […]

  • History
  • Guided by Stars

    The Starry Plough flag, at the Irish National Museum, Collins Barracks We are going through a period in our history that feels like a Rubicon crossing. Decisions made now will have ramifications that will be long, deep and unperceived from our current viewing spot. Brexit was one of those ramifying decisions, and the U.S. presidential […]

  • Politics
  • Doing Time: Anna Deavere Smith

    Most of us have a list of artists, writers and musicians who have touched us so consistently that we are ever ready to reach out to each new work that emerges. Once ensconced in my personal hall of fame, my list of carefully chosen creatives are my personal canonicals. I show up for everything they […]

  • Art History/Theory
  • Art and Politics

    Jamuna, pure pigment on canvas, by Natvar Bhavsar (Image: Asianart.com) Political language is a tongue, one that is optimally designed to infiltrate both thinking and feeling at the same time. Sarah Hurwitz, speechwriter for Michelle Obama, is a master at getting words to work at all those levels at the same time. Oratory brilliance takes me straight […]

  • History
  • Micro-Cultures of our Own Making

    In one of the essays included in William Gibson‘s book, Distrust That Particular Flavor, he refers to the “personal micro-culture” that every artist creates around herself. “We [are] shaped as writers, I believe, not much by who our favorite writers are as by our general experience of fiction.” That notion of a micro-culture extends beyond […]

  • 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 […]