• 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Art Making
  • Pfaffability

    Judy Pfaff at Wheaton College Judy Pfaff is an artist’s artist. Perhaps I should be more specific and say she is my kind of artist’s artist. And “my kind of artist” is a much bigger category than me and my friends. Legions of us have followed her for years, and we keep being compelled, enthralled, […]

  • Art Making
  • Touchability

    Edmund de Waal, detail, Princeton Museum Continuing with themes inspired by Edmund de Waal in his latest book, The White Road… In a profile of de Waal that appeared in the New York Times, Sam Anderson describes de Waal as an evangelist of touch. “Thinking is through the hands as well as the head,” de […]

  • Art Making
  • When a Stack of Bowls is a Chord

    Edmund de Waal installation currently on view at the Princeton Museum With the publication and international success of his family memoir, The Hare With Amber Eyes, Edmund de Waal became a literary sensation before many knew he was, first and foremost, an artist whose specialty is ceramics. Notoriety tends to spills over, and soon his […]

  • 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 […]