In the Fragments

Fresco fragment from Piero della Francesca’s Legend of the True Cross, portraying Constantine’s victory over Maxentius in 312. In Arezzo, Italy, Cappella Bacci. I took hundreds of photographs while I was away, but the one I keep returning to is this fragment. A segment from one of the more damaged frescos by Piero della Francesca […]

Pieced Cloth

Fragment of cloth in the Islamic galleries at the Metropolitan Museum Breaks are always, and fatally, reinscribed in an old cloth that must continually, interminably, be undone. –Jacques Derrida, Positions Sometimes it isn’t just about the whole cloth. This past weekend I thought a lot about fragments, about the shards of incompleteness that are “continually, […]

History in a Box

A shamsa (literal meaning, “sun”) from the Met’s new Islamic Art wing One of my favorite books right now is Between Artists: Twelve Contemporary American Artists Interview Twelve Contemporary American Artists. I have so much more to say about this book, and hopefully I will write about it in more detail later on. But right […]

Gimbutas’ Old Europe

Female Figurine (front and back), Cucuteni, Drăguşeni, 4050-3900 BC, Botoşani County Museum, Botoşani (Photo: Marius Amarie) Anthropomorphic Vessel, Gumelniţa, Sultana, 4600-3900 BC, National History Museum of Romania, Bucharest (Photo: Marius Amarie) John Noble Wilford has written a fascinating article in the Science section of the New York Times (its location in the paper is telling) […]

Venus of Hohle Fels

The latest “venus figurine” find from the Hohle Fels cave in Germany is an extraordinary portrayal of the female form. Wow. This one is a knock out. So expressive, so wildly physical. What baffles me is the word used in much of the press coverage of this 35,000 year old sculpture: pornographic. Hello? Pornographic because […]