2009

Royal armor and portraits at the National Gallery of Art

Royal armor and portraits at the National Gallery of Art

Royal armor and portraits at the National Gallery of Art

Royal armor and portraits at the National Gallery of Art

Royal armor and portraits at the National Gallery of Art

July 12, 2009
July 12, 2009
Royal armor and portraits at the National Gallery of Art
Suits of armor were once so finely wrought that an attacking lance would glance off their smooth metal harmlessly. But then, as the Middle Ages moved into the Renaissance, European kings demanded that the craftsmen finish the armor with elaborate decoration. All the engraving and embossing upset the surface of the armor. A lance would no longer slip away. But that did not matter. Decorated armor was for show, so that the kings would look majestic and powerful and indestructible, especially in portraits by great painters...

Marcel Duchamp's Étant donnés: The revival of a masterpiece

Marcel Duchamp's Étant donnés: The revival of a masterpiece

Marcel Duchamp's Étant donnés: The revival of a masterpiece

Marcel Duchamp's Étant donnés: The revival of a masterpiece

Marcel Duchamp's Étant donnés: The revival of a masterpiece

September 27, 2009
September 27, 2009
Marcel Duchamp's Étant donnés: The revival of a masterpiece
The Philadelphia Museum of Art, which has had the late Frenchman's landmark work as part of its permanent collection for 40 years, marks the anniversary with a greatly expanded exhibition. Marcel Duchamp served for many years as both a prince and court jester to modern art in the 20th century. While creating some well-known works, he also punctured pretensions with jokes, pranks, aphorisms and a perpetual hunt for new byways of art. Then he announced he was abandoning art, giving it all up to play chess. But he was not telling the truth. He worked in secret for 20 years, assembling a huge, fanciful and puzzling diorama. When he died in 1968, only a few people knew about his secret. A year after his death, the Philadelphia Museum of Art installed the secret work and displayed it to the public. While some patrons were shocked by its sexuality, it soon became a magnet for young artists looking for new paths to take their own work. Duchamp's masterpiece, known as "Étant donnés," a shortened form of its French title, is now regarded as one of the most powerful and dynamic influences on contemporary art...

Very British Republicans

Very British Republicans

Very British Republicans

Very British Republicans

Very British Republicans

December 28, 2009
December 28, 2009
Very British Republicans
How can we understand that stalwart band of forty Republican nay-sayers in the Senate, determined to prevent health reform no matter how necessary, determined to embarrass their president no matter how much they embarrass their country? The Republicans are behaving as if they have lost their way and somehow turned up in the British parliamentary system. They are like mean kids who show up for every baseball game with no gloves or bats but only skates and hockey sticks. The Republicans have deluded themselves about the American way of legislating for some time...