Art

What is art?

Featured image A few years ago, as I understand it, a group of feminists took over the Manchester Art Gallery. As part of their takeover, they placed new explanatory plaques in some of the exhibition rooms. The plaques, which are still there, riff on the existing ones, but provide a snarky radical feminist spin. Here is an example: In the wake of the Industrial Revolution in Britain, male merchant manufacturers increasingly bought »

“High and Low” revisited

Featured image We went to the current arthouse smash Parasite last week. It is a South Korean film written and directed by Bong Joon Ho. It won the top prize in Cannes earlier this year. The New York Times has raved about Ho and the film in five reviews and articles or features accessible here. Unlike the Times crew, I don’t recommend the film for its insight or uplift. I don’t recommend »

A Racial Incident at a Boston Museum

Featured image I follow a number of museums on Instagram, including Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. That is how I learned about an incident involving the Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy. MFA posted this on its account: Throughout the past week, the MFA has implemented some immediate action steps in response to the recent incidents involving students from the Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy. We are actively examining our visitor services protocols, »

Bring Back the Golden Fleece!

Featured image Back in the days when some Democrats actually cared about government waste, Senator William Proxmire of Wisconsin became famous for his “Golden Fleece” award, which exposed absurd federal spending boondoggles. Since then, the government’s hemorrhaging of our tax dollars has only gotten worse. The same thing is going on at the state level. Democrats consider all spending, no matter how stupid, to be an “investment” and therefore desirable. My home »

The lives of artists

Featured image I agree with Jonah Goldberg that the “The Lives of Others” is the best Cold War movie, at least of those I’ve seen. Now, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, who wrote and directed that film, has written and directed “Never Look Away.” I wouldn’t call “Never Look Away” a Cold War movie. It encompasses the Cold War, but also World War II. And the last hour or so of this three-hour »

Resist! In Seed Art

Featured image Today was the last day of the Minnesota State Fair. I wrote about my only afternoon at the Fair, which was mostly spent on the radio, here. Over the years, I have written several times about seed art at the Fair (e.g., here and here.) One might expect a traditional rural genre like seed art to lean to the right, but in fact, when political, it has been an entertaining »

Something Completely Different: The Hittites

Featured image Like most people, I suppose, I am aware of the Hittites only as bit players in the Old Testament. In my imagining, they have always been primitive at best. So I was surprised to come across this silver drinking cup in the shape of a fist, which is in the collection of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts: The museum’s site places the vessel in the Hittite New Kingdom during »

Today’s Classroom Lesson: Government Art Subsidies

Featured image For at least 25 years now, conservatives have been asking why taxpayers should subsidize marginal art like “Piss Christ” through the National Endowment for the Arts and such. Periodic calls to abolish the NEA always seem to get turned back somehow in the DC swamp. But the Trump Administration just might be the people to blow off the special pleading of the “arts community” and zero out the NEA. But »

Trump Derangement Syndrome Comes to Seed Art

Featured image When Summer draws to an end, it is time for the Minnesota State Fair, one of the world’s great spectacles. You might expect a state fair to be a refuge from the daily onslaught of politics, but that is not the case. The parties have booths, and even in an odd-numbered year, politicians have booths. Still, this year’s event was low-key, politically, until you entered the seed section of the »

The Sharks Are Going on Strike

Featured image I made a burrito for lunch today, because I wanted to commit a gross act of cultural appropriation. Have you heard the latest out of Portlandia? The appropriately named Kooks Burritos was forced out of business after being attacked for white supremacy because these kooky burritos were being made and sold by white women. Seriously. The Portland Mercury, whose title may explain its mindset because only something like lead or »

I like Ike (and hate the planned memorial)

Featured image Architect and Right By Ike spokesman Sam Roche writes to summarize the case against the planned Eisenhower Memorial on the Mall in Washington, DC. Designed by the atrocious postmodern architect Frank Gehry, it has rightly been called “a monumental shame.” A friend writes to report that GOP Rep. Ken Calvert of California, chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, says he’s about to fund »

The Height of Low Kitsch

Featured image I’ve been wanting to get this story planted somewhere for a long time. Tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal A-hed story: Fans Rally Around ‘That Painting,’ A Symbol of Las Vegas Kitsch By Alexandra Berzon LAS VEGAS—People here can no longer marvel at the public display of one million dollars, be dazzled by “the world’s largest rhinestone” or even watch showgirls prance in ostrich-feather headdresses. All have vanished. But when a reality-television »

Time to Drop the Curtain on Radical Chic

Featured image What is it with the Black Panthers? They were exposed as a vicious criminal gang long ago, and liberals who fawn over them have been subjects of ridicule at least since 1970, when Tom Wolfe wrote Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers. Yet somehow, they keep coming back. I wrote here about the University of Minnesota’s disgraceful plan to honor two surviving Panthers, both of whom are available for »

Waiting for the barbarians

Featured image The December 2015 issue of the New Criterion carries the magazine’s annual special section on art. The last of the essays in the special section is James Panero’s “The vengeance of the Vandals.” It’s an essay that smartly draws interesting historical connections, explains the barbaric vandalism of the Islamists, and makes sound policy recommendations. I can’t recall another essay quite like it. Here is James’s conclusion: It would be untrue »

Sargent at the Met

Featured image Reading a hard copy of the New York Times over the weekend, my eye was caught by the reproduction of a portrait of Henry James by John Singer Sargent that Leon Edel used for the cover of his multivolume biography of James. The accompanying Times article by Holland Cotter covers the Metropolitan Museum’s exhibit of portraits by Sargent, about whom I knew nothing, and includes several more Sargent portraits. Even »

Gelernter on fire

Featured image David Gelernter is an old-fashioned Renaissance man. He is professor of computer science at Yale University, chief scientist at Mirror Worlds Technologies, contributing editor at the Weekly Standard and member of the National Council of the Arts (more here). We have proudly hosted several of his thoughts on the present discontents. Professor Gelernter is the author of books that suggest a kind of Herodotean interest in everything human. Professor Gelernter »

New York Times: The Ultimate in Hypocrisy

Featured image This is from yesterday’s Twitchy, but, assuming that most of our readers don’t haunt Twitter, it bears repeating here. Following the Charlie Hebdo murders, the New York Times covered the terrorist attack, but declined to print any of Charlie Hebdo’s mocking images of Muhammad. The paper self-righteously declared a policy against showing religious images that may be deemed offensive: “Out of respect to our readers we have avoided those we »