Chris Burden passed away on May 10 and here at Open Culture we honored him with a post about his oddly hilarious late night 1970s TV commercials. But before that, Burden entered the public consciousness with one of his ballsiest and insane performance pieces.[...]
Polaroid photography has seen a new wave of interest over the past decade, in large part from young photographers looking to do something different from what they can with the digital technology on which they grew up.[...]
I’ve attended my share of graduations and hence my share of graduation speeches—from politicians more interested in stumping than inspiring their audience; to local TV personalities assuring graduates they too could become local TV personalities; to the real Patch Adams, who wasn’t nearly as funny as Robin Williams in his less-tha[...]
When Paulo Coelho’s novel The Alchemist came out in English, the level of popularity it eventually attained seriously impressed me. Then I went to Latin America, where the Spanish version seemed to have won a vaster readership still.[...]
There’s no getting around it: Norman Rockwell was a square. There’s also no getting around the fact that his career helped define the way mainstream Americans saw themselves for decades.[...]
When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time at the Indianapolis Star, where my mother worked in what was then referred to as the “women’s pages.” She kept me busy returning the photos that accompanied marriage and engagement announcements, using the SASEs the young brides had supplied.[...]
In the 17th century, the Flemish Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens painted “The Massacre of the Innocents” (see below), an artistic depiction of a very brief Biblical passage in The Gospel of Matthew.[...]
Edgar Allan Poe achieved almost instant fame during his lifetime after the publication of The Raven (1845), but he never felt he received the recognition he deserved. In some respects, he was right. He was, after all, paid only nine dollars for the poem, and he struggled before and after its publication to make a living from his writing.[...]
Salvador Dalí had a thing for anteaters. They made for good schtick, especially in Europe, and Dalí never saw schtick that he didn’t like.
And yet maybe there’s something a little more to this picture taken in Paris, in 1969. Maybe there’s some kind of symbolism, or even a playful tribute, taking place in the photo above.
Chris Burden got shot with a rifle, closed up in a locker for five days, made to crawl across fifty feet of broken glass, crucified on a Volkswagen Beetle, and wedged for an extended period under a large piece of non-broken glass.[...]