“Did they have color in the past?” This question, one often hears, ranks among the darndest things said by kids, or at least kids who have learned a little about history, but not the history of photography.[...]
“We can say of Shakespeare,” wrote T.S. Eliot—in what may sound like the most backhanded of compliments from one writer to another—“that never has a man turned so little knowledge to such great account.[...]
I first encountered the world of Maurits Cornelis Escher where many others do: in school.[...]
In the winter of 2012, just before Christmas, a carful of Britons made their way through the snow to a house in rural France. The roads would soon close, but no matter; they’d planned to make some apple crumbles, do some drawing, and enjoy some conversation.[...]
Many of us have a fraught relationship with what medical illustrator Vanessa Ruiz, above, refers to as our anatomical selves.
You may have received the Visible Man for your 8th birthday, only to forget, some thirty years later, what your spleen looks like, where it’s located and what it does.
A museum which contains only works of art that nobody can find sounds like something Jorge Luis Borges would’ve dreamed up, but it has twice become a reality in the 21st century — or twice become a virtual reality, anyway. “The Concert by Johannes Vermeer. Poppy Flowers by Vincent van Gogh.[...]
You may have first encountered the word Bauhaus as the name of a campy, arty post-punk band that influenced goth music and fashion. But you’ll also know that the band took its name from an even more influential art movement begun in Germany in 1919 by Walter Gropius.[...]
A loose association of mid-20th century artists including at times John Cage, Yoko Ono, and Joseph Bueys, the Fluxus group produced a lot of strange performative work and anti-art stunts influenced by similar provocations from earlier Dada artists.[...]
Artist Ai Weiwei has been giving the finger to authority for most of his career in a figurative sense, butting heads with Chinese censors, and refusing to tame his message even after several arrests, bans, and beatings.[...]
Western culture has long used swords, and the smithing thereof, as a signifier of Japanese culture. It evokes revered tradition, perfectionistic craftsmanship, and a capacity for violence equally impulsive and formalized, all of which carry aspects of cliché and stereotype to which Eastward-looking Western artists often fall victim.[...]