Why Are So Many Old Art Exhibitions Being Revived?


The Armory Show of 1913, Hitler’s 1937 “Degenerate Art” exhibition, MoMA’s The Photographic Object 1970, the 1966 show that introduced America to Minimalism, the infamous human zoo from 1914, and numerous others – why recreate entire assemblages by other curators, and why now? (Yes, of course there are good reasons.)

What Do We Do With Our Old, Disused Airports?


There are more out-of-use terminals around than you’d think, some of them architectural landmarks (Saarinen’s TWA terminal at JFK) and all of them expensive. Jonathan Glancey looks at what’s been tried, from the triumphant repurposing of Berlin Tempelhof to Saarinen’s building to poor old Montreal Mirabel.

Is Weird Al So Popular Because He’s Reassuring?

weird al

Sasha Frere-Jones: “With his parodic versions of hit songs, this somehow ageless fifty-four-year-old has become popular not because he is immensely clever – though he can be – but because he embodies how many people feel when confronted with pop music: slightly too old and slightly too square. That feeling never goes away, and neither has Al, who has sold more than twelve million albums since 1979.”

For Museums, “Deaccession” Ia A Dirty Word. Should It Be?

deaccession detroit

“The principle,” says the president of the AAMD, “is that works of art shouldn’t be considered liquid assets to be converted into cash. They’re records of human creativity that are held in the public trust.” On ther other hand (says the other side), “Once you’ve decided to sell a work of art, what you end up with is money. And money is fungible. And saying that that money has to be cordoned off and only used for art doesn’t address the realities of running any sort of museum.”

Shark Week Jumps It: Discovery Channel Lied To Scientists To Get Them To Appear

shark week

“[Jonathan] Davis was shocked to find that his interview aired during a 2013 Shark Week special called Voodoo Shark, which was about a mythical monster shark called ‘Rooken’ that lived in the Bayous of Louisiana. … His answers from unrelated questions were edited together to make it seem like he believed in its existence and was searching for it.” And his is not the only instance.

A Depression Theme At This Year’s Edinburgh Fringe

depression edinburgh

Lyn Gardner: “It’s always good to talk, and maybe these shows and others are a sign that we are getting better about being honest with each other about our own frailties. When I’ve discussed these shows with other people, several have opened up their own mental-health issues. That can only be good. It’s as if these shows give us permission to talk about the taboo, let down our guard.”

The Best-Selling Identical-Twin Novelists

grossman twins

Maria Konnikova interviews Austin (Soon I Will Be Invincible) and Lev (The Magicians) Grossman – really, they interview each other – about separating (and not) from each other and from the family business: both parents were writers, the black-sheep sister is a sculptor, and they say they’re “failed non-writers”.

Corcoran Gallery Fires Leader Of “Save The Corcoran” Group


Jayme McLellan, an adjunct instructor at the Corcoran, had been engaged to teach her usual class in professional practices for artists this fall. Last week “she was notified that the class was canceled and her employment terminated. … The problem: McLellan is the co-founder of Save the Corcoran” – the group that filed suit to stop the planned dissolution/division of the Corcoran between the National Gallery and GWU.”

China’s “Sex And The City” (Chairman Mao Would Be Horrified)

tiny times

The Tiny Times film franchise “is a wholesale celebration of conspicuous consumption … a cross between Sex and the City and The Devil Wears Prada.” The series has greatly irked “those who think individualism and materialism have gone too far in China.” It has also pulled in $200 million so far.

A Brief History Of Inappropriately Invoking George Orwell

orwell NSA

“In view of Amazon’s hilarious misappropriation of an Orwell quote in its ongoing battle with Hachette, it might be more fun to take a look at a few of the many times in recent memory when Orwell’s memory has been used and abused … but watch out for Big Brother.”

This Is The Most Controversial Show In Edinburgh


“South Africa’s fearless theatre-maker Brett Bailey has made a career out of tackling the most difficult aspects of race. His new show” – titled Exhibit B – “features black people in cages, in reference to real 19th-century human zoos – and even some of the performers are uneasy about it ”

Curators Trash-Talking At The Smithsonian Summer Showdown

bao bao

A bracket-style competition by public vote to choose the Smithsonian Institution’s “most iconic” object has led to a barrage of competitive tweeting and Photoshopping, as a Pullman train car races against the original “Star-Spangled Banner” flag, and a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton battles the National Zoo’s young panda (“Bao Bao may be small, but at least she’s not extinct.”) and the space shuttle Discovery (“What is black and white AND has been to space? Not Bao Bao.”).

Publisher Of Harper’s Stands Firm In Defense Of Online Paywall And Dead-Tree Magazine


When a group of young people demanded that John R. MacArthur make Harper’s available for free online, “what he told them was ‘essentially, forget it.’ The web, to him, ‘wasn’t much more than a gigantic Xerox machine’ designed to rob publishers and writers. He was mocked as neo-Luddite. But the fight only hardened his convictions, which are reflected monthly in his magazine.”

Robin Williams Dead At 63 In Apparent Suicide

robin williams wash post

“The Juilliard-trained actor and uncontainably exhibitionist comic who became one of the most dazzling all-around talents in show business … was found dead Aug. 11 at his home in Tiburon, Calif. He was 63 … The cause of death was [apparently] suicide due to asphyxia … His media agent said he had been battling depression.” (includes slide show and video clips)

The Tragedy Of Robin Williams’s Career

robin williams vulture

David Edelstein: “He never found a form that would capture the genius of his stand-up act or his early appearances on The Tonight Show, when his mind worked faster than anyone alive and very possibly dead, when he seemed to be channeling a fleet of circling UFOs containing the galaxy’s best comedy writers.”

14 Great Robin Williams Moments

robin williams great moments

Sure, there are clips from Mork & Mindy, Dead Poets’ Society, Good Will Hunting and Mrs. Doubtfire – but there are also treasures like an old Richard Pryor roast, a 1977 pop-up on Laugh-In, and a phone company commercial.

Seeing The One Thing That Made Robin Williams Happy (Remembering A Day In The Recording Studio)

robin williams recording

Dahlia Lithwick: “I was aware that I was in the presence of a fantastic, once-in-a-lifetime talent who could not even for a moment settle down enough to breathe himself in. For the few minutes that he was himself, talking to me, he was this sweet gentle, big-hearted guy. But he was happiest doing the voices. And you see this quality in everything he ever did, including an interview about his history of addiction where he only really seems happy when he is doing the British, the French, and the Italians.”

What Does Anna Karenina Look Like? How We Visualize What We Read

anna karenina

“Most authors wittingly or unwittingly provide their fictional characters with more behavior than physical description. Even if an author excels at physical description, we are left with shambling concoctions of stray body parts and random detail. We fill in gaps. We shade them in. We gloss over them. We elide. Our mental sketches of characters are worse than police composites.”

Amazon Exhorts Readers To Write Hachette CEO – And Misuses George Orwell in The Process


“Just to make sure the letter writers stayed on message, Amazon offered a list of talking points. The first one … was, ‘We have noted your illegal collusion,’ always an icebreaker in these circumstances.” Amazon’s post went on to say, citing a truncated quote, “Yes, George Orwell was suggesting collusion.” That just isn’t so.

Opera Lovers Are Divided Over Met’s Labor Issues – And Some Just Don’t Wanna Hear About It

met opera fans

“Several expressed dismay that opera, which at its best offers not just escapism but also catharsis, is becoming mired in a polarizing, all-too-real postdownturn conflict.” Said one Pittsburgh fan, “When people go to the opera, those of us that love opera want to be transported. … This is really like taking away the magic. We just want to go and love it.”