Rethinking The Idea Of Leonard Bernstein

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“There’s the Lenny problem: Is he for real or is he an act? Do we love him or do we want to kick him in the ass? Is his heart only on his sleeve, or is there another one inside him? And do those of us who grew up with him in all his avatars respond to him the same way as those coming to him for the first time, with no history and perhaps no expectations?”

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Reconsidering Norman Rockwell (Again)

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“Like the work of other artists once dismissed as producers of nostalgic Americana—“big paydays for small-town mush,” in the caustic phrase of Benjamin DeMott, who also mentioned Frank Capra and Thornton Wilder—Rockwell’s paintings have become more interesting over time.”

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The New Kimbell Museum – First, Do No Harm

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“Architecturally, the new Kimbell addition will soon fade into the middle rank of Piano’s oeuvre, neither at the top (the Nasher and Menil) nor the bottom (the Broad Contemporary Art Museum of 2003–2008 in Los Angeles and the Morgan Library & Museum of 2000–2006 in New York.) His Fort Worth pavilion is the twenty-first museum building Piano has completed, with another four in the works, and he cannot be expected to produce a hit every time.”

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How Literature Has Gotten Tangled Up In Bureaucracy

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“In particular, the obsession with codifying, regulating, recording, reviewing, verifying, vetting, and chronicling, with assessing achievement, forecasting achievement, identifying weak points, then establishing commissions for planning strategies for regular encounters to propose solutions to weak points, and further commissions empowered to apply for funding to pay for means to implement these solutions, and so on.”

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