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The Man Who Lived Twice, an Appreciation of William Congdon

An exponent of figurative abstractionism, the American painter William G. Congdon, in the 1940s, was as famous as a Rothko, Pollock or Rauschenberg. A tormented and very sensitive soul, he lived two conversions that produced a dichotomy between the “before” and the “after” in his artistic production. If at the beginning his work was still amateur, after the Second World …

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Scouting the Blogs with Miklos Legrady

Art- Joseph Beuys said that everyone’s an artist… which is hard to deny. And I believe everyone’s a brain surgeon, which is equally valid.The question is how good a brain surgeon, how good an artist? Anthropology has shown that art is an instinct, a symbolic language found in hominid behavior since the dawn of time. It has always been our …

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Museum Politics in Toronto

The definition of Anthropocene from the Merriam-Webster dictionary reads: “the period of time during which human activities have had an environmental impact on the Earth regarded as constituting a distinct geological age. Most scientists agree that humans have had a hand in warming Earth’s climate since the industrial revolution—some even argue that we are living in a new geological epoch, …

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Ayn Rand, A Defence for the Indefensible

Left behind by the previous owners of my parents’ Vermont summer home was a number of books. They weren’t my parents’ kind of reading, nor mine, but one fat book intrigued me (I was thirteen, the age when in pre-Laddt-Chatterly-trial days you looked for the rare sec bits in adult fiction.) I found some and in the end I read …

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Exhibit Heightens Gauguin Myth

SUMMARY: An exhibit at the National Gallery of Art was intended to dispel Paul Gauguin’s South Seas image but will probably romanticize it even more. The most complete Gauguin show in more than eight decades, ‘The Art of Paul Gauguin” is astonishing in its beauty and variety, embodying the power of desire and spiritual significance.   The Art of Paul …

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The Disease of Grade Inflation

It is no secret that American higher education has been driven lower and lower over the past 50 years. The most obvious symptom of this decline is grade inflation to the point that the grade of A has become a placeholder, a participation trophy where excellence is no longer a factor. In the meantime course content has deflated to half …

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Zero-Sum Culture: Is the Canon Safe in American Museums?

Partisanship tends to deceive the partisans. Although true believers may not admit it, some issues do transcend politics. Such is the case with an article that Roger Kimball published in The Wall Street Journal in December 2018. In response to the appointment of Kaywin Feldman as director of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Mr. Kimball, publisher and …

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Letters Volume 33 no 4 March / April 2019

Peculiar Cosmetics Hiding Beauty Hi Rosanna,  what a great review! People are finally beginning to fight back, as can be seen with the protest against Avon cosmetics for body shaming women’s bodies about cellulite with their advertising. As the actor Jameela Jamil said, “Every body is beautiful, unless they have any ‘flaws’ I guess. What a gross abuse of the …

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ART IN AMERICA: THE CRITICAL DUSTBOWL

A bedeviling aspect of art criticism is the hegemony of New York based publications, and a jealous inward focus, to the detriment of sustained, democratized, national discourse. The prospects for an exhibition being reviewed decline the further it is from New York, and perhaps Los Angeles. This builds a skewed mass of writing—which becomes art history—conveying the inaccurate impression that …

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Art in the ruins

I have a small but persistent belief that places touched by disaster, such as Chernobyl and Pripyat, may be haunted by ghosts, those unsettled spirits tethered to the earth by an inability to comprehend the fate that has befallen them. It was a day of ethereal mist and cold damp air in the woods which have thrived unchecked amongst the …

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