- The amazing story of how a Boston-area college student helped decode the khipu knots system of the ancient Inca empire:
“We think of language as either spoken or written down,” Medrano said. “But the khipu really takes that and breaks that boundary and makes language something that can be felt, something that can be touched, and something that can be handled.”
He made graphs and compared the knots on the khipu to an old Spanish census document from the region when something clicked.
- In Florence, the Uffizi museum is taking a second look at the works in its collection by women, including artist Plautilla Nelli:
One such artist was Plautilla Nelli, the first to be featured at the Uffizi in the summer of 2017. Nelli was a 16th century painter, a nun who was as ambitious as her male contemporaries.
Falcone says that Nelli was an exceptional artist in a number of ways. She had her own workshop where she trained other women. She also did large-scale paintings. “And that’s an important issue to look at because most women artists of the 1500s were doing small-scale works. Then you have Nelli who was doing enormous biblical paintings, like “The Last Supper.” Twenty-one feet long. It’s a huge work.”
Falcone also points out that Nelli had no choice but to be self-taught.
“You have to consider a context in which women artists were not able to study,” she says. “They couldn’t frequent academies as fully fledged members. They couldn’t study anatomy. And they couldn’t issue invoices for their works.” It was illegal for women to participate in professional organizations (guilds), Falcone says, so they could not exchange services for money.
- Andrea Liu interviews the talented Nate Pyper and Shawné Michaelain Holloway about “Queer” as refusal, and it’s a great conversation. On graphic design as ideological producation, Pyper says:
Graphic design is most often associated with the material production of ideology through the setting of type, implementation of images, and the use of color and space, in various forms through which ideology is circulated: books, billboards, websites, moving images, etc. Ideology is as dependent on what it asserts as how it asserts. For this reason, I believe that graphic design is absolutely implicated and caught up in the act of ideological production in that it provides visual articulation to ideas and positions. Form fucks with function. For the designer invested in these questions, graphic design can function as a “trojan horse” in which ideology may be supported, rejected, subverted, annotated, and tested through the ways in which it’s expressed and distributed.
- Journalist Kriston Capps breaks down why he thinks the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s new Newfields project is a bad idea:
- A thoughtful piece by LA Times film critic Kenneth Turan about seeing part of his life on the big screen:
If you’d told me when, as a small boy in Brooklyn, I was falling in love with movies that one of these magical ribbons of dreams would involve even the tiniest corner of my life, I would have thought I’d be bowing and taking applause all around.
But experiencing that as an adult, and as a critic, has been more complex, even unnerving, and different every time. My range of reactions have also given me insights into what films do and how they do it that I may not have gotten absent that personal connection.
- Saveur magazine offers up their best food writing list for 2017, including:
- The Art of the Dinner Party Package (Various Authors, The New York Times)
- Mario Batali and the Appetites of Men (Helen Rosner, The New Yorker)
- The Oldest Restaurant in Kabul (Maija Liuhto, Longreads)
- We often talk about the impact of the internet on newspapers, and their role in weaken the industry, but what if hedge funds were the real problem? Robert Kuttner and Hildy Zenger, writing for The American Prospect, explains:
The model is simple. Buy a newspaper on the cheap, often from a legacy chain like Gannett or from a family owner whose siblings and cousins want to cash out. In the glory days before the internet and the financial collapse, newspapers were earning profit margins of 20 percent to 30 percent, and they cost at least 13 times earnings to purchase. This was the era in which buyers grossly overpaid for newspaper properties, the epic case being The New York Times purchasing The Boston Globe in 1993 from the local Taylor family for $1.1 billion, only to sell it two decades later to Red Sox owner John Henry for about $70 million.
- A great year-end list of podcasts:
- This may be peak New York City (but also strangely decadent):
- Someone heckled the new animatronic Trump at Disney World. It’s pretty funny: