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Posted inNews

Egypt’s Embattled Culture Industry

To say it’s been a bad year for secular culture in Egypt is a special kind of understatement, but a string of developments this month — all linked to President Mohamed Morsi’s appointments of several key positions in tourism and culture — have left observers reeling and provoked a series of bold direct actions from dissidents.

Posted inArt

Closing the Loop: Fan Art, Part 2

CHICAGO — Falling in love with an image isn’t easy. Images are unattainable, removed, and physically distant, yet they feel so real and right there with you. Images of people are also the teen crush embodied — an opportunity to fall head over heels for an idealized illusion of someone you may never meet. For part 1 of my series about the intersection of fan art and contemporary art, I wrote about the exhibition Love to Love You at Mass MOCA. In part 2, we look at two artists who own their fandom as a form of fluid adolescence.

Posted inArt

America’s Grand Gestures Reign Supreme Again in Basel

BASEL, Switzerland — Fifty-five years ago, the exhibition The New American Painting arrived at the Kunsthalle Basel. It was the first stop on a yearlong tour that touted the work of seventeen Abstract Expressionists before eight European countries — the first comprehensive exhibition to be sent to Europe showing the advanced tendencies in American painting. All but five of the original artists from the show had work on view at last weekend’s Art Basel, where postwar American painting and sculpture dominated the halls.

Posted inNews

How to Destroy a James Turrell

NORTH ADAMS, Massachusetts — Everything is bigger in Texas: the roads, the suburbs, the T-bone steaks, the ten-gallon hats, and certainly the sky. The Texas sky seems to go on and on, an uncanny hue of blue, pierced only by the white-hot nexus of the unrelenting sun. Indeed, waxing poetic with reflections of the human gaze upon the heavens is, in some ways, what James Turrell’s work is all about. His Skyspace series in particular gives the viewer a chance at intimacy with a clear view of the celestial canvas.

Posted inArt

Unicorns, Ghosts, and a North Korean Past

CHICAGO — Last December, rumors about a North Korean unicorn lair circulated the internet. Word got out that an ancient Korean king once rode this mythical beast. But soon it was discovered that this “unicorn” was not an actual unicorn, but rather an English mistranslation of the word “unicorn.” According to a report on International Business Times, the animal was actually a “beast with a dragon’s head, a deer’s body, the tail of a cow, hooves and a mane.” Because North Korea is known in the US for mysteries like these, and because the internet loves to consume bizarre or “weird” news, headlines about the supposed mythical unicorn creature lived for a while in readers’ minds.

Posted inArt

In Venice, A Dream Reborn

SONCINO, Italy — Having just returned from Venice, with its literal acres of art, crowded parties, Arsenale hikes, and tourists wielding umbrellas through the rain, one exhibition left me gratefully awed. Ca’ d’Oro, an example of late Gothic architecture built between 1421 and 1440, is one of most beautifully preserved palazzos along the Grand Canal.

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