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Posted inArt

Downton Abbey and the Perils of Preservation

Downton Abbey is downsizing — or at least it was, for a hot second. If you’ve been following the post-Edwardian miniseries, you’ll know that the Crawley family, who lives in the show’s eponymous grand estate house, was in danger of losing their lavish lifestyle. The show’s patriarch Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham, had made a bad investment in Canadian railway, and now, at the dawn of the 1920s, the family would have to sell the colossal Yorkshire manor and be forced to move into (gasp!) a house staffed by only eight servants. The story line was all-too-neatly wrapped up when Matthew, the newest member of the family, finally agreed to hand over a fortune that came in a recent inheritance to save Downton.

Posted inBooks

“The Wire” Gets Victorian in a Book by Fictional Scholar H.B. Ogden

Like the ever-present junkies on the TV show “The Wire,” fans of the acclaimed HBO series can never seem to get enough. Legions of viewers stayed glued to the tangled plot over five seasons — and their cravings were stoked for five years more through blogs, behind-the-scenes books, essays, college courses, and literally hundreds of scholarly articles and reviews. Now, on the show’s 10th anniversary, “The Wire” addicts can score a fresh fix with the arrival of the arch, smart faux-Victorian send-up of the series, Down in the Hole: The Unwired World of H.B. Ogden, by Joy DeLyria and Sean Michael Robinson (PowerHouse Books, 2012), based on a blog that went viral last March.

Posted inArt

MoCADA TV’s Kalia Brooks Talks Television

A few weeks ago, the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art (MoCADA), debuted a new television series. I reviewed the debut of MoCADA TV but Hyperallergic’s editor and I continually had a back-and-forth about the usefulness of TV as a medium, and the fact that this pioneering move on part of the museum could open a lot of new discussions.

With all of these dialogues lingering, I caught up with Kalia Brooks, director of exhibitions at MoCADA, to get a better idea of the series’ aims.

Posted inOpinion

Banksy Spray Paints on Cartoon Walls

Establishment iconoclast Banksy just took his next step into the mainstream. The street artist, known for his pranks that stretch from painted urban walls to film, has directed the opening sequence for The Simpsons television show.

The animation is an interesting vehicle for Banksy given its massive reach, the TV equivalent of a well-placed wall tag; it’ll reach millions of viewers for sure. The question is, what can viewers take away from Banksy’s latest work?