Author Posts

Leaving Gracefully

Mark C. Taylor— Far too many people today have forgotten how to leave, and so stay on, and on, and on until they become a burden to others.  Though leaving can occur at any time, it is most consequential near the end – the end of a relationship, a career,

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The Other Middle East

Franck Salameh— Middle East specialists of a hundred years ago have traditionally been philologists trained in a dozen or more Middle Eastern languages, including Latin and Greek, but also the obligatory Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, Turkish, and Persian among others. Today, many of the luminaries of this venerable area of inquiry

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Stephen Mitchell on Translation and Beowulf

Stephen Mitchell— I backed into translation. As a young man at Yale Graduate School, dealing with a first heartbreak, I became fascinated with the Book of Job. What thrilled and perplexed me was a feeling that the poet who wrote it had seen something, had actually experienced the secret of

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Art Can Help

Since taking up photography in the mid-1960s, Robert Adams (b. 1937) has quietly become one of the most influential visual chroniclers of the evolving American landscape. Before turning full-time to photography in the 1970s, Adams was a literature professor, and in a recently published collection of inspiring essays, he reminds

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“Undoing a building” with Gordon Matta-Clark

Antonio Sergio Bessa– In his foreword to the 2007 Whitney catalogue, museum director Adam Weinberg wrote with great insight that Gordon Matta-Clark’s work “resisted commodification and the museum context.” I would add that to counter the tendency to commodify, the experiential element in presenting his work is of utmost importance. 

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Paul Gauguin as Artist and Alchemist

The exhibition “Gauguin: Artist as Alchemist,” which was on view this summer at the Art Institute of Chicago, was called “exhaustive and exhilarating” in the Wall Street Journal and a “resounding, rollickingly diverse exhibition” in the New York Times. It wowed visitors with an unprecedented exploration of Gauguin’s works in various

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Women Artists in Paris, 1850-1900

During the second half of the nineteenth century, a remarkable number and variety of women artists were drawn to Paris.  Featuring thirty-seven women from eleven different countries, a new, beautiful, and important illustrated book, Women Artists in Paris, 1850-1900, explores the strength of their creative achievements, and pays tribute to these pioneers

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First encounters: Marfa, Texas and the art of Donald Judd

David Raskin — I first traveled to Marfa, Texas for the Chinati Foundation and Judd Estate (now the Judd Foundation) open houses in October 1995, about a year and a half after Donald Judd’s death in February 1994. Marfa wasn’t yet at the top of the art world’s “must visit”

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A Jar’s Story

Glenn Adamson — “Keep the Corean pot in memory.” With those words, the great potter Bernard Leach imparted one of his most treasured possessions to another great potter, Lucie Rie, in February 1947. The object in question was a Moon Jar – so named for its whiteness and nearly perfect

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Alternative Facts, in Historical Perspective

Joshua Shannon– From its very first days, the Trump administration and its supporters have sought to justify certain statements, proposals, and actions (and indeed to assert Trump’s popularity) by issuing lies or falsehoods labeled “alternative facts.” The term was first offered, and then defended, by Trump Counselor Kellyanne Conway, in

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