Category Archives: Culture

THE DARK SECRET OF THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART’S CROSS

Featured Image: Apse from San Martin at Fuentidue – The Cloisters – Metropolitan Museum of Art – Courtesy of Spanish


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The Cloisters

Towering high atop the bluffs above the Hudson Heights and Inwood neighborhoods of Manhattan, The Cloisters museum is home to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s stunning collection of medieval sculpture, architecture, and decorative art.

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Fort Tryon Park in Manhattan

Constructed by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., the towering ramparts of this Romanesque castle were built from the ruins of a number of French abbeys that were painstakingly transported stone-by-stone to this location on the northern edge of New York City.  Situated in historic Fort Tryon Park, with its gardens and breathtaking views of the City and the Palisades, The Cloisters offers a peaceful sanctuary from city life and is itself a work of art.

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The Bury St. Edmunds Cross

Deep inside its galleries, in a small and otherwise unremarkable display, stands an ivory cross that legendary Met director Thomas Hoving considered it to be the single most fantastic and unique work of art to survive the Dark Ages.  Hoving became obsessed with acquiring the cross, with its elaborate motifs and delicate figures carved in deep relief, that he would pay the largest sum of money the Met had ever paid for any single work of art at the time.

Continue reading THE DARK SECRET OF THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART’S CROSS

GOLDEN AGE OF THE POSTER, 1880-1918

Industrial revolution advancements in printing technology – including the mass production of metal lithographic plates over the traditional limestone – provided artists with an efficient medium to apply bold colors, elaborate typography, and stunning imagery to the printed page.  The Minneapolis College of Art & Design shares their remarkable collection of pre-World War I posters from artists including Alphonse Mucha, Jules Chéret, Eugène Grasset, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

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On the Nature of Bullsh*t

Fareed Zakaria is the host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, a Washington Post columnist, the Editor at Large of Time magazine, an international bestselling author of five, a Yale and Harvard graduate with his doctorate in philosophy who could perhaps best be described as a pundit’s pundit.  As if all that wasn’t enough, to round out his bona fides in the area of bullsh*t, Zakaria was suspended back in 2012 by CNN and Time amidst accusations of plagiarism to which he would go on to apologize admitting he made a great mistake.  One might even go as far as saying that if bullsh*t had wings, it would be Zakaria’s voice that you’d hear utter the words, “This is your captain speaking.

Nevertheless, we generally like Zakaria and try to catch his columns and weekly show whenever we can.  That may be why we were so surprised that we missed this little rant he dropped on Don Lemon filling in on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360.  Warning: the following clips contain a lot of ‘bullsh*t’.

Wow.  Ok.  So he went off a bit and dropped a few expletives on primetime TV.  Despite the repeated use of one of the infamous seven dirty words, Zakaria still comports himself with a refined, almost professorial air and his words carry with them a certain measure of authority.  But, he wasn’t done.

Not in the least.  Professor Bullsh*t would continue his lecture series on his show later that week.  Not only does he not apologize, Zakaria doubles down with this 400-level course in the Art of Bullsh*t.

Other noteworthy bullshit artists philosophy majors include Steve Martin, Angela Davis, Bruce Lee, Susan Sontag, Gene Siskel, Alex Trebek, David Foster Wallace and George Soros.  Link

Fareed Zakaria GPS airs on CNN, Sundays 10 a.m. & 1 p.m. ET.  You can also listen to his views on global policy, foreign affairs, and apparently, bullsh*t, on his podcast over at CNN.com.


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Living In Hotel California With ‘Tiffany Twisted’ Supergirl (26)

The Big Art Theory Blog turns us on to art and artists with whom we may not have been familiar which is wonderful, but more than that, the talented writers help us to think about why we may like or dislike, a particular work of art. The writers act as docents, taking us on a tour through the many levels of our own emotional responses, visual associations, and contextual experiences, that a work of art may evoke in us.  As if each one were an installation in the gallery of our own mind. Good stuff, not to mention we can always use a shot of culture and beauty.

For example, Anna Lucy shows us the work of artists David Hockney and Ania Luk, as well as a few of her own, in her post ‘Living in Hotel California With ‘Tiffany Twisted’ Supergirl‘.  Composed by Don Felder, Glenn Frey, and Don Henley, the lyrics have been conjectured to mean quite a bit over the years since it’s 1977 release.  Some of these interpretations, while little more than myth, have become part of popular culture.  For those of a certain age, the song, like it or not, has become inextricably linked to images and personal memories, maybe a time or a place, or even certain smells.  These associations, to a lesser degree,

The lyrics of the titular song, composed by Don Felder and written by Glenn Frey and Don Henley, have been conjectured to mean quite a bit over the years since it’s 1977 release.  Some of these interpretations, while little more than myth, have become part of popular culture.  For those of a certain age, the song, like it or not, may have become inextricably linked to images and personal memories, maybe a time or a place, or even certain smells that come flooding back upon rehearing the opening chords to Felder’s harmony.  These associations, to a certain degree, may result from the phenomenon of synesthesia, and it is there where Anna begins our tour.

For those unfamiliar, check out The Eagles performing Hotel California in this live performance from the Capital Centre in Washington, D.C. some time in the late 1970’s.  If it is blocked in the States, update your VPN

For more of Anna Lucy’s writing, follow along over at the Big Art Theory Blog.

We adore this piece but you can find out plenty more about David Hockney and Ania Luk as well as work they have done and upcoming exhibits here and here,  We have certainly become obsessed.  We wish we would have caught Hockney’s 2011 exhibit at the ROM.

Big thanks to Anna H. Lucy and the folks over at the Big Art Theory Blog for the inspiration!

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David Hockney, Portrait of Nick Wilder, 1966, Oil on Canvas

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Big Art Theory Blog

‘An artist is an art lover who finds that in all the art he sees, something is missing: to put there what he feels is missing becomes the center of his life’s work’  Romare Bearden

‘Kalispera, welcome Madame!’ – I heard the enthusiastic voice in the doorway as I arrived at the ‘Blue Beach Hotel’ in Chania, Greece.  I’ve never mentioned it before but from her early childhood I knew that visiting a new  place is likely to make me ‘feel’ the symptoms of synesthesia.

Let me explain you first what hides behind the mysterious phenomenon. Similarly to Tori Amos, Pharrell Williams, Marilyn Monroe, Vladimir Nabokov, David Hockney or Vincent Van Gogh, I possess the unique ability to ‘merge’ several senses at the same time. In one of the online articles I’ve read that actually 4% of our society are synestheists.

David_Hockney_Swimming_PoolDavid Hockney, A Bigger Splash, 1967, © David Hockney…

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The Ramones, ‘Rocket to Russia – Deluxe Edition’ drops November 24th

From Rolling Stone magazine, Rhino will release a deluxe edition of The Ramones ‘Rocket to Russia’ on November 24th.  The three-CD set will contain two remixes of the album, previously unheard tracks, and a live concert recording from December 19th, 1977, at the Apollo Centre theater in Glasgow, Scotland.

If anywhere near as good as their previous collection of the seminal punk band’s work, we will be waiting for this one to drop.

Stephen Hawking Thinks People Who Boast about their I.Q. are ‘Losers’

In this interview, Professor Stephen Hawking, a guy people tell us thinks real good, once told Piers Morgan that ‘people who boast about their I.Q. are losers’.  Is it just us or does noted scholar Morgan appear a bit uncomfortable with the professor’s statement?

We found John Oliver’s follow-up to particularly be a scream.