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Recent Issue

Second Wave [private]

This past February, I hired a cab for a pandemic-fatigued trip with a friend to the Himalayan hills in Himachal Pradesh, down the Old Manali road. It was a drowsy afternoon, the summer heat landing thick on the windows. My friend and I drifted in and out of sleep as our driver wound along circuitous roads. Listening to old Hindi songs, I started counting the Semal trees on the roadside, perched on the hills. Also called silk cotton trees, they blossom at the end of winter: leafless trees holding vibrant clutches of big red flowers.

The Dialectic of Patriotism

According to Jasper Johns, his iconic 1955 painting Flag came to him in a dream (a rather literal one) in which he saw himself painting an American flag. The next morning, he went out and bought the materials to do it. Like many great works of art, Flag is many things to many people. It is also deceptively straightforward—its disruptive power, in fact, lies both in its directness (Johns painted Flag at the height of abstract expressionism) and in the implications of his technique. Johns worked partly in encaustic, using hot wax and pigment layered over strips of newspaper and fabric. As art historian Isabelle Loring Wallace has written, encaustic was a largely abandoned technique, an anachronistic signature “most closely associated with a group of remarkable Egyptian funerary portraits. Affixed to the deceased’s mummy prior to burial, these highly realistic portraits from the second century were designed to preserve the image of the dead, just as Flag...preserved aspects of contemporary American painting at the very moment when Johns was laying to rest various aspects of this moribund tradition.”

 

VQR Online

Invisible Extinction

December 3, 2020

This past summer, “murder hornets” became high-profile pests, joining the ranks of monarch butterflies and bumblebees as insects that capture our attention.

The Death of Pablo Neruda

May 5, 2015

“Looking back now, I could have so easily walked to that cemetery and joined the men and women chanting next to his coffin,” Ariel Dorfman confesses. In addition to the documentary, "The Death of Pablo Neruda," this multimedia work includes an essay, “From Beyond the Grave,” by Dorfman, poetry by Martín Espada and Idra Novey, and a translation of Neruda’s poem “XII from The Heights of Macchu Picchu” by Mark Eisner.

VQR Nominated for Four National Magazine Awards

January 15, 2015

The American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) today recognized the Virginia Quarterly Review with four nominations for its prestigious National Magazine Awards—the magazine world’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prizes. VQR was named as a finalist [...]