Skip to main content

art

Photography by Alicja Wróblewska

Strange Gardens

What is beauty for? What is its source? Polish artist Alicja Wróblewska thinks about such things as she fashions fanciful sculptures, snaps photographs, and creates collages both analog and digital to explore the impact of plastics on ocean health.

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.”

 

Bathers with a Turtle

Three nudes crudely drawn. One crouching, 

back turned, right hand feeding the turtle 

of the painting’s title; another sitting, as if in a chair,

head bowed, eyes downcast; and a central 

<I>Having and Being Had</I>. By Eula Biss.  Riverhead, 2020.  336pp. HB, $26.

Self-Portrait of an Artist

  If the case of John Berger’s debut novel, A Painter of Our Time, still enrages sixty-three years after its release in 1958, a writer’s wrath especially might be attended by the smallest, wistful pang. An idea-driven meditation on the rol [...]

The Little Blue Horses

December 3, 2020

Rochelle and her mother lived in a large town that was on its way to becoming a small city. On her way to school, Rochelle often stopped to watch the crews of construction workers erect a new house in the hole where, only a few days before, one of her neighbors’ houses had loomed in sour glory, a car parked on its front lawn, silk flowers sprouting along its foundation like hair plugs. 

Ars Poetica

March 2, 2020

Cutting down Chambers St. 

my pinky toenail comes clean off.

Another little ghost 

Franz Kafka, a drawing from Diaries, 1910–1923, 1948.

The Missing Person

In July 1908, a twenty-five-year-old Franz Kafka quit his post at the Assicurazioni Generali with a medical note claiming he was suffering from “nervousness” and something potentially complicated having to do with his heart.

Pages