January 29, 1991 |
Critics of American education the past few years have sung no refrain more frequently than this one: With emotions ranging from outrage to despair to a sort of tacit smugness, the pundits have repeatedly pointed to the lack of "cultural literacy" as the most rotten apple of all in the vermin- infested public school barrel. Youngsters confuse the Civil War with the Mexican War; they cannot locate the Mississippi River on a map (hell, they couldn't find it if they fell in it!
February 8, 1998 |
One glance and you know that Grace Hartigan's partially abstract paintings - full of "snatches of life" images she picks out from her surroundings and recreates - are a remarkable accomplishment because they are awesome. And yet, be advised these are not one-shot paintings perceivable at a single glance. On view now at Rosemont College is a series of big, vibrant, color-radiant oils that Hartigan, one of our nation's top female artists, painted between 1988 and 1993. All of them were inspired by her seeing and examining closely the stippled brushwork in the Georges Seurat masterpiece painting Sunday Afternoon on the Grande-Jatte at Chicago Art Institute.
November 10, 2006 |
Beth Heinly says she admires paint-pushing abstract expressionists like Joan Mitchell and Willem de Kooning. The 25-year-old artist also connects with neo-expressionist Jean-Michel Basquiat, and, more recently, with his pop mentor Andy Warhol, who she says has appeared in her dreams. This quirky pedigree can be detected in Heinly's super-casual, unframed marker-on-paper drawings at the Black Floor Gallery, but her channeling is entirely original. Heinly's deliberately awkward, Frankenstein-walk line and scrawling of blunt, graffitilike sentiments are reminiscent of Basquiat.
June 5, 2002
Marilyn Monroe has been called many things in the 40 years since her death, but "plus size" generally isn't one of them. Yet the glamorous Hollywood sex symbol wore a size 12 and, by American fashion standards, that makes her a plus size. Surprised? You shouldn't be. Particularly in the last couple of decades, the message the popular culture has been sending, especially to women, is you just can't be too thin.. . . And nobody knows if a popular culture that is more realistic about weight will also prove to be more receptive to healthier eating and more exercise.
July 15, 2007 |
'Once upon a time" is one of my favorite phrases in the world. Also, "A man walks into a bar. " Why? Because they begin a story. I love to hear a good story. Everybody does. Maybe it started with a story told around a campfire, or a bedtime story told in your childhood room, with the outside world at bay. I love to tell stories, too. I tell a story every year in a novel and plenty more at the dinner table. Lots of people like to tell stories, and it's the same instinct whether it's me talking or your best friend.
November 7, 2002 |
Five hundred years from now, when Hollywood is covered with six feet of soil, if the archaeologists uncover Jackass: The Movie, they will have little trouble putting together the pieces as to why American civilization ended as we know it. No one in their right mind should see this film: teenage boys (not men) defecating in display toilets in hardware stores; young knuckleheads purposefully attempting stunts that will result in serious injury to themselves and to others. Academic researchers who specialize in anthropology have clearly concluded one point when it comes to young men, a point abundantly displayed in the period we know now as the Wild West, and in our current popular culture: When young men are left to their own devices, social pathologies soon follow.
December 9, 1995 |
In the last few days, Americans have seen chilling confirmation of the powerful impact that fanciful images in the popular culture exert on everyday life. No, I'm not talking about the case of a torched toll booth in the New York subway, apparently in imitation of a scene in the film, Money Train. I'm referring to the ubiquitous toy commercials that turn up everywhere this time of year and make their influence felt in every home with kids and a TV. No matter how young they are, children have a distressing tendency to point to some glitzy gizmo on the family tube and to demand, in tones too insistent to be safely ignored, "I want it!"
March 13, 1992 |
On the ivy-walled campus of Lehigh University, David Hawkes leads a discussion on critical thought. "What is the relationship between image and reality?" Hawkes, an assistant professor of English, recently asked his composition and literature class. The students pondered the weighty question. "The image," suggested 18- year-old Marty Lamb, "is perhaps a tool used to affect reality. " The deep discussion that followed did not exactly deal with composition or literature.
August 13, 1999 |
One of Andy Warhol's more significant flights of intuition was his realization that celebrity culture could be represented in high art by a graphic process initially used for advertising and other commercial purposes. Silk-screening produces bold patterns of color and form rather than nuances. What better way to immortalize icons of popular culture such as Marilyn Monroe, or to transform international political figures such as Mao Tse-tsung into pop icons? Warhol's screenprints are often big and typically brassy.
May 18, 1998 |
Hofstra University, better known for academic summits on U.S. presidents than for pop-culture confabs, will move ahead with plans for a major fall symposium on Frank Sinatra, an icon whose vast sphere of influence merits serious scholarly attention, university officials said. The Sinatra family has been cooperating with planning the conference, which has been in the works for two years. Scheduled for Nov. 12 to 14, it will take a clear-eyed - that is, critical - look at Sinatra's impact on society, said Natalie Datlof, conference coordinator at the Hempstead, N.Y., school.