Why the Mona Lisa stands out

What makes a work of art an icon? Maybe a historical fluke. The “Mona Lisa” became famous when it was stolen, and popularity begets popularity…
What makes a work of art an icon? Maybe a historical fluke. The “Mona Lisa” became famous when it was stolen, and popularity begets popularity… [More]

Neuroaesthetics

The aesthetic brain. Scientists are in search of a neurological explanation for how we experience and produce art. Can neuroscience tell us anything about beauty?…
The aesthetic brain. Scientists are in search of a neurological explanation for how we experience and produce art. Can neuroscience tell us anything about beauty?… [More]

The art world we deserve?

In the age of Hirst and Koons, businessmen artists and biennales thrive while museums struggle. Every era gets the art it deserves…
In the age of Hirst and Koons, businessmen artists and biennales thrive while museums struggle. Every era gets the art it deserves… [More]

People power

What’s sacred about sacred art? For some, it expresses the divine. For others, it conveys the essence of humanity, as in gazing upon a Rothko…
What’s sacred about sacred art? For some, it expresses the divine. For others, it conveys the essence of humanity, as in gazing upon a Rothko… [More]

But is it art?

Dear Marcel Duchamp, thank you for inaugurating a great tradition of artistic banality and pseudo-avant-garde outrage…
Dear Marcel Duchamp, thank you for inaugurating a great tradition of artistic banality and pseudo-avant-garde outrage… [More]

The Secret to Artistic Success is…Luck

As a writer and someone who teaches an Aesthetics course, the cause of artistic success is a matter that I find rather interesting. When I was an undergraduate I was involved in a faculty-student
As a writer and someone who teaches an Aesthetics course, the cause of artistic success is a matter that I find rather interesting. When I was an undergraduate I was involved in a faculty-student [More]

Bernard Berenson and art

Bernard Berenson – connoisseur, dandy, aesthete – lived his long life in pursuit of one goal: “to become and be a work of art myself”…
Bernard Berenson – connoisseur, dandy, aesthete – lived his long life in pursuit of one goal: “to become and be a work of art myself”… [More]

Art, sport and politics in Russia

Pre-Bolshevik Russia had a meager sports culture. The revolution promised leisure, but not competition. Thus the 1928 Spartakiad workers’ games: no winners, no losers…
Pre-Bolshevik Russia had a meager sports culture. The revolution promised leisure, but not competition. Thus the 1928 Spartakiad workers’ games: no winners, no losers… [More]

On Philip Seymour Hoffman

While Hoffman's passing is upsetting, I have an overall sense of gratitude and found myself actually envying his accomplishments rather than fixating on his death. He left us something and he used his great skill as an actor to show us something about the world and about ourselves. Few of us, even if we live to a ripe old age, will have either the talent or the opportunity to do what he did. [More]

Science and art

Proust was not a neuroscientist, Jane Austen was not a game theorist, and the two-cultures problem isn’t a problem. William Deresiewicz explains…
Proust was not a neuroscientist, Jane Austen was not a game theorist, and the two-cultures problem isn’t a problem. William Deresiewicz explains… [More]