Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
by Robert Turnbull
PHNOM PENH — Slowly but surely, Cambodia’s visual arts’ scene has been emerging from the shadow of the Pol Pot era, nurtured by a clutch of mostly Western-owned galleries dotted around the capital. Years of faith and investment are finally paying off.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Scholars Say Chronicler of Black Life Passed for White // Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Jean Toomer's 'Cane'
By Felicia R. Lee
Renown came to Jean Toomer with his 1923 book “Cane,” which mingled fiction, drama and poetry in a formally audacious effort to portray the complexity of black lives. But the racially mixed Toomer’s confounding efforts to defy being stuck in conventional racial categories and his disaffiliation with black culture made him perhaps the most enigmatic writer associated with the Harlem Renaissance.
Now Henry Louis Gates Jr., the Harvard scholar, and Rudolph P. Byrd, a professor at Emory University, say their research for a new edition of “Cane” documents that Toomer was “a Negro who decided to pass for white.”
"In a dark time the eye begins to see" // A first glance at Bernd Brunner's new book "Moon: A Brief History"
Monday, December 27, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Way Beyond Atheism // Paul Wallace on why Richard Dawkins is a fundamentalist, and most Atheists reject too little
Last week I read a remarkable essay [by Denys Turner, professor of Theology at Yale] called “Apophaticism, Idolatry, and the Claims of Reason.” In it he tells this story:
Some years ago, and in younger, more foolhardy days, finding myself in a tight spot in a public debate with a philosopher atheist at Bristol University, I made a wager with my audience: I would give anyone present five minutes to explain his or her reasons for atheism and if, after that, I could not guess correctly the Christian denomination in which that person had been brought up, I would buy her a pint of beer. As luck would have it I was not broke at the subsequent revels.
It turns out that he was not broke because no one took the bet. But the story points out a very interesting idea that Turner pursues in the course of his essay: The atheisms of most committed, principled atheists are often not more than mirror images—inversions—of the theisms they negate. In On Interpretation, Aristotle wrote, “Affirmations and their corresponding negations are one in the same knowledge”; therefore, one can discern from many atheisms their corresponding affirmative theologies. Read on...
Thursday, December 23, 2010
By Luke Hankins
For me, Advent means that God is coming into your life — is already there, in fact, has always been there, but you are about to experience that fact in an unprecedented way. I have come to view my experience of losing my faith and falling into anxiety and depression, into fear of damnation, into hopelessness, as being God’s advent into my life.
By Roderick Conway Morris
Vasari declared the bronzes “the most perfect and harmonious by a modern master” and nothing to rival them was made in Florence until the arrival in the city of Giambologna nearly half a century later. Rustici’s “Preaching of St. John the Baptist,” hoisted into position over the Baptistery’s north door in 1511, was reputed to be the result of some form of collaboration with Leonardo, the exact nature of which remains uncertain.
Check out the full interview here.
Born in slavery, the Negro spiritual conveys a generous understanding of the nature of God and of human life. A celebration in word and song — through its hidden meanings, as well as its beauty, lament, and hope.
Join seven young, vibrant, thoughtful and vastly different Americans as they embark on the most extraordinary journey of their lives. Representing Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, and Protestant faiths, each is ignited by the "call" to serve humanity and has decided to join the clergy. The Calling is a four-hour documentary series that follows them from their first days of training, through years of challenges, doubts, triumphs and surprises, and into their early practice as ordained professionals.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
At first glance, it might seem odd to spend the longest night of the year celebrating the return of the sun. For many of our Pagan ancestors, this was the essence of the winter solstice mystery... With lives rooted deeply in the rhythm of the seasons, they were dependent upon the reliability of their gods and goddesses to once again return the sun and its greening of the Earth. This night, the turning point from darkness to light, was more than just a metaphorical reflection on the meaning of winter; it was a choice between life or death... Keep Reading
Saturday, December 18, 2010
By Jim Wise
Wanona Satcher has seen a lot of 'Nutcrackers,' but she's never seen one like the one she's producing in Durham.
It's likely nobody else has, either.
Satcher, an urban planner and landscape architect by trade, has taken Tchaikovsky's Christmas chestnut and made it into a musical, a ballet-within-a-play set in the 1980s with some multicultural add-ins. [...]
"It's very Durhamesque," said Satcher, a 29-year old making her debut as a theatrical producer.Keep reading...
By Jessica Ravitz
Face it: Good Hanukkah songs are hard to come by. [...]
Now, making its viral video and international debut, we have the Maccabeats.
Out of New York's Yeshiva University, this 14-member a cappella group introduced just this week, "Candlelight," a music video that parodies Taio Cruz's "Dynamite," and specifically Mike Tompkins' rendition of the song.
The song educates listeners about the story of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, an eight-day holiday which started Wednesday night. Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabean Revolt and the menorah (candelabrum) that stayed aglow for eight days, despite a lack of oil.
I am more than a little obsessed with this song. Duke Div needs an a cappella group. -- Sarah
Friday, December 17, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
At a time when Islam has been heavily politicized, many Muslim artists say they hope the arts can expand understanding of their faith among non-Muslims as well as bridge American and Islamic traditions.
“We’re at a point where Islam is really being defined in this country, and it’s going to be through the arts,” said Javed Ali, founder of Illume, a Muslim online news, arts and culture magazine based in Newark that serves as one of the central nodes of the Bay Area Muslim American network. “We want to break through common stereotypes and present the whole spectrum of Muslim reality,” said the cultural center’s marketing and development director, Jason van Boom.
Hatem Bazian, one of the Islamic scholars behind Zaytuna College, the first Muslim liberal arts institution in this country, echoed that thought. “In American society,” Mr. Bazian said, “artistic expression is the way we narrate our story, so Muslims are beginning to draw their own narrative.”
Full Article and Slideshow Here // Excerpt Below
For the last five years, he has traveled with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of Russians on pilgrimages to the country’s most sacred religious shrines. His series, “Greshnyi Cheloveche” (a sinning man or sinner), documents these “cross processions.”
Walking dozens of miles a day through scalding sun and heavy rain, sleeping on church floors by night amid wives praying for their alcoholic husbands, superstitious businessmen, sick children, repenting criminals and earnest monks, Mr. Gataullin has tried to understand why and how people seek God. He does so with his camera ready.
“It’s important to capture not just the religious side of the event, not the surface of what’s happening,” Mr. Gataullin said, “but to try to show the individual — his emotions, feelings, suffering, his inner state. And at the same time, to show the communication of human with a god.”
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
As the Yale Law School professors Judith Resnik and Dennis Curtis show in an unusual new book just out, “Representing Justice” — an academic treatise on threats to the modern judiciary that doubles as an obsessive’s tour of Western art through the lens of the law — Lady Justice’s familiar blindfold did not become an accessory until well into the 17th century. And even then it was uncommon because of the profoundly negative connotations blindfolds carried for medieval and Renaissance audiences, who viewed them as emblems not of impartiality but of deception (hence the early use of the word hoodwink as a noun, meaning a blindfold or hood).
“Sight was the desired state,” Professors Resnik and Curtis write, “connected to insight, light and the rays of God’s sun.” Even in modern times the blindfold continues to fit uneasily in Lady Justice’s wardrobe, used as a handy prop by political cartoonists and a symbol of dysfunction by others. “That Justice is a blind goddess/Is a thing to which we black are wise,” Langston Hughes wrote in 1923. “Her bandage hides two festering sores/ That once perhaps were eyes.”
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
"Feedback" is Derek Webb's new instrumental concept album, based on the Lord's Prayer and accompanied by paintings and photos. We're going to take a break in the middle of finals week (right after the OT11 exam) to just chill out and listen to the album all the way through. Bring a blanket, pillow or lawn chair. Relax, enjoy a multimedia artistic experience, and talk about anything but school. Theology, sure. But not school.
When: 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 15
Where: Centenary (059 Langford)
Job Smeets of Studio Job explains their 'Gospel' exhibition:
This is no protest or imputation against the body of religion. Respectfully these icons have been selected and designed. Although Nynke and me do not practice religion, we enjoy the incredible fatal and expressive drama's which are executed, immortalized in extreme inventories full of holy pomp and splendor. We used the icon and religion as canvas and metaphor to visualize and express how our 'high culture’ becomes more fantastic by the minute. The abstract truth is more exciting than physical evidence. In many ways that's a great source of inspiration.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
“The exhibit shows that Islamic art is a masterly expression not of a single national culture or civilization,” said Vincent Boele, curator of exhibitions for the museum, “but of many peoples joined by Islam for more than 1,400 years.”
The collection includes works originating from around the globe — China, Spain, India, Tunisia — many of them masterpieces. They include manuscripts dating from the 10th to the 19th century, jewelry set with precious stones, as well as vibrant enamels that belonged to India’s Mughal rulers and exquisite miniatures from India and Iran. While the general perception of Islamic art is that it is always religious and without representations of humans and animals, this exhibition shows otherwise, including in miniature paintings.
But ultimately, Sinatra's vulnerability is at the core of his magic. There was an operatic intensity to Frank Sinatra’s existence. His life mistakes were legion; he was, always, at the mercy of powerfully oscillating emotions. The conflicts filter into the molecules of his music. We hear, we respond.
Rap, of course, would seem to be about outer rather than inner conflict: swagger and defiance don’t just set the tone, they shout it. And yet the best rappers expose the sorrow and humanity that underlie the swagger. Eminem’s hymn to recovery “Not Afraid” is both brutally self-critical and self-transcending, reaching out to listeners who’ve been down the same addictive path.
And Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind,” which begins by trumpeting the rapper’s importance to the big city, modulates to sympathy for those who get lost in it: wayward girls from small towns, ball players and rap stars hooked on Ecstasy and addicted to the limelight. When a Swedish interviewer asked Jay-Z, “What is your talent?” he answered shyly. “I guess, telling the truth in rhyme..."
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Steve Martin is best known for his comedy, but he's also a writer, a Grammy-winning bluegrass artist — and a serious art collector. In his new novel, An Object of Beauty,
Martin channels an ambitious woman navigating her way up — and out of — the New York City art world.
Lacey Yeager, the art dealer anti-heroine of Martin's book, will do just about anything to get ahead in her field. Martin hasn't met her, exactly, but tells NPR's Tony Cox that he's met plenty of people like her.
Martin divides the world into two categories — the financial and artistic — with "different types of people" populating each domain. "Generally," Martin explains, "the artistic side of the world has people with more flamboyant personalities, or more uncategorizable personalities, and Lacey is certainly one of those people."
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Full Op/Ed here // Excerpt below
by Yoko Ono
John and I are in our Dakota kitchen in the middle of the night. Three cats — Sasha, Micha and Charo — are looking up at John, who is making tea for us two.
Sasha is all white, Micha is all black. They are both gorgeous, classy Persian cats. Charo, on the other hand, is a mutt. John used to have a special love for Charo. “You’ve got a funny face, Charo!” he would say, and pat her.
“Yoko, Yoko, you’re supposed to first put the tea bags in, and then the hot water.” John took the role of the tea maker, for being English. So I gave up doing it.
It was nice to be up in the middle of the night, when there was no sound in the house, and sip the tea John would make. One night, however, John said: “I was talking to Aunt Mimi this afternoon and she says you are supposed to put the hot water in first. Then the tea bag. I could swear she taught me to put the tea bag in first, but ...”
“So all this time, we were doing it wrong?”
We both cracked up. That was in 1980. Neither of us knew that it was to be the last year of our life together.
Monday, December 6, 2010
“I’m looking at my hand right now as we talk. It’s got a lot of wrinkles because I’m 81 years old, but it’s linked to hands like this back through the ages. This hand is directly linked to hands that learned to reach and grasp and climb and push up on dry land and weave reeds into baskets, and it has a fantastic history. Every particle and every atom in this hand goes back to the beginning of space-time. We’re part of that story.”
By Debra Dean Murphy