Tag: art

Scientific Aesthetic

Coloring History: Should Facts Remain Black and White?

Every so often, we get someone who steps forward to decide our shared, national, record of events isn’t good enough in standard black and white — and so they take the task upon themselves to “convert” the established, memed, facts of black and white history into their color-coded version of hues — to reset, in their mind, what really happened.

This modernizing filter of alleged aesthetic and absolutely craven creativity is just as disturbing to me today as it was 30 years ago when I was an undergraduate Freshman at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln taking a film class with the great Dr. June Perry Levine.

At the time of Dr. Levine’s course, Ted Turner was in full-burst mode in his effort to “colorize” old black and white movies and television shows by adding color to give them new life on his cable channel.

Turner’s effect was horrible and gross as skin colors were orange and backgrounds were dark blue and clothing was all a shade of a mossy green: Time travel at its complete worst.

Adding new color to old black and white images is like repainting a fresco of Christ.  The ultimate effect of each effort is the shared shameful same.

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United Stage

Breaking Banksy: Painting New York City Red… with a Balloon

The great street artist Banksy is in New York City for the month of October and he is leaving his mark tagging the urban core.  We have celebrated the enigmatic work of Banksy and we have always appreciated his mocking of vulgar American institutions.

The arrival of Banksy in New York City has set expectation of Art and commerce in whole new, confrontational, context that confounds the commonplace understanding of what we want to last in society and what was created to simply disappear or be defaced.

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United Stage

The Venus Effect and the Artifice of Assumption: Watching the World Watch You Watching Your Screen

The Venus Effect” is a fascinating concept in painting and film that shatters the illusion of the perceived, the perceiver and the preceptor.  In the example below, the woman is peering into a mirror.

At first glance, we think she is looking at her own reflection, but the angle of the mirror deceives us, because she is really directly looking at us, not herself.  In fact, the artifice of assumption is something of an aesthetic cheat because we fail to realize she is watching us while we watch her.  She is incapable of viewing her own reflection in that particular angle of yaw.

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Curtains Make Good Neighbors and Bad Art

The quickest way to lose any social argument is to hide behind claiming the wellbeing of your children is at risk while not standing in front of them and offering them direct protection.  If you’re truly concerned about the welfare of your offspring, instantly act on their behalf, and don’t slog into the courts to beg a remedy to a simple matter of privacy that could be solved simply by drawing the curtains.

There’s an old saying in the Deaf Community when it comes to watching other people’s Sign Language conversations from across the room — “eyes for for?” — meaning “my eyes are for watching, and if you don’t want to be watched, then move out of my line of sight. Make your own privacy.”

Today, we could say the same thing about a camera in situ — “photos for for?”

There’s a big hoo-hah here in New York City over the right of a family to demand privacy in their floor-to-ceiling windowed apartment — even though they leave the curtains open — so anyone, and everyone, can see directly into their living space.

One neighbor, Arne Svenson, found the patterns of the family’s windows intriguing and took a series of images of them as part of his “The Neighbors” photography series.  Here’s an example from his fascinating collection:

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Urban Semiotic

Great New York City Architecture on the Upper East Side

I work on the Upper East Side in New York City, and as part of my job take a walk — sometimes twice a day, when necessary — to the main building of Weill Cornell Medical College, to pick up and drop off mail at the mail room and to pick up and drop off any deliveries that may be needed among the various departments of the College. It is quite a pleasant walk, chiefly because of all of the sights that I am fortunate to see, and the beautiful architecture I can enjoy daily.

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Scientific Aesthetic

The Motorcycle as a Two-Wheeled Moving Art Exhibition

Since the day that I read the article The Mechanist on Not Being an Artist, I have often thought back to it, particularly when I am walking to my office and I pass what I consider to be the most elegant yet dangerous mode of street transportation — the motorcycle. I have given it much thought because every time I see a well designed and built motorcycle, my first thought is that I am lucky to have come across it and that it is as if I have entered a museum — only that I am clearly the sole visitor to the museum, and there is no admission fee.

Recently, I came across a motorcycle that was so lovely that I had to take a picture of it with my phone to share with you. Here it is in all of its glory.

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Betraying the Wishes of Charles Schulz

When I was a child, Peanuts was one of my favorite comics in the Sunday newspaper — for that was the only day of the week that my father bought the newspaper, as it had plenty of coupons for our bi-weekly grocery shopping trips. I also got collections of the comic from when my father would go to garage sales — so even well before you could find hundreds of the comic online for free, I had access to strips from the fifties and sixties.

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