Archives for category: Arts

Sometimes one must take refuge in art.

Christmas is many things: transcendent hope and the promise of redemption, the power of memory, the presence of love and loss, and the fellowship of the living and the dead.

“I am thinking of aurochs and angels, the secret of durable pigments, prophetic sonnets, the refuge of art. And this is the only immortality you and I may share, my Lolita.”

The thrill of the senses, of experiencing life through artistic expression, can transcend the misery, vanity and wasted time that is the lion’s share allotted to us in the course of our daily lives.

Rijksmuseum Celebrates Rembrandt’s Birthday by Putting His Drawings Online

It was fifty years ago that it was twenty years ago today that Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play.

Despite a reasonable contention that Sgt. Peppers may not even be the best Beatles album, it’s hard to underestimate its transcendent significance in 1967.

Perhaps the first concept album, it redefined what a collection of songs could be and convinced a generation to believe that music could change the world. In June 1967 the sound of joy and freedom filled the early summer air.

In this harsh winter season of rain and snow, and beset by political instability, painting can restore the senses and offer a tonic for the soul.

Spotify’s Discovery Weekly Playlists recommend new music to listeners who might otherwise not find / hear it in an ocean of signal and noise.

Last week Spotify augmented this feature with “Fresh Finds” a weekly playlist of songs and artists that leading edge trendsetters are listening to. Spotify identifies their interests through complex data analysis and organizes it into genre silos.

Fresh Finds is published on Wednesdays. A very cool approach that marries curation and technology, as if Lester Bangs and IBM’s Watson opened a club.

Spotify is using 50,000 anonymous hipsters to find your next favorite song

Anyone interested in 20th Century visual art and the complex mind and motives of the art collector must see the Barnes Collection in Philadelphia.

The Collection is legendary and has been controversial since its inception. Albert Barnes was difficult and brilliant, assembling a stunning collection of paintings, sculpture and decorative arts in his museum in Lower Merton, PA, beginning in 1922. In addition to its unparalleled quality and scale, the installation itself was essential to its presentation -mixing artworks, artists, and genres in a glorious, overlapping and complex configuration, at once confusing and transcendent.

In 2012 a new museum opened in the city of Philadelphia housing the Collection. An understanding and appreciation of early Modernism is incomplete without it.

In the week The Beatles joined streaming, this piece about Spotify’s Discovery feature/application for new music is very interesting.

The magic that makes Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlists so damn good


The period of 1960-1970 is receding into history but still animates social and cultural behaviors and values in the present, As time passes increasingly the decade assumes sepia hues and is fading into the fragile, evanescent vaults of personal memory.

The decade’s hallmarks of political radicalism, fervent social change, artistic revolution, and individual freedom and liberation, continue to exert powerful influence and attraction in the present, drawing inspiration from its utopianism and wildly optimistic belief in the possibility of a better world.

The decade is now the subject of academic analysis, commercial appropriation and nostalgia. A host of scholars and seekers mine its archives for meaning and inspiration, and measure its impact, influence and presence. The period is now commonly understood as a cultural revolution during which new vocabularies of fine art, music and media were explored, and new energy and perspectives were injected into the arts and politics, reinventing expression, reshaping social values and political priorities, and transforming individual and collective identity.

Naive, narcissistic and fleeting, nevertheless, the decade recast how we see and interpret the world.

Joined forever by birth year, musical innovation, and creative brilliance.