“seriously, the guy has a point” — on the Charging Bull and Fearless Girl Controversy

Art conveys significance; however, much of that significance is constructed by the receiver. That’s why I care less about what a work of art “means” and more about what it “does.” Understanding what a work of art does requires interpretation. The context of a work of art can contribute to the significance of the artwork in surprising ways. The reception of a work of art can change over time, which means the way…

Make a date with #HeartOurArt at The Westmoreland Museum of American Art

While our daughter is performing in Stage Right’s Pippin across town at the Greensburg Garden & Civic Center Friday, my wife and I will be portraying characters in works of art as part of a “SweetArt Dance” at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art. I’m digging out my pirate eyepatch and learning about glass-blowing for one role, and learning about wine-tasting for a different role. People who come for the…

Principal fires security guards to hire art teachers — and transforms elementary school

The school was plagued by violence and disorder from the start, and by 2010 it was rank [sic] in the bottom five of all public schools in the state of Massachusetts. That was when Andrew Bott — the sixth principal in seven years — showed up, and everything started to change. “We got rid of the security guards,” said Bott, who reinvested all the money used for security infrastructure into the…

Avoiding Spoilers Gives You a Superficial Appreciation of Art

I very much appreciate that nobody spoiled Star Wars: A New Hope, or Star Trek Beyond. But even after we learn for the first time what happens to Ebeneezer Scrooge, or Bilbo, or Alice, or Jesus, the good stories still retain their cultural power. Stories are much more than plot. [A]rtistic appreciation, which reviewers are tasked with cultivating, should mean more than stoking anticipation for a surprise ending. As reviewer…

STEM Education Is Vital–But Not at the Expense of the Humanities

Promoting science and technology education to the exclusion of the humanities may seem like a good idea, but it is deeply misguided. Scientific American has always been an ardent supporter of teaching STEM: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. But studying the interaction of genes or engaging in a graduate-level project to develop software for self-driving cars should not edge out majoring in the classics or art history. The need to…