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That time three-year-old me spotted a Mary Cassatt painting at the Art Institute of Chicago

My mother had a framed print of Mary Cassatt’s “The Child’s Bath” in our home. When I was about three, she took the family to a Cassatt exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. As she pushed my stroller through the museum, I suddenly perked up and started shouting, “Mary Cassatt! Mary Cassatt!” I had spotted the original picture hanging on the wall. I probably thought Mary Cassatt was the…

I’m not a big fan of Disney’s corporate greed.

I’m not a huge fan of Disney, largely because as a grad student in the 1990s, I chose the 1920-1950 time period for my dissertation based on my expectation that the literary works I studied from that time period would fall out of copyright one by one during my career. I planned to mine my dissertation, using what I learned about the literary works in that time period to create…

Star Trek Graphic Design: Six journalists and surprising discoveries about their agency logos and costumes

After an intense 2 weeks prepping for fall classes, I’m all set. So when I woke up this morning I lazed in bed, and my thoughts wandered to the scene in Star Trek: Generations where a pack of reporters interview Kirk on the bridge. I started wondering whether the logos from that scene were one-off designs, or part of the greater Trek continuity. Ex Astris Scientia did not disappoint. At…

A computer scientist urges more support for the humanities (opinion)

“Lior Shamir, a computer scientist who’s actively participated in efforts to increase participation in STEM fields, now wonders if she’s been on the wrong side.” The theme of those academic meetings has been rather consistent: we must reach out to those lost souls who chose to study the humanities or social sciences and show them the light of STEM. But as time has passed, and the deeper and more sophisticated…

Infrared photo confirms Munch wrote “madman” inscription first noticed in 1904

“Kan kun være malet af en gal Mand!” (“Can only have been painted by a madman!”) appears on Norwegian artist Edvard Munch’s most famous painting The Scream. Infrared images at Norway’s National Museum in Oslo recently confirmed that Munch himself wrote this note. The inscription has always been visible to the naked eye, but the infrared images helped to more clearly distinguish the writing from its background. Comparing it with the artist’s handwriting…

Details on the disappearance of the Utah monolith

Mr. Bernards, 34, of Edwards, Colo., was visiting the monolith on Friday night when, he said, four men arrived as if out of nowhere to dismantle the sculpture. Mr. Bernards had driven six hours for the chance to ogle the sculpture and to take dramatic photographs of it. Using upscale Lume Cube lights attached to a drone, he produced a series of glowy, moonlit pictures in which the monolith glistens…

The Myth of North America, in One Painting

Fascinating art history — a thoughtful close reading of a painting. Great example of multimodal journalism. The clouds are heavy and black. A grim day for fighting. In the air is the smell of damp, and mortar fire. It’s a little after 10 a.m. on Sept. 13, 1759. The battle is almost over. In the distance, the wounded French soldiers are retreating. And a young general in a red coat…

R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots) Artistic Prosperity Trailer

We rehearsed and recorded a Zoom recording of RUR during the lockdown. I really enjoyed being able to do theater while so much of the rest of society was shut down. Here’s a “human interest” promo (which also includes actors who played Robots). Stay tuned for news about seeing the full production. Artistic Prosperity -RUR Human Interest Reel from Artistic Prosperity on Vimeo.

Frazetta’s “A Princess of Mars” painting sells for $1.2 million at auction

I’ve read about 11 of the Edger Rice Burroughs John Carter / Barsoom series. When my kids were small, I would spend an hour or more at bedtime, reading to them and then turning off the lights and leading a steampunk adventure that lasted for years. I drew lots of pulp adventure details right from the Barsoom series — though the ground rules of our shared role-playing world precluded any…

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The Most Toys (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season Three, Episode 22) Data Abducted by Eccentric Collector

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break. The crew react to losing Data in a freak shuttle accident, but he’s been kidnapped by a trader who wants him for his collection. An odd, low-stakes episode that gives us a good look at Data’s ethical principles and negotiating technique, as he calmly debates with his captor and experiments with ways to resist. I got a little tired of the eccentric Fajo. He…

Trump, Obama seem equally disinterested in portrait unveiling — but journalism takes hits from both sides

On social media recently I saw people mocking Trump for “refusing” to unveil the traditional presidential portrait of Obama, and I saw people attacking “the fake news media” for pushing a narrative designed to make Trump look bad. The original NBC story that broke this item accurately states that neither Trump nor Obama is interested in the unveiling ceremony. There’s a whole ecosystem of people across the political spectrum who…

Fascinating, and very sad, story behind an iconic National Geographic photo.

Fascinating, and very sad, story behind an iconic National Geographic photo. McCurry wanted to take more pictures but Sharbat Gula fled. No part of the written story mentioned her narrative or even her name (which McCurry did not care to find out). He did not take her consent or her father’s to publish the image. When Sharbat Gula finally saw the cover that would make her face world-famous, she felt,…