Tag: Art

Mesmerized by Kate Tempest

Every so often you see an artist’s performance that is truly mind-blowing. A tour de force so mesmerizing and breathtaking, you know you’ll never forget it. This was my experience when I first heard 29-year-old poet and raconteur Kate Tempest perform her widely acclaimed spoken-word work,?Brand New Ancients. Since taking London by storm with it, she’s also written plays (Wasted and Hopelessly Devoted) and recorded rap lyrics (Everybody Down). Listen to the kinetic wordsmith offer up a portion of her Brand New Ancients masterpiece here: With her turbulent, tragic, violent, passionate, beautiful......

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The Crazy Rituals of Creative People

Did you know that Benjamin Franklin started his day with an “air bath” – which means he sat around naked? And that Thomas Wolfe wrote while standing up in the kitchen, utilizing the top of the refrigerator as his desk, fondling his “male configurations”? Jean-Paul Sartre chewed on enough tablets to meet ten times the recommended daily dosage of Corydrane (a mix of amphetamine and aspirin). The painter Georgia O’Keefe rose early to drink tea alone in bed and watch the sun rise before entering her studio. And the writer Honore de......

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In Art or Life, Imagine the Backstory

Did you ever wonder what happened to make the Mona Lisa smile? Or ponder the source of anguish in Edvard Munch’s The Scream? And why is the old man’s nose in Domenico Ghirlandaio’s An Old Man and His Grandson so puffed up? The (True!) History of Art is one of the most hilarious books I’ve seen in a long time, and one of the cleverest ways to invite people to engage with the world’s great paintings. Through this book, Sylvain Coissard and Alexis Lemoine enable children and adults to look at instantaneously......

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What It Means to Be Cool

Over the next seven months, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in an exhibit called “American Cool” is showing 100 photographs of people who defined cool in American culture, from the “granddaddies of cool,” Walt Whitman and Frederick Douglass, through the generations, leading to Jay-Z, Johnny Depp and Madonna. I am semi-embarrassed to say, but I always feel it a supreme compliment when people call me a “cool” rabbi. It’s meant having some mysterious mix of rebelliousness, openness to new ideas, charisma with being a bit wild, anti-authority and out front, but in......

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The Museum of Broken Relationships

Yes, such a museum exists – launched in Zagreb, Croatia. In addition, the exhibits tour cities across the world. Nothing in our lives touches us, engages us, changes us, teaches us, devastates us and enchants us more deeply than our most intimate relationships. So now we have The Museum of Broken Relationships, dedicated to love’s end. The curators exhibit personal mementos donated by people who have broken up with someone, or whose hearts were broken by someone, and the objects are accompanied by descriptions that evoke memories and emotions and tell stories......

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We Are Originals

Recently, I read about a fascinating psychological study conducted by Angelika Seidel and Jesse Prinz of CUNY (the City University of New York). Participants were told to imagine that the Mona Lisa had been destroyed in a fire, but that there happened to be a perfect copy – one that even experts couldn’t tell from the original. Then, subjects in the study were asked: If they could see just one or the other, would they rather see the ashes of Leonardo da Vinci’s original Mona Lisa, or the absolutely flawless duplicate? Eighty......

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