Essays.

What I Learned in Junior K

Other than deep respect for carpool done well, I owe Junior K a hard-won lesson: don’t ask the teacher about your kid. My kid is an obviously hyper, rebellious, willfully foul-mouthed five-year-old boy. I have no business asking his teacher how the day went, particularly when I barely made the after-care cut-off. Seriously: what do […]

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Without Fear or Favor

I just spent ten days marveling at Asia. But, despite the magic of travel, no trip I’ve taken has ever been tinged with such sorrow. Every morning for the past ten days, I read an entire physical, newspaper. Could the news be sadder than it is now? Gay men shocked to death in Chechnya, one hundred […]

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Everyday Poet, Everyday God

Pope Francis is to the Vatican as Bob Dylan is to the Nobel Prize in Literature. Both represent a promise, long overdue, finally made real. In the case of the Vatican, the overdue promise is to embody Jesus’s goodwill. In the case of the Nobel Prize Committee, the overdue promise is, in Alfred Nobel’s own words, […]

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The Difference between Coolness and Artness: What Turns Everyday Objects into Art

Inevitably, many of the highlights at this year’s London Frieze are works that turn common objects into art. To enter the Fair, visitors must walk by a courtyard and  up a narrow hallway where Martin Soto’s pantyhose installation cuts the sky into the vaulted Gothic cathedral lines of a sacred place of worship. The Gagosian is the first gallery one meets, featuring the works of Edmund […]

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No to New Neon

Neon art began in the 1960’s when an artist named Dan Flavin first displayed it in a New York gallery. Back then neon was street, current and controversial. Indeed, The New York Times compared it to Marcel Duchamp’s urinal: “When Dan Flavin first brought [neon] into art galleries during the 1960’s, he was, in effect, doing what Marcel Duchamp had […]

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