Photo Enlargers Loom Like Dinosaurs of the Film Age

By Pete Brook Lab owner: Adrian Ensor There were 204 photo printing labs in and around London in 2006, printing images from film stock to paper. By 2009, only six remained. In each of these labs’ darkrooms were photo enlargers, themselves quite large, that projected the images from film negatives onto a piece of photo … Continue reading

A Secret Archive: On the Mexican Suitcase

Dan Kaufman  In the spring of 1942, Gen. Francisco Aguilar González, the Mexican ambassador to the Vichy government, left France to return to Mexico with his wife, Maria. The couple traveled through newly Fascist Spain to Lisbon, where she boarded a steamer bound for New York, with twenty trunks of their belongings, while the general … Continue reading

MoMA Acquires Wojnarowicz

by Brett Berk  Still from David Wojnarowicz, A Fire In My Belly (Film In Progress), 1986-87, Super 8mm film, black and white & color, Silent. Courtesy of The Estate of David Wojnarowicz and P.P.O.W Gallery, New York and The Fales Library and Special Collections/ New York University. The director of the Museum of Modern Art, … Continue reading

It’s not all tutus and sugar plum fairies

By Marie Arana Ballet begins at the barre. It is hard work, rigorously disciplined, unforgiving. It takes brute physical strength, intense mental focus and a donkey’s will. Even the most accomplished dancer begins her morning with five simple positions. By day’s end, she will be defying the limitations of her anatomy, flouting gravity. She will … Continue reading

Cartoonist Jim Woodring Wields 7-Foot Pen, Strikes Arty Blow

By Scott Thill Artist and cartoonist Jim Woodring has a professional fetish for the pen and inkwell. So he’s built a 7-foot-tall version to show off to noobs and silence fluid-dynamics doubters. His outsize version of the traditional steel dip pen, with its lengthy poplar handle, is a calligrapher’s inky dream. It features a brass-plated, … Continue reading

Sofia Coppola

You either love her or hate her. Here’s why. By Nathan Heller In the past two decades, Sofia Coppola has been publicly laughed at, booed, and wept over by Quentin Tarantino—treatments that, in the ledger of Hollywood fame, add up to something slightly short of canonization. But her greatest talent may lie in inciting small-scale … Continue reading

Photographer Exposes Crime Scenes, With a Dash of Chemistry

By Pete Brook The view is often unremarkable: A gray, cinder-block apartment building with a bright red awning, perhaps, or a single-level suburban home in yellow brick with a double garage. Photographer Angela Strassheim has visited dozens of such addresses, knocking at the door and talking her way inside. The people she encounters often have … Continue reading

Cheap DIY Camera System Performs Amazing Photographic Feats

By Dave Mosher  Triple Exposure By day, Linden Gledhill develops pharmaceuticals. After hours, he pushes the limits of high-speed, up-close and on-the-cheap digital photography. The British native’s latest science-inspired shots of insects in midflight, splattering paint droplets and butterfly wing scales are made possible by a small photographic-accessories company in Michigan. When Gledhill hits a … Continue reading

New Grit

Krista Smith and Sam Jones spotlight Hailee Steinfeld, star of the Coen brothers’ True Grit remake. By Krista Smith  Photograph by Sam Jones Steinfeld, a child model, beat out nearly 15,000 girls for her first major role, opposite Jeff Bridges as the reluctant hero Rooster Cogburn (the part that won John Wayne his only Oscar), … Continue reading

In Wagner, So Much More Than Heaving Bosoms

  Michael Latz, Agence France-Presse, Getty Images Richard Wagner’s Parsifal was performed in Stuttgart this year. A new book says too few critics have acknowledged how masterfully the composer summoned up sensuality and sexuality. By Peter Monaghan In the most acclaimed of the operas and so-called music dramas of Richard Wagner, hefty figures from Germanic … Continue reading

Gallery: 10 Visions of the Postnatural World

By Brandon Keim  Able to lament the tragedy of nature’s disruption and glory in the vitality of its survivors, Alexis Rockman is the perfect artist for the anthropocene. Biosphere: Orchids, 1993 Biosphere: Hydrographer’s Canyon, 1994 Host and Vector, 1996 Airport, 1997 The Hammock, 2000 Cataclysm, 2003 Manifest Destiny, 2003-2004 (detail) Sea World, 2001-2004 South, 2008 … Continue reading

No mere gargoyles: Schizophrenic sculpture

Jonathon Keats (Image: Superstock/Getty) In 1932 the psychoanalyst Ernst Kris diagnosed German sculptor Franz Xaver Messerschmidt with schizophrenia. While Kris had never met Messerschmidt, who had died in 1783, his verdict was not without justification. Messerschmidt spent the final 12 years of his 47-year life making a series of "character heads" whose distorted facial features … Continue reading

A Celebration of Street Photography, as Anti-Terror Backlash Fades

Pete Brook It may seem absurd, but since 2005 that scenario or something like it was playing out with surprising regularity on public streets in Britain, where draconian anti-terror legislation declared photographers “suspicious” merely for carrying camera equipment. At its height, a tweed-wearing photographer was branded a terrorist by a London Tube worker, police deleted … Continue reading

Nan Goldin in Berlin

An Intimate Diary Of the Bohemian Underground Josie Le Blond Controversial US photographer Nan Goldin has returned to Berlin to showcase a selection of photographs from her time spent revelling in the city’s subculture. The exhibition of pictures, two thirds of which have never been displayed publicly before, opens today at the Berlinische Gallerie. An … Continue reading

For Whom the Nobel Tolls: An Evening Out with James Watson

An off-Broadway play and a trove of lost letters have brought the discovery of DNA’s double helix back into the headlines. The Nobel laureate weighs in Anna Kuchment  We had gathered Tuesday evening to discuss two recent events that had brought the story of Watson’s co-discovery of the structure of DNA in 1953 back into … Continue reading

Turkey’s Rambo takes on Israel

Colum Lynch As Ban Ki moon struggles to patch up relations between Israel and Turkey following the raid on a Turkish aid ship by the Israeli Defense Forces, a Turkish film company has decided to rock the boat, so to speak. Passions on both sides are likely to be inflamed by a new film portraying … Continue reading

Katharina Grosse

Six Paintings from Mr. Caplan by Katharina Grosse  Katharina Grosse is a German artist based in Berlin. We were captivated by her architectural shapes, and the vivid colors in her paintings. Her process is equally powerful: armed with a spray gun, she covers large canvasses, often close to seven feet heigh, with layers of paint. … Continue reading


The horror of self-amputation in Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours. By Dana Stevens 127 Hours Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours (Twentieth Century Fox) departs from the same premise as the first Saw movie. Instead of two men’s ankles chained by a murderer, we have one man’s arm trapped by a fallen rock, and instead of Saw‘s titular … Continue reading

Gustav Klimt’s mysterious embryos

Amy Maxmen (Image: Gustav Klimt) Zeus covertly impregnated Danaë, the legendary princess of Argos, by disguising himself as golden coins, which streamed into the princess’s locked chamber and ran down her thighs like raindrops as she slept. Danaë’s father had imprisoned the princess to shield her from men because of a prediction that his future … Continue reading

New Zealand to rewrite labor laws for Peter Jackson

By Joshua Keating  Warner Bros and New Line had considered taking the production elsewhere after acting unions threatened to boycott the films in a row over wages. "I am delighted we have achieved this result," PM John Key said at 0720 BST. "Making the two Hobbit movies here will not only safeguard work for thousands … Continue reading

Geeky Math Equation Creates Beautiful 3-D World

By Alexis Madrigal Editor’s note: We are rerunning this gallery of 3-D images inspired by the work of Benoit Mendelbrot, who is best known for popularizing fractal mechanics. Mandelbrot died Oct. 14, 2010, at the age of 85. The quest by a group of math geeks to create a three-dimensional analogue for the mesmerizing Mandelbrot … Continue reading

Chemical origami used to create a DNA Möbius strip

By Diana Gitig A schematic of the structure of DNA Möbius strips. Nature, by permission of author H. Yan Researchers at Arizona State University have recently used origami to fold DNA into a Möbius strip. Why? Because its frickin’ cool, that’s why. The scientists, who hail from the departments of biophysics, chemistry, and biochemistry, chose … Continue reading

Walter Steiner

Werner Herzog Walter Steiner, a Swiss sculptor and repeat world champion in ski-flying, raises himself as if in religious ecstasy into the air. He flies so frightfully far, he enters the region of death itself: only a little farther, and he would not land on the steep slope, but rather crash beyond it. Steiner speaks … Continue reading

The beastliness of modern art

By Simon Schama An artist’s impression of Mark Wallinger’s ‘Angel of the South’ Call me a Yahoo but if you prick up your ears you might just catch the sound of mass whinnying; the pawing of hoofs and the odd titanic neigh coming from somewhere in north Kent where Mark Wallinger will be installing his … Continue reading

Through The Years

Home alone in Sweden Stanley Kauffmann   The Girl Olive Films A film about a child that is not intended to charm us is brave. The Girl, from Sweden, scorns the idea of charm and bravely concentrates on the life of a nine-year-old simply as a life. (We don’t even learn her name.) We are … Continue reading

Borat, redux, sort of

By Steve LeVine Kazakh solidarity prevented my wife from joining me, but when Borat-mania swept the United States a few years ago, I went and watched the Sacha Baron Cohen film. The nude hotel elevator scene was hilarious, as was the general satire on Americans. But what apparently stuck in Erkin Rakishev’s craw was the … Continue reading

At Edge of Whitney, Touching the Void

By ROSLYN SULCAS As Stephen Petronio leaned out face-forward horizontally into space on Thursday afternoon, only his feet touching the edge of the roof at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the crowd below gave a stifled gasp. Mr. Petronio was about to begin his short and hair-raising re-enactment of Trisha Brown’s 1970 “Man Walking … Continue reading

You Can’t Handle the Veritas

What Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher get wrong about Harvard—and Facebook. By Nathan Heller The Social Network was made to provide Facebook’s half-billion users with a kind of origin myth, and that myth’s luckiest feature, from a cinematic point of view, is its roots in the nation’s most iconic ivory tower. People go out of … Continue reading

Influencing People

David Fincher and “The Social Network.” by David Denby Armie Hammer, Jesse Eisenberg, and Max Minghella (from left) in a film directed by Fincher and written by Aaron Sorkin. “The Social Network,” directed by David Fincher and written by Aaron Sorkin, rushes through a coruscating series of exhilarations and desolations, triumphs and betrayals, and ends … Continue reading

SUPERSTAR Rajinikanth!

The biggest movie star you’ve probably never heard of. By Grady Hendrix Jackie Chan is the highest-paid actor in Asia, and that makes sense. Besides producing, directing, and starring in his own action movies since 1980, he’s earned millions in Hollywood with blockbusters like Rush Hour and The Karate Kid. But the No. 2 spot … Continue reading


When Allen Ginsberg was a cute, soulful gay boy. By Dana StevensPosted Friday, Sept. 24, 2010, at 12:27 PM ET Read Fred Kaplan’s "Life and Art" about "Howl." Aaron Tveit and James Franco in Howl You may think you know what Howl (Oscilloscope) is, but you don’t. ("You" here being me before I walked into … Continue reading

Wagner for a Song

David Polonsky By ALEX ROSS ON Monday night, “Das Rheingold,” the first part of a mammoth new production of Richard Wagner’s opera cycle “Der Ring des Nibelungen,” will thunder down on the Metropolitan Opera. A 45-ton set will test the theater’s foundations; a reported $16 million budget will test the company’s finances. In the midst … Continue reading

Web exclusive Exclusive interview: Gaspar Noé

By Justin Villiers  The enfant terrible of French cinema, director of the provocative film "Irreversible," talks about his long-anticipated new feature: "Enter the Void" Audience members walked out in disgust during Gaspar Noé’s provocative film, “Irreversible,” at the Cannes film festival back in 2002. Set in Paris and starring Monica Belluci and Vincent Cassel, it … Continue reading

Brain-hacking art: Making an emotional impression

By Jessica Griggs  Why is Impressionist painting so popular? The answer may lie in the brain’s early warning system – and what happens when consciousness dims The Impressionist movement arguably produced some of our best-loved paintings. A study of more than 90,000 people in the UK, aged 13 to 90, found that they preferred Impressionist … Continue reading

The Eternal Stage Set

Gregory Crewdson describes his new exhibition, featuring photos of Rome’s fabled Cinecittà studios. By Valerie Bitici• Photographs by Gregory Crewdson  WEB EXCLUSIVE Before college, New York–born photographer Gregory Crewdson aspired to become a psychoanalyst like his father. However, after taking his first photography class, Crewdson discovered that there were more artful ways of delving into … Continue reading

Never Let Me Go

By James Bowman What I liked best about Mark Romanek’s adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel Never Let Me Go is also what I liked best about the book, which took what could so easily have been just another s-f or "dystopian" fantasy and put it instead into the real world. Admittedly, it is not our … Continue reading

Paul Gauguin at the Tate Modern: desire, death, myth

Paul Gauguin, subject of a major new exhibition at Tate Modern, was not only the prototype of the artistic ‘bad boy’, he also had a momentous effect on the course of modern art. By Mark Hudson Seductive and enigmatic: Paul Gauguin’s ‘Nevermore O Tahiti’, 1897 A pretty village in a wooded valley in southern Brittany, … Continue reading

English Tests

“You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” and “Never Let Me Go.” by David Denby In Woody Allen’s perverse and fascinating “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger,” set in London, Alfie (Anthony Hopkins), a grizzled and barrel-chested plutocrat, perhaps seventy years old, leaves his wife of forty years, Helena (Gemma Jones), and marries what … Continue reading

Style in Pen and Ink: Live-Drawing New York Fashion Week

Michael Arthur’s live drawings capture the sights and sounds that surrounded designers previewing their colorful spring-summer 2011 collections. Drawings and captions by Michael Arthur  WEB EXCLUSIVE September 17, 2010 New York City’s Lincoln Center, home to ballet, opera, plays, and symphonies, was the new site of Fashion Week. On Thursday, September 9, the first full … Continue reading

Someone Please Let Werner Herzog Film in Space!

by John Lopez  Werner Herzog may just be the most interesting man in the world: he’s moved a 340-ton steamboat over a mountain, (allegedly) directed Klaus Kinski at gun point, eaten his own shoe, and saved Joaquin Phoenix’s life. Then there are his films: brilliant, bizarre, startling, terrifying, always confusing. As Michael Hogan mentioned previously, … Continue reading

Elliott Erwitt’s New York

Posted by Rollo Romig  Last week, we introduced the trailer for Cheryl Dunn’s new documentary on New York street photographers, “Everybody Street.” I just saw the full film, and it’s wonderful, a snappy and inspiring thirty-minute primer on the form. (It’s worth it just to see Bruce Gilden at work, shooting strangers at point-blank range … Continue reading

The star photographers who captured the night sky

The competition to be Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2010 was fierce. We reveal the shots that the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London, deemed most stellar: capturing eclipses, the Northern Lights, the dim and distant Veil nebula, and more. All winning images are on show at the Royal Observatory from today. The exhibition is free … Continue reading

Venice Film Festival: Three Chinese Movies Make a Splash

By Dean Napolitano Media Asia Films/Enlight Pictures Qi Shu and Donnie Yen in “Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen.” Three Chinese movies holding their world premieres at this year’s Venice Film Festival represent the increasing potency of China’s movie industry, commercially and artistically. The three movies are “Legend of the Fist: The … Continue reading

Fisk Says It Must Sell O’Keeffe Art Collection to Survive

In October, a judge will decide whether saving one means sacrificing the other. By: Jennifer Brooks  Selected work from the Stieglitz Collection. (Nashville Public Television on YouTube) Fisk University is on the brink. The endowment of the tiny, historic school in Nashville, which opened its doors to newly freed slaves in 1865, is depleted. Every … Continue reading

Human pylons carry electricity across Iceland

By Duncan Geere An architecture and design firm called Choi+Shine has submitted a design for the Icelandic High-Voltage Electrical Pylon International Design Competition which proposes giant human-shaped pylons carrying electricity cables across the country’s landscape. The enormous figures would only require slight alterations to existing pylon designs, says the firm, which was awarded an honourable … Continue reading

Sean Riva’s Nudes in Nature

by Val Bitici The nudes displayed in artist Sean Riva’s exhibition "More Than a Landscape" don’t bring to mind Harry Callahan’s tender portraits of his beloved wife and favorite subject, Eleanor. Nor do they evoke Helmut Newton’s staged pictures of sultry vixens, confined to stark studios and impeccable sets. Instead, Riva, the artistically talented great-grandson … Continue reading

The Mark of a Masterpiece

The man who keeps finding famous fingerprints on uncelebrated works of art. by David Grann. Every few weeks, photographs of old paintings arrive at Martin Kemp’s eighteenth-century house, outside Oxford, England. Many of the art works are so decayed that their once luminous colors have become washed out, their shiny coats of varnish darkened by … Continue reading

The dustbin of art history

Ben Lewis. Why is so much contemporary art awful? We’re living through the death throes of the modernist project—and this isn’t the first time that greatness has collapsed into decadence. The paintings in Damien Hirst’s exhibition at the Wallace Collection last October were execrable. Most critics fulminated that these works of art should never have … Continue reading

How Do You Convert a Flat Movie Into 3-D?

With a trained artist and a fast computer. By Brian Palmer. Draw a map of each shot and let a computer do the rest. 3-D movies are normally filmed using two slightly offset cameras. Both images are projected onto the viewing screen, with those cheap plastic glasses feeding one image into your left eye and … Continue reading

The Trouble With Intuition

By Daniel J. Simons and Christopher F. Chabris: Some 45 years after Wise found the private edition of the Sonnets, two British book dealers, named John Carter and Graham Pollard, decided to investigate his finds. They re-examined the Browning volume and identified eight reasons why its existence was inconsistent with typical practices of the era. … Continue reading