Bizarre art and architecture in Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens

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Deep in Philadelphia’s South Street neighborhood is a structure — or piece of art, I’m not sure — that absolutely should not exist. It makes no sense. It boggles the mind. And it inspires. But what is one to do with the inspiration? How the magic gardens came to be In 1968, the city of … Continued

Renoir at The Clark: How should we feel about all that flesh?

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The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, western Massachusetts, has mounted a comprehensive exhibit of the nudes of impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir. It’s impossible to see these paintings and sculptures in a public setting without some complicated feelings. I’ve never visited an impressionist art exhibit with a content warning before. I visited The Clark this weekend. (If … Continued

Reflections on the inauspicious debut of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony

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Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is the greatest single piece of music humanity has ever produced. I was, however, surprised to learn that this epochal work, rather than bursting successfully onto the world’s consciousness, had a problematic and stumbling debut and took years to be recognized. There is surely a lesson here for anyone attempting to create. … Continued

Art and craft

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Here are a few words on what it feels to successfully create art, and why we can never really understand it. This weekend I attended “The Fabrication of Imagination,” a show put on by theĀ Arts League of Lowell, Massachusetts. The people there were fascinating. I met Judith Wombwell, an artist originally trained as a choreographer … Continued