May 2015

Anonymous. Illustration for All Saints' Day. Le Petite Journal, Paris, 9 November 1902.

I raked a grave last evening. It was twilight when I got there. Little time was left to work. It was just enough. The race against sunset and total darkness was a welcome distraction from the ache of tending a grave that had to be dug too soon. Ground was opened before the actuarial tables approved and assented to it. I brought two rakes with me. The steel one is hardy, needed to scrape away pebbles and the imbedded straw of winter’s decay. Continue Reading
Milo Winter. The Ass & His Driver. Illustration for The Aesop for Children (1919).

Those old sayings stay with us for good reason. Our bones absorb them in childhood; we can never outgrow them. Later, as adults, we find ourselves forever surprised by the truth of them. No small part of our initial moral education is owed to Aesop. His bestiary brought warnings against all kinds of vanity, thick-headed mischief, and unkindness. His dictums came to us together with our first prayers. Let us not fret here over his status as an historical figure or, as some surmise, a legendary one. Continue Reading
Lu Nan. Mental Hospital, Sichuan, China (1990).

Publicity is meaningless for an artist. If the pictures are good, it doesn’t matter who took them, and if the pictures are not good, it also doesn’t matter who took them. Lu Nan
Our point-and-shoot culture is awash in photographs. The reigning snapshot aesthetic has grown threadbare,  exhausted by its own success. What began decades ago as a “Kodak moment” has metastasized into an infinity of banal images. The snapshot is modernity’s visual correlative to lives measured out in coffee spoons. Continue Reading
People's Climate March, NYC, September 21, 2014. An estimated 311,000 people participated.

A few days before the last of the Vatican’s three climate workshops, the Italian parliament sped up the divorce process. The new law cuts the time Italians have to wait for a divorce: from three years to six months in uncontested cases; one year in contested ones. It was approved with a breathtaking vote of 398 for, 28 against (6 abstentions), Until now, Italians in a hurry to decouple had to be clever. Resourceful mates could establish false residences in other EU countries, and file for divorce where strings were looser. Continue Reading