“Bone Tomahawk” and Political Extremism

A few white ne’er-do-wells out in the desert of the American southwest stumble upon, and then desecrate, a small burial site. In retaliation, the nearby Native American tribe kills two of the drifters and tracks the last to a small settler’s town, where they abduct him as well as a sheriff’s deputy and a localContinue reading ““Bone Tomahawk” and Political Extremism”

John Cage’s Experimental Painting about Chess

In 1944, experimental musician John Cage produced an artwork for the “Imagery of Chess” exhibition exploring influential artist Marcel Duchamp’s interest in the game. Cage’s artwork, entitled Chess Pieces, is a painting depicting 64 light and dark squares (in the pattern of a chessboard), with a series of light and dark lines superimposed on top.Continue reading “John Cage’s Experimental Painting about Chess”

Art and Science: Mars Perseverance Rover Photos

In early 2021, NASA’s Perseverance rover began transmitting images from Mars. Although these were not the first photos we’ve seen from the planet, they remain tremendously interesting. One of the first things that struck me about the new photos was their similarity to abstract art. Most of them are directly shot from above, either fromContinue reading “Art and Science: Mars Perseverance Rover Photos”

Early Fiction Films: “A Trip to the Moon”

Whereas the work of the Lumiere Brothers was a progenitor of documentary film, another French pioneer, George Méliès, created the first fiction films. His pictures were full of fantasy and wonder; a stage magician in his day job, Méliès seems to have been the first director to cut multiple shots together and to use specialContinue reading “Early Fiction Films: “A Trip to the Moon””

“Arrival of a Train:” The First Film?

Long regarded as the first film ever made, we know now that Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station (1896) was screened a few months after the Lumiere Brothers held the world’s first film screening at a cafe in Paris. Despite the fact that it was not the first film ever made, it stillContinue reading ““Arrival of a Train:” The First Film?”

“American Progress” and Manifest Destiny

American Progress (John Gast, 1871) visualizes the 19th century idea of Manifest Destiny. Columbia, symbolic of the United States, is seen traveling west, dressed like a Greek goddess. Ahead of her tramp white hunters and settlers, and behind her railroads appear out of thin air. On the far left an ominous dark cloud recedes, bringingContinue reading ““American Progress” and Manifest Destiny”

Representing Sound Through Painting: “Rhythm + Noise + Speed ​​of Car”

Rhythm + Noise + Speed ​​of Car is a 1913 painting by Futurist artist Giacomo Balla. Part of a vibrant pre-WWI experimental art culture, the Italian Futurists were enamored with energy, power, and modern technology. Many of them were pro-war fascists, and although this is likely the case for Balla as well, his work doesContinue reading “Representing Sound Through Painting: “Rhythm + Noise + Speed ​​of Car””