The Beautiful Uncertainty of Douglas Crimp

In a 2007 interview with the writer Sarah Schulman, the art historian Douglas Crimp said that he was “temperamentally just so put off by certainty, by political certainty.” Crimp died on July 5th, at the age of seventy-four. He has and will be memorialized as a visionary curator, historian, and philosopher of art. But, for…

By JohnValbyNation July 10, 2019 0

Will Los Angeles Lose a Beloved Piece of Public Art?

Los Angeles still gets to ask itself regularly what kind of city it wants to be. For instance: Does it believe in large-scale, outdoor, egalitarian public art? In 2001, the artist Mark di Suvero installed “Declaration,” a twenty-five-ton sculpture, on the boardwalk at Venice Beach. Just over sixty feet tall, made from raw-steel I-beams, the…

By JohnValbyNation July 10, 2019 0

Three Key Questions About Trump and the Economy

Following the Independence Day break, the political world is digesting three bits of positive economic news for the Trump Administration. On July 1st, the current economic expansion became the longest since the federal government started collecting comprehensive economic statistics—a run of ten years and one month. Early last week, the stock market hit a new…

By JohnValbyNation July 10, 2019 0

“Midsommar,” Reviewed: Ari Aster’s Backwards Horror Story of an American Couple in Sweden

Ari Aster is a writer and director of cult movies—his two features, “Hereditary,” from 2018, and “Midsommar,” which opened last week, are both grotesque and gory dramas about cults. “Hereditary” showed a family’s destruction by an ancient curse, which turned a young suburban man into a mystical cult’s unwilling king. “Midsommar” is the story of…

By JohnValbyNation July 9, 2019 0

But What About

Did I rob the bank? Sure. But what about the bank? Banks commit white-collar crimes all the time—in this case, the crime of having money that I wanted. So that’s on them. It’s called entrapment, and there is a movie with that title where Catherine Zeta-Jones walks through lasers. Incidentally, she does that to commit…

By JohnValbyNation July 8, 2019 0

Sunday Reading: The Simple Pleasures of Summer Travel

In the best of all possible worlds, you’re reading this while vacationing in some exotic or faraway locale. If you’re not, we’ve got the next best thing: a collection of pieces that explore the simple pleasures of summer travel. In “My Repertoire,” Calvin Trillin describes his culinary adventures in Nova Scotia. In “Dickens in Eden,”…

By JohnValbyNation July 8, 2019 0