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Study Reveals Secret of 18th-Century Portrait

Russian researchers from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Kurnakov Institute of General and Inorganic Chemistry of RAS, and Russia’s famed Tretyakov Gallery have conducted a comprehensive preconservation study of “The Portrait of F.P. Makerovsky in a Masquerade Costume” (1789) by the Russian painter Dmitry Levitsky. The paper was published in the journal Heritage Science....

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A Brief History of Invisibility on Screen

What would you do if you could be invisible? Would this newfound power bring out the best in you, instilling you with the courage to discreetly sabotage the efforts of evildoers? Or would the ability to slip in and out of rooms unnoticed tap into darker impulses? This alluring fantasy has long been fodder for...

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How Art Helped Construct Afrikaner Nationalism in Apartheid South Africa

In this revised extract from the introduction to Troubling Images: Visual Culture and the Politics of Afrikaner Nationalism, the book’s editors assess how art and design helped forge Afrikaner nationalism. In Banal Nationalism British academic Michael Billig writes, “If the future remains uncertain, we know the past history of nationalism. And that should be sufficient...

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Art for Our Time, Perez Art Museum Miami

Art and Soul: what does that mean? The expression has lent itself to many things in American society, such as a crafts studio in Long Island, a tattoo/piercing shop in the Hudson Valley of New York, and a gallery in Boulder, Colorado.  Art and Soul echoes the expression heart and soul, which means without reservations...

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The Queen of Spades: A Card, An Obsession, A Musical Spectacle

Many Americans are familiar with Italian, French and even German operas. Some prefer the ease of operas performed in English such as “Porgy and Bess,” but less familiar to audiences stateside are Russian operas.  Thankfully, Tchaikovsky gave us eleven worthy operas; and while the most popular is arguably “Eugene Onegin,” his work “The Queen of...

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Parasite: at Last the Oscars Jumps the ‘One-Inch’ Subtitles Barrier

Parasite may be the first foreign-language film to win a Oscar for best picture, but now that line has been crossed, there’s every hope this might mark a shift in attitudes to what the film’s director Bong Joon-ho calls the “one inch tall barrier of subtitles”. A lot has been said recently about diversity and...

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What Is the Place of the Performing Arts Fair in the Age of the Internet?

Review: Platform Papers 62: Performing Arts Markets and their Conundrums, by Justin Macdonnell (Currency Press) The performing arts may be a public good that serve to enrich Australia’s cultural imagination, but they are also a product competing for audience share and government, corporate and private support. Established in 1994, the Australian Performing Arts Market (APAM)...

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There’s Been a Spike in Fake African Art. What’s Being Done to Fight It

The art world has been dealing with fakes for more than 2 000 years, with perhaps the most notorious case being the forgeries of Dutch master Johannes Vermeer’s paintings by artist Han van Meegeren during the Second World War. Now African art is becoming a larger and larger target. Fakes are flooding the South African...

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Why Italian Cinema Is Starting to Glamorize the Mafia

For almost a century, American filmmakers have glamorized the Mafia, depicting their ranks as so charismatic and quick-witted that you might want to invite them over for dinner. Audiences saw this most recently in “The Irishman,” which reunites a star cast of the usual suspects – Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci –...

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Sahel at the Met

From the Met: From the first millennium, Africa’s western Sahel—a vast area on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert, spanning what is today Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger—was the birthplace of a succession of influential states fueled by regional and global trade networks. Opening on January 30 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sahel: Art...