An Interview with Zhang Shihe
Zhang Shihe: Mao ordered young people to the countryside. I was sent to work on the Xi’an to Qinghai railway, with some 26,000 others. Most were broken when they came home. Today, they have children and grandchildren, but thousands died prematurely after coming back. These old guys don’t want that forgotten.
January 30, 2019
Poons v. Koons: The Art of ‘The Price of Everything’
Though the art market is often described as capricious, it has a clear logic: the art that commands the most money at a given moment is that which best reflects its collectors’ view of themselves—pious or powerful, beautiful or deep.
January 19, 2019
The Bitter Secret of ‘Wormwood’
Whatever conclusion we draw about Frank Olson’s death, we do know that the cold war bequeathed a branch of behavioral science built around the desire to discover universal psychological mechanisms through which human beings could be manipulated.
January 18, 2018
When Art Makes Us Cry
Art can do many things: dazzle us with its energy, its originality, its technical virtuosity; amuse, unsettle, or outrage us; comment on the culture in which we live; give us pleasure and provide us with intimations of mysterious beauty. It can touch us in ways that transcend the limitations of language. But less and less frequently does contemporary art do what Marina Abramović’s “The Artist is Present” appears to have done—to inspire its viewers with anything approaching an extreme emotion.
September 6, 2012
Obama’s Evil Twin
Surpassed only by *The Expendables 2*, with Sylvester Stallone, the Dinesh D’Souza political documentary *2016: Obama’s America* was the second-highest grossing movie in America the week that it opened—timed to coincide with the Republican National Convention—and is now among the top ten highest earning documentaries in history. Like the RNC, *2016* is designed to show the president as a false prophet and a failed leader; unlike the RNC, the D’Souza film is less interested in the nature of Obama’s politics than in the enigma of his personality. With the Democrats gathering in Charlotte to recapture the Obama story, I sought out *2016* at the Regal Union Square in Manhattan to learn more.
September 5, 2012