CURRENT ISSUE

Issue 66

featuring Adam Bobbette, Mark Dorrian, Lyra Kilston, Carol Mavor, Laurel Rogers, Justin E. H. Smith, and more

ISSUE 66

Dr. Southern California

Lyra Kilston

Climate is to a country what temperament is to a man—Fate.

—Helen Hunt Jackson, Glimpses of Three Coasts

In the spring of 1602, Basque merchant Sebastián Vizcaíno was sent on a mission to map the California coast for Spain. Several months later, he and his crew docked in a placid bay he named San Diego and some of them went ashore to explore the foreign terrain. There, they encountered an astonishing woman who looked “more than one hundred and fifty years old.” ...

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KIOSK / 24 MARCH 2020

Modern Heroes with No Poets to Tell of Their Courage

Jeff Dolven, Maureen N. McLane and Geoffrey Nutter

On 13 March, or roughly a century ago, some newspapers published the photograph below of a banner placed outside the Maria Nuova hospital in Florence. The bilingual sign, which according to the news sources was made by four Chinese boys, reads: “Doctors and nurses, modern heroes with no poets to tell of your courage. Thank you from the heart.” ...

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ISSUE 66

Banham avec Ballard

Mark Dorrian

In January 1961, the eminent architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner gave an address at the London headquarters of the Royal Institute of British Architects during which he reflected upon troubling developments that had become apparent within architectural culture over the previous decade. A month later, he spread the word to a broader public audience through two radio broadcasts for the BBC, one of which was aired on the corporation’s German service. ...

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KIOSK / 25 FEBRUARY 2020

On the Market

Justin E. H. Smith

At the museum, I am standing with my spouse in front of a Flemish vanitas scene. There is an old man hunched over his accounting books, surrounded by gold coins and jewels; a skull sits on his desk, and Death himself perches undetected above his shoulder. What, I ask her, is the “takeaway” of such scenes supposed to be? That one would do well to start thinking of one’s soul, she says. ...

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ISSUE 65

Rectangle after Rectangle

Amy Knight Powell

This is about the dominance of the rectangular format in a certain tradition of picture making, a dominance that still holds today and extends well beyond the medium of painting. The book, the photographic print, the screen, and the museum—which has tended to favor this format—all guarantee that we encounter most pictures in rectangular frames. ...

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KIOSK / 12 DECEMBER 2019

Girl, in Still Life

Johanna Ekström

When I was a child, there was a book about the Polish artist Balthus in the small library at our country home. It was dad’s book, big and heavy. The skin between my thumb and index finger stretched taut when I took it down from the shelf. Sometimes I would sit at the table there in the library and page through the book. The table was by a window that looked out on a forest of firs. ...

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ISSUE 65

Ingestion / The White Rabbit and His Colorful Tricks

Catherine Keyser

In 2015, General Mills reformulated Trix with “natural” colors. Customers complained that the bright hues of their childhood cereal were now dull yellows and purples. Two years later, the company released Classic Trix to stand on store shelves alongside so-called No, No, No Trix, the natural version. This nickname, promising “no tricks,” sounds abstemious; the virtuous customer says no to technicolor temptation. ...

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KIOSK / 3 DECEMBER 2019

The Lasting Breath

Mairead Small Staid

On display at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn, Michigan—amid the lacquered black metal of Model Ts and the hanging flanks of the first planes to fly over the poles, just feet from Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion House and the bus seat made famous by Rosa Parks, mere yards from the chair in which Abraham Lincoln was shot and the limousine in which John Fitzgerald Kennedy was also, yes, shot—is a small, clear, and seemingly empty test tube, once rumored to contain the last breath of Thomas Edison. ...

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