The New York Times Book Review – March 26, 2023


The New York Times Book Review – March 26, 2023:

Margaret Atwood Is Still Sending Us Notes From the Future

A photograph of Margaret Atwood, who is wearing a green scarf and green button-down shirt.
Margaret Atwood’s new book is “Old Babes in the Wood.”Credit…Arden Wray for The New York Times

Her new story collection, “Old Babes in the Wood,” offers elegiac scenes from a marriage plus a grab bag of curious fables.

There are authors we turn to because they can uncannily predict our future; there are authors we need for their skillful diagnosis of our present; and there are authors we love because they can explain our past. And then there are the outliers: those who gift us with timelines other than the one we’re stuck in, realities far from home. If anyone has proved, over the course of a long and wildly diverse career, that she can be all four, it’s Margaret Atwood.

50 Years On, ‘Wisconsin Death Trip’ Still Haunts and Inspires

Michael Lesy’s book of historical photographs and found text offers a singular portrait of American life.

Michael Lesy’s 1973 book “Wisconsin Death Trip” is an American oddity, a cult classic for a reason. In a way that few documentary texts do, it makes us leave the baggage of modernity at the trailhead. It forces us back into the inconceivably long nights in rural and small-town America before the widespread use of electricity, before radio, before antibiotics for dying children and antidepressants for anxiety bordering on mania, when events could make a family feel that some nocturnal beast had chalked its door.

The Prophetic

This illustration depicts a barren landscape, with yellow ground and, in the distance, a low brown mountain range beneath an aqua sky scattered clouds and a couple yellow stars. In the middle of the landscape stands a small figure of a woman in a long green tunic. Above her head, and connected to her body via several pink and red rays, is an enormous human eyeball. At the center of the eye, where the pupil and iris should be, there is a stormy sky: a white moon, half hidden by dark clouds, and streaks of lightning.
Credit…Nada Hayek

The first installment of an essay series on American literature and faith.

I am a child of the church. In an early memory, I am 6 years old, half-asleep in the back of my grandparents’ station wagon on the way home from a revival…


Reports: Tufts Health & Nutrition – April 2023


Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter (April 2023)

  • The Truth about “Brain-Boosting” Supplements
  • News Bites
  • Personalized Nutrition
  • Special Report: Cooking with Kids
  • Eight Cups of Water a Day?
  • Featured Recipe: April Fools’ Day Tofu Scramble
  • Ask Tufts Experts: Cardiovascular Disease; Melatonin

Exhibitions: Inside ‘After Impressionism’ In London

Christie’s (March 24, 2023) – Curator MaryAnne Stevens explains the inspiration for the National Gallery’s new show, which is sponsored by Christie’s. Dominated by Cezanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin and Munch, it also includes lesser-known figures such as Isidre Nonell and Max Slevogt.

After Impressionism: Inventing Modern Art

25 March – 13 August 2023

Explore a period of great upheaval when artists broke with established tradition and laid the foundations for the art of the 20th and the 21st centuries.

The decades between 1880 and the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 were a complex, vibrant period of artistic questioning, searching, risk-taking and innovation.

The exhibition celebrates the achievements of three giants of the era: Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin and follows the influences they had on younger generations of French artists, on their peers and on wider circles of artists across Europe in Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels and Vienna.

Public Health: The Rise Of The Deadly Fungi (WSJ)

Daniela Hernandez | WSJ (March 24, 2023): HBO’s The Last of Us previews what a fungal apocalypse might look like. While scientists aren’t worried about the Cordyceps fungus taking us out IRL, deaths due to severe fungal infections are going up and raising alerts from public-health agencies.

Video timeline: 0:00 Fungal infections kill an average of 1.6 million people per year 0:30 How climate change has aided in fungi production 2:11 Infectious fungi are more dangerous for compromised immune systems 2:42 Why there are limited treatment options for fungal infections 3:29 How worried should you be about fungi?

I explain three big reasons why the next big health threat might come from a fungus.

Candida auris is an emerging fungus that presents a serious global health threat. CDC is concerned about C. auris for three main reasons:

  1. It is often multidrug-resistant, meaning that it is resistant to multiple antifungal drugs commonly used to treat Candida infections. Some strains are resistant to all three available classes of antifungals.
  2. It is difficult to identify with standard laboratory methods, and it can be misidentified in labs without specific technology. Misidentification may lead to inappropriate management.
  3. It has caused outbreaks in healthcare settings. For this reason, it is important to quickly identify C. auris in a hospitalized patient so that healthcare facilities can take special precautions to stop its spread.

Travel & Culture: Journey Through Cities Of China

Stef Hoffer (March 24, 2023) – China is one of the world’s most fascinating and complicated countries, and its cities seem to get bigger every year. Considered a rural society just a few decades ago, China today is home to the world’s largest urban population.

In this travel documentary, I take you on a journey through some of the country’s most interesting cities. While many city centers are filled with modern skyscrapers, we also search for more traditional neighborhoods, historic sites, tranquil parks, special events, and cultural activities.

We look at the rapid changes China is undergoing in its urbanization process, and mention some of the challenges the country is facing. From the modern megacities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou we travel to the ancient centers of Beijing and Xian. We visit the popular Summer holiday beaches of coastal Qingdao, and the exciting Winter festivals of Harbin.

From the streets of fusion cities like Hong Kong and Macau we continue our journey to Tibetan Lhasa, located on the Rooftop of the World. We also take a look at the disappearing alleys of old Kashgar, in the controversial Xinjiang region, and the empty streets of Ordos, China’s best known ghost town. And we explore the expanding urban centers along the Yangtze river, including Wuhan and Chongqing, all the way to the fast paced metropolis of Shanghai.

I traveled through China independently for more than a decade, on several occasions. The footage in this video was shot between 2010 and 2019, and is accompanied by background information. For more in-depth information on each place, I recommend to read, watch, and listen to as many different sources as you can.

Exhibition Views: Shirley Jaffe – Form As Experiment

VernissageTV (March 24, 2023) – The exhibition “Shirley Jaffe: Form as Experiment” at Kunstmuseum Basel is the first retrospective of the American abstract painter in Switzerland. Shirley Jaffe (1923-2016) was born in the United States and settled in Paris in the 1950s.

The exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Basel presents 113 works, from Shirley Jaffe’s early abstract expressionist works to the geometric paintings that are characteristic of her late oeuvre.

Shirley Jaffe – Form as Experiment

March 25 to July 30, 2023

Atelier de Shirley Jaffe, Paris, 13 octobre 2008, Kunstwerk im Hintergrund : Shirley Jaffe, "Bande Dessinée en Noir et Blanc", 2009, © 2023, ProLitteris, Zurich, © Bibliothèque Kandinsky, Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI / Jean-Christophe Mazur
Shirley Jaffe
Manyness by Shirley Jaffe

Born in New Jersey in 1923 as Shirley Sternstein, in 1949, the artist, now Mrs Jaffe, moved to Paris. Following her short-lived her marriage to the journalist Irving Jaffe, the painter decided to remain in France. Having soon established herself in the city, she held regular contact with the American “art expats” Norman Bluhm, Sam Francis, and Joan Mitchell, who had relocated to Paris somewhat later.

Her work dating from this period may be attributed to Abstract Expressionism, a form that sought to draw exclusively from its own resources and which consisted primarily of wildly applied fields of colour and gestures. Although, for the art market at the time, this amounted to a success formula Jaffe nevertheless decided to strike out in a different direction.

Reviews: ‘The Week In Art’

March 24, 2023: This week: Art Basel Hong Kong bounces back. After cancellations, delays and two years of restricted fairs, the fair has returned to something like pre-Covid normality.

So, as other Asian art centres like Seoul and Singapore become increasingly influential, what is the atmosphere like in Hong Kong? Gareth Harris, chief contributing editor at The Art Newspaper, joins us to discuss the fair, the M+ museum and more. It is becoming increasingly clear that social media corporations have become self-appointed cultural gatekeepers that decide which works of art can freely circulate, be pushed into the digital margins or even banned.

Our live editor, Aimee Dawson, talks to the artist Emma Shapiro and Elizabeth Larison, the Director of the Arts & Culture Advocacy Program at the National Coalition Against Censorship, about the issue and a project to counter this tendency, called Don’t Delete Art. And this episode’s Work of the Week is Naabami (thou shall/will see): Barangaroo (army of me), a photographic project by Brenda L. Croft, in which she depicts fellow First Nations women and girls.

The work is part of The National 4: Australian Art Now, a survey across multiple venues in Sydney. One of the show’s curators, Beatrice Gralton, tells us about Croft’s epic series.Art Basel Hong Kong, until 25 March.Visit Don’t Delete Art: dontdelete.artThe National 4: Australian Art Now continues until 23 July. 

Culture: New York Times Magazine – March 26, 2023


The New York Times Magazine – March 26, 2023:

The Age-Old Food Fight That Beats an Italian Town to a Pulp

A color photograph of screaming men dressed in chess-themed uniforms. Orange pulp and blood is scattered on their faces and shirts.
The orange throwers are organized into nine teams, each with a different flag, logo, captain and uniform.

Every winter, Ivrea erupts into a ferocious three-day festival where its citizens pelt one another with 900 tons of oranges. (Yes, oranges.)

The orange throwers are organized into nine teams, each with a different flag, logo, captain and uniform.

I Went on a Package Trip for Lonely Millennials. It Was Exhausting.

Rosie Marks for The New York Times

On traveling to Morocco with a group-travel company that promised to build “meaningful friendships” among its youngish clientele.


I’m Lost All the Time. So I Went on a Labyrinth Vacation.

A color photograph of a hedge maze arch.
The Parc del Laberint d’Horta, in Barcelona.Credit…Joakim Eskildsen for The New York Times

The dizzying joys of maze tourism, in Barcelona, Paris and Chenonceaux.

The Parc del Laberint d’Horta, in Barcelona.Credit…Joakim Eskildsen for The New York Times

Seeking the Spirited, Mystical Jamaica Tourists Don’t See

A photographer’s journey through her native spiritual landscape of Jamaica, where Christian and Afro-centric traditions blend.

Preview: History Today Magazine – April 2023



The First Folio

Shakespeare’s First Folio in the library of Durham University, 1950s.
Shakespeare’s First Folio in the library of Durham University, 1950s.

The stage has a short memory, print a long one: 400 years since its first publication, Shakespeare’s First Folio is the reason we remember him.

American Moppets

 Teleradiola "Belarus-5" in an ordinary Soviet house.
 ‘The ‘Belarus-5’ in an ordinary Soviet house,’ photographed in the 1960s. 

Americanised globalisation and the new world of Russian business in the 1990s.

In the 1990s, a version of the satirical puppet show Spitting Image arrived on Russian television. A Muscovite once told the story of his father, who took great care to record every episode on VHS.

Travel Views: The Garden Of Ninfa In Southern Italy

turismoroma (March 24, 2023) – The Garden of Ninfa (Giardino di Ninfa), built on the ruins of the medieval town of Ninfa in the Pontine Marshes (Agro Pontino), has been classified by the New York Times as one of the most beautiful and romantic gardens in the world. Declared a Natural Monument by the Lazio Region, the garden, given the delicate environmental balance, may only be visited on certain days of the year.