Peering inside Myanmar’s earliest stupas

This time-worn cover of a relic chamber is another mesmerizing work on display At the Met in "Lost Kingdoms."   It was found inside a stupa at Sri Ksetra, a 1,500-year old site we visited in 2012.  It is in ruinous state, so much so the World Monuments Fund added it to its endangered list.  But it has … Continue reading Peering inside Myanmar’s earliest stupas

Frames rule

Slap a piece of wood around a painting, and you've created a border  -- a signal that the viewer is leaving one kind of space and moving into another.  Carve and gild that border and you're declaring that what is inside is special, very special. And sometimes the frame itself can grow so exuberant, so … Continue reading Frames rule

Crossing over

The whole notion of thresholds and borders between the sacred and profane got me to thinking about facades of churches and how they signal this border/threshold and perhaps none more loudly than baroque facades designed with Counter-Reformation zeal in the Italian town of Lecce. Talk about a border teeming with life forms... At first glance, … Continue reading Crossing over

Borders

One reader commented... "And the “borderland” is often the richest, most productive and releaving place to be. In ecology, scientists study and celebrate the “edge” — the edge between sea and land, between fresh and salt water, between one climatic zone and another. There they find not only an incubator for distinctive forms of life … Continue reading Borders

Saving the Sea of Milk

The Wall Street Journal's art page has this great feature called the Masterpiece column in which you get to just stop and spend time on one work.  As every writer who has done one of these will  tell you, it is exhilarating and frustrating.  I don't have to explain the first part, at least not … Continue reading Saving the Sea of Milk

What lies behind gilt… in Myanmar

Whether it is a temple or a stupa or one of the  many (many!) gilded Buddhas in Myanmar, it is hard to believe that they started off  looking something like this -- Now,  I'm not too crazy about gilt (no matter the spelling), but these gleaming domes and statues took on a different glow once … Continue reading What lies behind gilt… in Myanmar

Somewhere between sculpture and architecture — even landscape

They're sculptures, but you walk through them and experience them the way you experience a building.  I'm talking about the work of Richard Serra, whose  "Junction" and "Cycle" are -- what? on view? open? available for hiking, the way gorges carved by time and the elements are?  -- at Gagosian Gallery in NY.