A constellation of yogas

So many yogas, so little time…  and so few words.  In my WSJ review of "Yoga: The Art of Transformation" at the Smithsonian's Sackler, I did not have the space to single out an 8th-century ivory carving from Kashmir.  Less than five inches tall, it draws you into the story of the Buddha as he adopts,  then rejects … Continue reading A constellation of yogas

An Indo-Persian garden in Yonkers – who knew…

This was probably my favorite "find" at Untermyer. Standing guard by the back entrance (right by a derelict guard house where, some rumors have it, the Son of Sam serial murderer hid out). Isn't he gorgeous? Some attribute this relief to Edward Clark Potter who carved the lions in front of the New York Public … Continue reading An Indo-Persian garden in Yonkers – who knew…

James Turrell: ” I think we’re made for the twilight.”

Now it is concave, now it is convex;  ephemeral as mist,  solid as an inflated balloon, and always nothing but color and light reflecting, fluctuating, teasing the brain.  Engaging with the work of James Turrell, the mind does not so much reel as it dances between perceptions, grabbing hold of forms even as they shift … Continue reading James Turrell: ” I think we’re made for the twilight.”

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

Objects with a point of view

When I described a visit to the Indo-Pacific department of Yale University Art Gallery of in the company of its curator, Ruth Barnes,  I could not possibly squeeze into the WSJ account all the amazing things she had to say.  Which is why we have blogs...  not that we always have time to write  them... In the … Continue reading Objects with a point of view

Truth in translation?

Ever wonder just how tricky translations can be?  Here's a little case study.  I saw that a Russian website had picked up  my review of the Islamic galleries at the Louvre so I decided to check it out.  Here is an excerpt from the original in English: The narrative tries to insert into [the show's] chronological … Continue reading Truth in translation?

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


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