Some 20 years ago when we visited a temple in South India, a brahmin led us into a small side shrine with a large statue of Shiva as Nataraja.  The only light was the oil lamp he carried with a single flame.  Anyone familiar with 'aarthi' will know what I mean.  Basically, the priest draws circles … Continue reading

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

the lure of auction previews

Don't you just love auction previews? You can feel the surface texture of a stone carving, lean in really really close to a painting without sounding alarms, pick up a ceramic bowl to peer at its underside.  And, in theory if not always in practice, you could own each and every one of the pieces … Continue reading the lure of auction previews

Benjamin to the rescue…as always

Walter Benjamin -- you'd think his "Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" had been so quoted that the words would be used up by now.  But no, they are still there, still legible, still useful, and they spring to mind as I walk through Serra's 'Junction' and 'Cycle'  at Gagosian gallery, camera in hand.  … Continue reading Benjamin to the rescue…as always