Menu

Inventing the Kingdom

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

WHEN The Kingdom landed on my desk with a thud, I could tell that it would pose a challenge—that it would be a book I had to contend with. In addition to being a substantial tome, it comes with the cultural imprimatur conveyed by its publisher, the venerable Farrar, Straus and Giroux, whose backlist includes…

Read More

Cindy Jackson’s Bevy of Boisterous Bodies

By Gordon Fuglie Essay

CONTEMPORARY FIGURATIVE ART may owe more to the golden age of comic books than many art watchers are prepared to admit. Beyond the ironic appropriation of comics by late art-world A-lister Roy Lichtenstein or au courant nihilistic punkster Raymond Pettibon, illustrated narrative has a much longer pedigree. Earlier in the twentieth century, the angular and…

Read More

Still Mending: South Africa between the Shadow and the Light

By Rachel Hostetter Smith Essay

NEXT TO THE ENTRANCE to the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg, South Africa, where the chief justices meet to uphold what has been called the “most progressive” of constitutions, stands a bronze sculpture by Dumile Feni, a South African of Xhosa descent. It is based on a smaller clay work made in 1987, at the height…

Read More

Sovereignty of the Void

By Christian Bobin Essay

YOU MIGHT BE AT A DISTANCE from your life. As always: an ordinary state, banal. Your body headed straight for the abyss, with the forward momentum of age. And beneath the freshness of blood there is weakness, ashes. Nostalgia: the soul. Sick, yes. Without a doubt: sick. And the real name of that sickness would be…

Read More

The Cloud of Unknowing

By Kevin Honold Essay

I. The TAXI DRIVER stopped and gestured to the empty desert. “There.” I saw nothing. “Where?” “There.” Now I saw, or thought I saw, some irregularity in the distance, about a mile away—the reflection of standing water, or maybe the attenuated shadow of a dip in the ground. After I paid the man, he sped…

Read More

Chest Percussions

By Amye Day Ong Essay

LURLENE MCDANIEL KEPT ME COMPANY in the hospital. Her young adult novels—which included Six Months to Live, I Want to Live, So Much to Live For, I’ll Be Seeing You, A Season for Goodbye, Sixteen and Dying, and Someone Dies, Someone Lives—featured stories of teenage love for the terminally ill. I was not terminally ill,…

Read More

Gathering the Light: Sean Scully’s Montserrat Chapel

By Paul Anel Essay

THE FIRST TIME SEAN SCULLY told me about his commission for a chapel on the grounds of the Benedictine monastery of Montserrat, in Spain, it was in a restaurant in Chelsea, in New York City, in November of 2010. Digging into his side pocket, he found a pen and started drawing on the paper tablecloth: the…

Read More

Presence in a Space: The Flickering Contradictions of Martin Puryear

By Karen L. Mulder Essay

IN 1997, THE ST. JAMES GUIDE TO BLACK ARTISTS called sculptor Martin Puryear a quiet revolutionary engrossed in the business of eroding art-world oppositions. “I would describe my usual working process as a kind of distillation—trying to make coherence out of things that can seem contradictory,” he says. “But coherence is not the same as resolution.…

Read More

The Doubt that Breathes Beside You

By Stina Kielsmeier-Cook Essay

1. We are late to church and sneak along the outer edge of the sanctuary, the pine floors creaking under our careful steps. I slide into the pew next to my husband. My leg brushes against him, this man I love, a man who recently lost faith in God. I scan the bulletin and try…

Read More

Listening to Silence

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

I ARRIVED AT THE ADVANCED screening of Martin Scorsese’s new film, Silence, in the worst possible frame of mind. I was running late, and I was starving. My only option for getting food in time was a fancy burger joint near the multiplex. After ordering a mega-burger and fries, I fidgeted at the table, waiting…

Read More

Access one piece of artwork every month for free! To experience the full archive, log in or subscribe.

Pin It on Pinterest