Monthly Archives: April 2014

Thomas Demand Hypermediation

Put to rest that old hoary notion that photography has a special ontological relation to reality. In works by contemporary photographer Thomas Demand, that relation is marked as hypermediation. The image is at least three times removed from the original … Continue reading

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Noah (Not) Grotesque (Enough)

I always wondered why Noah planted that vineyard, got so drunk that he incapacitated himself. I always suspected that it had to do with trauma. It’s a rotten human condition it is. The world is cursed, first by “man,” and … Continue reading

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Oranament of Empire, Pillar of the Church — Empress Flaccilla

Waiting around in the Byzantine gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this head caught my attention. My first thought was that she had to have been someone. I’ve since gone to look at other pictures online of this bust, … Continue reading

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To Mend the World Queer Messianic (José Esteban Muñoz) (& Emil Fackenheim)

Just finished reading José Esteban Muñoz’s Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity.  His philosophical lodestars are Bloch and Marcuse, Heidegger and Agamben, but I came to see here the kind of thinking associated with the Jewish post-Holocaust … Continue reading

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(Byzantine) Woman Of Valor (Ktisis)

She’s one of my mother’s favorite people at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I like her too a lot, a woman of valor, and of rich substance, an image of female power and patronage, like the matrons described sometimes by … Continue reading

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(Breathing) Him to Her After Deconstruction (Luce Irigaray Between East and West)

Against the better judgment of colleagues and friends I assigned Luce Irigaray Between East and West for my graduate seminar on “Religion, Art, and Aesthetics.”This year, we were looking at bodies and images of the body, starting with Nietzsche’s The … Continue reading

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Sovereign Power and Protection (Hindu and Buddhist Art from Lost Kingdoms of Southeast Asia)

Went to see “Lost Kingdoms,” the blockbuster exhibition of awesome, awesome Hindu and Buddhist mostly sculpture from now vanished and forgotten kingdoms in southeast Asia dating from the 5th through 8th centuries. Holland Cotter’s review in the NYT  describes the export-migration … Continue reading

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(Fast Without Motion) Felix and Moses (Mendelssohn)

On the drive home to New York a couple months back I caught an episode of David Dubal’s Romantic Piano on WQXR. I don’t like very much 19th C. romantic repertoire, but I stuck around to listen because Dubal is … Continue reading

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(Flowers) Moses and Fromet (Mendelssohn) (Aesthetic Judaism)

More beautiful than a porcelain monkey, this Torah ark curtain was donated by Moses and Fromet Mendelssohn to what I’m guessing was their local synagogue in Berlin. The embroidered delicate flowers, carnations, roses, lilies in full color are woven into the cream … Continue reading

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Porcelain Ape (Moses Mendelssohn & Illiberal Enlightenment)

The story behind this porcelain ape has to do with the Royal Porcelain Factory owned by Frederick the Great. Unable to compete with the finer items produced by competitors. “In order to increase business, he decreed in 1769 that a … Continue reading

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