Three Books...
6:02 am
Sun January 5, 2014

When Modernism Met Science Fiction: Three New Wave Classics

The original paperback cover for Joanna Russ' 1975 novel The Female Man (detail above) called the book "startling."

A fan named Peter Graham once said that the golden age of science fiction is 12. That's true for me, although like many other fans I'd insist that my first exposure to SF happened during the real golden age. The decade from 1965 to 1975 was science fiction's so-called New Wave, when the genre took on both the turmoil of the '60s and the literary techniques of high modernism. The mix of the two created spectacular results, as dozens of energized writers penned scores of wonderful books. To this day their impact is being recognized; 2014 will see Samuel R.

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Fine Art
3:32 am
Sun January 5, 2014

Robert Indiana: A Career Defined By 'LOVE' No Longer

Robert Indiana first emerged as a pop artist in the early 1960s, but he was quickly defined by his 1966 signature work, LOVE, shown behind Indiana in this 2013 photo.
Lauren Casselberry AP

Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 10:13 am

In 1968, Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art bought a painting called LOVE — and made artist Robert Indiana famous. It became a sculpture, a stamp, greeting cards.

And it obliterated the rest of Indiana's career. The artist has been pretty much ignored by the art world for the past few decades. Not sneered at, he says – just ignored.

"I wasn't aware that I was disrespected," he says, in a raspy baritone. "I've only been neglected."

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4:16 pm
Sat January 4, 2014

Jimmy Santiago Baca, From Prison To Poetry

When Jimmy Santiago Baca was 20, he was convicted of drug charges and sentenced to prison. He was illiterate when he arrived at the Arizona State Prison. When he got out five years later, he was well on his way to becoming one of America's most celebrated poets.

Baca writes about oppression, love and migration, and his poems range from just a few lines to many pages.

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Fine Art
4:16 pm
Sat January 4, 2014

Conserving Priceless Chinese Paintings Is An Art All Its Own

Zhao Mengfu was the preeminent painter and calligrapher of the early Yuan dynasty (1279-1368). His Sheep And Goat scroll is estimated to be worth $100 million.
Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 2:33 pm

Outside of China and Taiwan, U.S. museums hold the world's best collection of Chinese paintings. It's worth billions of dollars, but it's also fragile: Over time, these paintings fall apart. In the U.S., there are only four master conservators who know how to take care of them, and they're all approaching retirement.

The Freer and Sackler Galleries — one of the huge, stone Smithsonian buildings on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. — employ one of those masters.

Invisible Conservation

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Music News
7:52 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Hip-Hop's Aboriginal Connection

Two turntables carved from wood scratch out the sound of Beat Nation artist Jordan Bennett learning his native Mi'kmaq language.
David Sommerstein / NCPR

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 1:38 pm

At the entrance of a new exhibit at Montreal's Musée d'Art Contemporain, visitors are greeted with a red neon glow and a ping-pong of sounds. A dubstep groove thumps. A high-hat skitters. A pow-wow chant echoes from another room.

Beat Nation: Hip Hop as Indigenous Culture has become something of an art sensation in Canada. Featuring more than two dozen artists using beats, graffiti, humor and politics to challenge stereotypes, the exhibit coincides with the growth of Idle No More, an indigenous political movement in Canada.

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