A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

What to do, and where and when to do it

Music
Art
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For Kids

(For instance March, Picasso, Paris)

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Made with soft stretchy materials and woven fibers, Ernesto Neto’s biomorphic sculptures—often scaled to make you feel you’re inside a nasal cavity, or a giant hive of dripping honey, or a cathedral of spores—provoke overwhelming sensory experiences. One of Neto’s largest retrospectives yet is on at the Museo de Arte Latinoamericana de Buenos Aires.

Looming Large Several new exhibitions celebrate the art of textiles, from tapestries to sculpture

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Opera Buffa

Now, here’s a unicorn for you: a production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia a half-century old, Italianate and balletic, still as fresh as on its first night. And to think it originated deep in the Cold War, behind the Wall in East Berlin. The director, long deceased, was Ruth Berghaus, a Marxist and torch-bearing Brechtian who started out as a choreographer. The sets and costumes are by the theatrical polymath Achim Freyer, his first for an opera. Now well into his 80s, Freyer is still very much with us, and best known for his later head trips on a Promethean scale. READ ON

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Baby Steps

Artists’ early works can be fascinating for how they hint at their later, mature styles. Years ago, for instance, I saw a landscape Piet Mondrian had painted in his teens or twenties in which the stylized, angular rendering of a tree trunk and branches felt like an arrow pointing toward the grid-like geometry of his signature abstractions. Foreshadowing! But how much more revealing—or at least fun—might it be when the early work is literal juvenilia and the artists are illustrators whose primary audience is kids? READ ON

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Material Girls

Almost 50 years ago, art historian Linda Nochlin’s 1971 seminal essay, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?,” became an electrifying feminist rallying cry that called out male-dominated art institutions. Fittingly, Alice Neel’s vibrant portrait of Nochlin with her young daughter—depicting the fierce scholar as a tender mother—is a centerpiece of “Women Take the Floor,” currently on view at Boston’s Museum of Fine Art. READ ON

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