A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

What to do, and where and when to do it

For Kids

(For instance December, Picasso, Paris)




Nicolas Moufarrege, Title Unknown, 1984.

Larger Than Life This month, a number of exhibitions pay tribute to those artists that died too young

Read On

Combination Sallet and Bevor of Maximilian I. German (Augsburg), ca. 1495. "The Last Knight: The Art, Armor, and Ambition of Maximilian I" is on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York through January 5, 2020.

Iron Ladies

One could do an entire exhibition on the relationship between contemporary women’s fashion and the medieval coat of armor. Juxtapose a Thierry Mugler metal catsuit (sexy robot chic) with the battle gear of a knight. Read On


Photograph from The Polaroid Project, published by University of California Press to accompany "The Polaroid Project: At the Intersection of Art and Technology," an exhibition on view at the M.I.T. Museum, in Boston, through June 21, 2020.

In a Flash

Introduced in 1947, the Polaroid camera delivered push-button ease and instant gratification. Hold, frame, squeeze, and, ssszzzzttt, out the film slid, as if the camera were sticking out its tongue. Then the neat part: the image would slowly rise to life in the frame, as if surfacing from a milky void. Chemical magic! Read On


Working Women

In one of Sofonisba Anguissola’s multiple self-portraits, the Renaissance painter stands against a striking green background, meeting the viewer’s gaze with wide, clear eyes and an upturned mouth that seems both pensive and amused. As if to prove her bona fides, she brandishes a small book that reads Sophonisba Angusola virgo seipsam fecit 1554 (“The virgin Sofonisba Anguissola made this herself in 1554”). The artist has written her own art history. READ ON


Screen Time

No space-age wizard did more to fulfill Marshall McLuhan’s vision of the global media-scape than the Korean-American artist and inventor Nam June Paik, born in 1932. Like McLuhan, whose fussy professorial manner gave his gnomic pronouncements and paradoxes a Mad Hatter air (“Diaper spelled backwards is ‘repaid,’ think about it”), Paik was a master of the earnest put-on—a playful provocateur. READ ON


Bridget Riley's study for Turn. A retrospective of the artist's work opens on October 23 at London's Hayward Gallery.

Now You See It

Op art got a bad name almost as soon as it got a name. The year was 1964 and Time magazine—or Donald Judd (sources vary)—coined the term to refer to a brand of hard-edged abstract painting that often flirted with optical illusion. At its slickest, op art’s trippy, eye-tickling effects were psychedelic-adjacent, easily transferable to dorm-room posters and throw-pillow fabrics—abstraction’s equivalent to a Happy Meal. But some practitioners probed deeper, finding sublimity in the genre’s rhythmic, sometimes warped geometries, and none more so than Bridget Riley, the 88-year-old English painter who is the subject of a retrospective opening this week at the Hayward Gallery, in London’s Southbank Centre. READ ON


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