Arts+Culture

Arts+Culture

We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner

On Art

Arcosanti

Times of transition, as seen in Brendon Purdy's Arcosanti, are potent times. It's no wonder that dawn and dusk are traditional times of prayer and devotion. Amid the grainy textures of cloud, land and people, the tiny point of the moon sets the cosmological context. Time-lapse photography has captured traces of the movements of the people, expanding our sense of time from "this moment" into "all moments." Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Purdy travels widely and says his "greatest hope as a photographer is to capture something beneath the obvious, such as grace, nobility, humanity or wonder."

—Lois Huey-Heck

Books

A review of Unbroken

Hillenbrand calls the life of Louie Zamperini, the subject of her new biography, "incomprehensibly dramatic." A record-breaking high school track star, competitor at the 1936 Berlin Olympics (where he played pranks on both Jesse Owens and the Nazi government) and WWII Army Air Corps bombardier, he saw months of fierce combat before his B-24 crashed at sea.

Books

Russian heart

The opening lines of Dostoevsky's Notes from the Underground (1864) can hardly be described as inviting: "I am a sick man. . . . I am a spiteful man. I am an unattractive man. I believe my liver is diseased." Yet generations of readers have been engaged by the writer's exquisite self-awareness, his extreme ambivalences and his complex understanding of life in a dysfunctional society.

Film

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Directed by Michael Apted

The third Narnia film features a new director, Michael Apted. The good news is that Dawn Treader is a worthy successor to Andrew Adamson's splendiferous earlier entries.

On Art

Z’s Family and H’s Family

A  series of oil paintings titled Yan' Guan Town, by Chinese artist Liu Xiaodong, explores two families, one Christian and one Muslim, both living in a region of China considered a "crossroads of cultures." At the center of the series are two paintings: large family portraits. The Christian family—"Z's Family"—is shown in their church, while "H's Family," the Muslim family, is seen in the café that the family runs. (Painting was not allowed in their mosque.) The series is filled in by studies of individual family members. Through these studies Xiaodong patiently builds a picture of religious practices and of common and private spaces. He offers reportage, not interpretation. In one interview, Xiaodong said, "The artist has a responsibility to use his critical powers to cut through social issues for a dispassionate standpoint. . . . You don't need to condone or blindly eulogize."

—Lil Copan