What Saudi Arabia’s Vibrant Art Scene Says About Its Internal Struggles

Artists Are Using Ambiguity to Probe the Fault Line Between Modernity and Conservative Islam

When I first saw Ajlan Gharem’s video, “Paradise Has Many Gates,” at an art studio in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, I was amazed.

It opens with a small single-story structure made of chain-link fence standing alone in a flat expanse of sand, crowned by a small dome and a gold crescent moon. A minaret rises above one corner of the building, while a semicircular niche in one wall marks the direction of Mecca. When the call to prayer sounds, a group of men and boys enter. They kneel to pray; then …

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Empathy’s Evolution in the Human Imagination

What Began as an Aesthetic Response to Art Is Now a Highly Complex Neurochemical Reaction

Empathy seems to be one of the most “natural” emotions, but before 1908, no one in the English-speaking world had heard of it.

And when it did appear, “empathy” was …

Our Exhibition Embraced Selfies, Snapchat, and Shopping Malls—and Went Viral

In the Overheated Art World, Social Media Give Millennials New Tools For Engagement

Even a few years ago, galleries and museums that showcased their collections via Instagram were a minority. Now Instagram is ubiquitous. Cellphone cameras have officially replaced sketching among museum-goers. …

Dancing in New Orleans to Overcome Division

A Crescent City Transplant Creates a Diverse Non-Profit, and Finds a New Home

Five years ago, I moved from New York to New Orleans. The reasons included a need to escape from the New York grind, a lover’s terminal brain cancer, and a …

Turning Low-Income Housing into Art

In Houston's Third Ward, 'Shotgun' Houses Provide Homes for Artists, Mothers, and Anyone with a Vision

Project Row Houses is an art space in Houston’s historically black Third Ward. Its success, going on a quarter of a century, is a powerful argument for committing first to …