Almost Any Politician in a Democracy Is a Bit of a Demagogue

A Classicist, a Historian, and a Rhetorician Talk Trump, Clinton, and Cleon

There’s plenty of nastiness in our democracy. But is there anything new?

For all the fear and consternation about the lies, insults, conspiracy theories, and rhetorical excesses of the 2016 presidential election, today’s political troubles have been familiar features of democracy since its invention 2,500 years ago, said a panel of scholars of classics, history, and communications during “How Does Democracy Survive Demagoguery?,” a Zócalo/Getty Villa “Open Art” event.

The wide-ranging conversation at the Getty Villa covered accused demagogues from Pericles to Cicero, Thomas Jefferson to Bernie Sanders. The panelists cautioned that …

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A Color That Is Anything but Neutral

From Puritan Industrialists to Pro-Slavery Propaganda, Black Has Accumulated Contradictory and Controversial Associations

Black may be a color, but it’s not just a color.

Panelists at a lively Zócalo/Getty “Open Art” event at the Getty Museum explored the hue’s often contradictory and controversial …

Those Jingoistic, Nationalistic, Patriotic Cartoons

From World War I to the War on Terror, Cartoons Have Served as Propaganda, Entertainment, and Political Tools

Cartoonists are propagandists and satirists, artists and writers. They make us laugh—in recognition and shame—and enrage and offend. At an “Open Art” event co-presented by the Getty in conjunction with …

How to Make an Artist Biopic That’s Not Pretentious or Boring

The Writer-Producers of Tim Burton’s ‘Big Eyes’ Say You’ve Got to Start with the Right Subject: Someone Who’s Not Universally Considered to Be Great

What makes a piece of art great? Which artists’ stories are worth telling? And why are biopics about the great artists generally pretentious and boring? After a screening of their …

Who Needs Religion When You Have a Camera?

I Was Looking for Spiritual Transformation. Instead I Found the Work of Minor White.

Minor White believed that photography has the potential to spiritually transform the viewer as well as the practitioner. I can attest to that because it happened to me a long, …

My Youthful Years In Ansel Adams’ Orbit

I Wanted to Revolutionize Photography. Then I Got a Job With the Man Who Wrote the Rule Book.

I had the enormous good fortune to work for the photographer Ansel Adams in the early 1980s.

At the time I applied for the job, I was a graduate student in …