Spinning the Story of Their Culture

The Wixárika People of Western Mexico Developed a Vibrant Way to Preserve Their Psychedelic Spiritual Beliefs

Psychedelic drugs, anthropology, art, commerce, 1960s counterculture, and indigenous culture collide in the stunningly vibrant and intricate yarn paintings of the Wixárika people of Western Mexico. On one level, these are psychedelic works fundamentally tied to peyote, the psychotropic drug that is integral to the Wixárika’s spiritual practices. On another, they are important documentation of a culture becoming commodified in the mid-20th century, in this case aided by a self-described shaman and a reporter-turned-anthropologist.

The yarn paintings comprising “The Spun Universe” exhibit, now on view at UCLA’s Fowler Museum, were primarily …

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Coyote as Clown, Cowboy, and Creator

Artist Harry Fonseca Transformed the Native American Folk Figure Into a Commentary on 20th Century Culture

In 2006, during the last few months of his life, the artist Harry Fonseca often spent Sundays in his Santa Fe studio with the curator Patsy Phillips. His ability to …

Life Lessons From South L.A.’s Most Influential “Rag Man”

Renowned Artist John Outterbridge Has Spent Decades Mining His Surroundings for Material

John Outterbridge has spent more than eight decades noticing, saving, and recombining parts of his surroundings. It’s an artistic method. His sculptures bring together different found materials, and the resulting …

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 …

Witty Mosaics Offer a Beautiful Solution to the Pothole Problem

One Artist Is on a Quest to Improve City Streets via a Durable Ancient Craft

Back in 2013, Jim Bachor had the idea of bringing art to bear on a particularly non-artsy problem—potholes.

Outside his Chicago studio, the pavement was marred with pits and divots. …