Let Artists Choose Activism

Or Not. But Don’t Assume That Anyone’s Identity Should Define Their Work

This piece publishes as part of the Zócalo, Thomas Mann House, and L.A. Review of Books conference on the role of artists in weakened democracies at REDCAT this Saturday. Register to join the in-person waitlist or to watch the livestream.

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare,” Audre Lorde wrote in A Burst of Light, 1988.

After 20 years of working and volunteering in a mixture of direct anti-poverty services, Jewish community organizations, and the arts, …

Finding Inner Peace Between Thin Black Lines

Agnes Martin’s Monochromatic Art Was Her Answer to Taoism’s Call for Austerity

Black is a strong color, and makes a powerful line. It is also elemental and austere—things that would have appealed particularly to artist Agnes Martin, who grew up in a …

The Portrait of the Artist’s Mother as an Old Woman

What James McNeill Whistler’s Iconic Painting, Now on Display at the Norton Simon Museum, Says About Its Subject and Her Son

Like the Mona Lisa, James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s Arrangement in Gray and Black No. 1 (1871), better known as “Whistler’s Mother,” is an icon of Western art. Both paintings belong …