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Artless in America

Artless in America

Artless in America: For the Final Installment of Her Column, a Few of the Columnist’s Favorite Things

Room Number

As a mopey tween, I dreamed of following the example of Claudia Kincaid, the protagonist of E.L. Konigsburg’s celebrated children’s book From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler: I would hide out in a bathroom stall at the Metropolitan Museum of Art until closing, and live in the Met, spending my nights curled beneath a musty duvet in a period bedroom. Read More

Artless in America

In the Name of Science, the Columnist Gets Scared at MoMA

Not haunting MoMA. (Photo by Martha Holmes//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

It is an unfortunate fact that when I get scared, I cry. Until I decided to go to the Museum of Modern Art, scare myself silly, and then look at One: Number 31, 1950 by Jackson Pollock, however, this was not something that affected my journalistic endeavors.

This self-inflicted terror was all in the name of science. My aim was to test out the theories of New York-based researchers Kendall J. Eskine, Natalie A. Kacinik and Jesse J. Prinz, who recently published an article in the journal Emotion titled “Stirring Images: Fear, Not Happiness or Arousal, Makes Art More Sublime.” Read More

Artless in America

On the Road… in the Wilds of Denver

Ed Ruscha, "Brakemen Eat," 2010. (Courtesy the artist and Gagosian)

I don’t really get the West. I find it hard to conjure up an image of a fruited plain or purple mountain that isn’t Hanna Barbera-esque. When I used to play the Oregon Trail computer game, my covered-wagon-mates would all perish before you could say “Donner Party.” I’m the kind of New York snob who, throughout all her out-of-tristate American experiences, keeps up a constant refrain of “Aren’t the people so nice?” and “Aren’t the portions so big?”

So when I found myself at the Denver International Airport, standing between a Starbucks and a tornado shelter, I started panicking. Read More

Artless in America

Artless in America: In Her Inaugural Column, the Columnist Learns to See Spots

Spots. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

In the two years since I became an arts journalist, my interaction with art has been marked by weird flukes, awkward mishaps and, generally, bizarre situations. I conducted an interview with pop-music princess Katy Perry, who had just been painted, nude, on a cotton candy cloud, by Will Cotton; I nervously perched on a $28 million Eileen Gray chair at Christie’s; I almost spooned with Marina Abramović on a giant beanbag in Atlanta.

Throughout, I’ve often had the sneaking suspicion that I’m the wrong woman for the job. After all, I’m a veritable queen of calamity, prone to bumping into priceless objets. And I wondered, as perhaps most of us do, whether I was actually any good at looking at art—I get fidgety staring at anything for more than a few minutes. Read More