Category Archives: Culture

The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction

It is impossible, today, to experience a work of art the same way as it would have been experienced 100 or 200 or 400 years ago. Orchestras can play baroque music on original instruments; churches can display the same altarpieces … Continue reading

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Authorship and ownership

The ongoing debate over Google Print Google Book Search is yet another manifestation of a more fundamental debate over intellectual property rights. But one thing has been nagging at me for a while, and it’s based on the whole idea … Continue reading

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The Forty-Part Motet

I haven’t posted here since mid-September; it’s now November. I have a couple of excuses (I got married, had a honeymoon, am moving house, have been posting at MemeFirst), but it’s still a very poor show. Maybe all the goings-on … Continue reading

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When we become what we formerly scorned

I had this very conversation just yesterday, when my friend Ephrat came over at lunchtime with a tailcoat she’d embroidered for my upcoming wedding. But today Lindsay has nailed it with a bile-filled stream-of-consciousness rant which I sympathise with 100%. … Continue reading

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How not to cover Murdoch

The New York Times can’t compete with the Wall Street Journal on general business and finance stories. But it does have aspirations to own one particular beat: media, that most New York of American businesses. So when Lachlan Murdoch resigned … Continue reading

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I’ve just got back from London, after an absence of about a year in which time I bought a New York City apartment. I don’t know if that’s why, but this time was my first visit ever where I didn’t … Continue reading

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Lessig vs Butler

Yesterday, I was unhappy, because my computer had to make a trip to the emergency room. Today, I am happy, because it is back and shiny and happy and has a Tiger in the tank. With any luck, this development … Continue reading

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Make Dia free!

Dia: Chelsea is relocating to become Dia: Meatpacking, anchoring the southern end of the High Line redevelopment. The New York Times quotes Michael Govan, Dia’s director: Plans call for building a simple two-story museum with 45,000 square feet of gallery … Continue reading

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Freedom Tower update

Sometimes the wall between the news and opinion pages at US newspapers is mildly exasperating. Last Sunday, the opinion page of the City section of the New York Times ran an interesting editorial about the Ground Zero Freedom Tower, saying … Continue reading

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A broken market

Imagine it’s still 2000: during the bubble, before Spitzer. The market’s white-hot, and IPOs from hyped young companies are hugely in demand. The broker-dealers deliberately underprice the IPOs they get, guaranteeing mark-to-market profits for their favoured customers – the ones … Continue reading

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Michael Wolff’s speech

Professional media gadfly Michael Wolff delivered the opening keynote address at the 2005 SIIA Information Industry Summit in New York at the beginning of February. Hundreds of digital content professionals heard his speech; it caused a bit of a stir … Continue reading

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Has Gawker jumped the shark?

Gawker jumped the shark today. I don’t think it’s the fault of its two new editors, Matt Haber and Jessica Coen, both of whom are talented and funny writers. Nor do I blame Lockhart Steele, the new editorial director. No: … Continue reading

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The Gates

Anyone who has moved from Europe to New York knows that one of the most dazzling things about this city, quite literally, is the winter sun. We Europeans are used to drab, gray winters, where the few hours of purported … Continue reading

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If there’s one overriding reason why Steve Jobs has been a huge success at Apple, it’s that he has managed to demolish the old truism that Apple =Mac. Nowadays, in the eyes of the general public, Apple is much more … Continue reading

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Hirst’s shark

The Shark is coming to New York. According to the Telegraph and the Evening Standard, Larry Gagosian has finally succeeded in brokering the deal we first heard about back in December. Charles Saatchi will sell The Physical Impossibility of Death … Continue reading

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Modern art notes

Thank you, Greg, for the MoMA passes you sent me. I initially intended to give them to recent immigrants who know nothing of modern art, and in fact I will do that eventually. But an opportunity came up, so last … Continue reading

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142 Henry

With some fanfare, The Garfield Building – otherwise known as 142 Henry Street, on the lower Lower East Side – had its first open house this afternoon. I’d been keeping an eye on it for some time, since it’s a … Continue reading

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Rhetoric corner: Tavis Smiley on Nas

From preachers in Birmingham to rap stars in the Bronx, it has long been the case that many of America’s greatest rhetoricians have been black. In the Democratic primaries, the manner in which Al Sharpton effortlessly showed up his opponents … Continue reading

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Richter at Dia

I went back to Dia:Beacon on Sunday, one of those wonderfully clear and bright winter days which New York seems to specialise in. The light was streaming through the huge windows, and the John Chamberlain sculptures literally glowed. All great … Continue reading

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MoMA’s $20 admission

Greg Allen has thrown down the gauntlet. Give him a "well-argued explanation of the damage incurred by $20 tickets and what MoMA could/should realistically do to remedy it," he says, and he’ll give you a pair of free passes to … Continue reading

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Julie Taymor’s Magic Flute

Julie Taymor’s new production of Die Zauberflöte at the Met is an unqualified triumph. My guess is that it will last at least as long as the David Hockney production it replaces (14 years), and might, conceivably, even outlast The … Continue reading

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Where does new music belong?

When I was 16, a concert changed my life. I’ve written about it here before: it was the London Symphony, under Kent Nagano, playing Olivier Messiaen’s Saint François d’Assise. Read my piece from 2002 if you want to know that … Continue reading

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Dan Flavin

One of the biggest surprises, for myself along with many people, of Dia:Beacon was the fact that Dan Flavin’s work looks so marvelous in natural light. So when I heard that the head of Dia, Michael Govan, had curated the … Continue reading

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Public art

A few months ago, a series of blue boxes appeared in the World Financial Center marina. If you walked past them, you’d realise they were making funny noises. It turns out that they were a site-specific art work by Bruce … Continue reading

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Blithe Young Tories

One of the funniest scenes in the new Stephen Fry movie, Bright Young Things, happens when one of the eponymous socialites, played by the fabulously-named Fenella Woolgar, fails to recognise the Prime Minister when he joins her for breakfast. It’s … Continue reading

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