I was once invited to Thanksgiving dinner by a friend who warned me that her family was “Not a Real Norman Rockwell Kinda Bunch”. We know that image: brightly scrubbed faces hover in smiling anticipation over sparkling china as Ma sets the turkey in front of the family patriarch ready to be carved. That painting is titled Freedom From Want and it’s one of those homespun scenes that only happens in what author Deborah Solomon calls “Rockwell Land” -- a magical reflection of American life as it should be. Solomon’s new biography of the illustrator, beloved by the masses and dismissed as corn ball by the art world, reveals a complicated, neurotic, and repressed man who lived very far from the America he invented.
Twenty-eight years ago today, artist Bill Watterson’s only syndicated comic strip hit newspapers for the first time, introducing readers to a rowdy six-year old named Calvin, and his often hungry and always kindhearted companion, a stuffed tiger named Hobbes. The strip quickly grew to become arguably the most popular comic of its era – but after ten years in print, the reclusive Watterson retired his pens and brushes, and retreated from the public eye. Now, almost thirty years later, adoring fans carry a nostalgic torch for the quiet subversion, unbridled joy, and beautifully rendered drawings of Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes.
“Dear Mr. Watterson” is a new documentary film by director Joel Allen Schroeder that explores the enduring influence Calvin and Hobbes had on a generation of fans and artists. The movie is now out in select theaters and available on demand.
While the White Mountains have always been associated with outdoorsy activities, for much of the 19th century, they played a particularly important role in the arts. The new country was looking for an artistic identity that was distinctly "American," and the untamed wilderness of northern New Hampshire inspired scores of painters.
Education policy in the U.S. is currently laser-focused on engaging students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math—or “STEM” subjects. The goal is to prepare future generations to prosper in the new global economy. But where do the creative arts fit into this equation? How can art and music education help drive innovation? Eric Booth is a pioneer in art education, and is the author of several books, including, “The Music Teaching Artist’s Bible.” He is also an artist, an actor, and musician and is widely referred to as the father of the teaching artist profession.
The Saturday show is jam-packed jelly-tight with the best from the Word of Mouth archives. Sit back, relax and let the sweet sounds of this public radio audio sandwich be your weekend treat. On this week's show:
Would a mirror change your shopping habits?Michael Moss is investigative reporter for the New York Times and winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting. He told us about some interesting new tactics supermarkets are using to influence shoppers.
This Soylent is NOT made of people. A new 'food' product is meant to be the perfect replacment for all your daily nutrients. Lee Hutchinson is senior reviews editor at Ars Technica. He lived on Soylent for a full week, and blogged about the experience.
Minimalist composer Philip Glass is widely acknowledged as one of the late 20th Century’s most influential music-makers. He’s worked with artists, musicians and filmmakers from David Bowie to Woody Allen, and famously collaborated with theater director Robert Wilson on the landmark opera “Einstein on the Beach” in 1976. Even after “Einstein,” Glass didn’t quit his day job as a New York cabby and some-time plumber…he was once called to install a dishwasher at the SoHo loft of a very shocked Robert Hughes, who was then the art critic for Time.
IBM calculates that the human race creates 2.5 quintillion bytes of data per day, with information ranging from scientific research to consumer tracking to social media output. As businesses, governments and researchers continue to search for new ways to parse through this vast amount of information, one man is searching for the bridge between data collection and everyday life. In his project “The Quotidian Record,” Brian House interprets a year’s worth of his own location and movement data into an 11 minute musical track, morphing binary code into warm vinyl rhythm. House is a doctoral student at Brown University in the Music and the Modern Culture and Media Departments; he also teaches at the Rhode Island School of Design. He created the quotidian record while he was a member of The New York Times Research and Development Lab.
Artists from one hundred and thirty-five countries have submitted sketches, doodles and ambitious notebook illustrations to The Sketchbook Project, a crowd-sourced art project that’s been exhibiting collective creativity from contributors worldwide since 2006. With more than twenty-seven thousand sketchbooks housed in its Brooklyn Art Library and a trusty mobile library hitting the road for a nation-wide summer tour, Sketchbook’s ever-growing collection of art shows no signs of slowing down; Steven Peterman, founder and director of operations for “The Sketchbook Project”, joins the program to tell us more.
Hemingway, Darwin, Joyce, Tesla and Picasso were all remarkably different in their temperament and creative output, but they had one thing in common: a successful routine. From Franklin’s solitary nude reading hour to Picasso’s silent lunch gatherings, the outstanding rituals and habits that created genius are as fascinating as they are unexpected. Combing through over 160 accounts of creative minds, Mason Currey’s new book “Daily Rituals: How Artists Work” uncovers the daily almanac of history’s most eccentric, troubled and genius figures. Mason’s writing has appeared in Slate, Print, and Metropolis, where he was an editor for six years.
Tom Gauld's cartoon panels have been described as bleak, minimalist, sweet and funny. The London-based cartoonist and illustrator draws a weekly cartoon for The Guardian newspaper’s book review section, and has cracked the US market with comic strips in The New York Times Magazine. A new collection of those strips called, You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack, will be released in the US on April 30th.