Installation view of Ai Weiwei: Life Cycle

Ai Weiwei’s Readymade: Politics

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been making political waves for decades, but his current shows are especially relevant to the United States.
Silhouette de château illuminé par un orage, by Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo: Surrealist Artist

Victor Hugo created visual art that was intuitive, experimental, and inspired by Spiritualism. In other words, nothing like his novel Les Misérables.
The Black Shawl, 1917, by Henri Matisse

The Colonialist Gaze of Matisse’s Odalisques

Henri Matisse's odalisques, or reclining nude females, were inspired by trips to exotic French colonies. But what was the story outside the frame?
Art Is (Girlfriends Times Two)

Visiting “Soul of a Nation”

A new exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum asks: Is there a Black aesthetic?
Land of the Lotus Eaters, a painting by Robert S. Duncanson

Marking the Grave of the First African American Landscape Artist

Robert S. Duncanson was among the first African American artists to gain international fame. And yet his grave has stayed unmarked for 146 years.
Painting by Jozef Czapski

Painter, Proust Scholar, P.O.W.

Józef Czapski was a painter, writer, and Proust scholar -- as well as one of the few Polish military officers not executed by the Soviet Union in 1940.
terra cotta warriors in Xi'an China

What Does Archaeology Have to Do with Nationalism?

Many nations have adopted origin stories in order to link themselves more closely to heroic, historical figures.
mummy brown painting

When Artists Painted with Real Mummies

The popular paint pigment called “mummy brown” used to be made from—yep—ground-up Egyptian mummies.
krazy kat comic

Krazy Kat’s Complex Relationship with Race

Behind the slapstick antics in this beloved comic strip simmered ambivalence about color and race.
pioneer plaque

Art in Space

Artists may soon be heading to the moon for the first time, but art and space travel have been linked together since the beginning.