Cindy Sherman: Before the Selfie

Before cell phones and selfies, American artist Cindy Sherman influenced the world with her monumental and ongoing series of self-portraiture.

How Fashion Magazines Talked in the 1930s

The Splashy language of fashion magazines prompted one linguist to look closer at the over-the-top dialect in Vogue and Ladies’ Home Journal of the 30s

The Utopian Roots of the Artists’ Retreat

The modern artist's retreat has roots in industrial-era utopian communes.

In Which We Get to the Bottom of Some Crazy-Ass Language

Strong language has a unique place in linguistics. 
Walt Whitman as photographed by Brian Handy

Walt Whitman: (Happy Birthday) Song of Himself

Happy Birthday, Walt Whitman, you old bard and…politician. Clearly you like to sing to yourself, but let us join ...
Andrei Maximov via Flickr

The Real Meaning Behind Russia’s Eurovision Controversy

The annual Eurovision contest often serves as a stage on which political tensions play out.
Snøhetta expansion of the new SFMOMA, 2016; photo © Henrik Kam, courtesy SFMOMA

SFMOMA: The Brave New World of Art Museums

SFMOMA celebrated its 75th anniversary with a huge architectural expansion, only rivaled by its technological innovations.
Paul Gauguin, Nafea Faa Ipoipo? (When Will You Marry? ) 1892, oil on canvas, 101 x 77 cm

The Real Reason Fine Art Costs So Much

To outsiders, art auctions can seem like a parody of bizarre spending by wealthy people. The origins of ultra-expensive art lies in the nineteenth-century.
Commencement vocab visualization

The Delightful Language of Commencement

Commencement speeches have inspired, motivated and captivated many. Just what makes the words found in them so wonderful and life-affirming? 

Geek Love: Our Modern Monster Story

The writer Katherine Dunn died last week at age 70. Anyone who ever felt like an outsider found a friend in her 1989 novel Geek Love.