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Ellen C. Caldwell

Ellen C. Caldwell is an LA-born and -based art historian, writer, and professor. She writes about visual culture, the arts, and popular media for publications including New American Paintings, KCET’s Artbound, Riot Material, Desert Jewels, and more. Read more of her writing at eclaire.me.

georgia o'keeffe

When Dole Sent Georgia O’Keeffe to Hawaii

In 1939, Dole Pineapple Company sent Georgia O’Keeffe to Hawaii for three months in order to produce works that could be used in their advertisements.
Smoke Signals film

What Smoke Signals Means 20 Years Later

This groundbreaking film was the first movie to be written, directed, co-produced, and acted by Native Americans.
Beyonce Jay Z

What About the Art in “Apesh*t”?

Beyoncé and Jay-Z's new music video was filmed entirely at the Louvre museum. What messages hide in the histories of the featured artworks?
World Cup 2010

Why We Love World Cup Anthems

The excitement of the FIFA World Cup is exemplified by the songs that become World Cup anthems—both official and unofficial.
David Hockney

Why David Hockney Makes Both Paintings and Photographs

In a 1991 interview with singer Graham Nash, David Hockney explained how he applied his drawing skills to photography via the computer.
Ellen DeGeneres

How Ellen DeGeneres Changed TV

In 1997, Ellen DeGeneres publicly came out on her show, Ellen. It was a cultural turning point for many.
Frida Khalo painting

Did Frida Kahlo Suffer From Fibromyalgia?

Studying the artist's paintings may reveal more about the her early trauma and subsequent pain than suspected.
Women House

How 1971’s Womanhouse Shaped Today’s Feminist Art

The National Museum of Women in the Arts exhibit “Women House” pays tribute to the foundational 1972 project of Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro’s “Womanhouse.”
Queer Eye cast

Why Queer Eye Still Matters

Underneath the home and personal makeovers, is "Queer Eye" political?
Woman artists

Linda Nochlin on “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists”

Art historian and critic, Linda Nochlin changed the field of art history, shifting both the field and the viewers’ gaze.
Coetzee self portrait

J. M. Coetzee’s Newly Discovered Apartheid-Era Photographs

Much has been written about South African novelist J. M. Coetzee, but his newly found photographs offer a news lens through which to consider his writing.
Michelle Obama portrait

What Amy Sherald Tells Us with Michelle Obama’s Dress

How do the artistic inspirations that portrait artist Amy Sherald cites for Michelle Obama’s dress impact our visual and cultural understanding of the portrait for the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery?
Met viewers

Can Art Help People Develop Empathy?

A new Center for Empathy and the Visual Arts has made people wonder whether empathy can be taught? And, if so, how can the arts help with this process?
Kipling in study

Rudyard Kipling’s Little-Known Poem on New Year’s Resolutions

With New Year’s Day on the horizon, many people will write their resolutions. Rudyard Kipling's poem explores the trials and tribulations of resolutions.
Tiffany Illinois mosaic

What Can Tiffany’s Mosaics Teach us about Stereotypes?

Tiffany’s glass mosaics can teach us a lot about stereotypes and nineteenth-century ideologies, particularly in the Marquette Buildings mosaic friezes.
Diego Rivera sketch

The Jewish-American Writer Who Transformed U.S.-Mexico Relations

How did Anita Brenner, a Mexican-born, American Jewish writer and journalist use art to try to bridge the gap between the United States and Mexico?
Gaga poster art

What Lady Gaga Teaches us about Pain and Gender

What does GAGA: Five Foot Two teach us about pain? The documentary challenges viewers to consider how female pain is often perceived or diminished.
Cast of Transparent

What Does Jesus Christ Superstar Have to Do With the Show Transparent ?

Jesus Christ Superstar is a global phenomenon, and with Transparent’s recent use of and even reboot of the rock opera, its fanbase is sure to keep growing.
EJI Slavery Museum

Bryan Stevenson and America’s First Slavery Museum

The Equal Justice Initiative's new museum seeks to lead a more “honest conversation about racial and economic justice."
Janet Jackson in concert

The Lasting Power of Janet Jackson’s “Got ‘Til It’s Gone”

Twenty years ago, Janet Jackson released her single "Got ‘Til it’s Gone." Today, we celebrate the layered artistry that led to the video's timeless appeal.
Blue Black gallery view

Glenn Ligon’s “Blue Black” Exhibits the History of Race in America

Artist Glenn Ligon grounds his work in American history, addressing the inextricable link between history of slavery and the black experience in the U.S.
Lourdes Grobet

Mexico’s Radical Women Artists

Art by Mexican "Radical Women" artists capture the turbulent times of the feminist movement in Mexico in the 1970s and still ring true today.
Dreamcatcher at Walker Art Center

Honoring History with Edgar Heap of Birds’s Building Minnesota

Prior to discussions about appropriation art, artist Hock E Aye Vi (Hachivi) Edgar Heap of Birds honored the 40 executed Dakota men in "Building Minnesota."
Marian Beyonce

Beyoncé, the Virgin Mary, and the Power of Imagery

Why did Beyoncé pose as the Virgin Mary in her pregnancy and birth announcements? Learn about her art historical referents and iconic portraiture here.
SF MOMA text art project

A Museum in the Palm of your Hand

SFMOMA recently made headlines with its digital campaign to make art go viral with their Send Me SFMOMA project — but what museum exhibits came before this?