Simply put, The Alchemist is a thinly-disguised self-help book, a fairy tale for all those of us who are, for whatever reason, not living the lives we once imagined for ourselves. Rather than offer some new kernel of wisdom, however, Coelho slinks back into the old clichés, encouraging us to listen to our hearts and trust Providence. “The Universe is conspiring in our favor,” he assures us, “even though we may not understand how.”
To say that art in our society has taken on religious connotations is not to say anything shocking or new. Nietzsche presaged this transposition of religious fervor from church to museum as early as 1878 when he wrote in Human, All Too Human that “art raises its head where religions decline.” Nietzsche wrote this, of course, without any knowledge of the film industry that was about to burst onto the Western cultural landscape.
It is a warehouse like any other,” Fran Johnson tells me. Fran is probably in her late twenties, pudgy-cheeked, buxom, effusive. There is something solid yet soft about her: she stands with her feet shoulder-width apart and volunteers information like a well-stocked jukebox
The medium is the message,” Marshall McLuhan said, and Andres Serrano’s is shit: holy shit, mom shit, sheep shit, dog shit, rabbit shit, Freud shit, bull shit. Shit photographed and enlarged, shit set against campy backdrops of psychedelic swirls, shit printed, mounted and framed by somber black wood.
“Black hole.” “Wormhole.” These are terms familiar to any English speaker if not from science fiction literature and films, then at least from pinball machines and arcade games. For a generation raised on Star Wars they have become all too familiar, yet they have not been around for very long. Both the two terms and the theory behind them were coined by one man – the late Princeton Professor Emeritus John Wheeler – in the late 1950s and 60s.
Something bizarre is happening in the heart of the Village. Across the street from NYU’s ugly high-rise dorms and vintage-clad students, quite a different crowd is gathering. On the corner of Mercer and Waverly, middle-aged women with dramatic make-up and … Read More