Animal Mummies?

This looks absolutely ghastly. These people must be desperate. Drawn from our renowned collection, the exhibition features choice examples from among the many millions of mummies of birds, cats, dogs, snakes, and other animals preserved from at least thirty-one different cemeteries throughout Egypt. Animals were central to the ancient Egyptian worldview. Most animals had connections to a particular deity. After death, mummified animals’ souls could carry a message to a god […] Read More


Hugh Hefner and the World of Art

The death of Hugh Hefner at age 91 hurled us headlong back into recollections of the 1960s and what Playboy was supposed to be about. If you weren't a Playboy reader in those days—and few of us alive today were, let's face it, since that would imply you were then a male between 25 and 50 years of age, making you about 90 years old today—you had a weird notion of it, one that came filtered through the schoolyard and MAD magazine. Playboy was a dirty magazine, a skin book. It had pictures of "naked ladies." Nobody said "porn." Porn did not exist, at least in the general consciousness. Porn was something you might […] Read More

Art, Commentary

Ask the Family Doctor: Taming the Bed-Wetters

with Ferenc Molmar, MD Q. My youngest child, now 13, still wets his bed and I would like to cure him before he goes off to boarding school. I remember many years ago when you used to appear on the old Today Show with Jack Lescoulie and you demonstrated a sort of harness that could be used to cure bed-wetting, by strapping the children in at night. Do they still make this, or do you still use this? A. To be honest, I have no idea what you are talking about. After the passage of many decades, even the great Jack Lescoulie is but a dim memory. As for the harness contraption you […] Read More

column, Medicins sans frontal-lobes

Noted with Pleasure, in the Manner of Terry Southern

Brooklyn recently went to a Tom Wolfe chin-music recital in New York. And my reaction was: you couldn't drag me to a Tom Wolfe reading for all the smack in China. Not even if the opening act was a mud-wrestling grudge-match between Erica Jong and Susan Sontag. Don't get me wrong. I think Wolfe is a fantastic writer. He's fab & gear & smack-a-delic to the max. I love the way he teased Marshall McLuhan for McLuhan's cheezy clip-on tie. With the little plastic cheaters sticking out of the collar. The kind of goofy cheez-artifacts that they used to have hanging from those rotating racks at Rexall drug stores. (Marshall McLuhan. Now […] Read More


Huntington Hartford Museum, 1964 Cartoon

This Esky cartoon is pretty inscrutable today, but Mr J D King points out that the Plaid Stamps sign is an allusion to the Pop Art fad of the period. Mr Huntington Hartford was a much-married playboy and philanthropist who succeeded in running through his entire inheritance (A&P supermarkets) before he died. He pissed a few million away on an entertainment magazine, and then wasted another hundred million by building a modern-art museum on a traffic island by Columbus Circle—then a down-at-the-heels part of town. A&P were the main providers of Plaid trading stamps. Plaid was a distinctly second-tier brand, the high-end competitor being the Beinecke family's S&H Green Stamps. Just before the bottom fell […] Read More


Ask the Family Doctor

with Ferenc Molmar, MD Q. My 5-year-old son has a very large purple cyst in the middle of his forehead. It does not interfere with his activities, but it looks a sight and makes people not notice what a handsome child he is. Lately he has begun to pick at it, and I think its presence distresses him. Should we take him to a dermatologist and have it removed, or just hope that my son outgrows it? A. Healthy children normally engage in rough-and-tumble games, and it is not unusual for them to have bruises and scars and facial lesions. In your son's case the cyst appears to be benign and naturally […] Read More

column, Medicins sans frontal-lobes

Remembering Stuart Davis

Around the time of the 1939-40 New York World's Fair, Stuart Davis was one of the most famous American painters . . . (to be continued) […] Read More


Rauschenberg: Review of Reviews

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Thing about Robert Rauschenberg is, it’s not at all clear what he really ever did, other than hang out with art-pals . . . and experiment with various mixed media . . . and mountainous junkyards of techno-gadgetry that get set up and oohed over in “installations.” I guess they call them installations because you need six Bekins men and assorted appliance guys just to install them. For my money, there’s nothing more spoiled and indulgent than a big art installation, something nobody can really buy and show off in the parlor. They are doomed to a life of roadshows, even when they have a nominal home such as the Beaubourg in Paris, […] Read More


The Polo Shirt, Rediscovered

margot darby

For years I shunned polo shirts because the standard cotton-piqué type (Lacoste, 1970s) was always just a little bit too heavy, and the cut of the women's style was somehow too restrictive. (Something to do with the armholes, you know.) Of course you could always buy a larger size, but that was like wearing a men's: baggy, totally unbecoming. And the good ones were always so expensive. I remember how in the original novel Jaws the chief remembers how badly he wanted a Lacoste shirt, like the ones the summer people at Nantucket wore. But his mother sneered, called the Lacoste polo a "two-dollar shirt with a ten-dollar alligator," or something like […] Read More


Crime and Punishment at the Art Students League

(Originally published June 29, 2014) Our very own Mr. Ian Stuart Dowdy of the Art Students League likes to tell the tale of how he was responsible for the death of an old lady he was supposed to be taking care of. Old Mrs. Voorhees-Rohr was often bedridden with a prolapsed colon and needed round-the-clock care. As no nurse or home-care-giver was available on a live-in basis (this was during the War), and the live-in maid did not wish to do this sort of work, Mrs. V-R had her attorney look for a young man or woman who could move into the spare bedroom down the hall. A day or two later […] Read More


Did Over-the-Knee Boots Cause Manchester Bombing?

Did Over-the-Knee Boots Cause Manchester Bombing? thumbnail

If like many women you spent the autumns of 2015 and 2016 longing for a sleek pair of over-the-knee boots, but held off because the Stuart Weitzmans you wanted started at around $800, there may be good news in store! It now appears the thigh-boot fad is over, meaning you can probably rock a nifty pair of dominatrix specials for as little as $200. Does that still sound steep? Remember: you can always cut a thigh boot down to calf length—or even an ankle bootie! Many smart gals will be investing in over-the-knees during this summer's clearance sales, and then keeping an eye out for autumn trends! I just realized the thigh-boot fad had "jumped […] Read More


Hiding in the Woodpile: How Altimeters Are Weaponizing Irony to Spread Margarine

Hiding in the Woodpile: How Altimeters Are Weaponizing Irony to Spread Margarine thumbnail

This seems to be what the kiddies are into these days. Confess I just don't get it, myself. I understand the "Proud Boys" have something to do with fighting Onanism. From The Grauniad: Experts say the ‘alt-right’ have stormed mainstream consciousness by using ‘humor’ and ambiguity as tactics to wrong-foot their opponents Earlier this month, hundreds of “alt-right” protesters occupied the rotunda at Boston Common in the name of free speech. The protest included far-right grouplets old and new – from the Oath Keepers to the Proud Boys. But there were no swastikas or shaved heads in sight. Instead, the protest imagery was dominated by ostensibly comedic images, mostly cribbed from forums and […] Read More