Category Archives: Art

Three messages to warm your spirits during the hectic Christmas period

A HECTIC round of after-work parties and shopping, interspersed with a few brief moments wondering where the year went. Then a frenzy of unwrapping, a battle in the kitchen with a recalcitrant turkey, the family lunch, a silly game, a surreptitious snooze in the middle of Pirates of the Caribbean. Christmas has its routines, but every year need not be the same. Here are three things that shouldn’t be missing from your list this festive season. Continue reading

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Five reasons to raise a glass in Thanksgiving for our commercial society

BLESSED with a wife born in America, Thanksgiving is a festival I am learning to celebrate. In grim economic times, it is easy to focus only the negative. But we still enjoy the rare good fortune to live, for the most part, in peace and under liberty. Freedoms of association, speech, trade, and faith enrich our lives every day. Albeit a day late, tonight I will be raising a thankful glass with my friends to these five blessings of our commercial society: Continue reading

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You can’t always get what you want but the Rolling Stones defy the gloom

DON’T paint Mick Jagger too black. The Rolling Stones have come in for criticism over high ticket prices for their fiftieth anniversary gigs at the O2, which go on sale this morning. But I have some sympathy for the devil. While the cost may have disappointed some of the veteran rock band’s passionate fans, it’s a gesture of economic honesty for which they should be respected, not reviled. It reflects the exceptional demand for their music, and the realities of a music industry in which most revenues must be earned from concert performances rather than recording sales. Continue reading

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October 19, 2012 · 9:30 am

Ghosts in the Bauhaus: Glimpsing the human face behind modernism’s mask

THE Barbican’s new Bauhaus exhibition is full of ghosts. These early twentieth-century disciples of modernism are renowned for furniture as coolly perfect as an equation, but it is the human messiness of achievement that haunts every room. A chair that takes the breath away is posed between half-finished student exercises, invitations to parties and dozens of photographs of the German design school’s members eating, playing and working. It’s a reminder that permanent achievement – in design and elsewhere – is never a sterile process, but a living conversation between creative minds as they grapple with their materials. Continue reading

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Filed under Art, Human nature, Innovation, Olympics

Even Disney can’t pick a winning movie script

SPARE a thought for the Mouse. Disney’s latest movie spectacular, John Carter, has lost the company $200m (£127m) after a disastrous opening. Meanwhile The Hunger Games opens at cinemas today on speculation that it will achieve a record-breaking run. Lionsgate, the studio responsible, has seen its stock rise some 75 per cent this year as the momentum has gathered. Continue reading

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No one benefits from a bonfire of the vanities

WHEN it all ended, they sent children to tug the playing cards from gamblers’ hands and strip closets of their silks. Savonarola’s so-called angels swept away the fine paintings and the antique statues, delivering their loot to the great fire burning in the heart of the city. It was said that Botticelli himself threw pictures onto the fire. Mardi Gras, 1497, and a city made great with the fortunes created by its bankers was ruining itself in a self-righteous fury. As a new exhibition opens in Florence, covering the role of high finance in that city’s Renaissance, the bonfire of the vanities offers a useful reminder of what happened when Florence rejected its financiers. Continue reading

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