Pop Art: What Hasn't Been Done?
The story of the U.S. Patent Office official who resigned his post in the 19th century because he believed there was nothing left to invent makes a point about human creativity. Of course there was plenty left to invent, and still is, but is art a similarly boundless enterprise? Are there limits to what can be expressed? Have we reached them?
I’ve documented the supposed vulgarity that resulted in the National Endowment for the Arts losing nearly half its budget, but, much to the Congress’ chagrin, American writers and artists kept pushing the limits. But have they been pushed over the edge? I’m not saying undisguised sexual art is immoral, but, in a world of art and literature without limits, could old limits be rediscovered as aesthetically pleasing? Or am I some repressed Puritan censor behind this thin veil?
Yale University Press has refused to republish the 2005 Danish political cartoons, which caused violent rioting in the Muslim world, in a new scholarly work about…wait for it…the effects of the cartoons in the media! Granted, the publisher doesn’t seem to be making the choice on aesthetic grounds. “Counterterrorism officials” said reprinting the cartoons could pose a “security threat”.
But some earnest art does seem to be going soft. Zach Hyman, whose photography exhibition is currently open for public viewing, is getting his nude models into trouble by shooting them in public. Maybe it’s no surprise that what constitutes a criminal offense in America is literally a good day at the beach in Spain. Hyman, feeling inspired by the nudes in the Met, says he wanted to take some photos of similar subject matter…in the Met, and why not?
A book blogger at the Guardian ponders what kind of literature will naturally follow writers who “call a cock a cock”. Sex in literature has come a long way since Lady Chatterley’s Lover, just read Chuck Palahniuk’s Guts. But then again, that’s a bedtime story compared to the Marquis de Sade.
Predictions about “what’s next” aim at the infinitely impulsive public mood when art should be evaluated in more meditative ways. Despite Lionel’s rip on intuitive decision making, I’d say it’s a better way to tune into the zeitgeist than prediction based on quantifiable data.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?
- During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
- The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
- Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.
- Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
- In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
- Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
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