Grace Hartigan's Definition of Humor: "Emotional pain remembered in tranquillity"

"Perhaps the subject of my art is like the definition of humor — emotional pain remembered in tranquillity."

-Abstract expressionist Grace Hartigan (1922-2008)

Grace Hartigan (1922-2008) was an abstract expressionist painter who emerged during the 1940s and '50s as an important figure in the New York School. Just as the Beats brought innovation to the poetic form, Hartigan and other American abstract expressionists turning the painting world on its head following World War II. Often cited as the greatest female artist of the movement, Hartigan lived the final 40+ years of her life in Baltimore, where she was a major player in the art scene until her death in 2008.


"Perhaps the subject of my art is like the definition of humor — emotional pain remembered in tranquillity."

 -Grace Hartigan, as quoted in "Grace Hartigan, 86, Abstract Painter, Dies" in The New York Times (18 November 2008) 

(h/t Wikiquote)

Why “shooting the messenger” is a real condition, explain scientists

Harvard psychologists discover why we dislike the people who deliver bad news.

Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • A new study looked at why people tend to "shoot the messenger".
  • It's a fact that people don't like those who deliver them bad news.
  • The effect stems from our inherent need to make sense of bad or unpredictable situations.
Keep reading Show less

Philosopher Alan Watts on the meaning of life

He reminds us that meaning is wherever we choose to look.

Photo: Pictorial Parade/Getty Images
Personal Growth
  • Alan Watts suggests there is no ultimate meaning of life, but that "the quality of our state of mind" defines meaning for us.
  • This is in contradiction to the notion that an inner essence is waiting to be discovered.
  • Paying attention to everyday, mundane objects can become highly significant, filling life with meaning.
Keep reading Show less

How to detect life on Mars

If life exists on Mars, there's a good chance it's related to us, say researchers.

NASA/JPL/USGS
Surprising Science

When MIT research scientist Christopher Carr visited a green sand beach in Hawaii at the age of 9, he probably didn't think that he'd use the little olivine crystals beneath his feet to one day search for extraterrestrial life.

Keep reading Show less