November 2011


In order to complete work on major projects, we have suspended full publication of Aristos until further notice. Meanwhile, we will be posting dated commentary and news items on this page each month.

2011: August / September / October / December
2012: January / February / June

11/30 - JB104
Today is Jacques Barzun's 104th birthday. To mark the occasion, we have added a few celebratory items to our page devoted to his life and work.

11/1 - Barzun on Great Books
"Great Books Matter," Jacques Barzun's Wall Street Journal review of Adam Kirsch's Why Trilling Matters, is of particular interest because the book's subject, Lionel Trilling, was Barzun's longtime friend and colleague at Columbia College, where the two co-taught a section of the Colloquium on Important Books. More than a mere book review, it is, in part, a brief discourse on the concept of culture--"a new conception," Barzun notes, "born of long discussions betwe en Trilling and me." Regarding the title of the series to which the book belongs, "Why X Matters," Barzun admonishes that "[w]hat matters is the work"--not primarily the person who wrote it.

11/1 - More on Rattigan
Our Terence Rattigan centenary page now includes links to reviews of his play Man and Boy, which opened recently on Broadway, starring Frank Langella in a bravura performance as a kind of mid-twent ieth-century Bernard Madoff. (The boy of the title is the scheming financier's son.) We also take note of Holly Hill's role as a featured scholar at a promi nent festival in the U.K. celebrating this inspiring playwright's work. (See link to Hill's "Rattigan's Renaissance," the cover arti cle of our inaugural issue in 1982--which makes clear why Rattigan's centenary is worth honoring.

11/1 - Creativity and Innovation in Today's Art
Aristos co-editor Michelle Marder Kamhi will present a session on this topic on November 18 at the annual convention of the New York State Art Teachers Association. She will argue that "creativity and innovation"--the theme of this year's meeting--are pervasive in today's artworld, yet the public often finds the resulting "cutting-edge" work incomprehensible. In an attempt to bridge this gap, students are taught to prepare "artist's statements" to accompany their work. Yet these tend to be as unintelligible as the pieces they purport to explain. How can art teachers deal responsibly with this conundrum? What insights can be gained from art history and the findings of cognitive science? And how might they affect teaching about "contemporary art"? These are among the questions Kamhi will consider. She will also participate in a double session the following day, reporting on her dialogue last December with art ed students in Rochester, New York, via Skype (on which see "Engaging Future Art Teachers").

August / September / October / December