Category Archives: Art and design

“Aware now of its dullness”

Early in Girl With a Pearl Earring, Tracy Duvalier’s novel set in 17th century Holland, is a passage that launched several thoughts about architecture and design. The teenage girl has just become a maid in the household of the successful … Continue reading

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The telescope as sculpture

Years ago I was wandering through a naval equipment store in Provincetown, on Cape Cod, and found a telescope of high quality and elegant appearance. It was too pricey for me, $500 or so. I wanted something through which I … Continue reading

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Oldest trees in the world

Trees. Isn’t that next month? Well, we can be thankful that these are not Christmas trees. Some of the trees are, allegedly, thousands of years old. Some of them are said to be older than Christianity. Some of them have … Continue reading

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Beauty vs. elegance of cities

My former colleague at the Providence Journal, Froma Harrop, who has a syndicated column and a website called This East Side (about that side of Manhattan; she also lives partly on that side of Providence), recently asked me to contribute … Continue reading

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Believe his words/your eyes

I think I’m going to start a new collection of buildings whose designers deny the obvious when confronting criticism of a work’s imagery. For example, the buildings above. They are actually a sculpture, yet the interview containing the denial is … Continue reading

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“Best doors in the world”

The Art Nouveau doors to the left offer entry, according to a caption, to a building called the Maison aux Grenouilles (frogs) in Brelsko-Biala, Poland. The doors are near the beginning of a collection of photographs labeled “Bejaroti ajtok: a … Continue reading

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“Two Lesbians,” by Corbusier

I have just started a book, newly published, that I’ve been awaiting for ages: Le Corbusier: The Dishonest Architect, by Malcolm Millais. It is a critique of Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris, better known as Le Corbusier, or Corbu. One of Millais’s earlier … Continue reading

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Sir Roger Scruton on beauty

Here is a lovely video of the British philosopher and architectural theorist Roger Scruton called “Why Beauty Matters.” The usefulness of beauty in uplifting human lives serves as the bottom-line rationale for my book Lost Providence, on which I will … Continue reading

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Artist-in-chief to Louis XIV

Charles Le Brun (1619-1690) was “premier peintre du roi, director of the Gobelins manufactory and rector of the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture.” He was also an architect. Let’s just say that he wore a number of hats. … Continue reading

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“Lost Prov” and WaterFire

Today at 4:30, in the brand new WaterFire Arts Center (474 Valley St.), Gene Bunnell, the author of Transforming Providence, and I will each offer a 30-minute presentation on the revitalization of Providence, culminating in Barnaby Evans’s WaterFire Providence. We’ll … Continue reading

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