Apple CEO Thinks Dutch Masters Painted iPhones

You know the saying: To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. But to Apple CEO Tim Cook, evidently, everything looks like an iPhone. On a recent visit to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Cook saw Pieter de Hooch’s 1670 painting, Man Hands a Letter to a Woman in the Hall and thought he … Continued

Culture

What the Kissing Kanyes Tell Us about “Sharing” Online

The Internet offers countless opportunities for people to share their favorite moments, stay in touch with childhood friends, and engage in thoughtful exchanges of political views. Oh wait. That’s the utopian dream of the Internet. The real Internet is dominated by a handful of technology companies like Facebook and Google who profit from your compulsion … Continued

Culture

Rembrandt’s Avatar and the Virtues of Creativity

Almost 350 years after the master artist’s death, a new Rembrandt painting has been unveiled in Amsterdam, and it’s creating quite a stir – because the painter this time was a group of art historians, software developers, scientists, engineers and data analysts, and instead of brush and canvas they used an extensive database and a … Continued

Culture

Does American’s Love of Adult Coloring Books Make Us Childish?

In her 2013 book on drawing, Picture This, cartoonist Lynda Barry asks: “What makes us start drawing as small children—and, at around 13, makes us stop?” I thought of Barry’s question in the checkout line at a Stop & Shop recently, where I noticed stacks of adult coloring books displayed next to popular magazines like … Continued

Culture


Why Do Artists Hate Beauty? The Case of ‘Scary Lucy’

It’s commonplace that contemporary art is too often silly, incomprehensible, ugly, or even disgusting. But it isn’t often that a work of art is actually considered terrifying. Recently the hometown fans of legendary comedienne Lucille Ball were stricken at the unveiling of a rather nightmarish bronze statue in her honor. Rightfully nicknamed “Scary Lucy” in … Continued

Culture

Spock and the Return to Paradise

In a scene from the 1991 movie Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, a character asks the Vulcan science officer Spock about a painting on the wall of his living quarters. “It’s a depiction from ancient Earth mythology,” he explains, “‘The Expulsion from Paradise.’” Why does he keep it? “As a reminder to me,” Spock … Continued

Culture, Entertainment, Movies, Television

Monument Valley: A Game Worth Praising

Here at Acculturated and elsewhere, I usually take a negative view of just about everything in our culture. I admit that I’m a pessimist. How much greater this makes my joy, then, when I discover a cultural artifact worth praising. Monument Valley is not a new mobile game, but it’s new to me. It’s been … Continued

Tech

Does Art Matter Anymore?

This past spring, a nude performance artist made a minor media stir by publicly pushing paint-and-ink-filled eggs out of her vagina onto a canvas to make a profound statement—okay, perhaps not so much profound as profoundly messy. Around the same time, Lady Gaga, the music industry’s most self-consciously artsy star, incorporated a vomit performance artist … Continued

Culture

Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” Comes to Life

The Hubble Space Telescope captured an incredible image recently, “the most comprehensive picture ever assembled of the evolving Universe—and one of the most colorful,” as the Hubble website puts it. Curiously, the clearer a view science gives us of the night sky, the clearer it seems that our universe resembles a vision in Vincent Van … Continued

Culture