Opinion: Cui Bono? What can we infer from press ownership, and who owns Britain’s news?

There is a well-known Soviet-era joke about newspapers. In Moscow, there were two papers. Pravda (Truth), and Izvestia (News). And as the saying goes: if it’s in Izvestia it’s not Truth, and if it’s in Pravda, it’s not News. Like most jokes, it reveals something about the culture it comes from, in this case a … Continue reading Opinion: Cui Bono? What can we infer from press ownership, and who owns Britain’s news?

Finishing on a high: personal faves and highlights

Featured strings: Just Go Nuts, Overlooked Treasures This is my last blog entry for Artstring; I’ve had the most tremendous time exploring the collections at the National Gallery, Science Museum and British Museum in greater depth than I had previously, and I sincerely hope, as I mentioned in my introductory post that other museums, London and worldwide, follow suit … Continue reading Finishing on a high: personal faves and highlights

The Splendour of the Ordinary

Featured string: The Splendour of the Ordinary Spending a lot of time with museum collections and history, as I’m lucky enough to be allowed to, means grappling with the surprising timeline of inventions and “normalisations” (when using stuff that’s been invented becomes normal–this can sometimes be a large gap. For example, the first video call was … Continue reading The Splendour of the Ordinary

Against Nature: Changing Views of What’s “Normal”

Featured String: Against Nature This string deals with things that are or were at some point considered “taboo”. The word itself doesn’t come from English, but has travelled back to English-speakers with James Cook from a number of Polynesian languages, where similar-sounding words have the same meaning: something that’s forbidden to do. Some taboos are almost universal: … Continue reading Against Nature: Changing Views of What’s “Normal”

Iconoclasm: The Death Of History

Featured String: Iconoclasm & the Reformation What’s all this then? The word “Iconoclasm” was coined originally to describe two specific periods of history. This “war on icons” (images of divinities), the First and Second Iconoclasms, took place between 726–787CE and then again between 814–842CE, in the early Christian Byzantine Empire which covered much of modern-day Turkey, … Continue reading Iconoclasm: The Death Of History

When Cultures Collide: Influence and Inspiration

Featured String: When Cultures Collide In Display It Like You Stole It, I talked about one kind of cultural interaction–acquisition, usually without permission. Misappropriation of another culture in the form of pilfering its sacred artefacts or purchasing them from others who’ve done a bit of grave-robbing or looting is a well-known story in the modern … Continue reading When Cultures Collide: Influence and Inspiration

Maddeningly Faded: Paint & Conservation

Featured String: Why’s That Robe Pink? Featured String: The Story of Colour Moving around paintings from the Renaissance and earlier, it’s often possible to see surprisingly rosy pink robes, or saints whose bloody executions don’t appear to have shed any blood. This is hardly down to the squeamishness of painters! Not only were Medieval and … Continue reading Maddeningly Faded: Paint & Conservation

Pacific Perspectives, Oceania, and James Cook

Featured string: Cooking up a Storm I created this particular string as a response to two exhibitions I attended more-or-less back-to-back. In a feat of coordination, the British Museum and the Royal Academy have produced two differing exhibitions on Pacific culture recently. They differ in scale, they differ in function, they differ in approach, layout, and … Continue reading Pacific Perspectives, Oceania, and James Cook