Monday Gallery

Zouave and Asantewa

Zouave and Asantewa, textile portraits by Bisa Butler, whose work is on view, by appointment only, through April 25 at Claire Oliver Gallery, in New York City.
Zouave and Asantewa, textile portraits by Bisa Butler, whose work is on view, by appointment only, through April 25 at Claire Oliver Gallery, in New York City.
© The artist. Courtesy Claire Oliver Gallery, New York City

“Sylvia”

“Sylvia,” a photograph by Stacy Renee Morrison, whose work is on view through May 4 at the Merchant’s House Museum, in New York City.
© The artist

“Antwerp, Belgium”

“Antwerp, Belgium,” a photograph by Harry Gruyaert, whose work is on view through March 14 at Howard Greenberg Gallery, in New York City.
© The artist. Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York City

Harp-Strum

Harp-Strum, a diptych painting by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, whose work is on view through May 11 in the exhibition The Hilton Als Series: Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, at the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, in San Marino, California.
© The artist. Courtesy Jack Shainman Gallery, New York City, and Corvi-Mora, London

How to Shrink L.A.

How to Shrink L.A., 1999, ink on paper by Chris Burden, whose work was on view last weekend at Frieze Los Angeles, with Gagosian.
© The artist. Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York City. Courtesy Gagosian

Heartland

Heartland, a mixed-media artwork by Miriam Schapiro, whose work is on view through May 18 in the exhibition With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972–1985, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, in Los Angeles.
© 2019 Estate of Miriam Schapiro/Orlando Museum of Art/Artists Rights Society, New York City. Courtesy the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

Left Wing of a Blue Roller

Left Wing of a Blue Roller, a drawing by Albrecht Dürer, whose work was on view in January at the Albertina Museum, in Vienna. From Albrecht Dürer, the exhibition’s accompanying catalog, which will be published this month by Prestel Publishing.
Courtesy Prestel Publishing

“Gujoshirotori, Gifu, 1983”

“Gujoshirotori, Gifu, 1983,” a photograph by Issei Suda, whose work is on view through February 29 at Miyako Yoshinaga Gallery, in New York City.
© SUDA Issei Works. Courtesy Miyako Yoshinaga Gallery, New York City

Raised Eyebrows/Furrowed Foreheads: (Part One): (Blue Eyebrows)

Raised Eyebrows/Furrowed Foreheads: (Part One): (Blue Eyebrows), a mixed-media artwork by John Baldessari
Raised Eyebrows/Furrowed Foreheads: (Part One): (Blue Eyebrows), a mixed-media artwork by John Baldessari.
Courtesy the Estate of John Baldessari and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York City

“Untitled (Dinosaur Balloon)”

“Untitled (Dinosaur Balloon),” November 25, 1969, by an unknown photographer, is on view through January 18 in Long Story Short, an exhibition marking the fortieth anniversary of Fraenkel Gallery, in San Francisco.
Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

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The Old Normal

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The Old Normal·

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Addressing the graduating cadets at West Point in May 1942, General George C. Marshall, then the Army chief of staff, reduced the nation’s purpose in the global war it had recently joined to a single emphatic sentence. “We are determined,” he remarked, “that before the sun sets on this terrible struggle, our flag will be recognized throughout the world as a symbol of freedom on the one hand and of overwhelming force on the other.”

At the time Marshall spoke, mere months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, U.S. forces had sustained a string of painful setbacks and had yet to win a major battle. Eventual victory over Japan and Germany seemed anything but assured. Yet Marshall was already looking beyond the immediate challenges to define what that victory, when ultimately— and, in his view, inevitably—achieved, was going to signify.

This second world war of the twentieth century, Marshall understood, was going to be immense and immensely destructive. But if vast in scope, it would be limited in duration. The sun would set; the war would end. Today no such expectation exists. Marshall’s successors have come to view armed conflict as an open-ended proposition. The alarming turn in U.S.–Iranian relations is another reminder that war has become normal for the United States.

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In the heart of the US Capitol there’s a small men’s room with an uplifting Franklin Delano Roo­sevelt quotation above the door. Making use of the facilities there after lunch in the nearby House dining room about a year ago, I found myself standing next to Trent Lott. Once a mighty power in the building as Senate Republican leader, he had been forced to resign his post following some imprudently affectionate references to his fellow Republican senator, arch-segregationist Strom Thurmond. Now he was visiting the Capitol as a lucratively employed lobbyist.

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Waiting for the End of the World·

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A man is to carry himself in the presence of all opposition, as if every thing were titular and ephemeral but he.

I rose long before dawn, too thrilled to sleep, and set off to find my tribe. North from Greenville in the dark, past towns with names like Sans Souci and Travelers Rest, over the border into North Carolina, through land so choked by kudzu that the overgrown trees in the dark looked like great creatures petrified in mid-flight. The weirdness of this scene would, by the end of the weekend, show itself to be appropriate: my trip would be all about romanticism, and romanticism is a human collision with place that results, as Baudelaire put it, “neither in choice of subject nor exact truth, but in a way of feeling.” My rental car’s engine whined as it climbed the mountains. Day was just breaking when I nosed down a hill to Orchard Lake Campground, where tents were still being erected in the dimness.

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The Fifth Step·

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Harold Jamieson, once chief engineer of New York City’s sanitation department, enjoyed retirement. He knew from his small circle of friends that some didn’t, so he considered himself lucky. He had an acre of garden in Queens that he shared with several like-minded horticulturists, he had discovered Netflix, and he was making inroads in the books he’d always meant to read. He still missed his wife—a victim of breast cancer five years previous—but aside from that persistent ache, his life was quite full. Before rising every morning, he reminded himself to enjoy the day. At sixty-eight, he liked to think he had a fair amount of road left, but there was no denying it had begun to narrow.

The best part of those days—assuming it wasn’t raining, snowing, or too cold—was the nine-block walk to Central Park after breakfast. Although he carried a cell phone and used an electronic tablet (had grown dependent on it, in fact), he still preferred the print version of the Times. In the park, he would settle on his favorite bench and spend an hour with it, reading the sections back to front, telling himself he was progressing from the sublime to the ridiculous.

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In Harm’s Way·

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Ten yards was the nearest we could get to the river. Any closer and the smell was too much to bear. The water was a milky gray color, as if mixed with ashes, and the passage of floating trash was ceaseless. Plastic bags and bottles, coffee lids, yogurt cups, flip-flops, and sodden stuffed animals drifted past, coated in yellow scum. Amid the old tires and mattresses dumped on the riverbank, mounds of rank green weeds gave refuge to birds and grasshoppers, which didn’t seem bothered by the fecal stench.

El Río de los Remedios, or the River of Remedies, runs through the city of Ecatepec, a densely populated satellite of Mexico City. Confined mostly to concrete channels, the river serves as the main drainage line for the vast monochrome barrios that surround the capital. That day, I was standing on a stretch of the canal just north of Ecatepec, with a twenty-three-year-old photographer named Reyna Leynez. Reyna was the one who’d told me about the place and what it represents. This ruined river, this open sewer, is said to be one of the largest mass graves in Mexico.

Cost of renting a giant panda from the Chinese government, per day:

$1,500

A recent earthquake in Chile was found to have shifted the city of Concepción ten feet to the west, shortened Earth’s days by 1.26 microseconds, and shifted the planet’s axis by nearly three inches.

Congressman Matt Gaetz, who wore a gas mask during a House floor vote on emergency spending for the coronavirus, has self-quarantined after being exposed to the virus.

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At Ivanwald, men learn to be leaders by loving their leaders. “They’re so busy loving us,” a brother once explained to me, “but who’s loving them?” We were. The brothers each paid $400 per month for room and board, but we were also the caretakers of The Cedars, cleaning its gutters, mowing its lawns, whacking weeds and blowing leaves and sanding. And we were called to serve on Tuesday mornings, when The Cedars hosted a regular prayer breakfast typically presided over by Ed Meese, the former attorney general. Each week the breakfast brought together a rotating group of ambassadors, businessmen, and American politicians. Three of Ivanwald’s brothers also attended, wearing crisp shirts starched just for the occasion; one would sit at the table while the other two poured coffee. 

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