Thought Catalog

Arts & Letters

Joyce Carol Oates’s Greatest Hits

Joyce Carol Oates is queen of prolificacy. She released a collection of gothic horror stories, Give Me Your Heart, to tepid reviews (“there’s little doubt that Oates is a well-practiced storyteller. Too well practiced, perhaps,” wrote the Times Book Review).

Bored Couples on Display in Public Places

Boredom and monogamy are two ideas ingrained like memories in our collective consciousness. Those who choose monogamy are often viewed as simple fools by a certain percentage of the population; while individuals who remain single for long stretches of time are often dismissed as lonely, sad, or incompatible.

Kid Zoom: This City Will Eat Me Alive

Kid Zoom’s style knocks of the post-graffiti movement that’s transformed into a cottage industry over the last decade, where artists meld elements of street-level graffiti with high-minded fine art and cash in. But what sets Zoom apart is craftsmanship, and the reckless spirit of his work.

Jon Rafman’s Google Street Views

Jon Rafman is a lucky man for at least two reasons: (1) his priceless sensibility is a veil through which he sees a more beautiful world, a precious one that reaches such a state through the very aesthetic of non-preciousness; (2) he, through scouring the near infinite territory of Google street views, is statistically even able to consistently find universal moments of “condensed being” which would make the greatest haiku poet weep.

Middlemarch and The Masses

Middlemarch has everything to offer a giant brain bent on feeding and fattening itself. But it’s also a fucking great book, in the plebian sense that implies: hot, life-sucking women! Powerful, shadowy men! There’s even drug addiction and gambling, and lessons about fashion.

Michael Bloomberg on Picasso

At the Armory Show’s press conference, reporters kept attacking Bloomberg for his education cuts, on account of which almost 5,000 public school teachers (some of whom with seniority) will get laid off. Eventually Bloomberg said in desperation: “If anyone wants to talk about art, I’m happy to talk about art.”

JR at TED: Can Art Change the World?

In his recent Ted Talk, photographer/street artist JR recounted his experiences working on art in impoverished, violence-ridden neighborhoods in countries such as Kenya and Brazil. While humor and wit are central to the artist’s charm, what seems to set him apart from his often-gimmicky, pop-art contemporaries (i.e., Banksy, Shepard Fairey, etc.) is a genuine empathy for the people living in the neighborhoods where he installs his work.

Blind Man Is One Talented Painter

Last night’s CBS Evening News ran an original and pretty moving story about John Bramblitt, a husband and father who went blind at the age of 30 due to complications from epilepsy. Bramblitt has figured out how to paint just by feeling the paints: he says different colors have different textures.