March 2, 2014 |
Imagine you had to take an art class in which you were taught how to paint a fence or a wall, but you were never shown the paintings of the great masters, and you weren't even told that such paintings existed. Pretty soon you'd be asking, why study art? That's absurd, of course, but it's surprisingly close to the way we teach children mathematics. In elementary and middle school and even into high school, we hide math's great masterpieces from students' view. The arithmetic, algebraic equations and geometric proofs we do teach are important, but they are to mathematics what whitewashing a fence is to Picasso - so reductive it's almost a lie. Most of us never get to see the real mathematics because our current math curriculum is more than 1,000 years old. For example, the formula for solutions of quadratic equations was in al-Khwarizmi's book published in 830, and Euclid laid the foundations of Euclidean geometry around 300 BC. If the same time warp were true in physics or biology, we wouldn't know about the solar system, the atom and DNA. This creates an extraordinary educational gap for our kids, schools and society.
February 6, 2014 |
Earnest and well-intentioned but ultimately inert, "The Monuments Men" talks a better game than it can deliver. Inspired by true tales of World War II derring-do, it can't decide what kind of a film it wants to be and so ends up failing across a fairly wide spectrum. This is something of a surprise, and not just because the film is directed and co-written by George Clooney, who is also top dog in a high-powered cast that includes Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin and Cate Blanchett.
February 5, 2014 |
George Clooney and Grant Heslov describe themselves as two of the least cynical people in Hollywood. But when the longtime collaborators looked back at their recent work, they realized the movies had an unshakable gloom: "The Ides of March," "Good Night, and Good Luck," "The American" and "August: Osage County" were hardly films that made you feel better about the world. So Clooney and Heslov decided to change course and put together a crowd-pleasing tale. The resulting work, Friday's "The Monuments Men," is a curious departure for the filmmakers - a sometimes lighthearted account of a largely untold chapter of World War II history that recalls some of the less serious movies about the conflict.
November 26, 2013 |
In a remarkable turn of events, a Nazi-looted Baroque masterpiece that turned up on the art market five years ago was returned Friday to its owner, who plans to donate it to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The life-size figure of St. Catherine of Alexandria, painted in Genoa around 1615 by Bernardo Strozzi, was installed Monday in the third floor galleries for European art. The painting, valued at between $2.5 million and $3 million, is...
November 8, 2013 |
One of the great cultural jewels of the West is back, with a wonderful new polish. When the Huntington Library in San Marino reopened its main exhibition hall on Friday for a special press preview after a 17-month renovation, you could almost feel the presence of its namesake at the front door. Henry Edwards Huntington was a railroad baron who assembled one of the most magnificent collections of books, manuscripts and letters in private hands. On Friday it gleamed again, inside new displays (illuminated with heat-free fiber optic lighting)
November 5, 2013 |
LONDON -- A massive cache of art discovered in the Munich apartment of an elderly recluse contains hitherto-unknown works by famous artists as well as pieces believed confiscated by the Nazis in their persecution of Jews or their campaign against “degenerate art,” German prosecutors said Tuesday. Some of the 1,400 items are known masterpieces believed destroyed during World War II; others are new to art historians, such as a self-portrait by painter Otto Dix. The hoard boasts works by giants of the 20th century -- Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Marc Chagall, Max Liebermann -- but also some older pieces, including a painting from the 16th century.