Editor’s letter, March/April 2014

Editorial Staff Opinion

The photographs by Charles Marville in this issue and on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art strike me as an important early chapter in the story of our modern lives. Marville’s job was to photograph Paris before and after Baron Haussmann erased its centuries old densely wound streets, replac­ing them with the broad new avenues and alluring vistas that …

Editor’s letter, January/February 2014

Editorial Staff Opinion

Is it too soon to propose a quota on installations of contempo­rary art in period settings? Yes, I know, everything is mashable these days, but not all these border crossings of present into past deserve a visa. I recently went in search of a silver box in one of the period rooms of a major museum (it wasn’t there). What …

Editor’s Letter, September/October 2013

Editorial Staff Opinion

Like most editors I am interested in everything, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions. I have, in fact, far too many of them, so I like it when some of my prejudices get rearranged, as they were early last spring when Eleanor Gustafson and I visited the Philadelphia home of John Whitenight and Frederick LaValley featured here. Ten …

Editor’s letter, May/June 2013

Editorial Staff Opinion

Our cover shows an early and uncharacteristically jaunty paint­ing by George Ault, part of the Lunder Collection featured in the article about the Colby College Museum of Art. Elsewhere in the issue an example of Ault’s later, more hard-boiled style can be seen in Marica and Jan Vilcek’s collection of  early American modern­ism. Ault was by most accounts an impossible …

Editor’s letter, March/April 2013

Editorial Staff Opinion

A few weeks ago the Connecticut congressman Joe Courtney registered dismay at one of the more significant departures from historical fact inSteven Spielberg’s Oscar-bound Lincoln. To dramatize the narrow margin by which the Thirteenth Amendment passed, the film’s screenwriter Tony Kushner shows two members of the Connecticut delegation voting against the abolition of slavery. As it happened, all four voted …

Editor’s letter, January/February 2013

Editorial Staff Opinion

In the 1950s Robert Moses, New York’s bully-boy developer (a familiar type in these parts), had a suggestion for citizens who objected when he razed their neighborhoods: “Go to the Rockies,” he told them, implying that city life is bulldozers, cranes, and scaffolding and to resist them is to resist being urban and modern. Moses notwithstanding, modern life in New …

Editor’s Letter, November/December 2012

Editorial Staff Opinion

Not long ago I planned to have some fun in these pages by running a sly taxonomy of the current television shows about old things-from the somewhat shopworn Antiques Roadshow down through Pawn Stars, American Pickers, Market Warriors and the rest of the Roadshow’s offspring. I expected to spare only Storage Wars, which I find the sunniest of guilty pleasures …

Editor’s Letter, September/October 2012

Editorial Staff Opinion

Our country’s regional wars may be over, but in the 1960s when the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) began, they were very much alive. Southern writers for instance were still working through the story of loss while northerners remained dubious about the value of southern culture. MESDA took a different path. The idea that the South did not …