Photography & Art

Adrift in Majestic Tokyo

Misa Shikuma

Having been to a fair number of major international metropolises, I was surprised to find Tokyo to be a completely different urban animal. The alleys felt narrower and the buildings taller than in even downtown Manhattan, but most striking was the inescapable sense of overpopulation. Sure there were some sparse enclaves away from bustling city life, like the tranquil Meiji Shrine in Shibuya, but many of the areas we visited were similar to Times Square – throbbing with energy and packed with people. 

Artist Brian Arditi Pays Homage to Nature, His Greatest Muse

Christopher Karr

Arditi wants to infuse the future of visual art with the power of its primitive past. “I want to be as close as possible to what art started as, but with a modern twist,” he said when I visited his studio this month. He pulls pigments from natural sources like flowers, rocks, dirt, soil, clay, crystals — anything earth-produced that has a distinct color. He dyes a thick lacquer with the pigment, and then uses the solution to paint. “I want my art to be simple and accessible. I want art for the masses because that’s where art began. It has since turned into pretense and facade. The earth was the original canvas.”

My Philadelphia

Christopher Moraff

The beating heart of Center City – with its restaurants, high-fashion boutiques and tourist attractions – pumps life to the extremities: west to Mantua, north to Olney, south to Point Breeze, and along that massive artery the Delaware into Fishtown, which I presently call home.  We are a city of neighborhoods – each with its own distinct heritage, demography, and architecture. We are an old city, a city of revolutionaries who told the British where they could stick it. We are New York's precocious cousin where you can still throw a rock without hitting someone, buy dinner and a drink for under $20, and get a Big Gulp should the mood strike. 

The Street Art Phenomenon Sweeps Paris

Carol Berens

About three short blocks from place Fréhel, an empty lot on rue Ramponeau is surrounded by a former factory that contains artist studios and is now known as La Forge or La Kommune. The surrounding walls are constantly changing canvases whose styles and images cacophonously overlap. Upon close viewing, however, individual talents and messages emerge. The “Belleville Zoo” consists of an overlapping montage of images each vying to be on top. At first, the wall appears to be a mass of color, but individual characters shine through.

Brooklyn Artist Keith Pavia Breaks Through the Boundaries of ‘Outsider Art’

Kristin Sancken

As the art market grows and in turn splinters into a plurality of labels, styles, and movements, artists are faced with a decision – is it better to adhere to definition and face certain limitations in the public reception of their work, or shirk association and push forward into new and possibly little understood territory? Brooklyn-based artist, Keith Pavia has wrestled with this dilemma of late, as he attempts to break through the boundaries of Outsider Art, a label that has undoubtedly helped foster his career.

On Filming John Leguizamo: An Interview With Benjamin De Jesus

Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer

As part of the PBS Arts Summer Festival, Tales From a Ghetto Klown documents comedian and actor John Leguizamo’s return to the stage after a nine-year hiatus and his attempts to get his show, Ghetto Klown, to Broadway. Filmmaker Ben De Jesus spent three years following Leguizamo from the time he started writing until the show’s Broadway debut in March 2011. De Jesus spoke with Highbrow Magazine by email about his experiences with Leguizamo and his making of the documentary.


Summer Solstice in Seattle: A Psychedelic Ride of Color and Frivolity

Snapper S. Ploen

Opening its arms to the summer season and warmer weather, the eclectic Fremont Arts Council in the Seattle neighborhood of Fremont hosts its annual Summer Solstice Parade and Festival in mid-June. Originally designed as an event to bring the community together through arts and creativity, the festival and parade have since become some of the premiere summer events in the entire city of Seattle, drawing thousands of tourists and natives alike. Infamously known in the city for its flood of nude bicyclists in highly creative body paint, the event  has become somewhat of a cherished tradition. 

John Howard Sanden and the Lost Art of Portraiture

Eric Russ

Even today, within a culture that is entrenched so fully in the lessons of modernism, it feels appropriate to commission a realist painter to render the presidential portrait. On May 31, the White House held an unveiling ceremony for the latest addition to its time-honored tradition of oil portraits – George W. Bush. The 43rd president, who has been conspicuously absent from the public eye since finishing his second term, was in good spirits for the festivities. 

Artist Lara Favaretto Celebrates the Absurd and Existentially Tragic at MoMA PS1

Eric Russ

Located somewhere in the vast landscape of human emotion is the intersection of playfulness and sadness, a crossroads at which Italian artist Lara Favaretto has set up shop to ply her trade. Over the past 15 years, she has amassed a body of work that explores and celebrates the absurd and the existentially tragic. In the first-ever survey of her work, Lara Favaretto: Just Knocked Out, MoMA PS1 has given over several of its galleries to the display of her most important works to date, including a site-specific installation in the museum’s atrium and another throughout the exhibition.

Paying Homage to Groundbreaking Mexican Cartoonists and Their Political Message

Arturo Conde

While the simple lines, wit, and humor of Rius, Feggo, and El Fisgón do not evoke the larger-than-life epics of the Batman, Spider-Man, and Superman universes, there is something heroic about the way that these cartoonists use their art to expose hidden truths about society, sometimes even risking their own lives.



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