Vernacular Urbanism?

     Vernacular, in an academic or art-speak context, is a word worthy of healthy suspicion. It is used to designate populist styles, to suggest a common language that bubbles up from below rather than a discourse dictated from on high. It’s generally freighted with ideas about authenticity: vernacular styles are … Continue Reading Vernacular Urbanism?

Recent Stories

Last week I wrote a short piece about a carpet known as the Armenian Orphan Rug, woven by orphan refugees of the Armenian genocide, given to President Calvin Coolidge, and now too hot politically to be taken out of storage. The White House responded to my request for comment with … Continue Reading Recent Stories

Maya 2012

While in Philadelphia to see the Barnes collection a few weeks ago, I popped over to the Penn Museum to take in a new exhibition devoted to the Maya. The exhibition is billed as an examination of the supposed Maya doomsday prediction, which is all the rage in the darker … Continue Reading Maya 2012

Zahi Hawass

I was in Cairo for a week, reporting on the cultural scene there. The first of the stories, a look at the trials, tribulations and general absurdities of all things Zahi Hawass ran today. Hawass, the longtime head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and now the Minister of State … Continue Reading Zahi Hawass