Category: feature essays

Long-form Research Essays

Folds: Female Sexuality in Artemisia Gentileschi’s Danaë

by Isabella Dobson Arched back, clenched fist, lowered eyelids, and rumpled bedclothes: Artemisia Gentileschi’s Danaë depicts the mythological heroine in the throes of sexual pleasure (fig. 1). In the original Greek myth, Danaë is locked away by her father after the Oracle foretells that Danaë will give birth to a son who will kill him. […]

Skeuomorphic Textiles: Stitches in Stone

by Tracey Davison This essay considers the ninth-century sarcophagus of St. Alkmund as a skeuomorphic funerary textile and its role in the commemoration and creation of a visible presence of the deceased (fig. 1).1 Now in the Derby Museum and Art Gallery in England, it was unearthed between 1967-68 during the demolition of the nineteenth-century […]

The Clown at Midnight: Coulrophobia, Counterculture, and the Decadent Pierrot Mask

by Samuel Love Writing Pyrotechnic Insanitarium (1999), an apocalyptic account of twentieth-century Western culture, Mark Dery was sure of one thing: “all the world hates a clown.”1 In Dery’s eyes, the clown persistently haunted the waning century, resulting in the appearance of the term “coulrophobia”—an uncontrollable fear of clowns in popular discourse. The association between clowns […]

A Fledgling Baroque: Featherworks from New Spain in Counter-Reformation Europe

by Rachel Kline Throughout the sixteenth century, Spanish clergy and nobility acquired hundreds of featherworks crafted by the Indigenous artists of New Spain, which arrived on merchant ships in major European port cities from Antwerp to Seville. The artistic tradition of featherwork, or amantecayotl, among the Mexica people of New Spain predated the conquest of […]

Curses as Crowd Control: Tourist Folklore at Pompeii

by Rowan Murry In 1922, news of Howard Carter’s rediscovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb took the world by storm. In February 1923, excavators reburied and secured the tomb while archaeologists catalogued their findings and made plans for the next excavation season. It was around this time that the excavation’s financier, who had been present at […]

Paved Paradise: The Concrete and the Stuplime at Parc des Butte-Chaumont

by Madeline Porsella “The modernization process is complete, and nature is gone for good.” – Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1991) When the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont (Buttes-Chaumont Park) opened in conjunction with the Exposition Universelle on April 1, 1867, the city of Paris was in the midst of a legendary […]