October 04

Mount Rushmore: Personal Ambition to National Heritage

On the 4th of October 1927, Gutzon Borglum (1867-1941) began sculpting Mount Rushmore, a long project which ended unfinished in 1941, the year of the artist’s death. Borglum was a Danish-American  sculptor, son of a bigamist Mormon father who started off as a woodcarver, then moved with Gutzon’s aunt to New York to train as […]

October 03

Ginsberg’s Howl Versus American Censorship

On the 3rd of October 1957 Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl and Other Poems‘ was ruled not obscene. ‘Howl and Other Poems’ by Allen Ginsberg polarised American society of the 1950s. On one side of the barricade placed themselves bohemian writers and poets of the Beat Generation, to whom transgression of social standards and taboos became an axis of […]

October 02

Duchamp and the Dadaist Gender Offensive

On the 2nd of October 1968, artist Marcel Duchamp died in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. His Rouen grave was engraved with the humorously defiant epitaph “Besides, it’s always the others who die!”. In death, as in life, he remained a master of sarcasm and controversy. A puzzling development in his career occurred in 1920, when Duchamp started adopting a […]

October 01

James Allen St. John: Tarzan and Pulp Fiction

On the 1st of October 1872, James Allen St. John, often referred to as ‘the godfather of modern fantasy art’, was born in Chicago, Illinois. His work set the spirit and rhythm for the important science fiction sub-genre of heroic fantasy illustration. St. John studied in Paris, Belgium and Holland and worked for most of his career […]

September 30

Masonism in Mozart’s The Magic Flute

On the 30th of September 1791, the opera The Magic Flute by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart made its debut at Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden in Vienna. The piece was finished three months before the composer died of suspected rheumatoid fever at the young age of 35. Mozart scholar Maynard Solomon wrote that, “Although there were no reviews of […]

September 29

Breaking Boundaries in TV Drama

On the 29th of September 2013, the long-awaited final episode of American drama Breaking Bad (2008-2013) was aired to U.S. television audiences. Vince Gilligan’s AMC TV series turned out to be a complex and complicated work of cinematic art. The most striking first impression is the film’s atmospheric intensity. The warm hues of the American southwest landscape with […]

September 28

English Utopia in the Art of Helen Allingham

On the 28th of September 1926, Victorian water-colourist and illustrator Helen Allingham, born Helen M. E. Paterson, died in Haslemere, Surrey, England. Her career “was circumscribed by, relied upon, and exceeded accepted norms of landscape painting in the nineteenth century. She painted out-of-doors, for example, a common mode of practice none the less considered suspect […]