"We Choose to Go to the Moon"

“Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said, ‘Because it is there.’ Well, space is there, and we’re going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and […]


One common blogging convention, that our Vicious Circle of intrepid arts writers has yet to employ, is what I am going to hereby dub the "Cavalcade of Links" (also sometimes called, by those who follow such things more closely, a "Blog Carnival"). For our purposes, a Cavalcade of Links is a posting wherein a lazy […]

Eric Inkala's "Overflow: A Pleasure Trip"

Eric Inkala‘s no fool. After a good run of years of painting his coloristic, hazy-dazy, arabesque, Little-Engine-that-Could-meets-Pacman murals (this guy is a tagger of the most whimsical sort) on walls around town, Inkala’s finally been hit by the legitimacy bug. That is, in the manner of graffiti artists gone legit–like Keith Haring in the 1980s […]

The New Dada

Part the first — History Is the Past   History is something that happens to other people. -Anonymous   WELCOME STUDENTS. I’d like to begin today’s seminar with a pop quiz. (No groaning, people!) Please take out your Bluebooks and answer the following two-part question: 1. Identify the following historical era: In the early years […]

Dried Blood and Dandelion Wine

(Header image credit: "Conversation with Death" by Gabriel Combs) In an effort to seek out and engage multiple voices and viewpoints from the local arts community, I will present in my space on The Thousandth Word occasional postings by “Vicious Guests” — that is, writings by various artists, curators, guest critics, journalists, art experts, art […]

Serious Art

Here’s a truism of modern art: Every new generation of emerging young artists is convinced it will reinvent the culture. And, strangely enough, they all go about this reinvention pretty much in the same way: By making a bunch of meaningless noise. Think of Tristan Tzara here, and his poems that go nowhere. Think of […]

The Man Who Fell to Pittsburgh

I recently sat down to speak with Douglas Fogle–the curator of the 2008 Carnegie International–in his office at the Carnegie Museum of Art. It was a fine, bright spring day about one month into the run of the latest version of the great survey exhibition of international artists that was first mounted in 1896, and […]

Oh Man, Look at Those Cavemen Go!

On my first pass through the 2008 Carnegie International, the massive, just-mounted edition of the 112-year-old international art survey that runs through next January at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, I eighty-percent hated the show. It started with the forced theme, "Life on Mars"–the first time ever that the show has had a […]

Come Join the Vicious Circle

"That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment." -Dorothy Parker Over ten long, occasionally checkered, years as an art critic here in Minnesota, here’s one thing I’ve learned: Making your way in the world today, as a visual artist […]

A Picture is Worth 5,000 Years

“A photo is all I have left of her,” Chris Lang, the boyfriend of murdered college student Dru Sjodin, told a Judiciary Policy and Finance Committee at the Minnesota House of Representatives. His testimony culminated with a heated statement about Level Three sex offenders: “They’re not like normal people. I think they’re wired wrong. They’re […]