Recent links of note:
“Giacometti’s chaotic Paris studio brought back to life”
Hannah McGivern, The Art Newspaper
The twentieth-century Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti worked to present “true impressions” of postwar trauma in his singular (and increasingly spindly) style of sculpture and painting. Now, the Institut Giacometti has created a true-to-life reconstruction of the sculptor’s Paris studio in a mansion a mile away from the original. According to the curator Catherine Grenier’s description of the exhibit, Giacometti’s later sculptures may well have expanded vertically to fit the space available: the chaos of the cluttered studio “was like the inside of his skull.” The museum, which opens this week, is a “little time capsule” that will give viewers a sense of a workspace that mirrored the intensity of the man; the writer Jean Genet called Giacometti’s studio “the most important and most complete” of his works: “his other self.” For more on the artist, look out for Eric Gibson’s forthcoming review of “Giacometti,” an ongoing exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
“My Harvard Speech in Retrospect”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, National Review
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918–2008) created a legacy that transcends the boundary between the political and the literary, Gary Saul Morson claims in a New Criterion essay on March 1917: The Red Wheel, a vast and important novel about the Russian Revolution. Solzhenitsyn’s influence extends from the East to the West, as well: in an excerpt from an upcoming memoir (originally published in Russian fifteen years ago), the great anti-totalitarian thinker reflects on the American reception of a 1978 speech at Harvard in which he diagnosed, in typical, dead-serious Solzhenitsyn style, the ills of the West. While some found his fears about materialism to be alarmist and reactionary, and some in the media thought he exaggerated the sensationalism of American journalism, Solzhenitsyn was heartened to witness the effects of free discourse in America. His speech garnered serious attention in America as it did nowhere else as it spread over the airwaves. The first volume of Between Two Millstones, printed in English for the first time, will be released in October—proof that the West is still listening to Solzhenitsyn. Look for another excerpt from the memoir in The New Criterion’s September issue.
“The club sandwich: three slices of white supremacy?”
Dominic Green, Spectator USA
The Earl of Sandwich would be proud: his eighteenth-century snack at the gambling table has served up an increasingly high-stakes debate in America about whether the dish’s gustatory descendants perpetuate white privilege. This week, The Boston Globe published a letter alleging that the club sandwich, that now–quintessentially American tower of carbs, bacon grease, and mayo, is tainted with the taste of discrimination because of its supposed origin at New York’s exclusive Union Club. Dominic Green concocts a more sympathetic recipe for understanding the sandwich. The club sandwich may no longer be, as the Globe claims, a “symbol of the very top of American society” (the sort of abstract meal which, by the by, sounds less than satisfying), but is rather a democratized diner dinner with a colorful history.
From our pages:
“Glenn Goldberg’s patchwork universe”