All posts tagged: art form

The Best Movies of 2023, the Year of Barbenheimer

The Best Movies of 2023, the Year of Barbenheimer

Cinema continued to wobble back to its feet in 2023: Blockbuster events such as “Barbenheimer” proved that audiences had an appetite for more than just superhero movies at the box office, while the rippling effects of the writers’ and actors’ strikes forced Hollywood to examine the unsettling implications of the past decade’s streaming revolution. But as usual, the art form itself didn’t really suffer, especially if you knew where to look, and curating my list of the year’s best films proved extra difficult. So strong were this year’s offerings that my honorable mentions include excellent films by some of my most-loved auteurs—Ferrari (from Michael Mann), May December (Todd Haynes), The Holdovers (Alexander Payne), and The Killer (David Fincher), all worthy additions to totemic bodies of work. There were wonderfully challenging entries, such as Ari Aster’s unhinged Beau Is Afraid, and Jonathan Glazer’s chilling The Zone of Interest, designed to rattle the viewer in their seat; Bradley Cooper’s Maestro takes the staid biographical film in directions I couldn’t have anticipated, as did Matt Johnson’s winsome Blackberry. …

The New Meaning of Tattoos

The New Meaning of Tattoos

Like a lot of Millennials, Sarah Curley has some tattoos. The public-health educator, who lives in Madison, Wisconsin, has a bouquet of wildflowers and the Greek word sophrosyne (meaning “temperance”) on her right wrist; some song lyrics on her ribs; and the phases of the moon on her inner left forearm. Then, there is the 3 on the back of her neck, which represents her and her two sisters. In college, she went into a tattoo shop in Eau Claire, wanting a simply crafted number. “The artist—his style was very vivid, very detailed, and kind of on the macabre side,” she told me. Still, he was the guy available that day and she was impatient. “He did a good job—I mean, it was beautifully done,” she told me. But the tattoo ended up “thicker and more ornate than I would have designed for myself.” At any other point in human history, that would have been the end of the story. Tattoos were forever. But in the past 10 years or so, tattoo removal has gone …

Can the M.F.A. Survive ChatGPT?

Can the M.F.A. Survive ChatGPT?

No question is more dreadfully pretentious than “What is art?” except possibly “Can you come see my one-person show?” Yet I’ve accepted that at some point in the course of a life, both will need to be answered. Because I’m a writer facing the advent of ChatGPT, the time for the first question is now. Most people (including some writers themselves) forget that creative writing is an art form. I suspect that this is because, unlike music or painting or sculpture or dance—for which rare natural aptitude straight away separates practitioners from appreciators—writing is something that everyone does and that many people believe they do well. I have been at parties with friends who are dancers, comedians, visual artists, and musicians, and I have never witnessed anyone say to them, “I’ve always wanted to do that.” Yet I can scarcely meet a stranger without hearing about how they have “always wanted to write a novel.” Their novel is unwritten, they seem to believe, not for lack of talent or honed skill, but simply for lack …