Arts & Culture

All Arts & Culture

  • Urban design, strategic architecture

    When Eve Blau speaks of Milan Lenuci, the city surveyor of Zagreb in the late 19th century, a note of reverence enters her voice. “He’s one of our great heroes,” she says. Lenuci’s finest accomplishment was the “Green Horseshoe,” a U-shaped series of parks and promenades surrounding Zagreb’s center and providing a refreshing refuge from urban traffic and noise. But what Blau admires even more than the work itself is the way Lenuci managed to bring it into being.

  • The evolution of the blues

    Paul Oliver, probably the world’s foremost scholar of the blues, first heard African-American vernacular music during World War II when a friend brought him to listen to black servicemen stationed in England singing work songs they had brought with them from the fields and lumber camps of the Deep South. Oliver was enthralled by the rhythm and drive of the music and the spontaneous interweaving of harmonies, and wanted to hear more. His fascination led him on a 60-year quest that has included numerous field trips through the American South interviewing, recording, and photographing blues musicians.

  • Friendly wave hits Asia

    Six years after sweeping across Asia, the Korean wave hit Cambridge with a crash on Friday (Feb. 16) during a panel at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. “Korean wave” – or Hallyu – refers to the sizzling popularity of South Korean popular culture throughout Asia. From the Philippines and Malaysia, to Singapore, Japan, and China, prosperous and democratic South Korea is a benchmark of the hip – in television dramas, movies, pop music, clothes, electronics, and even hairdos.

  • Exhibit unveils forgotten photos

    An early 20th century visitor to Harvard – especially if he or she were a forward-thinking person who believed that science was the best approach to solving society’s problems – would probably be eager to climb to the top floor of Emerson Hall to see the newly installed Social Museum. The museum was the brainchild of Francis Greenwood Peabody, the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and founder of the Department of Social Ethics, which later became the Sociology Department. Peabody believed that just as biology students had the Museum of Comparative Zoology and anthropology students had the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, students who wanted to study social conditions needed a museum of their own, a place where they could contemplate the ills of modern life and the methods used to ameliorate them.

  • Tony Award winner to impart wisdom

    Tony Award winner Michael Cerveris will conduct two workshops for Harvard undergraduate actors and singers performing audition monologues and songs on Feb. 26 at 3 and 7 p.m.

  • Prohibition politics created groundwork for modern liberalism

    While Prohibition in America failed to rid the nation of demon rum, it did unleash a wave of change in the American cultural and political sphere whose ripples are still seen today. According to new research by Lisa McGirr, a historian in Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), the fallout from the impossible effort of enforcing the Volstead Act played a key role in creating the political alliances that have endured for the past 70 years.

  • The joys and perils of building a superb film archive

    When Bette Davis called in sick during her time as a contract player with Warner Bros., the studio was known to send their own physician to her house to make sure she wasn’t malingering. Haden Guest mentions this intriguing fact as one of the many insights into the Hollywood studio system he gained while working as curator and acting director of the Warner Bros. Archives at the University of Southern California, the largest and most comprehensive collection of materials from a single Hollywood production company.

  • Powerful documentary on genocide screened at Kennedy School

    Those who loudly refused to let the world turn a blind eye or feign helplessness as genocides ravaged millions of lives this century and last are sometimes dubbed “screamers.” The Harvard community got an earful Monday evening (Feb. 5) from an unlikely quartet of modern screamers – the chart-topping, earsplitting heavy metal band System of a Down – during an advance screening of the new documentary “Screamers” at the John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Starr Auditorium.

  • Cross-cultural study of entrepreneurs has surprising findings

    Bat Batjargal, an Oxford-trained political scientist and lecturer in social sciences at Harvard, talks a mile a minute – and can do so in five languages. He sprinkles every conversation about his work (on social network theory) with a constant phrase: “Fascinating stuff.” In two talks last week – on the social networks of entrepreneurs – Batjargal used another frequent phrase: “Surprise, surprise.” Preliminary findings in his large-scale, cross-cultural study of 377 entrepreneurs in China and Russia suggest that gender affects the revenues, growth, and profits of new ventures in surprising ways.

  • The many lives of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Most of us only get one life. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow – whose 200th birthday bicentennial is this month – has had four. In the first, he arrived in Cambridge in 1837, fresh from a six-year professorship at Bowdoin College. Longfellow, sporting long hair, yellow gloves, and flowered waistcoats, cut quite a romantic, European-style figure in what was then a provincial village of 6,000.

  • New York artist expresses long passion for polar exploration

    They are odds and ends of lives long past, lived in the cold and ice of the world’s polar regions. They are bits and pieces that give a feeling as much as they tell a story: an old photograph here, a line drawing there, a braided ribbon, a newspaper headline. The collages lining the walls in the Harvard Museum of Natural History’s (HMNH) newest exhibit, “Echoes in the Ice,” tell the heroic and sometimes tragic story of the exploration of the world’s poles through the eyes of New York-based artist Rik van Glintenkamp.

  • Barenboim to deliver Charles Eliot Norton Lectures

    World-renowned conductor, pianist, and recording artist Daniel Barenboim will deliver the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures beginning Sept. 25. The set of six talks titled “Sound and Thought” will run Sept. 25-29 and Oct. 3 at 4:30 p.m.

  • Playwright Mayer ’10 is recipient of arts award

    Harvard College freshman and playwright Jonathan Mayer will debut “Mistakes, Inc.” as part of VSA arts 22nd annual Playwright Discovery evening Sept. 28 at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. An international nonprofit organization affiliated with the Kennedy Center, VSA arts showcases the accomplishments of artists with disabilities, while promoting increased access to the arts for people with disabilities. The Playwright Discovery Award Program offers middle and high school students of all abilities an opportunity to examine, through the art of writing a one-act play, how disability affects a person’s life.

  • A renovated Woodberry Poetry Room

    This week the George Edward Woodberry Poetry Room reopened after a summerlong renovation, reuniting scholars, poets, and poetry lovers with an unprecedented collection of books, pamphlets, magazines, broadsides, manuscripts, video recordings of poets, rare author photographs, and paintings and sculptures created by poets – in fact anything related to 20th and 21st century poetry.

  • Founder of Harvard’s Statistics Department, Frederick Mosteller, dies

    Pioneering statistician Frederick Mosteller, a retired Harvard professor whose broad-ranging work influenced public health, medicine, education, and even American history, died Sunday (July 23) at age 89.

  • Harvard Gumboots speak with feet

    Students from around the world come together at Harvard to speak the rhythmic language South African miners created during apartheid.

  • Brigham pilot program connects people with family histories

    A Harvard Medical School instructor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital is spearheading a pilot project to encourage Brigham employees to gather detailed family health histories to give health care officials an edge fighting inherited diseases.

  • The first word on nouns and verbs

    Since humans learned to speak, they have put their words into two basic categories, nouns and verbs. Nouns denote objects; verbs refer to actions. Dictionaries of specialized words have been added by bankers, lawyers, scientists, and clergy, but this core distinction remains.

  • Controlling long-term memory

    Harvard University biologists have identified a molecular pathway active in neurons that interacts with RNA to regulate the formation of long-term memory in fruit flies. The same pathway is also found at mammalian synapses, and could eventually present a target for new therapeutics to treat human memory loss.

  • University Library receives grant

    The Harvard University Library (HUL) has received a grant of $600,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the development of a registry of authoritative information about digital formats. Detailed information about the format of digital resources is fundamental to their preservation. The two-year project will result in a new Global Digital Format Registry (GDFR), which will become a key international infrastructure component for the digital preservation programs of libraries, archives, and other institutions with the responsibility for keeping digital resources viable over time.

  • HUAM names Ebbinghaus new curator of ancient art

    The Harvard University Art Museums (HUAM) recently announced the appointment of Susanne Ebbinghaus as the George M.A. Hanfmann Curator of Ancient Art. Ebbinghaus has been serving as a curatorial research associate in the Department of Ancient and Byzantine Art and Numismatics at Harvard University Art Museums and recently spent a year at the University of Toronto, investigating cultural exchanges between Greece and the Near East on a fellowship from the Gerda Henkel Foundation. The appointment will become official in early February.

  • The Silk Road Ensemble

    Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble perform during Learning From Performers, sponsored by Office for the Arts, September 2005.

  • Portraits of dissent on view at Davis Center

    Norton Dodge is an economist, a Harvard alumnus, and a savior of smuggled Soviet art. Smuggler is not usually a moniker that one would choose, but for Norton Dodge it is a badge of honor. Concerned with the plight of artists living under Soviet rule, many of whom found their work prohibited by the regime, Dodge smuggled almost 20,000 works of art out of the Soviet Union during the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s.

  • Greenblatt teases out a knowable Shakespeare

    Some years ago, before Stephen Greenblatt made the move from Berkeley to Harvard, a screenwriter named Marc Norman came to see him. Norman wanted to write a screenplay about William Shakespeare and had come to interview Greenblatt about the playwrights life.