Recent links of note:

“Companion and Commodity: The Victorian Dog”

Colin Dickey, Los Angeles Review of Books

Visit the new Museum of the Dog in New York, and you’ll find out all you need to know about purebreds and their development as depicted in art. The museum, run by the American Kennel Club, celebrates man’s best friend, but perhaps glosses over how recent a creation the domesticated dog is, at least as we know it. Colin Dickey’s review of two new books about the birth of the “breed” fills in the background. As The Invention of the Modern Dog: Breed and Blood in Victorian England  describes, it was not until the nineteenth century that English dog breeders began to select dogs for their aesthetic and personality traits—a process that was not always benign. Ivan Kreilkamp’s Minor Creatures: Persons, Animals, and the Victorian Novel  follows the dogs’ tale in Victorian novels, in which writers discuss who belongs in domestic spaces and in the family itself. The novels and paintings of the time, as well as the sweater-clad Yorkies running around Central Park today, show just how quickly dogs won their way into our homes and hearts.  

“Mirror, Mirror”

Emily Esfahani Smith, City Journal

You run into these characters every day: the Newshound, the Social Climber, the Flatterer, and the Obnoxious Man. It’s fascinating, then, to discover these same personality types depicted in the fourth century B.C. Theophrastus, meaning “divine in speech,” was a metic or “outsider” from Lesbos who became a favorite of Aristotle and of the Athenian people—partly, it seems, because his satires of Athenians were so accurate while also being good-natured. Emily Esfahani Smith, a former New Criterion editor, reviews Pamela Mensch’s new translation of thirty of his character sketches, Theophrastus’ Characters: An Ancient Take on Bad Behavior, illustrated with caricatures by André Carrilho.

MoMA to Close for Months as Part of Expansion Plan”

Ellen Gamerman, The Wall Street Journal

The Museum of Modern Art announced on Monday that it will close from mid-June until late October for a $450 million renovation and expansion, the second stage of a project that started in 2017. The added forty thousand square feet of space will allow the display of many works that have remained in storage for years. The expansion also will include a lobby area with garden and street views. Though closed for the summer, MoMA hopes the renovations will make works in the museum more available to its visitors: after its renovation, it will “activate its collection” by rotating the art in a third of its galleries every six to nine months.

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