Recent stories of note:
“In Mexico City, a Museum Celebrates Its First Decade”
Ray Mark Rinaldi, The New York Times
The largest museum for modern and contemporary art in Mexico City is named after a juice company: Museo Jumex. But don’t let that presumptuous title (imagine if the MOMA were called the Tropicana Museum) fool you—the Museo Jumex is a very serious institution. Its location is at the heart of Polanco, a neighborhood bathed in history, and it adds to this history well. The building itself—angular, heavy but not at all overbearing—contains five floors that have shown such Urs Fischer, James Turrell, Merce Cunningham, John Cage, and a whole suite of contemporary Mexican artists, all in just the last decade. This year marks the museum’s tenth anniversary, making this the perfect time to note just how quickly and effectively it has become an art institution essential to Latin America and North America more broadly. Ray Mark Rinaldi provides a primer on the museum’s fast rise, as well as an introduction to the personality of its eccentric president, Eugenio López Alonso.
“Whistling in the Dark: The discomfiting genius of Hans Josephsohn”
Joe Fyfe, Tablet
“The emotion of art is impersonal,” wrote T. S. Eliot, “and the poet cannot reach this impersonality without surrendering himself wholly to the work to be done.” Such removal from oneself requires a humility foreign to a contemporary art world that tends to traffic in either churlish irony or self-indulgent confession. But antithesis to such wearisome work can be found in the unfussy, underappreciated sculpture of Hans Josephsohn, argues Joe Fyfe in Tablet. This is work mostly indifferent to the self and immune to an obsession with the present, and these features are precisely what make it so necessary. Josephsohn’s statuary is dark and unadorned and often looks like it was only recently unearthed by an archaeological dig, but it is not merely aping primitive appearances in an unimaginative attempt to get behind modernity or classicism. Rather, it is asking how such ancient notions might fit into the modern world.
“Classical Education’s Aristocracy of Anyone”
Micah Meadowcroft, National Affairs
Even before the COVID lockdowns sabotaged American students, setting them back years, and even before the invidious intrusion of inanities like The 1619 Project into America’s public school system, there was ample evidence that the system was failing its students. “No child left behind” morphed into “No child gets ahead,” and education began to resemble miseducation at an alarming rate. This well-documented decline was met with a renewed demand for private, “classical” education—but what does it mean for an education to be classical, especially in a country like America, which only has contact with the classical world in a secondhand way (no Roman expedition ever landed on American shores, after all)? Such is the question Micah Meadowcroft undertakes in National Affairs, examining the history of this strain of American education over the last century. He asks to what degree this education ought to be Christian or secular, moral or scientific, democratic or aristocratic. The classical-education field is burgeoning and important, and Meadowcroft’s essay goes a long way in smoothing its creases.