Curating The Week: Essays, Artists, and Cultural Evolution

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A magnificent essay on writing essays.

“Telling people something they didn’t know doesn’t always mean surprising them. Sometimes it means telling them something they knew unconsciously but had never put into words. In fact those may be the more valuable insights, because they tend to be more fundamental.”

An essay on artist Anselm Kiefer.

“His works are so monumental, so charged with time, so burdened by history, and because the private sphere, the near and the personal, is so completely absent from them.”

An article on the pace of cultural evolution.

“Modern society is filled with references to the speed at which change happens—mainstream music moves from rock, to pop, to rap, seemingly overnight; dress hemlines go up or down with the seasons. But some of that might be an illusion, the researchers with this new effort contend, because of the way we view change. They suggest that human cultural change is just as slow-moving as biological change—and it is because most cultural artifacts are subjects to both stabilizing and directional forces.”