CULTURE

Controversy Over New Deal Art

Who gets to say what parts of the American narrative are acceptable and what parts are to be excised or erased? This is the heart of a heated conversation about the role of public art today.

The spotlight has been on New Deal muralists known for their radical views of history.

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How to Be a Good Ancestor

“Are we being good ancestors?” This question resonated with Krznaric and his wife, the Oxford economist Kate Raworth, who are raising twins. These two academic superstars have been drawing on 40 years of systems modeling and risk research to create a better world for future generations.

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Up Against the Wall

In her new book, Wall Disease, Jessica Wapner considers how living up against a border creates stress, fear, mistrust and a host of serious health conditions, including trauma and early childhood development issues, and even a subtle reshaping of the brain—in particular, the area that contains our compass for survival.

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Roger Williams’s America

The conflict over control within the first colonies—who could vote, who dictated one’s beliefs, who held authority over whom—was hard-fought, a prelude to the relentless skirmishes we endure today.

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Voices of Civil Rights

For a passionate and prolific response to racism in America we turn to two extraordinary artists from the 1960s: Nina Simone and James Baldwin. Simone sang about Mississippi lynchings and Baldwin wrote about the profound abuse that Blacks suffered in the South. The two friends supported each other in the fight for Civil Rights.

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Black Fatigue

“I want to give the Black community permission to say I am not okay. I am tired. I am tired. I have not watched the video of Ahmaud Arbery. It is too much. I have not watched the video of George Floyd. It is too much.”

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What Myth Now?

Americans of all stripes have been in a state of great distress, wondering what the future will hold—yearning for a vision, new or old, that will help resolve what I term “cultural complexes” that divide us on issues of immigration, race, gender, abortion, health care, the relationship between rural and urban populations, between the individual and the broader community, and our views on the role of government today.

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At Home in America

This issue of Reinventing Home raises the critical question, Who feels at home in America? How can we make a more perfect union that is not driven by factionalism and political infighting?

There is no getting around it—our democracy is broken, and to begin the process of repair, we must move beyond the information wars designed to stoke our raw emotions and deepen our sense of enmity–and cease choosing spectacle over substance.

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Finding Beauty Close to Home

The key was to forget what I was looking at and focus on what I was seeing; not a “rose,” but a particular arrangement of shapes and colors. I moved in close and approached the plants from unexpected angles, and I stepped back, to capture the larger landscape in which the plants were flourishing. I tried to go beyond photography to achieve something more akin to painting.

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