Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Andy Warhol’s comfort food for the apocalypse

Birthdays are complicated. They are cause for celebration but also remind us that we are closer to death. Such duality would not have been lost on Andy Warhol (1928-1987), an artist who strove throughout his career to find images that could house such contradictory notions.

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The mysterious painting methods of Vermeer

Johannes Vermeer’s luminous paintings are loved and admired around the world, yet it is not fully understood exactly what painting methods he used. Experts over the years have been confounded as to how he captured light in such a way. The image below discusses seven of his masterpieces, and reveals the few traces Vermeer has left behind in an intriguing detective story.

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Building a consensus on climate change

As the world shudders in the face of the Trump Administration rejection of the Paris Climate Accords, other forms of expertise and professional engagement are, again, taking on increased relevance. Buildings have long been important mediators in the relationship between energy, politics, and culture. Today the architecture, engineering and construction professions are increasingly compelled to take on energy efficiency.

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Marc Chagall, religious artist

One hundred thirty years after the birth of Moishe Shagall, as he was known in his small Hasidic neighborhood on the outskirts of Vitebsk, and thirty-two years after the death of Marc Chagall, as he came to be known in the modern art world, we are starting to understand his vision.

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Unity without objecthood, in art and in natural language

What makes something we see or something we talk about a single thing, or simply a unit that we can identify and that we can distinguish from others and compare to them? For ordinary objects like trees, chairs, mountains, and lakes, the answer seems obvious.

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Do you know the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright? [quiz]

Frank Lloyd Wright, born on 8 June 1867, was one of the most significant architects of the Western world in the first half of the 20th century. At the height of his prolific career, Wright’s works revealed the architect’s keen insight into American and European culture, as well as an appreciation for indigenous art and architecture and the history and styles of Japan.

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Marcel Duchamp’s most political work of art

A hundred years ago last month, two of the most influential historical events of the twentieth century occurred within a span of three days. The first of these took place on 6 April 1917, when the United States declared war on Germany and, in doing so, thrust the USA into a leading role on the world stage for the first time in its history.

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Did you know these 10 fascinating facts about museums?

Collections of art, scientific instruments, historical relics, and peculiarities have attracted the curiosity and imaginations of people around the world since ancient times. The museum as an institution developed in antiquity and evolved over the years to encompass and celebrate all aspects of human society, science, art, and history. Museums are vital to the study […]

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Can art save us from fundamentalism?

London, rain, and Rothko—each was foreign to the missionary encampment on the Navajo reservation where Jakob grew up, in the 1980s. Back then, he seized every opportunity to share the gospel with his Native American friends, even as they played endless games of cowboys and Indians in the deserts of Arizona:

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Co-living: Utopia 2.0?

Eight months on from its opening, in May 2016, the London-based co-living enterprise known as The Collective Old Oak is still going strong. The residential concept, situated between North Acton and Wilesden Junction, now boasts 546 residents. The project has piqued the interest of locals and the media alike.

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Caring about the past in the embattled present

Growing up in Manhattan meant that I didn’t live among ancient ruins – just subway stations, high-rise apartments, and Central Park’s relatively recent architectural confections. It took living for a year in Europe as a six-year old and for another year as a ten-year old to develop awareness about our collective heritage stretching back millennia. Visiting the vacant site of Stonehenge on a blustery fall day in the early 1960s

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On Hokusai’s woodblock prints

Sometimes when looking at some piece of reality, puzzling choices have to be made when describing it as ‘one’, as ‘many’ or perhaps as neither ‘one’ nor ‘many’. Three woodblock prints of the artist Hokusai can illustrate the issue.

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Art in the age of digital production

Between 1986 and 1988, the jazz musician and experimental music pioneer George Lewis created the first version of Voyager. After spending some time making work that involved compositional programmes in Paris, Lewis returned to the US and began work on Voyager. His aspiration was not simply to use computers as a tool or raw material, but to create software that could take an equal improvisational role to the other (human) musicians in the performance.

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