Yale Lecturer Behind Halloween Email Defending Free Speech Resigns 

Yale University have confirmed that the lecturer who sent an email stating that students should not seek to censor Halloween costumes has today resigned from her teaching position.

Richard Lewis reports: Erika Christakis, an expert in childhood education, sent the email as a result of student activist complaints about cultural appropriation and perceived racism on campus. The protests will best be remembered for producing this video where a female student screamed into the face of Nicholas Christakis, husband of Erika and a Bowdoin Prize winning academic, making the bold claim that the university campus isn’t an “intellectual space.” Mr. Christakis shall also be taking a one term sabbatical in the aftermath of the incident.

Why the email generated any controversy is anyone’s guess. Mrs. Christakis asked the question, “Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious, a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive?” Read the rest of this entry »


Coney Island Comes Alive in Art Show

Steeplechase-Funny-Face

The Wadsworth Atheneum’s ‘Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861-2008’ dives into the oceanfront playground’s role as a muse to artists.

Ellen Gamerman writes: New York’s Coney Island has long attracted a human merry-go-round of strivers, oddballs, hucksters, thrill-seekers, sun-worshippers—and some famous artists, too.

“The exhibition is about great art and a singular place in the American imagination.”

— Curator Robin Jaffee

With its new show, “Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861-2008,” the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Conn., dives into the oceanfront playground’s role as a muse to painters, photographers, filmmakers and other artists. The museum calls the show the first one dedicated solely to art about Coney Island and the largest museum exhibition to focus entirely on the entertainment mecca in Brooklyn, N.Y. It opens Jan. 31 before starting a three-city U.S. tour.

Daze | ‘Coney Island Pier’ | 1995 COLLECTION OF THE ARTIST

Daze | ‘Coney Island Pier’ | 1995 COLLECTION OF THE ARTIST

“There has been nothing that takes people through the ages literally from Coney Island’s beginnings,” said curator Robin Jaffee Frank, who has been working on the show for the past five years. “The exhibition is about great art and a singular place in the American imagination.”

“Such sexually suggestive forms of pleasure mixed voyeurism, exhibitionism and public humiliation into an addictive modern cocktail.”

— Curator Robin Jaffee, Frank, in a catalog essay

Ms. Frank, a Brooklyn native who visited Coney Island often as a child, vividly recalls being terrified by sights like the Cyclops head that hung at the Spook-A-Rama, a 1950s thrill ride that took passengers under a blood-red waterfall and past horror figures.

Marie Roberts | ‘A Congress of Curious Peoples’  - COLLECTION OF LIZ AND MARC HARTZMAN

Marie Roberts | ‘A Congress of Curious Peoples’ – COLLECTION OF LIZ AND MARC HARTZMAN

She grew increasingly fascinated by art about the landmark over her more than two decades at the Yale University Art Gallery, where she became senior associate curator of American paintings and sculpture in 2006. She brought her research for the show with her when the Wadsworth Atheneum hired her as chief curator in 2011. The Yale University Art Gallery is the exhibit’s biggest lender. Read the rest of this entry »