This morning I was thinking about health care reform, and the vociferous opposition to it in the form of people, many armed, showing up to disrupt town hall meetings on the subject. I thought about those who would say it’s not wise for artists to publicly express an opinion about this issue, because they could risk alienating collectors or others who may bear some power over them. Then I went back to thinking about those fearful, raging people who are so afraid that providing health care for the over 50 million uninsured people in this country is somehow going to infringe upon their own freedoms, especially their right to carry weapons. Who are these people who hate so much? Oh yeah. They’re the same people who hate gays and anyone of color (especially in the Oval Office). They are the same people who want to wrest the right of reproductive choice from women, and who are suspicious of artists and anybody who doesn’t fit into their mold.

Americans for the Arts has joined with 20 national arts organizations to issue a statement calling on Congress for health care reform, and “to fully recognize the rights of individual artists and arts groups in the health care reform debate.”  I want to exercise those rights.

So, when I got dressed this morning, I pulled from deep in my drawer a T-shirt I got after going on the AIDS walk many years ago.  It was imprinted with words and an image by the late artist David Wojnarowicz, who was one of the legions of talented people the art community lost too early because people tolerated a screwed up system for too long.  I pulled on my T-shirt and got on the crowded subway for the long ride downtown.  On my back, his words seared through a not so distant expanse of time:

“If I had a dollar to spend for healthcare I’d rather spend it on a baby or innocent person with some defect or illness not of their own responsibility; not some person with AIDS…” says the healthcare official on national television and this is in the middle of an hour long video of people dying on camera because they can’t afford the limited drugs available that might extend their lives and I can’t even remember what his official looked like because I reached in through the T.V. screen and ripped his face in half and I was diagnosed with AIDS recently and this was after the last few years of losing count of the friends and neighbors who have been dying slow and vicious and unnecessary deaths because fags and dykes and junkies are expendable in this country  “If you want to stop AIDS shoot the queers” says the governor of texas on the radio and his press secretary later claims that the governor was only joking and didn’t know the microphone was turned on and besides they didn’t think it would hurt his chances for re-election anyways and I wake up every morning in this killing machine called america and I’m carrying this rage like a blood filled egg and there’s a thin line between the inside and the outside a thin line between thought and action and that line is simply made up of blood and muscle and bone and I’m waking up more and more from daydreams of tipping amazonian blowdarts in “infected blood” and spitting them at the exposed necklines of certain politicians or government healthcare officials or those thinly disguised walking swastikas that wear religious garments over their murderous intentions or those rabid strangers parading against AIDS clinics in the nightly news suburbs there’s a thin line a very thin line between the inside and the outside and I’ve been looking all my life at the signs surrounding us in the media or on peoples lips; the religious types outside st. patricks cathedral shouting to men and women in the gay parade: “You won’t be here next year–you’ll get AIDS and die ha ha” and the areas of the u.s.a. where it is possible to murder a man and when brought to trial one only has to say that the victim was a queer and that he tried to touch you and the courts will set you free and the difficulties that a bunch of republican senators have in albany with supporting an anti-violence bill that includes ‘sexual orientation’ as a category of crime victims there’s a thin line a very thin line and as each t-cell disappears from my body it’s replaced by ten pounds of pressure ten pounds of rage and I focus that rage into non-violent resistance but that focus is starting to slip my hands are beginning to move independent of self-restraint and the egg is starting to crack america seems to understand and accept murder as a self defense against those who would murder other people and its been murder on a daily basis for eight count them eight [nine, ten…] long years and we’re expected to quietly and politely make house in this windstorm of murder but I say there’s certain politicians that had better increase their security forces and there’s religious leaders and heathcare officials that had better get bigger dogs and higher fences and more complex security alarms for their homes and queer-bashers better start doing their work from inside howitzer tanks because the thin line between the inside and the outside is beginning to erode and at the moment I’m a thirty seven foot tall one thousand one hundred and seventy-two pound man inside this six foot frame and all I can feel is the pressure all I can feel is the pressure and the need for release.

I took more than a moment to remember all those who were gone like Wojnarowicz and Keith Haring, and countless others who were willing to Act Up to save lives.  It’s not just about AIDS now, nor was it then, really.  Think about it.

Tomorrow I will have to resurrect another ancient T-shirt, one emblazoned with an image by the late Keith Haring, and bearing the ever-so-relevant words: IGNORANCE=FEAR, SILENCE=DEATH.

[Text from my T-shirt: copyright Estate of David Wojnarowicz.  Audio of David Wojnarowicz reading at The Drawing Center in 1992, shortly before his death.]

[images from top: David Wojnarowicz, “Untitled (Peter Hujar), 1989, silver print, 30-1/2″ x 24-1/2”); David Wojnarowicz, “Untitled (Face in Dirt”, 1990, silver print, 28-1/2″ x 28-1/2″, both copyright Estate of David Wojnarowicz and courtesy of PPOW Gallery. Keith Haring, “Ignorance=Fear”, 1989, poster, 24″ x 43-1/4″, copyright the Estate of Keith Haring, courtesy of The Keith Haring Foundation.]

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My thoughts have returned to the superiority of first-hand over virtual experience.  By this, I mean looking at original artwork as opposed to viewing it on a computer monitor, taking off your iPod and going to hear live music, attending a dance performance, a play, a poetry or book reading, and yes, even just kicking yourself outside to move your legs, smell the flowers, and hear the birds sing.

The in-person experience and meaning of a large-scale work of art cannot be conveyed by a jpeg  any more than looking at a picture of a gourmet meal can compare to savoring it oneself.  Any more than typing XOXO is like kissing and hugging someone you love. This is the problem.  Seeing or reading something on-line is not an acceptable substitute for real experience, yet the more we get sucked into it, the harder becomes to pull away, unplug, and venture out into the physical world, where engaging with people and art and nature can be challenging and even messy, and slightly risky because you can’t just click and instantly transport yourself somewhere else.

I recognize the irony in writing about disconnecting oneself from the computer and other electronic devices, and then posting it on my blog.  Well, life is full of little ironies, including the one about how computers were going to save us all scads of time and make us all so much more productive (except for those Facebook and Twitter junkies who get themselves fired).

When psychiatric diagnosis-like terms such as “Information Anxiety” (coined by Richard Saul Wurman who created the TED conferences) and “Nature Deficit Disorder” start showing up, it’s time to acknowledge there’s a problem.   “We must keep in mind that information or raw data is not knowledge. Individuals achieve knowledge by using their own experience, distinguishing the important from the irrelevant and making critical value judgments.”

Today, people spend less time looking at a work of art itself than they do looking through the viewfinder of their digital cameras so they can snap a picture to post online to show others what they’ve seen – when they haven’t even really looked at it! This NY Times article by Michael Kimmelman hit it dead on:

“Cameras replaced sketching by the last century; convenience trumped engagement, the viewfinder afforded emotional distance and many people no longer felt the same urgency to look. It became possible to imagine that because a reproduction of an image was safely squirreled away in a camera or cell phone, or because it was eternally available on the Web, dawdling before an original was a waste of time, especially with so much ground to cover…”

“…The art historian T. J. Clark…has lately written a book about devoting several months of his time to looking intently at two paintings by Poussin. Slow looking, like slow cooking, may yet become the new radical chic.”

“Until then we grapple with our impatience and cultural cornucopia. Recently, I bought a couple of sketchbooks to draw with my 10-year-old in St. Peter’s and elsewhere around Rome, just for the fun of it, not because we’re any good, but to help us look more slowly and carefully at what we found. Crowds occasionally gathered around us as if we were doing something totally strange and novel, as opposed to something normal, which sketching used to be. I almost hesitate to mention our sketching. It seems pretentious and old-fogeyish in a cultural moment when we can too easily feel uncomfortable and almost ashamed just to look hard.”

I could go on, but I realize this post has just exceeded 600 words, and I don’t want to strain anyone’s techno-abbreviated attention span.  More importantly, it’s time to begin my weekly 24-hour, technology-free, official Day Off, so I want to get away from the computer as much as I want you to do so too.

So that’s it until next time, but ’til then, let’s all do something to get out there and remind ourselves there ain’t nothin’ like the real thing, baby.

[Note: Extra reading – You also might enjoy Nicholas Kristof’s NDD-related article “How to Lick a Slug” if you missed it, and Brad Stone’s NY Times article, “Breakfast Can Wait. The Day’s First Stop Is Online.]

That’s what my father said to me.  His interest in my work and praise were rare, so I wasn’t quite sure how to take his comment, “That’s the best piece you’ll ever make.”  He referred to a portrait I had painted of my mother, having come up with a technique that was very innovative back when I was in high school, which was when this took place.  I do believe he truly meant it as a compliment, yet after a while, the words started to sound dismissive. You’ll never do anything as good, so why waste your time?

I continued to paint and draw, pushing myself and my materials to the farthest reaches of my imagination.  Time and again I would hear, “Remember that portrait of your mother?  Well, I still say that’s the best piece you’ll ever make.”  Okay, so my Dad really loved my mother, and I’m sure that had something to do with it too.  Yet this comment touches upon something  important.

[Plato and Aristotle in a detail from Raphael’s The School of Athens. Plato is holding his Timaeus, a speculative scientific work and pointing upward, while Aristotle is holding one of his books on ethics. Click here to view images of the entire fresco and find out who’s who.]

The results of creative experimentation are rarely easily or immediately digestible, mainly because the true explorer is seeking to discover something, rather than just render what is already known.  That new thing demands of both artist and viewer an open mind, a fearless attitude, courage, patience, tolerance.  If it’s new, maybe you don’t know how to look at it yet.

Over the many years of my career, I’ve frequently encountered the phenomenon of having people scratch their heads over my current work, while exclaiming they love the body of work I had finished previously.  Yet that same work they now love had them mystified when it was brand new.  Why didn’t you just keep doing what you were doing before?  We loved those pieces!  Remember when you used to do x?  Why did you stop?  There tends to be a predictable time lag before people are ready to embrace the new work, and it’s usually about the length of time it takes for the new work to become old, supplanted by even newer work.

For some people, their practice is about doing what they did before: making a formula, and repeating earlier successes. That’s enough.

Not long ago, someone struck up a conversation with me about art, and asked me what I was up to.  “Experimenting away with a new body of work,” I explained.  “It’s the most exciting part, when an idea starts to take shape, and suddenly you can make the leap over the big crevasse, and you’re on the other side — a new landscape with new possibilities!”  The person’s eyes opened wide at my mention of such risk and experimentation.  “I knew an artist,” he recalled, and went on to tell me how he used to travel and repeatedly purchased prints from a particular artist.  But one time, he visited the artist’s studio, and saw instead sculptures and paintings.  They were totally different!  And terrible!  Being outside of what he had narrowly come to expect from this artist, he couldn’t accept the artist’s need to explore.  As far as he was concerned, the prints were the best work the artist would ever make.  Dumbfounded as to why the artist would change, the collector never returned.  If the artist’s work was good enough to attract the collector in the first place, it seemed unfortunate to me that the collector would not have enough faith in that artist’s talent to give the new work more than a cursory glance.

Therein lies a great challenge for the artist.  There’s a temptation to repeat what works, to please the audience, to make it easy for them, get work on their walls and put food on your table. Not every artist embraces risk and experimentation.  You risk making mistakes. You risk looking foolish. You risk your security.  You risk harsh criticism.  But then, to quote Aristotle, “To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, and be nothing.”  I’ll take my chances.

My father worked hard and had many things to occupy his mind.  I understand if my personal pursuits were not his priority, and sadly, he’s not alive to defend or explain his remarks.  Still, it would have been nice if he had said instead, “That’s the best piece you’ve made yet.” Naturally, some works will shine more than others, but on the creative journey, the goal is discovery and improvement, and the best always lies somewhere in the future.

Timed nicely to dovetail with my open studio this Sunday, Manhattan Times, our city’s only fully bilingual paper, has featured my work in their hot-off-the-presses home delivery edition (this image on the cover, and article p.15).

In an effort to be helpful, I provided more information than the Editor could ever possibly use, given space considerations.  I’ll try to get a copy of the article posted on my website soon.  In the meantime, here’s a recap of the Q and A.

Title of artwork: This piece is so new, it’s not titled yet.  Occasionally a title will come to me while I’m working on a drawing, but mostly I have to wait and live with it a while before the title becomes apparent. For now, I just refer to it as ‘the new brown one.’ If you said that to me, I’d know what you’re talking about.

How did you create this piece? I draw working on the floor.  Starting with handmade, colored paper from Japan, I draw each bubble one at a time by bending over the paper and blowing a mixture of ink and water very carefully through a tube. I create my composition by crawling around the paper on my hands and knees, stopping from time to time to put the piece up on the wall, so I can check how it will look from the proper perspective. If you came in and saw me engaged in this activity, you might kindly suggest that I get my head examined.

Special materials or process: I had to create a formula to facilitate making bubbles with the ink and water.  But like many formulae, it’s secret! It took a lot of experimentation to get the formula just right, and I adjusted it and my technique frequently to get different effects in the drawing, such as tone, depth, and line.  There were some happy surprises along the way, but also many frustrating disappointments.  The humidity and temperature affect how the materials behave when I’m working, and I always have to take that into account or risk ruining a piece that has taken a very long time to make.

How long did it take to create? All my work tends to be very labor intensive and time consuming to make.  I dream about being able to just dash off a brilliant drawing one day, but in reality, the methods I come up with all seem to take forever.  In the studio, I am very unaware of the passage of time.  I often work concurrently on more than one piece, moving from one to another, which makes it harder to gauge how long it takes to complete any single work.   A California ceramic artist, Liz Crain, gives an excellent description of the two kinds of time that each piece requires. To paraphrase what she wrote: One part, hard time, is more active, involving the hands-on time actually applying ink to paper and dealing with creative and technical challenges posed by the piece and test pieces.  The other, equally important soft time that one puts in it is more hands-off, and involves research, contemplation, looking, waiting (for clarity, inspiration, the ink to dry), and a lifetime of learning and experience.

What’s the meaning of the work to you? A fascination with the abstract essence of nature is at the core of my work. I find that drawing helps me understand a deeply felt personal bond with nature: our place within it, our relationship to it, and our responsibility to care for it.  Lately, I’ve been contemplating water as both an inspiration and a drawing material. The bubbles are a means of making marks on the paper, yet they also become evocative of other things, like eggs perhaps, or clusters of stars or galaxies.  Blowing bubbles is one of the joys of childhood (and adulthood, for some of us), but it’s impossible to ignore that they are heartbreakingly fragile and short-lived – a metaphor, if you will. By using art to investigate and interpret the systems, structures, and wide-ranging ways that we connect with the natural world, I hope we might come to understand our crucial vulnerabilities and respond meaningfully.

What do you want people to see when they look at it? I would like people to see something that engages and excites them.  I hope to encourage a feeling of possibility, and perhaps wonderment.  Our sense of vision, like our sense of smell has the power to connect to things deep in our minds in a way that has nothing to do with spoken language.  I would like people to see something in the work that they realize they somehow recognize, without necessarily having the need or ability to name what exactly it is.

Why did you want to exhibit this piece in this location (at my open studio)? For me, the studio is the place where curiosity always trumps cynicism. The fun of having an annual open studio is that I can meet art-lovers in person in a more casual setting than a formal gallery show.  In the studio, people get a chance to view not only my current work, but some earlier work as well, and even some things that may have never been shown elsewhere.  Seeing the variety of ideas and approaches affords a broader understanding of how the work has evolved. An open studio provides a valuable opportunity to interact with the public about the work and its many layers of meaning.  In my experience, these exchanges strengthen the appreciation of both the creative process and the importance of the arts as part of any dynamic society.

[image above, Untitled, copyright Sky Pape, ink on handmade paper, 39”h x 25-3/8”w, 2009. Photo: Jean Vong.  See more like this here: http://www.skypape.com/folio.htm]

To tell you the truth, I thought it was supposed to be an interview with one guy bearing notepad and pencil.  Then they showed up with cameras!  Good thing I had my Minnie Mouse gloves at the ready.

For those of you who know me, you know I adore my neighborhood, Inwood, here at the far northern reaches of the island of Manhattan. www.myinwood.net does a wonderful job chronicling the people, events, and rich history of this area.  I’m flattered that they came to visit my studio, and went to such an effort to feature it on their site.

As part of the Uptown Arts Stroll, I will be having an open studio this Sunday, from 3-7 pmDetails are here.  I welcome you to stop in and say hello, and make a day of visiting the studios of other local uptown artists.  Music lovers will not be disappointed either! (Again, see details.)

Apologies for the prolonged absence.  Chalk it up to writer’s block, or more accurately, to having too much else on my plate.  I seem to be wearing many different hats, and none of them especially stylish.  But I don’t want to bore you with excuses as to why words have escaped me.  I will just dive back in, as if I’d never left the conversation.

The gallery crawl back in late March, which I never got around to writing up, had some surprising highlights.  The most memorable to me were Laurie Anderson’s show at Location One, which achieved very high-tech seeming results using very low-tech methods.  In a darkened room, a miniature Laurie, with her dog in a chair beside her, appeared as convincingly as a hologram.  Her storyteller’s voice mesemerized as much as the visual experience.  In fact, it was not a hologram at all, but a tiny white plaster sculpture of Anderson and her faithful pooch, upon which a video of the two was projected.  Part two of the installation duet: In another dark space, standing on a white spot on the floor, one was treated to an extraordinary auditory experience.  Also achieved with low-tech means, the sounds of nature seemed so real as to almost emanate from within one’s head.

Showing nearby were two noteworthy videos by  Sun Xun showing at the Drawing Center’s Drawing Room.  “The Lie of the Magician” was an especially captivating piece that made use of a frame-by-frame technique in which the artist used his own body as a canvas on which he drew and animated images of nature (rain, clouds, seeds, roots), moving through a cycle of life and creation. (Here’s an incredibly small, hard to see version of it.)

And since then, there’s been a lot more that I’ve taken in, about which I’ve neglected to write.  There was the utterly superb show of Georgio Morandi‘s work at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, for instance – the mere memory of which sends me into rhapsodic reverie.  Also in DC at the same time, worth seeing and worth mentioning, were Philip Guston in the Tower at the National Gallery of Art (up until October 2009), Robert Frank’s monumental show “The Americans” (also at the National Gallery, coming to NYC’s Metropolitan Museum in September 2009), and Kathleen Kucka‘s new paintings at Marsha Mateyka Gallery. Maya Lin’s show at the Corcoran Gallery of Art had two intriguing room-sized installations, one of which was quite magnificent in its monumentality, but the rest of the show felt a bit scattered, unpolished, and disappointing.

I hadn’t been to DC in a long time, and was happy to visit some of the gallery spaces there, including Hemphill Fine Arts, and Andrea Pollan’s space, Curator’s Office, which is perhaps the tiniest gallery I’ve visited – but don’t make the mistake of underestimating it!

There was also a field trip, on my list for many years, to visit the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center in The Springs, near East Hampton, Long Island.  The P-K House’s Director, art historian and critic Helen Harrison, gave an lively, informative tour of the house and studio used first by Jackson Pollock, and later by Lee Krasner, until the end of her life.  Harrison knows about all there is to know about Hamptons Bohemia, and has a gift for doling out some of the juicy bits.  Currently on view in the house was a small but strong exhibition of portrait drawings by Hedda Sterne, the one female pictured in Nina Leen’s famous Time/Life photo from 1951 of  “The Irascibles.” (That’s Jackson in the center, second row from rear, and one of my teachers, Richard Pousette-Dart all the way on the left.)

Back in SoHo, which is now practically off the beaten path unless you are shopping for shoes or hitting the Apple Store, The Painting Center has been putting on several outstanding shows lately, and James Little’s exhibition of large oil and wax on canvas works at June Kelly Gallery was a knockout (See Joanne Mattera’s write-up.)

I could spend more time catching up, but that would only serve to point out all you’ve missed, and how lame I’ve been about keeping up with posting.  So instead, I will look ahead, and begin afresh.

[above images: Sun Xun, Still from “Lie of the Magician,” 2005. Single channel video, 4:14 minutes. Courtesy Fortune Cookie Projects, copyright Sun Xun; Kathleen Kucka, “Ephemeral Apparition”, 32″h x 28″w, acrylic on linen, 2009, copyright Kathleen Kucka, courtesy Marsha Mateyka Gallery, DC.]

Here’s the plan for tomorrow’s gallery crawl 3/27:  Meet at 11:15 am at The Drawing Center (35 Wooster St).  From there, we’ll go see Bruce Pearson’s work at  Ronald Feldman Gallery (31 Mercer St), then on to Location One (26 Greene St) for Laurie Anderson installations, The Painting Center (52 Greene St), and lastly Margarete Roeder Gallery (545 Broadway) to see works by John Cage and Tom Marioni.  Maybe something else thrown in between for kicks…it depends.

Join us for all or part of the crawl.  Call me at 917-992-4001 if you’re trying to find where we are mid-way.

Now that SoHo has again become “off the beaten path” unless you’re looking for designer fashions, furniture, food, or bathroom fixtures, I’ve decided to visit some of the ol’ ‘hood’s die-hard art holdouts for March’s gallery tour.

We’ll head to The Drawing Center, Ronald Feldman Gallery, Location One, and more.

Details about meeting time and place will be posted here in advance.   The agenda’s loose, and all are welcome to crawl along with us for all or part of the rounds.

Traversing the vast expanse of Audubon Terrace always brings on a sense of exhilaration.  There just aren’t that many  wide open public spaces surrounded by imposing Beaux Arts architecture to be found these days.  So, last Tuesday night, passing the statue of El Cid on a rearing stallion, I took a deep breath of brisk air and soaked up the scene as I made my way to the American Academy of Arts and Letters for the opening of their annual invitational exhibition.

The Academy’s premises have just undergone an enormous expansion, and the new exhibition space is impressive.  There’s a lot of work in this show (116 paintings, photographs, multi-media works, sculptures, installations, and works on paper by 30 artists), up until April 5th, so I’m just going to point out a few highlights:

A trio of neon pieces by Stephen Antonakos infused the east gallery of the new space with their jewel-like glow.  This mature artist not only knows how confident, modern,  & minimal can still be engaging, warm & welcoming in terms of art, he lives it!

In the south gallery, three portraits (one of herself) by Ann Gale assert a subtle, yet undeniably strong presence.  The canvases coalesce animism of paint and the energy of the living human.  These paintings evince a kindred connection to Lucien Freud, but perhaps more importantly to both Cezanne and even Giacometti in the attention paid to locating a mark or bit of paint in a very particular physical space, with the paint simultaneously describing and deconstructing.  When much portraiture relies on photography and digital resources, becoming flat and lifeless, these portraits hum and buzz and bristle with the intensity of living and looking — the experience of the eyes, interpreted by the mind behind them, without any intervention.  The portraits’ subjects are rendered alive and real, and the recognition of  these daubs of paint coming together to convey an individual with such psychological power is to wonder at how our own cells happen to hang together to create the assumed reality of self.

Artists ultimately selected to participate in this exhibition have first been invited by one of Academy’s members to submit work, so it’s a generally high bar of peer recognition.  In this year’s show, there are a number of big-name artists such as April Gornik, Gregory Crewdson, Roxy Paine, and Beverly McIver.  To these eyes, the biggest surprise and stand-out of the exhibition came by way of paintings bearing titles like “To Crack a Smile,” and “Vaudeville Hook” by David Nelson, an artist with whom I was not familiar.  Nelson’s non-objective canvases are both technically and aesthetically seductive in a manner as modest, genuine and self-effacing artist as the artist himself.  I’ve rarely met anyone who seemed so truly touched and surprised to receive well-earned compliments and congratulations.  Unfortunately, my camera was out of juice, and I couldn’t find any other images of his work on-line to show you, so you’ll have to take my word for it or go see for yourself!

[images above: Audubon Terrace looking east, c. 1950, courtesy American Academy of Arts & Letters; Installation view of work by Stephen Antonakos, “Departure” 1993-2007,  61 x 51 x 5″; “Arrival” 2008, 88 x 46 x 5″, and “Respite” 2000-2001, all pieces white paint on versacel, neon, copyright and courtesy of Stephen Antonakos; Ann Gale, “Self Portrait with Blue Stripes”, 14 x 11″, oil on masonite, courtesy of Hckett-Freedman Gallery, San Francisco, copyright Ann Gale.]

Next time you hear anyone trying to argue that the arts are irrelevant, why don’t you fling a few choice tidbits at them from this fascinating article: A Missing Piece in the Economic Stimulus: Hobbling Arts Hobbles Innovation by

As the economy stumbles, the first things to get cut at the national, state, and local levels are the arts. The first thing that goes in our school curricula are the arts. Arts, common wisdom tells us, are luxuries we can do without in times of crisis. Or can we?

Let’s see what happens when we start throwing out all the science and technology that the arts have made possible.

You may be shocked to find that you’ll have to do without your cell phone or PDA. In the first place, it uses a form of encryption called frequency hopping to ensure your messages can’t easily be intercepted. Frequency hopping was invented by American composer George Antheil in collaboration with the actress Hedy Lamarr. Yeah, really. [continued…]