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NPR

Emigre Artist Sculpted Exquisite Gems Of Russian Folk Life

Semiprecious stones were the medium of choice for Vasily Konovalenko, a Soviet ballet set designer turned sculptor. His masterful workmanship captured Russian characters, from Cossacks and drunks to country folk and czarist henchmen. He fell afoul of the authorities and left Russia for the U.S. in the 1980s.
NPR

For John Baldessari, Conceptual Art Means Serious Mischief

Artist John Baldessari is an iconic figure in some modern art circles. His conceptual pieces — black-and-white photographs covered with colorful dots, a blue sky painted on a museum floor — can provoke smiles. But serious ideas lie beneath the surface.
NPR

'Armory Show' That Shocked America In 1913, Celebrates 100

The exhibition, which opened on Feb. 17, 1913, at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York City, became an important event in the history of American art. It introduced astonished New Yorkers to modern art, like Marcel Duchamp's cubist Nude Descending a Staircase.
NPR

Making Up A History For The 'Dutch Mona Lisa'

Vermeer's famous Girl With a Pearl Earring has returned to the United States for the first time since 1995. Very little is known about the painting, so in honor of the visit, The Guardian newspaper asked its readers to come up with a backstory for the mysterious girl.
NPR

Still Life With Cheeseburger: Art That Looks Good Enough To Eat

Meet the new Dutch master: Tjaalf Sparnaay's food paintings are so gobsmacking in their level of detail, it's hard to resist the temptation to pick one up and take a bite.
NPR

Mixed Pickle: The Sweet And Sour Legacy Of Dutch Trade

What do salt, ancient Jewish pickle carts, the sometimes brutal Indonesian spice trade and Vincent Van Gogh have in common? They brought life to Dutch cuisine, specifically, the Dutch pickle.
NPR

Designing Inaugural Dresses, Not All Roses

For fashion designers, catching the eye of a first lady can be the opportunity of a lifetime. But sometimes the attention isn't all that it's cracked up to be. Host Michel Martin speaks with fashion critic Robin Givhan about the agony and ecstasy of creating inaugural gowns.
NPR

The Seedy Underbelly Of The Belle Epoque, 'Painted'

The belle epoque was not particularly belle if you were poor and female — like the young girl who modeled for Edgar Degas' famous sculpture, The Little Dancer, Aged 14. A new novel by Cathy Marie Buchanan tells the story of that girl, ballet student Marie van Goethem.

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