Oh No the New York Times Di’int Print ‘Fucked’ on Page One!

Hey, the Nude York Times is one thing.

But the Crude York Times is something else.

From today’s front page:

Of course, that should come as no surprise after the Grey Lady printed Donald Trump’s Access Hollywood grab ’em boast verbatim on Page One in 2016.

Even so . . .

“I’m fucked”?

That’s fucked up, yo.

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The Nude York Times (Lucian Freud ‘Monumental’ Edition)

From our Grey Lady pearl-clutching desk

As the hardblushing staff has dutifully noted for the past handful of years, the New York Times is increasingly willing to bare all in the name of art – or commerce – in its advertising.

Representative samples include this ulp-skirt ad from Louis Vuitton five years ago . . .



and this Gagosian Gallery ad three years ago . . .



and this Christie’s ad the same year . . .



and this M.S. Ray Antiques ad two years ago . . .



and this really weird Met Breuer ad last year.



Now comes the latest Naked City ad in the Times, from Friday’s Weekend Arts II section.



The Acquavella exhibit Lucian Freud: Monumental (through May 24) looks, well, very Lucian.


Acquavella Galleries is pleased to present Lucian Freud: Monumental, a loan exhibition focusing on the artist’s naked portraits, a subject that has long enjoyed special significance in his oeuvre. Curated by the artist’s longtime studio assistant and friend, David Dawson, Monumental will include thirteen major paintings, including depictions of his most important models from the 1990s and 2000s.

Regardless, that latest Times ad represents one more instance of the Grey Lady opening the kimono.

Wider and wider.

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New York Times Doubles Down On Its Half-True ‘Truth’ Ad

As the hardworking staff noted on Saturday, for the past two years the New York Times has been one of the leading voices in the news media’s Pep Squad for Truth – those preaching-to-the-choir ad campaigns aimed at convincing the American public that real news matters.

Representative sample of the Times’ “Truth” campaign:



Problem is, the latest additions to the campaign are only semi-truthful.

The new ads revolve around Times reporter Rukmini Callimachi, who “traveled to Iraq five times and unearth[ed] more than 15,000 documents to detail the Islamic States’ bureaucratic and brutal rule.”

Here’s the TV spot.



And here’s a double-truck from yesterday’s A section of the Times.



The left-hand page quotes Callimachi: “You have to be on the ground if you want to try and understand the story. And for me, I’m trying to understand ISIS.”

The right-hand page features this copy:

Except those ads decidedly do not tell the full story. As we’ve said, there’s no question that Callimachi’s digging produced some spectacular reporting last year, as well as the riveting podcast, Caliphate.

But the full story of Callimachi’s document snatch is a lot more complicated. Last May, a piece by Maryam Saleh in The Intercept detailed the legal and ethical questions raised by the removal of the documents from Iraq. More recently, a group of Middle Eastern scholars criticized George Washington University for cooperating with the Times in creating an online archive of the ISIS files, as Inside Higher Ed’s Elizabeth Redden reported.

[The Middle East Studies Association’s] Committee on Academic Freedom wrote in a Sept. 25 letter to George Washington that its involvement with the archiving project implicates the university in many of the moral, ethical and professional issues it believed to be at stake in the newspaper’s decision to remove and publicize the documents.

(To be sure graf goes here)

To be sure, in this Q&A last May Callimachi and Times editors addressed many of the concerns that critics have raised (and yes, the original documents were delivered to the Iraqi government).

(Two be sure graf goes here)

Also to be sure, no advertiser is obliged to reveal the whole truth in its ads. In this case, though, the irony is just too thick not to, well, document it.

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Latest New York Times ‘Truth’ Commercial Is Only Half-True

For the past two years the New York Times has been one of the leading voices in the news media’s Pep Squad for Truth – those preaching-to-the-choir ad campaigns aimed at convincing the American public that real news matters.

The Times launched its campaign with this 2017 TV spot.



Since then the paper has run a variety of house ads like this one.


Now comes the latest in the series, a TV spot that documents “a New York Times reporter [Rukmini Callimachi] travel[ing] to Iraq five times and unearthing more than 15,000 documents to detail the Islamic States’ bureaucratic and brutal rule.”



Callimachi’s digging produced some spectacular reporting last year, as well as the riveting podcast, Caliphate.

But it also produced some serious controversy, as detailed by Maryam Saleh at The Intercept.


About a week after [Callimachi’s] piece was published, [researcher Sara] Farhan emailed Callimachi to ask if she got permission from Iraqi government officials to take the documents, and if she got consent from the people named in the files to publish their names. Farhan didn’t hear back, so she worked with two legal scholars to launch a petition calling on the Times to rethink its use of the documents. The removal of the documents violates international law, the petition authors wrote, calling for them to be returned to Iraq and warning that failure to do so would set a “dangerous precedent for the plundering of material and cultural heritage in conflict zones.”

As Saleh’s piece notes, Callimachi’s cache “is minor when compared to the scores of millions of documents the U.S. government took from Iraq following the 2003 invasion.” Regardless, it was emblematic of “the wound caused by the U.S. government’s expropriation of millions of pages of national documents.”

(To be fair graf goes here)

To be fair, 1) Callimachi says her interest was in preserving the documents, and 2) this case is a bit different since “[questions] about the ownership of the ISIS documents removed by the New York Times are even more complicated since ISIS is not a sovereign state.”

(To be sure graf goes here)

To be sure, no advertiser is obliged to reveal the whole truth in its ads. But you’d think a news organization might be a bit more fastidious than the Times spot is.

Wouldn’t you?

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Dead Blogging the Hot Rods at Larz Anderson Auto Museum

Well the Missus and I trundled over to Larz Anderson Park the other day to catch Lookin’ East: Art and Imagination of the New England Hot Rod and say, it was . . . sweeeet.

The idea of customizing attainable old cars for straight-line speed caught on in the imaginations of those dreaming of life after [World War II]. Many men received technical, mechanical, or metalworking training while in the service, also adding to their desires. In the late 1940s, men went back home with more mechanical knowledge, a fired-up imagination, a sense of danger, and often a little money in their pockets. There was also a semi-infinite supply of cars and parts with which to get creative. That same competitive spirit boiled over all across the country, as these new hot rodders did not only want to build cars but also wanted to race. Not everybody had a dry lake bed, but in plenty of regions there were unused airstrips that the military no longer needed and were just begging to be raced on, not to mention the strips of pavement between traffic lights. One of these regions was New England, already a center of creativity and innovation.

Among the honeys in the exhibit (via Hot Rod Network).

’32 Full Fendered Deuce


’36 Ford Three Window Coupe


But this is the one we wanted to take home: A very modified 1951 Ford Shoebox.


The exhibit runs through mid-April. So get in gear.

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Dead Blogging ‘Eaglemania’ at McMullen Museum of Art

Well the Missus and I trundled out to Boston College’s McMullen Museum yesterday to check out Eaglemania: Collecting Japanese Art in Gilded Age America and say, it was swell.

Eaglemania: Collecting Japanese Art in Gilded Age America celebrates and contextualizes Boston College’s monumental bronze eagle, a replica of which now appears atop a column on the University’s Linden Lane. Revealed during its recent conservation to be a Japanese masterpiece from the Meiji period (1868–1912), the original eagle was donated to Boston College in the 1950s by the estate of diplomat and collector Larz Anderson (1866–1937) and his wife, Isabel (1876–1948) . . .

In the exhibition, bronze, silver, and ivory sculptures of birds of prey, folding screens, scroll paintings, netsuke, lacquerware, ceramics, and textiles join to bring the history of the stunning Boston College eagle to life.

The eagle is quite spectacular, so here’s a better view.


Many of the other nearly 100 objects in the exhibit – which range from hawks and eagles in the Edo period (1615–1868) to exquisitely crafted folding screens to stunning porcelain works – are equally arresting.

Representative samples:


The exhibit runs through June 2. Well worth a trundle.

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The Arts Seen in NYC (Joan Miró’s ‘Birth of the World’ Edition)

Well the Missus and I trundled down to the Big Town to go a-museuming this past weekend and say, it was swell.

Having successfully fought our way down a Friday I-95, navigated the obstacle course from the FDR Drive crosstown to 32nd and Fifth, and checked into our surprisingly affordable hotel, we took the subway up to Lincoln Center to catch Voice of My City: Jerome Robbins and New York (through March 30) at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.


Jerome Robbins was an inveterate observer, seeker, and creator. In diaries, drawings, watercolors, paintings, story scenarios, poems—and, especially, in dance—he reimagined the world around him. And New York dominated that world, where he was born one-hundred years ago and where he lived his entire adult life. Ideas of New York have long inspired artists but often the city serves as a backdrop in an artwork rather than the basis for plot, theme, and meaning. Robbins put the city at the center of his artistic imaginings . . . Voice of My City traces Robbins’ life and dances alongside the history of New York, inspiring viewers to see the city as both a muse and a home.

Here’s a virtual tour from Playbill that you should definitely take.



From that exhaustive (but hardly exhausting) exhibit, we headed downtown to the Fashion Institute of Technology, which has mounted Exhibitionism: 50 Years of The Museum at FIT (through April 20).

Exhibitionism: 50 Years of The Museum at FIT celebrates the 50th anniversary of what Michael Kors calls “the fashion insider’s fashion museum” by bringing back 33 of the most influential exhibitions produced since the first one was staged in 1971. Taken entirely from the museum’s permanent holdings, more than 80 looks are on display. From Fashion and Surrealism to The Corset to A Queer History of Fashion, the exhibitions are known for being “intelligent, innovative, and independent,” says MFIT Director Valerie Steele. “The museum has been in the forefront of fashion curation, with more than 200 fashion exhibitions over the past half century, many accompanied by scholarly books and symposia.”

Representative samples:

Our favorites in the shoe department:

Kicky, no?

As we hoofed it out of FIT, we spotted this across 27th street in FIT’s Art and Design Gallery.

Web writeup:

This special short exhibition, curated by Communication Design Pathways Professor Anne Kong and 42 students in the Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design program, features hats from the celebrated collection of the late former FIT dean and professor Nina Kurtis.

The students designed and created individual 360-degree displays featuring a hat from a distinctive time period or fashion trend using visual storytelling to entertain and educate the viewer. The displays incorporate various materials, handmade props, and mannequin parts.

The hats were a hoot, as “Jackie” quite nicely illustrates.

That topped off our evening, and we went on to dinner.

* * * * * * *

Bright and early Saturday morning it was off to the Museum of Modern Art to view Joan Miró: Birth of the World (through June 15).

“You and all my writer friends have given me much help and improved my understanding of many things,” Joan Miró told the French poet Michel Leiris in the summer of 1924, writing from his family’s farm in Montroig, a small village nestled between the mountains and the sea in his native Catalonia. The next year, Miró’s intense engagement with poetry, the creative process, and material experimentation inspired him to paint The Birth of the World.

In this signature work, Miró covered the ground of the oversize canvas by applying paint in an astonishing variety of ways that recall poetic chance procedures. He then added a series of pictographic signs that seem less painted than drawn, transforming the broken syntax, constellated space, and dreamlike imagery of avant-garde poetry into a radiantly imaginative and highly inventive form of painting. He would later describe this work as “a sort of genesis,” and his Surrealist poet friends titled it The Birth of the World.

The exhibit – which is fabulous – also featured this monumental mural.

Interesting backstory: That artwork was commissioned in 1950 for Harvard University’s new Graduate Student Center by Department of Architecture chair Walter Gropius, the founder of Germany’s Bauhaus School in 1919. After Miró delivered it, the mural was hung in the Grad Center . . . over a radiator, which during the next few years started to sort of melt the painting.

So Miró said, hey – send it back and I’ll fix it, but instead he returned a ceramic tile version of the mural (which is still there at Harvard), touched up the mural, and sold it to MoMA for a pretty penny.

Harvard does still have Miró’s original sketch for the mural, though, which you can see in the Harvard Art Museums’ current exhibit, The Bauhaus and Harvard (through July 28).

While we were at MoMA we also stopped by the interesting-but-repetitive exhibit The Value of Good Design (through June 15) and revisited Constantin Brancusi Sculpture (through June 15), which is terrific.

A short Brancusi primer:



From there we headed down to SoHo and the Center for Italian Modern Art to see Metaphysical Masterpieces 1916-1920: Morandi, Sironi, and Carrà (through June 1).

From CIMA’s press release:

The term “metaphysical painting” (pittura metafisica) refers to an artistic style that emerged in Italy during the First World War. Closely associated with [Giorgio] de Chirico, it often featured disquieting images of eerie spaces and enigmatic objects, eliciting a sense of the mysterious. Metaphysical Masterpieces concentrates on rarely seen early works by Giorgio Morandi and important paintings by the lesser- known artists Carlo Carrà and Mario Sironi, offering a richer and more nuanced view of pittura metafisica than previous exhibitions in the United States, creating a vivid portrait of the genre.

Representative samples (Morandi and Sironi):

We were lucky enough to catch a tour with current CIMA Fellow Caterina Caputo, who was wonderfully knowledgeable and informative. The exhibit is excellent and the people couldn’t be lovelier – they even made espresso for us. Molte grazie, @ItalianModArt!

Then we subwayed to the Brooklyn Museum for the much-hyped Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving (through May 12).

Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s unique and immediately recognizable style was an integral part of her identity. Kahlo came to define herself through her ethnicity, disability, and politics, all of which were at the heart of her work. Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving is the largest U.S. exhibition in ten years devoted to the iconic painter and the first in the United States to display a collection of her clothing and other personal possessions, which were rediscovered and inventoried in 2004 after being locked away since Kahlo’s death, in 1954.

More video:



There’s lots of clothing, photos, jewelry, and assorted other Fridabilia – but not all that much artwork. The whole exhibit seems more about Kahlo as celebrity/cult figure than anything else. (For a better sense of her as an artist, check out Frida Kahlo and Arte Populaire – through June 16 – at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.)

* * * * * * *

Sunday morning we cruised up Madison Ave with barely a red light for 50 blocks (see our kissin’ cousins at It’s Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town for the traffic light disaster Boston has become), turned onto 84th street, and found a spot likethat right in front of my old grammar school, St. Ignatius Loyola, which is operated by the Sisters of (Parking) Charity.

From there we sashayed up to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for its new exhibit Epic Abstraction: Pollock to Herrera (ongoing), which begins with a quote from AbEx pioneer Barnett Newman:

“Years ago…we felt the moral crisis of a world in shambles, a world devastated by a great depression and a fierce World War, and it was impossible at that time to paint the kind of painting that we were doing — flowers, reclining nudes, and people playing the cello. At the same time we could not move into the situation of a pure world of unorganized shapes, forms … color … a world of sensation … this was our moral crisis in relation to what to paint. So that we actually began, so to speak, from scratch, as if painting were not only dead but never existed.”

You can see all 61 of the exhibition objects here, but a few highlights will give you a sense of the collection.

Louise Nevelson, Mrs. N’s Palace (1964-77).

Willem de Kooning, Easter Monday (1955-56).

Barnett Newman, Shimmer Bright (1968).

Isamu Noguchi, Kouros (1945).

It’s a total knockout of an exhibit.

We also swung by Atea: Nature and Divinity in Polynesia (through October 27), which is lots of fun, and visited the newly reopened galleries, The Art of Music, a simply stunning array of musical instruments through the ages.

After a costly lunch in the Met cafeteria (where we watched two young women pour two glasses of wine – one red, one white – arrange them just so, and Instagram them to the world at large), we moseyed up to the Neue Galerie for The Self-Portrait, from Schiele to Beckmann (through June 24).

[This] is an unprecedented exhibition that examines works primarily from Austria and Germany made between 1900 and 1945. This groundbreaking show is unique in its examination and focus on works of this period. Approximately 70 self-portraits by more than 30 artists—both well-known figures and others who deserve greater recognition—are united in the presentation . . .

Representative samples:

And on that note it was home again, home again jiggedy-jig.

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WSJ’s Peggy Noodnik Writes Again (Amazon/Big Town Edition)

From our Peggy Noodnik desk

Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan filed a totally clueless piece in yesterday’s edition about Amazon’s folding like origami in the face of predictable opposition to its proposed headquarters in the Queens neighborhood of Long Island City.

Welcome to New York, Amazon—Now Go Home

A last word on Amazon and New York City. The story’s over but it doesn’t stop hurting. Twenty-five thousand jobs lost, maybe 40,000 when all is said and done, and of all kinds—high-tech, management, white-collar, blue. All the construction, and the signs and symbols of a coming affluence: the streets lit bright, the sidewalks busy, shops and restaurants humming, hiring. The feeling of safety you have when you pass doorways on the street at night and can hear laughter and conversation on the other side.

Is she nuts? graf:

This is not just “a loss,” it is a whole lost world. And it is a watershed event for my town. After Amazon’s withdrawal no major American company will open a new headquarters here for at least a generation.

Not to get technical about it, but Google is planning to do just that, as CNBC’s Elizabeth Schulze reported two months ago.

Google to invest $1 billion in new campus in New York City

Google will invest $1 billion in a new campus in New York City, the company announced on Monday.

The new 1.7 million square foot “Google Hudson Square” campus will include two buildings located at 315 and 345 Hudson Street and an office space situated at nearby 550 Washington Street in Manhattan . . .

And Google is building it with zero state and local subsidies, unlike Amazon’s $3 billion sweetheart deal engineered by blue-in-the-face New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-Andrew Cuomo) and two-faced New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-Bill de Blasio).

Memo to Ms. Noodnik: Do your homework, yeah?

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NYT Fills in Subscriber Blanks With Boston Ads for Crosswords

The New York Times has done two remarkable things over the past five years: 1) shifted from an advertising-driven revenue model to a subscription-based one; and 2) shifted from media outlet largely reliant on print revenues to a majority-digital company.

And it’s almost there, as the Times itself reported earlier this month.

The New York Times Co. Reports $709 Million in Digital Revenue for 2018

The New York Times Company generated more than $709 million in digital revenue last year, growing at a pace that suggests it will meet its stated goal of $800 million in digital sales by the end of 2020.

The results prompted the company to set another lofty target: “To grow our subscription business to more than 10 million subscriptions by 2025,” Mark Thompson, the chief executive, said in a statement announcing the company’s fourth-quarter financial results.

More than 3.3 million people pay for the company’s digital products, including its news, crossword and food apps, a 27 percent jump from 2017. The total number of paid subscriptions for digital and print reached 4.3 million, a high.

Bottom line: 40% of the Times’s revenue now comes from digital dollars, with 50% soon to follow, says Joshua Benton of NiemanLab. He also includes this nifty chart tracking the growth in digital revenues.

Meanwhile, Sara Fischer at Axios offers this equally nifty chart tracking the growth in Times subscribers.

All this is prelude to the new ad campaign the Times has launched, as Fischer reported yesterday.

The New York Times launches new billboard ad campaign

The New York Times is running its first out-of-home marketing campaign for its Crossword puzzle app in Seattle and Boston through the end of March . . .

The Times currently has more than 400,000 Crossword App subscriptions. It says the “mini puzzle” that it’s specifically marketing with this campaign is played by 1.6 million players digitally each month, about a 50% increase over the past three years.

In Boston, “the campaign will be visible across screens and billboards in the T metro trains and station platforms, and on buses and bus shelters.” Because, presumably, the T is so woebegone you need more than one puzzle for your daily commute. (We said that, not Fischer.)

One interesting aspect of the Cooking and Crossword apps is that the Times considers them not content, but product. You can expect to see a lot more of it in the days and weeks to come.

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New York Times Published a Co-bituary of Lee Radziwill

Not to say that this has never happened before, but Sunday was the first time we’d ever seen if (tip o’ the pixel to The Missus).

Robert D. McFadden’s full-page sendoff of Lee Radziwill in Sunday’s New York Times started out in standard form.

Lee Radziwill, Former Princess and Sister of a First Lady, Is Dead at 85

Lee Radziwill, the free-spirited former princess who shared the qualities of wealth, social status and ambition with her older sister, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, but who struggled as an actor, decorator and writer to share her sister’s aura of success, died on Friday at her home in Manhattan. She was 85.

Her daughter, Anna Christina Radziwill, confirmed the death, citing natural causes.

But then came something if not unnatural, at least unusual.

[T]abloids had long romantically linked Mrs. Radziwill and [Aristotle] Onassis, a notorious womanizer.

In a brief telephone interview for this obituary, Mrs. Radziwill scoffed at the notion that she had had an affair with Mr. Onassis, and insisted that she had “no regrets, none at all,” about her relationship with her sister, which was widely reported to have been strained after Mrs. Kennedy married Mr. Onassis.

Wait, what? The Times interviews people for their own obituaries?

Or should we say, co-bituaries?

That’s a new one on us. Regardless, we are definitely not sitting by the phone.

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