Greatest Hits

  • A still from Bill Viola's video installation Catherine's Room (Photo © Bill Viola)

Setting Creative Goals for the New Year? Let Fear Be Your Guide

By |01.05.14|

It’s the New Year, which means that many of us are taking stock of our personal habits, both good and bad, and resolving to do better.

But how many things on this year’s list of goals also appeared on our list […]

  • Daily Rituals-Click to Purchase

Daily Rituals: How Artists Create (And Avoid Creating) Their Art

By |09.25.13|


One Sunday in 2007 Mason Currey was sitting alone in the office of his employer—an architecture magazine—trying (and failing) to finish an article that was due the next day. Instead of getting down to business, he compulsively tidied his cubicle, […]

  • Helena Almeida, Inhabited Painting, 1975.
© Helena Almeida, courtesy Serralves Foundation Collection, Oporto, Portugal

I Never Knew How Blue Blueness Could Be: Maggie Nelson’s Bluets

By |06.12.13|



One of the joys of Gwarlingo is meeting art lovers from around the world. Sigrun Hodne and I found each other early in Gwarlingo’s short history, and though she lives in Norway, and I in New Hampshire, I’m constantly amazed […]

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The Sunday Poem : Gregory Orr’s River Inside the River

By |06.07.13|


With his new book, River Inside the River: Poems, Gregory Orr set a high bar for himself. His intention: to write three lengthy pieces that combine the intensity of lyric poetry with the thematic scope of narrative and myth. Fortunately, […]

  • Bill Traylor, Brown and Blue Man with Suitcase, c. 1939-42. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray/tan cardboard, 13 x 8 1/4 inches. (Photo by Michelle Aldredge from The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art)
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Outsiders No More: An Exceptional Collection of Outsider Art Will Have a New Home in Philadelphia

By |05.30.13|

“I painted pictures in the gutter,” the African-American artist Purvis Young once remarked, “and they wind up in mansions.”

Purvis Young never attended high school and began experimenting with art when he was in jail for a breaking-and-entering charge. After his […]

  • Feliz Gonzalez-Torres, Untitled (Placebo), 1991. Candies individually wrapped in silver cellophane (endless supply).  (Photo taken at MoMA in New York City, 2012 by Michelle Aldredge)

The Sunday Poem : James Crews

By |05.18.13|


James Crews’ latest collection, The Book of What Stays, is full of evocative landscapes and secret lives. There is the old woman in Chernobyl who refuses to leave her home and the bent, one-eyed swallows. There is ice fishing with […]

  • Andrei Tarkovsky, Stalker (still), 1979.
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The Polaroids of Andrei Tarkovsky : The Mystery of Everyday Life

By |05.09.13|



“Never try to convey your idea to the audience,” said Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, “—it is a thankless and senseless task. Show them life, and they’ll find within themselves the means to assess and appreciate it.”

Tarkovsky is best known for […]

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Franz Kafka : Don’t Water It Down

By |04.17.13|



“Don’t bend; water it down; or make it logical; don’t edit your soul for fashion. Follow intense obsessions mercilessly.”

Spot-on advice for all artists from the writer Franz Kafka.



  • Barry Underwood, Archimedes. This photograph was taken while the new MOCA museum was under construction. (Photo C Barry Underwood. Click to Enlarge)

The Cleveland Art Scene: Be Prepared to Be Surprised

By |04.04.13|



As New York artists search for the next affordable, urban frontier in Bushwick and Queens, a renaissance of sorts is taking place in the most unlikely of cities: Cleveland, Ohio. Perhaps the city’s motto should be Cleveland: It’s Not What […]

  • Bruce Odland at The Tank in Rangely, Colorado (Photo courtesy Friends of the Tank)

Sonic Artist Bruce Odland: Money Makes Noise, A Water Tank Creates Art

By |03.21.13|



Is there a connection between noise and money?  Which sounds are healing to us as humans, and which are damaging? And what does an abandoned water tank in Colorado have in common with the Taj Mahal or a Gothic cathedral?

These […]

  • Sister Donata (Mary Johnson) with Mother Theresa (left) at her first profession of vows, in Rome, June 8, 1980 (Courtesy)

“Naughty Nun” Mary Johnson on Existential Crisis & Mother Teresa

By |03.07.13|





When Mary Johnson left Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity after 20 years of service, she had to learn to pump her own gasoline, to use a microwave and ATM, and to make her own decisions. For […]

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The Epiphany of Dance: Wim Wenders’ Stunning Farewell to Pina Bausch

By |02.14.13|



Timing is everything, particularly in the case of Wim Wenders’ film Pina.

Wenders, director of the critically acclaimed Wings of Desire and Buena Vista Social Club, first saw Pina Bausch’s Café Müller in 1985 when her dance company, Tanztheater Wuppertal, performed it in […]

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The Life and Art of Horace Pippin

By |01.31.13|



Last summer I was strolling through the galleries of the new Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, surrounded by the exquisite paintings of Matisse, Modigliani, Cézanne, when a small painting of Abraham Lincoln and his father building a log cabin caught my eye. A […]

  • Sam Green narrating his live documentary The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston (Photo by Michelle Aldredge)

Envisioning the Future with Yo La Tengo, R. Buckminster Fuller, & Sam Green

By |01.23.13|



“I live on Earth at present, and I don’t know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing—a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process—an integral function of the […]

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A Day in the Life of a Homeless Piano: A Short Film by Anthony Sherin

By |12.30.12|



Since creating its controversial pay wall in 2011, The New York Times has continued to explore new ways of merging storytelling with technology. Their recent multi-media piece “Snowfall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek” is an impressive glimpse at the future of web […]

  • Jenny Holzer,  “Protect me from what I want,” 1982. Times Square, New York City

The Complete Creative Part 4 : Christian McEwen on the Art of Happiness

By |12.18.12|



The holidays have their bright spots: the homemade bourbon balls, the annual viewing of Charlie Brown and the Grinch, the twinkling lights, spending quality time with family and friends, the Messiah performances and sing-a-longs.

But for most of us, the holidays also mean […]

  • A drawing of Caitlin Doyle by artist Thomas Thorspecken

The Sunday Poem : Caitlin Doyle

By |12.01.12|



Rhyme is tricky business for a contemporary poet. In an environment where free-verse dominates, how can a writer make a traditional technique like rhyme meaningful and innovative, and not simply a hollow, reactionary gesture against the status-quo?

Poet Caitlin Doyle has […]

  • Joan Wickersham-Nicholas Latimer

What is Love? Joan Wickersham’s The News from Spain Has Some Surprising Answers

By |11.28.12|



“A story . . . can become close, airless. You cannot stay shut up in your own head anymore; you need a break, some fresh air. Let’s go outside: We’ll take a walk, down a New York City side street. […]

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  • Tracing the "High Water Line" along the battery (Photo by Hose Cedeno courtesy

A Line Made By Flooding – Artist Eve Mosher: “I Never Wanted to Be Right”

By |11.16.12|





“I never wanted this to be a reality,” artist Eve Mosher wrote on her website the week Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of New York and New Jersey. “Five years ago I couldn’t have even imagined it.”

In 2007 Mosher created High Water Line, a public art […]

  • "I've always thought that problem-solving is highly overrated and that problem creation is far more interesting.” -Chuck Close

Chuck Close, Alice Munro, & Jack White on Creativity & Constraint

By |11.01.12|

The Challenges of Motherhood
Alice Ann Laidlaw was born in the rural town of Wingham, Ontario, the daughter of a fox and mink farmer and a schoolteacher. While writing fiction and studying English at the University of Western Ontario she worked as […]

  • Poet James Arthur (Photo by Sean Hill)

The Sunday Poem : James Arthur

By |10.27.12|



“That feeling of becoming a new person in a different place, even if it’s an illusion, is intoxicating to me, and always has been,” says poet James Arthur. “I love writing about places, but only places where I don’t belong.”

James’s debut […]

  • Julia Jacquette, Blond, Shoulder, 2011. Oil on wood panel. 10 x 7.5 inches (Photo by Jean Vong courtesy the artist)

Liquor, Perfume, Hair: Joan Wickersham Talks with Painter Julia Jacquette

By |10.09.12|



It’s hard not to be mesmerized by Julia Jacquette ‘s hypnotic paintings. Their luminous, rich surfaces are intoxicating, and yet there is so much more happening in Jacquette’s work than mere surface. Her images of wedding cakes, liquor, hair, vintage […]

  • World Enough and Time-Click to Purchase

Writer Christian McEwen on Creativity and Slowing Down

By |09.26.12|


Every day we’re faced with the decision of how and where to focus our attention. Sustained attention may be the most endangered resource in our modern age. We often forget that we have a choice about how we […]

  • A Nancy Drew collection at Hello Hello Books in Rockland, Maine (Photo by Lacy Simons)

15+ Books Worth Reading from Hello Hello Books in Rockland, Maine

By |09.19.12|


I do quite a bit of traveling for Gwarlingo these days and one of the best things about being on the road is discovering out-of-the way, independent bookshops. For me, walking into a deftly run, well-curated bookstore is almost as […]

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The Complete Creative Part 1 : How “If-Only Syndrome” Derails Us As Artists

By |09.12.12|



When Gwarlingo readers give me feedback, I listen. You’ve been telling me that you’d like to see more articles about process and the challenges of being an artist. I’ve appreciated your emails and comments.

Today, I’m excited to launch a new […]