Critic at Large

Critic at Large is a newsletter that delves into the significance and impact of cultural creations spanning literature, art, music, and cinema, among others. It examines themes of human condition, social issues, creativity, and emotional expression in various cultural contexts and periods, encouraging community engagement and discussion.

Cultural Analysis Music Analysis Poetry and Literature Visual Arts Film Critique Art and Society Personal and Cultural Identity The Role of Art in Human Experience Historical and Modern Art Movements Influence of Art on Society

The hottest Substack posts of Critic at Large

And their main takeaways
39 implied HN points β€’ 10 Mar 24
  1. Ulises CarriΓ³n challenged traditional concepts of books and literature, urging people to see books as more than just text.
  2. CarriΓ³n's creations, known as 'bookworks,' were imaginative and thought-provoking, inviting viewers to engage and interpret them in unique ways.
  3. His approach to art and communication, like his mail art projects, emphasized interaction, engagement, and the co-creation of meaning with the audience.
39 implied HN points β€’ 17 Feb 24
  1. Film composer Naoki Sato created a compelling score for the movie Godzilla Minus One, incorporating the original theme in a somber soundscape that resonated with the dark nature of the story.
  2. Ryuichi Sakamoto, a renowned Japanese composer, evolved from his pop music roots to excel in film composition, delivering iconic scores for various well-known movies like The Last Emperor and The Revenant.
  3. Sakamoto's musical career spanned various genres and collaborations, showcasing a prolific and diverse range of compositions that explored themes of life, mortality, and human existence through his unique sounds.
19 implied HN points β€’ 02 Mar 24
  1. Winter Tangerine was a short-lived magazine created by a young African poet to amplify unheard voices through poetry, short stories, and visual art.
  2. The magazine showcased the evolution of poems through a section called 'Shedding Skins' and featured exceptional visual art alongside literary works.
  3. Winter Tangerine provided a platform for emerging writers and artists, particularly from marginalized communities, offering imaginative language and unique perspectives.
159 implied HN points β€’ 01 Jul 23
  1. The newsletter 'Critic at Large' focuses on cultural creations, old and new, exploring their meaning and value.
  2. The author will analyze works from literature, poetry, art, music, cinema, etc., to understand their significance in expressing the human condition.
  3. Readers of 'Conversations With Myself' have been offered a free subscription to 'Critic at Large' and are encouraged to engage in community discussions.
19 implied HN points β€’ 11 Feb 24
  1. Books hold profound secrets and mysteries that scholars uncover through deep study and collation methods.
  2. Collation, a meticulous comparison of texts, helps establish authenticity, primacy, and physical construction of books.
  3. The concept of a book is not limited to traditional bound codex; it can include various forms and mediums, each holding unique potential and secrets.
Get a weekly roundup of the best Substack posts, by hacker news affinity:
99 implied HN points β€’ 01 Jul 23
  1. Marvin Gaye's album 'What's Going On' was a bold departure from Motown's typical upbeat tunes, focusing on social issues and political statements.
  2. Despite facing resistance from Motown's boss, Gaye persisted in creating an album that touched on themes like war, poverty, and environmental degradation.
  3. Through his music, Gaye managed to convey powerful messages of love, hope, and societal introspection, leaving a lasting impact on the music industry and inspiring future generations of artists.
59 implied HN points β€’ 25 Aug 23
  1. The ancient Chinese poet Su Hui composed a unique and intricate poem called 'Star Gauge' that is both a literary and visual art piece.
  2. Su Hui's poem 'Star Gauge' is constructed in a complex grid format with palindromic features that allow for multiple interpretations depending on the direction of reading.
  3. The creation of Su Hui's poem 'Star Gauge' challenges traditional views on women's poetry and is a testament to the depth of human creativity and emotion through its innovative structure.
59 implied HN points β€’ 01 Jul 23
  1. The painting 'Still Life With a Gilt Cup' by Willem Claesz Heda presents a subtle message warning against the dangers of wealth and excess.
  2. The details in the painting, such as the luxurious items on the table, symbolize the seductive nature of material goods and the transitory nature of life.
  3. The painting reflects a Calvinist-inspired moral reminder about the consequences of greed and the importance of not being consumed by worldly pleasures.
19 implied HN points β€’ 31 Oct 23
  1. A 2015 Spanish documentary called 'Born in Gaza' sheds light on the tragic stories of children in war zones, reminding us of the real human impact behind statistics and headlines.
  2. The film captures the emotional reality of Gazan children without delving into political debates, presenting a raw look at a world shaped by violence.
  3. Exposure to extreme violence can lead to psychological numbing, but stories like those in 'Born in Gaza' help us see the true impact of violence on innocent lives, urging us to pause and reflect on the humanity that often gets lost in the midst of conflict.
39 implied HN points β€’ 02 Jul 23
  1. Italy has a unique approach to incorporating art into its prisons, with over a hundred theater companies thriving within prison walls.
  2. The film 'Caesar Must Die' showcases how even the most hardened criminals can find redemption and humanity through the power of art.
  3. Art has the profound ability to uplift individuals from the depths of despair, showcasing the shared humanity that transcends even the harshest of circumstances.
39 implied HN points β€’ 01 Jul 23
  1. Emotion can be a powerful persuasive tool that reinforces arguments or character perception when felt genuinely, while sentimentality can come across as forced or manipulative.
  2. Critics noted a distinction between emotion and sentimentality in Steven Spielberg's films, where emotion moves the audience while sentimentality feels unearned.
  3. The endings of 'Saving Private Ryan' and 'Schindler's List' illustrate the difference between genuine emotion and sentimentality in storytelling, impacting how they are received by critics and viewers.
19 implied HN points β€’ 06 Sep 23
  1. Art can be powerful on its own without the need for additional words or critique.
  2. Music has the ability to touch our emotions and help us cope in moments of despair.
  3. Sometimes, the value of something cannot be determined by external promises or influences.
19 implied HN points β€’ 15 Aug 23
  1. The MoMA displayed an artwork called "Unsupervised" by artist Refik Anadol, which uses AI to create constantly changing images based on data from 180,000 artworks and real-time external factors.
  2. Anadol's AI artwork, while technically impressive, lacks the depth and connection to traditional art that keeps viewers engaged and leaves them feeling unfulfilled.
  3. The comparison between Anadol's AI artwork and a traditional piece like Rothko's painting highlights the importance of human creativity and emotion in art that AI may struggle to replicate.
19 implied HN points β€’ 04 Aug 23
  1. Hip-hop's golden era in the late 1980s and early 1990s shifted focus to addressing issues of race, culture, and philosophy, with Rakim being seen as a significant figure in the genre's evolution.
  2. Rakim, through his album 'Follow the Leader,' showcased complex lyrical forms and addressed themes of culture, identity, history, and race with revolutionary approaches, leaving a lasting impact on hip-hop.
  3. Rakim's influence, along with his peers', played a pivotal role in elevating hip-hop from a form of entertainment to a platform for addressing social and intellectual issues, shaping it into a globally influential musical genre.
19 implied HN points β€’ 26 Jul 23
  1. Artists like Kiluanji Kia Henda explore the notion of cities emerging in unlikely environments, such as deserts, and how these structures can impact society and culture.
  2. The concept of 'Dubaization' refers to the influence of extravagant city development projects, like those in Dubai, on architecture and urban planning in other regions, prompting discussions on the authenticity and value of such endeavors.
  3. The novel 'Cities of Salt' by Abdulrahman Munif delves into the consequences of rapid urbanization driven by oil exploitation, highlighting the societal tensions and transformations that accompany the development of 'cities of salt.'
19 implied HN points β€’ 08 Jul 23
  1. Stan Getz and Eddie Sauter collaborated in 1961 to create an album where Getz improvised melodies over pre-composed orchestral arrangements, a unique approach in jazz history.
  2. The album 'Focus' is considered the finest work of both Getz and Sauter's careers, showcasing Getz's unmatched tone and brilliance in saxophone playing.
  3. Despite Stan Getz's troubled personal life, his music in 'Focus' remains untainted by his struggles, highlighting the transformative power of art to separate the artist from their creations.
1 HN point β€’ 31 Mar 24
  1. John Cage's composition '4'33"' challenges the audience to listen to hidden sounds and the contribution of the environment, sparking discussions about the perception of silence in music.
  2. Yves Klein's 'Monotone Silence Symphony' is a unique musical creation with one continuous sound and a segment of profound silence, evoking mystical and meditative experiences for performers and audiences.
  3. The use of color and sound in artistic compositions like those of John Cage and Yves Klein present thought-provoking approaches to exploring the dynamics of silence, music, and perception.