The Creative Life

By The New Yorker | From The New Yorker’s archive: The artist’s process.

Dealer’s Hand

Very important people line up differently from you and me. They don’t want to stand behind anyone else, or to acknowledge wanting something that can’t immediately be had. If there’s a door they’re eager to pass through, and hundreds of equally or even more important people are there, too, they get …


Spot On

The art of Damien Hirst puts me in mind of a <i>New Yorker</i> cartoon by Peter Steiner, from 1997. One of two vultures on a bare branch argues, “Sure, dead is important. But it has to taste good.” That finicky gourmand speaks to my sense of “The Complete Spot Paintings, 1986-2011,” an archipelago of shows …


Eerily Composed

Nico Muhly, a composer, was bounding through Chinatown, his hands thrust into the pockets of a black jacket, and a too small Icelandic knitted cap pulled halfway down over his ears, heading for the market under the Manhattan Bridge. Muhly, who is twenty-six, had a violin concerto that needed …


Banksy Was Here

The British graffiti artist Banksy likes pizza, though his preference in toppings cannot be definitively ascertained. He has a gold tooth. He has a silver tooth. He has a silver earring. He’s an anarchist environmentalist who travels by chauffeured S.U.V. He was born in 1978, or 1974, in Bristol, …

Street Art

The Misfit

Does it really matter what one wears? I sometimes think my life might have been different if I had chosen the other wedding dress. I was getting married for the second time, and until the overcast morning of the ceremony I dithered between a bland écru frock appropriate to my age and station, which …

Rei Kawakubo

Forty-one False Starts

There are places in New York where the city’s anarchic, unaccommodating spirit, its fundamental, irrepressible aimlessness and heedlessness have found especially firm footholds. Certain transfers between subway lines, passageways of almost transcendent sordidness; certain sites of torn-down …