Lovely Lincoln portrait cover.

My faves in the mag were the extremely cool photos by Edward Burtynsky of shipbreaking in India – the scale of the fragments of the ships, and their worn quality, reminds me very strongly of SF art that impressed me as a child.

These images seemed to point out to me that what is really interesting in SF is the intersection of technology and human, the amazing and dangerous juxtapositions that come from this. It’s as though someone had grounded not an oil tanker on the shores of the Indian subcontintent, but an interstellar freighter.

]]>It’s good, too, I suppose, to reflect on the length and fertility of the intersection of Western and Indian cultures. It argues for a somewhat more optimistic result of increased international trade in terms of cultural diversity than I might otherwise expect.

I also appreciated the article about “Goya: Images of Women”, a new exhibition opening now at the National Gallery in D.C. I have always admired Goya’s work, both technically and sensuously. I particularly love his darkest work, the late paintings and the two great series of prints, “los Caprichios” and “Desastres de la Guerra”, and will pretty much always make it to any show in this corner of the counry that has the prints up, most recently Tacoma.

A quibble with the peice is that they did not reproduce all of the art that the auther refers to; unavoidable, I’m sure, but irritating. The other thing that bugged me was they didn’t date all the images they did print, which just frustrates me, since I always play the art-historian’s game of attempting to date a painting based on the painter’s style and technique as well as the cultural elemnts depicted in the image. When I can’t check my guess I get cranky.

One last thing that irritated me was the commentary colmun in the ish – every time the mag comes out they have a guest writer read the galleys and write about it critically, similar to the Ombudsman column at Brill’s Content. Only this time they hired some golfing buddy (Owen Edwards, the senior consulting editor for “Forbes ASAP”) of the current editor of Smithsonian (Carey Winfrey).

He seemed reluctant to, essentially, critique anything; he complained about not knowing what the personal motivations of the writers are. Perhaps he has a point; Smithsonian is the blandest of the mags I take reglar. But there’s something very comfortable about that. I just hope they don’t follow Geographic’s dumb-ass lead into competing with the edgier outdoors mags such as Outside.

Geez, don’t get me started on Geographic. Although the most recent ish was pretty cool – naturally they didn’t post the best images online. Maybe I should do one of these on that ish. Or maybe I’ll wait for the next one.