Why Most People Don’t Get Grant Wood

"A deeply layered, rigorously controlled formal structure undermined by a strange embarrassing whimsy occurs in almost every painting. While accepted in outlier artists like James Castle, or (more aptly for the 1930s) like Henri Rousseau, it is a quality that mainstream art has tended to eschew, until recently. ... This contradictory dynamic of wacky sincerity is recognizable as something that the Midwest surreptitiously instills. ... On the one hand, complex formalism conveys gravity, but then is betrayed by an inability to resist slipping a banana peel underfoot."

Two Present-Day Opera Stars Record Onto Wax Cylinders, Just As If It Were 1902

"Especially on Caruso's breakthrough records, the sound is scratchy, wiry and wobbly. The same holds true for early recordings of Nellie Melba, Luisa Tetrazzini and other luminaries of that era. While there are entrancing hints of astonishing voices, it's hard to tell what they were really like. If only we could record a singer today on the equipment used back then and compare the playbacks to modern recordings." So that's what Piotr Beczala and Susanna Phillips did. (includes sound clips)