Art and Politics

Art & Politics

In this, our second annual themed supplement, The Crimson's Arts Board focuses on the intersections between art and politics. We survey this contested and contentious landscape by talking to artists, critics, writers, politicians, and economists on campus and beyond.


A ‘DAMN.’ Disappointment from a Prodigious Artist

Lamar may be more brilliant and more nuanced than other rappers. He may be flat out more talented than anyone in the general vicinity of a microphone. But on “DAMN,” he does his best to obscure that ability almost beyond recognition.

“The Heart Part 4” Successfully Heralds Kendrick’s Return

A clear evolution beyond the other installments of the “Heart” series, the new single is frank, spontaneous, and experimental. Its constantly changing beats reflect the diversity and scope of a confident lyrical master’s thoughts.

On Campus

Akademie’s “Of Frogs and Men” Brings Sound to Life

For the 2016-2017 season of the Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF), the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin played an energetic show at The New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall. The program performed on March 24, “Of Frogs and Men,” consisted of Baroque music on the theme of nature. These pieces were played delightfully by fifteen players including violins, violas, oboes, a violoncello, a double bass, a bassoon, a lute, a harpsichord, and a recorder, all the while bringing to life the opulence of this style to the stage.

‘Matisse in the Studio’: A Thorough Look at an Artist’s Work Space

​On April 3, the Museum of Fine Arts previewed its upcoming exhibition, “Matisse in the Studio.” Organized by both the Museum of Fine Arts and London’s Royal Academy of Arts, and in partnership with Nice’s Musée Matisse, which provided the curators with many of the objects and paintings featured in the exhibition, it is the first major international show to highlight not just Matisse’s art, but also the space in which he created his masterpieces.


‘Going in Style’ Without Substance

Michael Caine is old. “Going in Style” establishes this helpful information early.

‘Fate of the Furious’ Less Than the Sum of Its Parts

The film should have ended there. This opening sequence was spectacular. It took practically all of the franchise’s standout features—vibrant urban scenes, beautiful cars, thrilling race footage—and compressed them into a simple but outstanding ten minutes. And unlike the rest of the film, it was actually about car racing.


'Kingdom of the Young': When Style Ruins a Story

Edie Meidav’s short story anthology “Kingdom of the Young” fails to meet high expectations: Though her previous three novels were universally acclaimed, her first anthology does not live up to the hype.

‘Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast’ More of a Four-Course Meal

“A poet’s poet’s poet,” as acclaimed poet John Ashbery described her, Elizabeth Bishop, one of the finest mid-twentieth century American poets, is masterfully portrayed in Megan Marshall’s new biography, “Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast.” Marshall, a former student of Bishop’s, interweaves a richly descriptive account of Bishop’s personal life and artistic output with sections about Marshall’s own life.


A Letter from the Chairs

We are delighted to present The Crimson Arts Board’s spring special issue. In this, our second annual themed supplement, we focus on the intersections between art and politics.


Arts Asks: Rebecca Sheehan

Rebecca Sheehan, a visiting associate professor of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard, spoke with the Harvard Crimson about how she sees politics and film interacting under the Trump administration. On leave as an associate professor of Cinema and Television Arts at California State University, Sheehan has also authored several works touching on the intersection of cinema with disciplines ranging from philosophy to sculpture.


Pilot of ‘Shots Fired’ an Ambitious Mess

An unarmed white man is shot and killed by a black police officer, prompting an intense investigation by the Department of Justice. Meanwhile, a black teenager was killed by a police officer months ago, and police have swept this under the rug.


‘Hour Two’ of ‘Shots Fired’ Unfocused and Uninteresting

While the first episode showed signs of a season that would dive deep into socially and politically relevant topics, this episode instead has more of the bad elements from “Hour One” and less of the good.

Visual Arts

Portrait of an Artist: Keith R. Hartwig

"I tried to sort of complicate our understanding of why it is we either opt in or opt out of certain surveillance practices."


New English Requirement Fuels Debate Over Canon


Seeking Political Relief: Comedy on Campus


‘Far Away’ Projected in the Near Future


Salsa, Sparks, and Song: TEATRO!’s ‘In the Heights’


‘Ammunition’: A Musical Take on American Women in the War


Boston Artists React to NEA Defunding

​April 28 marks the end of President Trump’s first 100 days in office, and with it, the expiration of the current funding level for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Elizabeth Warren Promotes Book in Boston

Elizabeth Warren portrayed the situation as a call to action on the part of everyday citizens. “This book is written as an act of optimism,” she said. “This book is about how we get in the fight, and how we’re effective in the fight.”

Visual Arts

Finding Political Intent at the MFA

The roots of “Political Intent” date back to 2012, when the Guerrilla Girls—a feminist activist artist group based in New York—visited the MFA to do a “weenie count."


Portrait of an Artist: Philip A.N. Chowdry

Philip A.N. Chowdry ’19 has produced a number of artworks that deal with current political issues, especially the presidency of Donald Trump. His recent work “The Melania,” which was on display at The Harvard Student Art Show this year, reflects the media’s portrayal of Melania Trump, and “Our Vendetta,” an ongoing series, takes the form of protest posters and have been distributed around Harvard Square. The Crimson sat down with him to discuss his inspirations and working process.


Portrait of an Artist: Lav Diaz

Lav Diaz is a Filipino independent filmmaker whose works primarily focus on contemporary social and political issues and their relations with the individual. He has won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, among other awards. He is currently working on a new film and a book during a fellowship at Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Studies. The Crimson sat down with Diaz to talk about his practice.




'Archer' Aims at Noir Dreamland


‘New Girl’ Possible Series Finale Holds Few Surprises

Visual Arts

Identities Gives a Cutting-Edge Look at Fashion

Visual Arts

HBS Art Society Takes a Holistic Approach to Student Engagement