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Ben Shattuck has written for the Paris Review Daily, Salon.com, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, among other publications. His paintings can be seen at benshattuck.com, or on Instagram.
Protesters are clashing in the street over paintings. What is it, whether in art or literature, that makes one thing better than another?
Twice the official portraitist of George W. Bush, painter Robert Anderson explains what it’s like to build a relationship with a president, separate the man from the legacy, and struggle with his smirk.
The Thirteenth Amendment passed 150 years ago, abolishing slavery. Today, little of the Underground Railroad still remains. A painter hits the road to discover what’s intact.
A gentleman in 1720 could read Greek while mounting a running horse. Today’s gentleman reads GQ in the bathroom. From rapists to stylists, a history of the American gentleman.
In early New England, anyone who stood near an open door or window faced mortal danger. A conversation with a woman who hunts for gravestones with epitaphs describing death by lightning strike.
History is an imperfect science—the truth often weaves within nuance and mystery. For those playing the role of historian, the trick is knowing what you’re looking for.
A small portion of the Massachusetts coastline is home to America’s biggest witch-hunt, a history of savage wife mobs, the occasional 400 percent increase of unlucky pregnancies, and the world’s largest deposits of black crystals.