Largest Private Collection of Islamic Art

It’s one of those delicious cultural ironies (of course there are a few other examples) that a significant amount of Islamic art preservation (and more besides) is down to one Nasser Khalili, a Jewish Iranian-born academic and former art dealer.

Ownership is nothing but a myth, we are only a temporary custodian of what we believe we own

About Nasser D. Khalili

Khalili Collections


Walker Percy Wednesday 94

percycovercroppeaIs this an age of belief, he reflected, a great renaissance of faith after a period of crass materialism, atheism, agnosticism, liberalism, scientism? Or is it an age of madness in which everyone believes everything? Which?

Like many Californians, she knew how to expand the particular into the general, turn a hobby into a religion, and what’s more make it credible. It was easy to believe her and see her in the surf, a blond not-so-young Juno, waves foaming at her knees, her swim-coach tank suit well worn and dry, the hem slightly frayed over her strong dark marbled legs, launch happy babes into the Pacific, the Aquarians of a new age. Who knows? Maybe she was right: going back where we came from, back to the primal sea. That was her California principle, leaving the sad failed land life behind and leaving it soon enough and young enough before it screwed you up for good, and going back to the original environment, the ocean (which had the same salt content as blood and the amniotic fluid where we were happy), and, age ten months to ten years to a hundred, frolic like porpoises in the warm Cretaceous sea.

Something was happening. Suddenly, with a little surge of satisfaction under his belt, he knew what it was. Everything had the look about it of coming to an end. There was nothing more he wished to say to the Cupps. There was nothing more for them to say to him. Things do come to an end.

It was the very sort of place, a nondescript weedy triangular public pubic sort of place, to make a sort of love or to die a sort of death.
The silence of the cloud seemed to press in upon the house like cotton.
Did you not then believe, old mole, that these two things alone are real, loving and dying, and since one is so much like the other and there is so little of the one, in the end there remained only the other?


Complexity Explained


With my good chum Péter Érdi at The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers mega shindig. Check out Peter’s excellent book (the title is as bold as Dennett’s Consciousness Explained) and now that Peter is head honcho for Cognitive Systems Research consider submitting something to them — it’s a very ecumenical journal with a nice balance between the philosophical and the empirical.


Deirdre McCloskey and Don Boudreaux on ‘Bourgeois Equality’

I’m a literary, quantitative, postmodern, free-market, progressive-Episcopalian, Midwestern woman from Boston who was once a man. Not ‘conservative’! I’m a Christian libertarian.

That description would flummox the regressives’ crude social ontology and their perversely illiberal hierarchy of victimhood. Anyway, it’s well-worth listening to the very kind and deeply talented Deirdre McCloskey whom I had the good fortune to meet in person some six years ago at a San Diego conference and who recently (and surprisingly) remembered me when we resumed our correspondence. Deirdre is frank, funny and quite scathing — always enriching listening to her and of course learning from her work.

Scottish equality vs French equality — I guess that’s an ongoing tension within Western political economy.


Website (everything you wanted to know about Deirdre but were afraid to ask)


Chuck Norris vs Communism

Very roughly analogous to the corrosive effects that the internet has been to our out-of-touch and typically regressive gatekeepers, so too was VHS the corrodent to the Romanian communist state. Now, as then, these gatekeepers entertain the shallowest of insights into the dynamics of situated moral psychology, deluded by their lazy rationalistic disparaging of “low brow” culture, the elites of all political persuasions are now caught like deer in the headlights of an oncoming vehicle. The words “hoisted” and “petard” spring to mind. Here is the homepage for the film — a film that stands as a timely reminder of a very recent illiberal past, an illiberalism that has now morphed into a homegrown trojan-like rabidly recreational censorious swarm behavior of faux outrage and cheap virtue-signaling.


Eric Ravilious 1903–1942

Born on this day — IMHO one of the greats.

Ravilious photo by Phyllis Dodd from Fry Art Gallery

(b London, 22 July 1903; d off Iceland, 2 Sept. 1942). British watercolour painter, printmaker, and designer. In addition to paintings, his highly varied output included book illustrations and book-jackets, and designs for furniture, glass, textiles, and the Wedgwood pottery factory (notably a mug commemorating Edward VIII’s coronation; this was withdrawn following Edward’s abdication, but the design was used in revised form for the coronations of George VI and Elizabeth II).

He was one of the outstanding wood engravers of his time, his book illustrations in this medium making striking use of bold tonal contrasts and complex patterning. In 1940–2 he was an Official War Artist, and he produced some memorable watercolours of naval scenes off Norway (Norway, 1940, Laing AG, Newcastle upon Tyne). His plane disappeared on a flying patrol near Iceland, in 1942, and he was officially presumed dead the following year. His wife Tirzah Ravilious (née Garwood) (1908–51) was a painter and illustrator. She gave up her career for motherhood (they had three children), but she started work again after Eric’s death, even though she was already suffering from the cancer that caused her own early death.

 — The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists