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Photo: A scene from La La Land, a 2017 Academy Award nominee for production design.

How production designers make movie magic 12 MIN, 10 SEC

At this Sunday's Academy Awards, five pairs of production designers and set decorators will compete for the Production Design award. The nominees are Arrival, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Hail Caesar!, La La Land and Passengers.

Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt in Passengers
Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures 

Production designer Tom Walsh is past president of the Art Directors Guild and produced the Art Directors Guild Awards ceremony which took place earlier this month. He explains what makes these films stand out, and how the passage of the studio system -- "an advanced university for craft" -- has made it harder for production designers to learn on the job.

Tom Walsh, production designer

See the 2017 Oscar nominees for Production Design
Best Production Design Oscar: History favors 'La La Land'

Art and politics 8 MIN, 25 SEC

There's been an explosion of expression in reaction to the Trump administration, from searing comedy to pink pussyhats. So how much of a role do artists play in protesting -- or promoting a regime? Joes Segal is a chief curator at The Wende Museum, the collection of Eastern Bloc art and printed ephemera from the Cold War years.

Vandalized Lenin Bust, 1965/89
Photo courtesy of the Wende Museum

He's published a book of essays, Art and Politics: Between Purity and Propaganda, in which he looks at a century of art movements and how they became weapons in the fights over totalitarianism and fascism, communism and capitalism. And Segal asks, is President Trump doing what artists have done in the past: "creating an alternative reality?"

Joes Segal, Utrecht University / Wende Museum

The Politics of Images: Joes Segal at TEDxFulbright (YouTube)
New York Times: Artists reckon with Trump's inauguration
Protest art in the era of Trump
'It's going to make art great again:' street artists taking on Trump
Margaret Atwood: What art under Trump?
What it means to be an artist in the time of Trump

Art and Politics

Joes Segal

'The Creative Architect' 8 MIN, 3 SEC

What does creativity have to do with winning the Cold War? In the late 1950s, the top architects of the day were invited to participate in a historic study of creativity at the Institute of Personality Assessment and Research at the University of California, Berkeley. Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Philip Johnson, Louis Kahn, and dozens of other famous mid-century architects were tested in an effort to understand what makes a person creative. The story is now published for the first time in Pierluigi Serraino's The Creative Architect: Inside the Great Midcentury Personality Study.

Pierluigi Serraino, architect, author and educator

Read more about 'The Creative Architect: Inside the Great Midcentury Personality Study'
The Architect's Newspaper interviews Pierluigi Serraino
Brain Pickings writes about 'The Creative Architect'

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