July/August 2023

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The Village People

When did our nomadic ancestors give up wandering to settle down? In Israel, new discoveries are upending an old debate

a large detailed painting of a battleship on white canvas

The Art of War

A veteran’s painstaking tribute to naval might and sacrifice

three photos showing three different materials used to make art

Material Wealth

The treasure of today’s fiber artists

a portrait of a Black woman sitting

Dreaming in Color

Bisa Butler’s exuberant portraits celebrate Black history and take quilting to a new level

a black and white portrait of a man sitting in a chair

Ties That Bind

An artist in Hawaii connects contemporary style with ancient traditions

blue and white fibers

Magic in the Felt

A river of fabric? Janice Arnold’s installations go to great lengths to evoke wonder

OPENER - Gun Site

The Moment of Truth

An exclusive visit to the secret U.S. laboratory where scientists developed the first nuclear weapon


Maligned Marsupial Mobilized

In Australia, the defenseless bandicoot was nearly wiped out by invasive species. Now rescuers are pinning hopes on a remnant island population

a photograph of a daguerreotype sitting in a box

Coming Into Focus

Arresting portraits illuminate the little-known role of African American photographers in the 19th century

silhouettes of cows are seen at sunrise

In Search of Willa Cather

Maybe the author of “O Pioneers!” and “My Ántonia” is no longer the height of literary chic. But a century later she’s still a superstar in her Nebraska home



Your feedback on fireflies, Caribbean artisans and more

Who Claims the American West?

A new exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum challenges the old mythology of the frontier

By the Beat

A hip-hop pioneer reflects on the 50th birthday of the genre that revolutionized music

Grit to Glitz

Hip-hop’s street artists created a splashy new genre that burst into galleries and museums

The Frontier Midwife

When a mysterious epidemic of poisoning ravaged the Midwest, a Philadelphia-trained healer got to the root of the problem

Making a Scene

An artist conjures a whimsical version of a magnificent 15th-century mural

The Write Stuff

After more than a century, a family-owned pencil company in Tennessee still makes a statement in the digital age

Catch the Wind

This innovative craft taught millions of Americans to seize the breeze

Bright Light

A candle stand used by the first president illuminates his extraordinary last days in office

Here Be Monsters

A clever cetacean feeding trick may have launched a whale of a legend

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