Performing Arts

Still from trailer for It movie, an adaption of the Stephen King novel

The History and Psychology of Clowns Being Scary

You aren’t alone in your fear of makeup-clad entertainers; people have been frightened by clowns for centuries


Would You Like Arches With That? When Famous Architects Design McDonalds

Franchises of the fast food behemoth become roadside art


The Golden Arches of McModernism

A brief history of the McDonald's Golden Arches and the influence of Modernist ideals


The Daily Planet in Film and Television

The real buildings that played the Daily Planet in film and television


The Architecture of Superman: A Brief History of The Daily Planet

The real-world buildings that may have inspired Superman's iconic office tower workplace

The score for John Cage’s indeterminate composition “Fontana Mix”

5 1/2 Examples of Experimental Music Notation

In the 1950s progressive composers broke from the 5 line music staff to experiment with new, more expressive forms of graphic music notation


When F. Scott Fitzgerald Judged Gatsby By Its Cover

A surprising examination of the original book jacket art to The Great Gatsby

Acoustic paintings from the installation "Higher Resonance."

How Do You Make a Painting Out of Sounds?

Jennie C. Jones has the answer. Her first solo museum show opens at the Hirshhorn in May


The 64-Square Grid Design of ‘Through the Looking Glass’

The sequel to Alice's Adventure's in Wonderland was designed to be a playable, albeit whimsical chess problem


Now You Know the History of G.I. Joe. And Knowing Is Half The Battle

The evolution of the All American Hero from artist's mannequin to action figure


Who Really Invented the Smiley Face?

It's supposedly the 50th anniversary of the original design of the iconic image, but its history since then is surprisingly complex with millions of dollars at stake

A traditional Punch and Judy puppet show.

Are Punch and Judy Shows Finally Outdated?

For a wife-beating, baby-squashing scofflaw, Mr. Punch has done pretty well for himself

Artist Anatole Kovarsky’s image from the cover from the November 24, 1962 issue of The New Yorker

American Myths: Benjamin Franklin’s Turkey and the Presidential Seal

How the New Yorker and the West Wing botched the history of the icon

Penn Jillette demonstrates the art of fire breathing.

Penn Jillette Reveals the Secrets of Fire-Eating

The more talkative half of the famed magic duo says that even for professionals, this magic act is a tough act to swallow


The World’s Largest Collection of Coffee Cup Lids

With over 500 different disposable plastic lids, the architect-collector has pieced together a history of American innovation and culture


Political Animals: Republican Elephants and Democratic Donkeys

Politicians and parties may flip-flop but for more than 100 years, the political iconography of the Democratic donkey and the Republican elephant has remained unchanged

The front and back of the Building Stories box

Designing Lives and Building Stories, Chris Ware’s Comic Book Epic

In Building Stories, cartoonist Chris Ware presents the banality of everyday life as a stunning comic epic


The Pee-Chee Folder: Illustrated by the Most Interesting Man in the World

Illustrator Francis Golden could barely remember the project that became an iconic school supply


The Scene of Deduction: Drawing 221B Baker Street

From pen-and-ink sketches to digital renderings, generations of Sherlock Holmes fans have undertaken drafting the detective's famous London flat

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes searching for clues on his mobile phone

A Modern Sherlock Holmes and the Technology of Deduction

A modern Sherlock Holmes requires a modern tool. Today, his iconic problem-solving magnifying glass has been replaced by the indispensable cell phone

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