All posts in category Social media

(Smithsonian) The Future Is Here Festival Considers Extraterrestrial Life and the Essence of Humanity

My article “The Future Is Here Festival Considers Extraterrestrial Life and the Essence of Humanity” appears in Smithsonian magazine.

(Atlantic) The Selfie and the Self

My article “The Selfie and the Self,” about how Facebook’s rainbow filters relate to art history, appears in The Atlantic. Update: The Washington Post’s Alyssa Rosenberg mentions the piece in her 7/9/15 “Act Four,” Public Religion Research Institute cites it in its 7/10/15 “Morning Buzz,” and Washington Post’s digital culture critic, Caitlin Dewey, includes the […]

Jeremy Sutton at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Below is an article about an event in which portrait artist Jeremy Sutton participated at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. (His video portrait of me follows.) “This Is How You Live Paint an Event: Artist Jeremy Sutton painted on his iPad while musicians performed and visitors played virtual reality games at the Smithsonian American Art […]

Interview on podcast of Saint Louis University’s Museum of Contemporary Religious Art (MOCRA)

I was interviewed on MOCRA Voices, the podcast of Saint Louis University’s Museum of Contemporary Religious Art (MOCRA). Here’s the museum’s description: MOCRA assistant director David Brinker speaks with journalist and author Menachem Wecker about a wide range of topics, including how he identifies and researches topics for reporting, the role social media is playing in […]

Why Museums Should Be a Safe Space to Discuss Why #BlackLivesMatter

My article “Why Museums Should Be a Safe Space to Discuss Why #BlackLivesMatter” appears in Smithsonian Magazine. Here’s the lede: The deputy director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture had a problem. At the April 25 symposium “History, Rebellion, and Reconciliation,” her panel was a no show. A law professor […]

Born in Houston, digital Advent calendar goes viral

Not only does The Dude, of “Big Lebowski” fame, abide, but so, too, do whirling dervishes, Jewish prayer shawls, elf dolls suspended between Venetian blinds, and Bernini’s 17th-century sculpture “Ecstasy of St. Teresa.” That’s according to Instagram users across the globe who submitted photos to the Anglican Communion’s new digital Global Advent Calendar. Advent season […]

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum adopts new rules to attract digital generation

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, as staff members and visitors alike are wont to repeat, is unlike other museums. The memorial to Holocaust victims, with its sobering galleries and artifacts, inspires the sort of quiet contemplation more associated with houses of worship than art museums. Even the architecture — particularly the atrium’s steel-ribbed ceiling — […]

“Obedience to authority” experiment in DC

Pedestrians seeking to walk on the west side of 18th Street NW in Washington, D.C., between K and L streets were confronted by about a dozen people in hazard vests directing them, if they were using their phones, to walk in an aisle designated for cell phone use. The first man in a vest I […]

Could Minecraft help kids get smarter?

When Rob Patrick’s then 7-year-old son Riley started asking to play Minecraft two years ago, the Edmonton-based radio morning show host and his wife had no idea what he was talking about. After asking around and doing some research, they decided Minecraft was much better than most of the other gaming alternatives because it was […]

When Journalists Are Also Activists

In an April 30 talk, “Witnessing, Bystanding, Onlooking, Participating,” at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Gallery 400, Margaret Olin questioned the underlying assumption of the popular sign, “Put that camera down and join us,” which was the closing shot of Haskell Wexler’s 2012 film “Occupy Los Angeles.” “Are holding onto your camera and joining us mutually exclusive?” said […]

  • Selected articles

    NMAAHC "The Imitation Game: Are museums being clear enough with the public about what’s real and what’s fake?" Washington Post Magazine. March 3, 2019.

    Bobby Fischer gravestone "Searching for Fischer’s Legacy." Chess Life magazine. March 2018. (PDF file).

    Jules Olitski star "A Memorial That Knows Its Biblical History." Wall St. Journal. Sept. 22, 2017.

    CIA art collection "Infiltrating the CIA’s Secret Art Collection." Playboy. Jan./Feb. 2017.
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