Fine Arts

photograph of joker graffiti on wall

The Killing Joke: The Ethics of ‘Joker’

Reception to 'Joker' has tended to extremes. How do time and place define Joker's message? What responsibility do the creators and publishers share in the public's interpretation?
photograph of Peter Handke

Morality on the Side: Peter Handke and the Nobel Prize

Literary criticism often encourages us to separate the art from the artist, but the Nobel Committee's recognition of Peter Handke makes the issue bigger than what's on the page.
photograph of solid gold toilet America

The Remarkable Odyssey of a Solid Gold Toilet

The recent theft of a seven-million dollar golden toilet named America is chock-full of symbolism.
gouache and ink painting of Iris Murdoch

Iris Murdoch and the Moral Dimensions of Literature

Is morality to be found in abstracted and universalizable concepts and theories, or in the subjective, situatedness of characters rooted in their earthly contexts? What can literature tell us about our moral universe?
Photograph of Pripyat ferris wheel from inside abandoned building

Moral and Existential Lessons from “Chernobyl”

The miniseries takes up a number of philosophical themes (e.g., what it means to know, the nature of authority, the virtue of humility), but chief among these is our existential confrontation with the Absurd.
photograph of Fireman's Monument at Cherynobl

The Ethics of Scientific Advice: Lessons from “Chernobyl”

HBO's miniseries offers a new opportunity to revisit an age-old debate: Should we keep value judgments out of science? Can we?
photograph of the British Museum at night

Refusal to Repatriate: The Owning, Lending, and Stealing of Art

The ongoing debate over colonial repatriation requires that we confront our history of imperialism. On what grounds can one own another's cultural heritage?
photograph of warning sign

On Julia le Duc’s Photograph and the Choice Not to View...

What are the duties of news organizations and photographers? What are the rights of viewers? And what obligation do we have as humans to bear witness to tragedy and suffering?
photograph of the curtains coming up at Radio City Music Hall

Ali Stroker, Radio City Music Hall, and the Value of Accessibility

The recent Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall have drawn attention to ableism concerns within the entertainment industry. What is so troubling about Ali Stroker's example and what makes access so meaningful?
photograph of Good Omens advertisement on escalator

Free Speech and Good Omens

The recent petition by Return to Order demanding the cancellation of Good Omens by Netflix raises questions about free speech and art. What are the motivations, obligations, and limitations in protesting hurtful art?