Art For Hoi Polloi: M.C. Escher

From 1963: Why settle for ants on a log when you can have ants on a Mobius strip?

As an aging member of Generation X, I can attest to the existence of certain rites of pop culture passage that have shaped our perception of the world. Eating Pop Rocks, for example. Acknowledging the profundity of Dark Side of the Moon. Attempting to reconcile a Rubik’s Cube. Discovering the Three Stooges. And surely somewhere in there, as our brains expanded to fathom the limitless wonder of human history and the unknowable infinity of our universe, we were all exposed to prints by the Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher.

You know the work, if not the name. The famous pair of hands emerging from a flat sheet of paper to draw each other. The self-portrait of the artist as seen in the reflection of a hand-held sphere. Tessellations of birds, fish, and other creatures. Impossible architecture in which columns defy logic, stairs descend endlessly within a closed loop, and strange beings walk upon every surface of a convoluted interior. All were the creation of Maurits Cornelis Escher, who was born in the Netherlands on this day in 1898. Read More

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