David O’Neill

  • “NeoRealismo: The New Image in Italy, 1932–1960”

    The word realism conjures the everyday, the unfussy, the small. But what’s real when the world has gone mad? It’s a question that gripped Italian photographers, directors, journalists, and writers around World War II and is surely worth asking again. This exhibition heralds artists who captured quotidian life in an era of daily shocks. With a street-level perspective on poverty and labor in the shadow of war, Neorealism became synonymous with Italian cinema’s golden age. If you’ve seen Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves (1948), you’ll know in part what to expect from the Grey Art Gallery’s survey

  • diary May 09, 2018

    The Empathy Exam

    “IT’S SO EASY TO LAUGH, it’s so easy to hate. It takes guts to be gentle and kind.” These lyrics from my earnest misspent youth dogged me the night of May 2 as I listened to a conversation between the New York Public Library’s leading interlocutor, Paul Holdengräber, and author George Saunders, whose batty 2017 novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, recently won the Man Booker Prize. The refrain bothered me: Morrissey had once been a hero of mine but is now just a walking alt-right-wing meme. The hypocrisy enraged me, though I thought I shouldn’t care.

    The idea of brave compassion, and the doubtful questions