Archive for April 25th, 2012

This is the first of a series for a new feature on this blog, where I will present the iconography of gifted contemporary iconographers.

I have “known” Nikolai Tsai online for several years, beginning on an iconography discussion forum we both frequented. This was around ten years ago, when Nikolai was first starting to accept commissions from churches. By chance, one of his commissions was for St Mary Magdalene Orthodox Church in Fenton, Michigan, my home town.

Mr Tsai, whose given name is Brian, is a convert to the Orthodox Church. He has studied under master iconographers Dmitry Shkolnik, Xenia Pokrovsky, and Marek Czarnecki. He resides in San Francisco. An interview with Nikolai can be found here.

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From the 41st Jefferson Lecture of the National Edowment for the Humanities, delivered April 23 2012:

  “Corporate industrialism itself has exposed the falsehood that it ever was inevitable or that it ever has given precedence to the common good. It has failed to sustain the health and stability of human society. Among its characteristic signs are destroyed communities, neighborhoods, families, small businesses, and small farms. It has failed just as conspicuously and more dangerously to conserve the wealth and health of nature. No amount of fiddling with capitalism to regulate and humanize it, no pointless rhetoric on the virtues of capitalism or socialism, no billions or trillions spent on “defense” of the “American dream,” can for long disguise this failure. The evidences of it are everywhere: eroded, wasted, or degraded soils; damaged or destroyed ecosystems; extinction of species; whole landscapes defaced, gouged, flooded, or blown up; pollution of the whole atmosphere and of the water cycle; “dead zones” in the coastal waters; thoughtless squandering of fossil fuels and fossil waters, of mineable minerals and ores; natural health and beauty replaced by a heartless and sickening ugliness. Perhaps its greatest success is an astounding increase in the destructiveness, and therefore the profitability, of war.”

Read the rest here.

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