At 88, Agnes Denes Finally Gets the Retrospective She Deserves

She set out to change humanity. Now a superbly installed survey at the Shed charts this visionary artist’s 50-year journey. We’ll be lucky this art season if we get another exhibition as tautly beautiful as “Agnes Denes: Absolutes and Intermediates” at the Shed. And we’ll be right to ponder why this artist, who was born in Budapest 88 years ago and has lived in New York City for more than 60 years, is only now having a retrospective here. Must neglect be the price paid by brilliant art that lies outside ready marketing categories, that baffles conventional critical thinking, that manages to be, paradoxically, mortality-haunted and hopeful? Too often the answer is “yes,” particularly if the art is by a woman. I learned of Ms. Denes late, in 1982, by which time she already had a significant career. I was living in Lower Manhattan, two blocks from the Hudson River and an empty grass-stubbled urban prairie that had been formed by landfill excavated from the World Trade Center building site. (Battery Park City sits there now.) One spring day I noticed a truck dumping fresh earth at the site, then people digging long furrows and sowing seeds. In early summer green shoots came up, grew...

Disc brakes have become an increasingly important part of the road bike world over the past

Disc brakes have become an increasingly important part of the road bike world over the past few years, but while the benefits of disc brakes are well documented, they bring with them challenges and problems too. Levers, brake callipers, hoses, fluid and rotors weigh more than an equivalent rim brake setup. Manufacturers often try to minimise the difference but don’t forget that disc brake hubs are heavier too, and disc brake wheels are often built up with more spokes of a wider gauge, although the lack of a brake track means that disc-specific rims are generally lighter. The thru axles that are used with many disc systems are heavier than quick release skewers. The weight difference isn’t huge but it can often be around a pound over the whole bike when everything is taken into account.  Early disc-equipped bikes borrowed the 74mm post mount standard from mountain bikes, where the brake calliper is simply bolted directly onto the frame or fork and adapters are used to accommodate different rotor sizes.  To try and improve the appearance of discs on road bikes, Shimano introduced its flat mount system. It’s an open standard that has been quickly adopted by other d...