Culture A to Z

All you need to know.

From “Ai Weiwei at Alcatraz” to “The Zeitgeist Ratio,” the following is an arbitrarily alphabetical, intentionally incomplete, shamelessly optimistic encyclopedia of culture in 2014. The present moment is a crossroads where visions of the past cruise like vintage Bugattis into a brave new world in which technology can shrink distances—you can visit the Louvre from your Nintendo—and dissolve borders. But unlike time and roads, culture has no set course. Pick a letter, any letter.

A

Ai Weiwei at Alcatraz
The artist/activist prepares a massive new exhibit.

Art Anywhere
Four retrofitted show spaces that move outside the white cube.

The New Aspen Art Museum
Thirty minutes inside the revamped landmark.

Alternative Atlas: "Mapping It Out"
A new book takes a fresh look at cartography.

B

Born to Bugatti
An artistic treasure trove from automotive royalty at the Mullin Automotive Museum.

C

Chinese Contemporary Art: Q&A with Philip Tinari
A chat with the forward-thinking curator.

China's Dance Revolution: TAO Dance Theater
The People's Republic is finally giving dancers free rein—with breathtaking results.

The Craze for South African Art
Contemporary artists in Cape Town and Johannesburg move beyond the country's embattled past as the art scene there reaches world-class levels.

D

Drone Art
Adrien Missika takes to the sky.

E

Expanding Horizons: Sze Tsung Leong
Pared-down vistas that speak volumes.

F

France's True Detective: Jules Maigret
Translating the complete works of Georges Simenon.

G

Going Public: A Frank Lloyd Wright Tower
The architect's lost—and found—masterpiece.

Glackens Out of the Shadows
William Glackens, American art's great supporting player, gets his solo show.

Gilliam's Gonzo Opera: "Benvenuto Cellini"
A Monty Python alum's second stab at Berlioz.

H

Highsmith's Greece
Shooting on location for The Two Faces of January, based on a novel by Patricia Highsmith, the mistress of mystery.

Harvard Art Museums
120 minutes inside the school's newly merged collections.

I

Immersion Theater
The rise of first-person productions like Sleep No More.

J

Jukebox Heroes
The collective Postmodern Jukebox shakes things up.

K

Kabakov's Strange Utopia
An upcoming show at Paris's Grand Palais.

L

The Louis Vuitton Foundation for Creation
10 minutes inside the Frank Gehry–designed cultural stop.

Los Angeles's Future Landmarks
What to keep an eye on now.

M

Meeting Monsieur Oswald
Philippe Labro's account of J.F.K.'s assassination.

How “Mad Men” Marked the Years
Much has been made of the suits, the smokes and the day drinking, but the AMC drama, back for a final season, has relied on design and culture touchstones to set the '60s scene.

Music Matchmaker: Streaming Services

N

National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens
Ten or 1,000 minutes inside the reopened institution.

The New Guy: Benjamin Millepied
The biggest name in ballet leaps to Paris's main stage.

O

On the Shelf: Summer Books
What to pack (or download) this season.

P

Portraits of the Artists: "Bailey's Stardust"
A book and exhibit show David Bailey's best work.

Q

Quadrennial Celebration: Designing the Brazuca
Kicking off the World Cup in style.

R

Rethinking Video Games
Gaming goes cultural.

S

Starcrossed Starchitects
Controversies in architecture.

T

Technophilia at the Movies
Hollywood is ready for the robot revolution, as the new film Transcendence shows.

Tupac Lives! (On Broadway)
The late rap star's story hits the stage.

U

The Un-Diva: Cécile McLorin Salvant
The heiress to Billie, Nina and Sarah is just happy to be here.

V

Vonnegut's Best Lines
The master satirist's serious drawings.

W

Water, Water Everywhere
Photographer Ed Burtynsky's liquid opus.

Window on Xavier Guardans
Portraits from Kenya.

X

X Marks the Spot: Archaeologist Laura Tedesco
The Atlanta native spearheads, among other things, the new National Museum of Afghanistan.

Y

You Looking at Him?: Robert De Niro's Father
A new documentary on the life and work of Robert De Niro Sr.

Z

The Zeitgeist Ratio
What the hell does that mean? A. A. Gill presents his theory of cultural relativity to determine how much of what's being created today is actually good.