Introducing Obelisk

— After almost a decade, it's time for something new

Dear friends and art lovers — We made it to 2020! Trivium Art History is almost ten years old this year, and with the close of the twenty-teens it’s time to freshen things up. As of today, Trivium Art History is becoming Obelisk, A New History of Art.


What does this mean?

Trivium has always been an evolving project—part textbook, part archive, part educational toolset. This new name signals a redoubled focus on my core mission—discovering, writing about, and sharing the most interesting art history possible. Each week I’ll be researching, writing and posting new essays, biographies and artwork. We’ll continue to explore the lives and work of artists who have been ignored by the traditional canon, but everything is fair game, from reviews of 16th century grimoires to the first art-meme.

At the end of the month, Obelisk will also begin offering a paid subscription, where supporters will be able to login through Patreon to access quizzes and read our full long-form biographies and essays. Viewing artworks, exploring the timeline, and browsing the site will remain free for everyone, but for readers who want to dig deep into history's great stories, subscriptions will help fund consistent updates and support the growing infrastructure of the platform. If you've already created a Trivium account, you will have access to all current and new content through the end of this academic year. If you're an educator wondering how this change will impact your students, please contact me at info@arthistoryproject.com.


Why Obelisk?

I love art history for its stories. And when searching high and low for a fitting successor to the name Trivium, I returned again and again to the story of the strange, ambitious monoliths called obelisks. Cut from the granite of the Aswān quarries by thousands of Egyptian craftsman, inscribed with triumphs of their era and raised to the heavens—over the millenia these monuments have been cut down by invading nations and shipped across the world as trophies, their heiroglyphs eroding into obscurity. Here is our beleaguered metaphor for history, stolen and reshaped by colonialism, faded by time. 

But dig further and new narratives appear. Mysteries emerge. We still don't know how exactly these things were built, or why! And the symbol of the obelisk has evolved, adopted by the Washington momument, commemorating populist revolution in São Paulo, and refashioned from recycled bicycles in the Santa Rosa 'Cyclisk.' In Ethiopia, imperialist theft was finally reversed when the Obelisk of Axum became the first obelisk returned to its home country. But most importantly, whether at home or abroad, these great granite monuments are still here. And their stories still wait to be uncovered. 


What's next?

I'm terrifically excited to dive into 2020 with Obelisk. I'll be doing more writing and research than has been possible before, and will keep subscribers up to date via email. As always, feel free to contact me at info@arthistoryproject.com if you have any questions or topics you're curious about. All the best—

Reed Enger
Founder & Editor in Chief, Obelisk Art History

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