Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.
But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

Brendan O’Connell is blocking the bread aisle

4 minutes

An artist finds rich pickings in the sprawling mundanity of a Walmart store

For many, a Walmart store is the foremost symbol of the supposed cultural and economic mediocrity of the United States over the past half-century. But might we someday find ourselves nostalgic for the era of the big-box retailer? The US artist Brendan O’Connell, known for his impressionistic paintings of famous US brands, thinks it’s likely. Brendan O’Connell Is Blocking the Bread Aisle follows the artist’s attempt to depict the (perhaps fleeting) cultural moment of big-box bargain-shopping through a series of paintings that celebrate unremarkable moments inside Walmart stores. In doing so – first as an intruder, and later as Walmart’s invited guest – he reminds us of the contingency and temporality of our ideas about what constitutes culture and art.

Director: Julien Lasseur

Producer: Jamie Thalman

Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

Essay/Anthropology
Infanticide

There is nothing so horrific as child murder, yet it’s ubiquitous in human history. What drives a parent to kill a baby?

Sandra Newman

Essay/Rituals & Celebrations
Who first buried the dead?

Evidence of burial rites by the primitive, small-brained Homo naledi suggests that symbolic behaviour is very ancient indeed

Paige Madison