originally published on 16.2.2011 on Global Post

Adrian Ghenie, a master of dark, surrealist painting, has an east London studio flooded with light from large windows and scattered with bright tubes of paint. In fact the Transylvanian artist is pretty jolly himself. And why wouldn’t he be? A darling of the international art scene, Ghenie now has a solo exhibition in Ghent, Belgium and more in the works.

Ghenie isn’t the only Romanian hitting the global marquee. Since the mid-1990s, compatriots including Victor Man, Ioana Nemes and Ciprian Muresan have burst onto the art scene. They are matched by colleagues in film, music and design. Read more

(originally published in Newsweek–October 15 2010)

Three years ago, during a stopover in Hong Kong on the way home from Australia to Poland, Slawomir Swierzynski and his bandmate popped into a karaoke bar in search of a drink. The place did not sell alcohol, but it did have a stage and microphone. So the two men—members of the band Bayer Full—jumped onstage and had a go. The local Chinese crowd went mad for their music. After performing three songs, the duo handed out several of their CDs to the audience and left to catch their flight. Read more

Interview with Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski

(originally published in Newsweek)

The April plane crash that killed 80 Polish leaders, including President Lech Kaczynski, is known in Poland as “the catastrophe.” The leaders were en route to a commemoration of the 1940 Soviet massacre of Polish officers in Katyn, Russia. Poland had to call early elections, now scheduled for June 20. Kaczynski’s twin brother, Jaroslaw, who heads the ultraconservative Law and Justice Party, faces Acting President Bronislaw Komorowski of the pro-European Civic Platform party. Poland’s Oxford-educated Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, 47, also from Civic Platform, discussed recent events with NEWSWEEK’s Ginanne Brownell. Excerpts: Read more


By Ginanne Brownell | NEWSWEEK

Published Feb 18, 2010

From the magazine issue dated Mar 1, 2010

I’ve never been much of a dancer. I took ballet and tap classes for years as a child but never managed to graduate to pointe shoes or the high-heeled tap shoes the cool, older girls wore. Since then, the dancer in me lay dormant—until a recent trip to Spain, where I saw a flamenco dancer whiz across the floor with poise and precision. It reawakened my inner ballerina, and I started fantasizing about all the opportunities I had missed to trip the light fantastic. So I decided to see if age has made me more graceful; this summer I plan to visit Spain and take flamenco classes in the very place the dance originated. No matter where you live, it’s easy to find dance classes of every variety—thanks in part to the popularity of shows like Strictly Come Dancing and So You Think You Can Dance. But I intend to try one of the growing number of high-end companies that offer a more authentic experience, providing total immersion in the culture associated with the dance. Read more


By Ginanne Brownell
LONDON, United Kingdom — Compared to the 1988 Viennese premiere of Thomas Bernhard’s “Heldenplatz,” the opening of the play last week at London’s Arcola Theatre was a muted affair. There was both intense applause and intense conversation afterward, but no police presence, no protesters, nor any politicians calling for the play to be banned. Read more