Shaun Randol

Shaun Randol founded The Mantle in 2009. Today he is the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher. You can email him at shaun [at] Shaun is the co-editor of Gambit: Newer African Writing. He is also a member of the PEN American Center and serves on the boards of Nomadic Press, the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative, and Africa Book Link.


March 11, 2013

In this essay, Shaun Randol wonders if, after forty years, John Berger's Marxist take on European oil painting and modern advertising is still relevant, and whether the feminist social critic Camille Paglia has lost her edge.

March 7, 2013

On February 17, I wandered the Greek and Roman statue galleries at The Metropolitan Museum in New York City and snapped the following erotic close-ups* of what we normally perceive as lifeless sculptures. When you look close, though, you'll see the marble does have vitality. And if you look at the right features, your own pulse may quicken.

Here are some images from that erotic journey.

February 25, 2013

Tomoyuki Shinki (b. 1982, Osaka) is an outsider artist with a penchant for contact sports, namely wrestling and boxing, with some judo and Muay Thai mixed in here and there. Shinki uses a computer to draw contorted opponents, sometimes black and white but more often vividly colored. In bold cartoonish scenes, Shinki’s fighters maul, punch, grab, pull, smash, and flip each other around.

February 22, 2013

Here's a touching anti-bullying message from the poet Shane Koyczan.

According to the artist:

This animated piece is the result of a group of individuals coming together and binding their talents in an expression of solidarity and compassion. I am humbled by the extraordinary efforts of those who selflessly gave their time and committed themselves to bring out this message in such a beautiful way.

February 14, 2013

Marela Zacarias, Supple Beat (photo: Jessica Halbrecht)

The “Raw/Cooked” series, now in its second year at the Brooklyn Museum, showcases emerging Brooklyn artists. The current and seventh exhibition in the series features Gowanus-based Marela Zacarias.

February 6, 2013

Notes* on the evolution of the depiction of the infamous Biblical allegory of Adam and Eve.

The text:

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

February 5, 2013

To observe is to pay attention, to notice. The objectification of women is not a new topic, by any stretch of the imagination, and you won’t find a thorough discussion of it in this post. Still, I couldn’t help but pull together commentaries, images, and videos from some of my recent travels through books, magazines, and videos, which highlight the pervasiveness the phenomenon.

December 14, 2012

The peasant engaged in backbreaking work is a common motif in paintings. Characteristics of the theme include peasants bent and crumpled (often below a horizon, earthbound), faces hidden (anonymous), and painted realistically (rather than in exalted or virtuous tones).

November 28, 2012

Though it never existed, the legend of Atlantis continues to stand as an exemplar of a powerful and enlightened society. Plato is credited for introducing Western civilization to the mythical island which, "in a single day and night of misfortune ...