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Chapter 2: The Flexible Grid

When I was in college, a professor once told me that every artistic movement—whether musical, literary, or from the fine arts—could be seen as a response to the one that preceded it. Filmmakers of the sixties produced Bonnie and Clyde and The Graduate to counter such old Hollywood pictures as The Sound of Music. In Paradise Lost, John Milton actually writes his literary predecessors into the backdrop of hell—a not-so-subtle dig at their poetic street cred. And if it wasn’t for the tight arrangements of Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman, Charlie Parker might never have produced the wild-eyed experimentation of bebop.

One artist establishes a ...

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