Recovering the Classics is a crowdsourced collection of original covers for 100 great works in the public domain, designed to increase interest and access to classics in e-book format. [more inside]
The Asians Art Museum is a parody site bringing a cirtical lens to orientalist tropes in art museums, prompted particularly by rhetorical choices of the San Francisco Art Museum's 2009 Lords of the Samurai exhibition [audio]. It highlights the tendency for museums showing Asian art to present their shows as a"a harmless trip to a fantasyland of romanticized premodern Otherness, a place where dreams of Manifest Destiny never have to die?" [more inside]
The Eidophusikon, an early form of motion picture, is a theatrical technology developed by fine art painter and theatrical set designer Philip de Loutherbourg using sound, colored filters, mechanical works, light from newly invented Argand lamps, mirrors and more . It was first exhibited at his home in 1781, featuring five scenes of land and seascape. In recent years, recognition of this as an early chapter in cinema history has prompted several institutions to recreate the experience. Among the most successful is the 2005 storm at sea depicted in Eidophusikon Reimagined by the Australian National University.
“We did our first show in a bar...all of a sudden, the whole room was quiet. And then we got everyone to sit on the floor cross-legged to watch our crankies.” [more inside]
Need quick visual shorthand for an aggressively encroaching political entity? You want an Cartographic Land Octopus! It's a subcategory of satirical maps. More octopus maps here, here, here.
Broadsided Press publishes a new, printable PDF featuring an original poetry & visual art collaboration every month; they've beeing doing it since 2005. You can even become a vector for this distributed, "serendipitous" press.
Blackboard Sketching by Frederick Whitney, Director of Art, State Normal School, Salem, MA, 1908. [more inside]
Nick Cave's Soundsuits: Calling up echoes of wild beasts, Carnival dancers, maskers and shamans, the "soundsuits" made of a wild diversity of materials by visual artist and dancer Nick Cave have life beyond the gallery. They're designed to be used in performances and 'invasions,' creating a sense of mystery, playfulness and joyful moments of community.
The Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History uses the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection as the starting point for a deeply informative, chronologically arranged exploration of world art history, with maps, timelines, art images, thematic essays, and more.
The story behind the iconic poster Keep Calm and Carry On rediscovered in 1991 at Barter Books, has been covered here before, but not in this lovely short video. And not with the new iPhone app.
The Guggenheim Museum is claiming to be the first museum to begin issuing new exhibit catalogues as e-books for purchase. But even more exciting to the 20th century art history nerd, they've also partnered with the Internet Archive to offer free digitized versions of out-of-print catalogues going back to the 1930s. [more inside]
It's a ring-tone! It's place-based community art! Well, you don't have to choose any more. In Locally Toned, artist T. Foley sources sound in the wild to create hundreds of unique ringtones.
"The only merit I have is to have painted directly from nature with the aim of conveying my impressions in front of the most fugitive effects."
Don't Make Excuses - Make Good! Between World Wars I and II, the U.S. economy was booming - workers had choices and employers competed for their time. How to motivate and gain loyalty from a labor force that knew it could walk out the door and find more work soon? Charles Mather, head of a family printing business in Chicago, offered employers a solution: the first motivational posters for the private workplace market. Printed between 1923 and 1929, Mather's "Work Incentive Posters" used strong imagery and short, clear messaging to encourage workplace values like teamwork, punctuality, safety, and loyalty. Today, some of his 350 designs can be seen in traveling exhibitions and poster galleries, and Antiques Road Show - or you can soak up some motivation from his modern-day successors at Successories - or generate your own. [more inside]
"These are sample layouts from a fullsize reproduction of the entire 2007 IKEA catalogue, leaving only color and structure. With an estimated 175 million copies distributed in 2006, the IKEA catalogue is thought to have surpassed the Bible as the most published print-work in the world." [more inside]
American Ethnography Quasi-Weekly is a somewhat gonzo cabinet of curiosities -- a mix of photography, academic essay, archival materials, and bloggy postings on "outlaw aethetics" and outsider culture, presenting glimpses of American subcultures past and present, from Califormia low-riders to "hoochy-coochy" dancers to blackface tambourine jugglers, and plenty more. [more inside]
Good 50x70 is an annual poster contest run by a worldwide partnership. Each year they ask seven charities to prepare briefs on major global issues, and then invite anyone to submit original posters that address the issue. The call for 2010 posters is now on; explore the archives from previous years to see posters on health care access, the War on Terror, women's rights, child mortality, water scarcity, global warming, and more.
Museums build some pretty cool websites. To help people find them, use them, and give them props, the Museums and the Web conference has held an annual Best of the Web contest since 1997. This year's nominees are here. Just a sample: the MOMA on Bauhaus, the Center for New Media's Bracero History Archive, the Textile Museum of Canada's In Touch:Connecting Cloth, Culture, and Art, Perception Deception from The National Science and Technology Center of Australia, The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh from the Van Gogh Museum, the Smithsonian's Prehistoric Climate Change and Why it Matters Today, and more . If that doesn't wash out the remainder of your Friday, you can always dig into the past nominees.
Holidays on Display, currently on view at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, offers an image-rich online exhibit as well, detailing the way businesses learned to capitalize on one of the country's largest celebrations. Peer into the artistry of holiday window design as well. [more inside]
What Should Museums Throw Out? At a time when controversial moves by major art museums are making the public more aware than ever of how museums collect or discard objects, the University College of London's museum invites visitors to play curator in the exhibit Disposal, viewing some white-elephant objects and determining their fate. The museum also just wrapped up another innovative exhibit on objects and point of vew, Object Retrieval, in which one object was explored and responded to by a rolling team of contributors from varying displines, 24 hours a day, for one week.
Skin & Bones is a new exhibit about sailor tattoos and their symbolism and history, developed at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia. NYTimes story with neat art slideshow.
This entrancing 17-minute film compiled from footage of British folk celebrations was put together in honor of a new project created by set designer Simon Costin. Finding much of his artistic inspiration in the folklore of Great Britain, Costin wondered why there was no national center or museum dedicated to studying and collecting these traditional customs. So he's decided to start one, The Museum of British Folklore, and is launching the project this summer by outfitting a 1976 caravan and traveling to folk festivals around the country. The expedition is intended to build interest in the museum project, and to collect and document some of the surprising variety of more than 700 annual, seasonal, often pre-Christian festival celebrations that continue to this day. [more inside]
Photomontage timeline, 1850-2007. Spirit photography, trick photography, comic montages, Photoshop, etc. [more inside]
Weavings of War: Fabrics of Memory, an online exhibit of comtemporary textiles created (mostly) by women living in war zones.
Visual Arts: No Revolution in Hyperspace "A former insider laments the dumbing down of art museum websites." Nice, short overview of art museums and the web with good links.
Poetry's turn to go graphic. The Poetry Foundation has invited a few graphic novelists to illustrate poems from its archive. Via.
I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to Be Destroyed by Me is a new book by author and interesting person Trevor Paglen. He collects patches designed by military personnel to commemorate secret "black-ops" projects.
Time of the Season: Conceptual artist Chris Hardman of Antenna Theater has reimagined the calendar. His ECOcalendar abandons the grid concept, instead unrolling like a scroll to define days vertically. Each day appears in its unique position along the arc of gradual seasonal change, with graphics linking stars to tides to the terrestrial world . Radio interview here.
Cigar Box Labels are among the finest works of commercial art ever produced. Package designs proliferated during the 1800s, thanks to the development of the stone lithography technique. "Each label could involve a dozen highly skilled specialists,, take a month to create, and cost upwards of $6000.00 (in 1900 dollars) to produce." Images range from racy to rustic to romantic to racist, offering a glimpse into the changing popular fascinations of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Folkvine: A creative presentation of Florida folk artists and their work. The interface can be a little baroque, but there's some nifty stuff inside.