Paying Attention

I'd like to try all--ok, most--of these exercises.

I've given the "Look really, really slowly" assignment to Art History students before, only for me it was 20 or 40 minutes, not three hours.

"Repeat your viewpoint" reminds me of some pivotal moments in The Wind-up Bird Chronicle.

I think the one I'm going to try immediately is the "Misuse a tech tool" with the compass.

Panama Papers, Modigliani, and Nazis

I've been a bit confused about all the hubbub surrounding "The Panama Papers." Yes, the leaked documents has shown precisely which wealthy people have used precisely which off-shore tax havens, but it's certainly not news that tax havens exist and are used by wealthy people for a number of reasons. Two of the most popular tax havens are the state of Delaware and the City of London. You don't have to actually go off shore to go off-shore.

But anyway.

One interesting thing that has turned up is the ownership of a Modigliani painting allegedly looted by Nazis and possibly being reclaimed. If I'm reading the news reports correctly, the Nahmad family has claimed that they do not own the painting in question, but that it is owned by a company called IAC. Only ow it's been leaked that IAC is owned, and has been owned for decades, by the Nahmad family.

Why not make art funny?

These GIFs make funny little cartoons out of a few of art's most somber pieces. Enjoy.

A new painting from Rembrandt

The Next Rembrandt is a project that used a lot of data and algorithms to make a very good, and original, Rembrandt painting. I have to say the product looks pretty good.

It's an interesting (and scary) project. Be warned, though: the video and project are basically an ad for ING and Microsoft.

GTA Deer

I don't quite know how this all works, but an artist inserted a wandering and unstoppable deer into a famous video game. So, you know, yeah.

Art and politics

1. A competition in which architecture is influenced by politics.

2. A list of times that politics were influenced by art.

Lost Wax

I've seen (and drawn) plenty of vaguely helpful illustrations of how lost wax bronze casting works. But the Israel Museum did it right and made a fun video.

I don't think these really count as secrets

For this year's Museum Week, museums around the world were asked to post secrets. Some of these are pretty cool, and I guess it would be unfair to ask institutions to tell their actual secrets.

Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees

I started reading Lawrence Weschler's book about the artist Robert Irwin, and it's one of those books I wish I had read years ago.

Originally published in 1982, the book has been expanded several times to almost double its original length. It's part biography and part critical history of Irwin, an artist I'd never heard of, even though I've admired his work before.

I can't wait to finish it and reconsider a giant portion of all the art I've ever considered.


Yves Klein famously had his own color, and now Anish Kapoor does as well. Kapoor has somehow got the exclusive rights to a high-tech nano-pigment called Vantablack. It absorbs more than 99.9% of light, and Kapoor is the only artist who can (legally) work with it.

What does an artist do with a virtual black hole? Let's find out.

Dion McGregor

Years ago on ktru I heard a really weird story, involving a hot-air baloon, that went on for much too long. But then the DJ said it was from a recording of a man sleep-talking. Now, thanks to BBC, I know who that man was and how that eery story ended up as part of my morning commute. The article has several of his recordings.

Opening, "Found: Ourselves"

Carnegie students (and some others, but whatever) were featured in Glasstire for the opening of Found: Ourselves, curated by Carnegie's own Lynn Huynh. Way to go!

Don Justo's Cathedral

Spain's newest cathedral--though technically not a cathedral--has been under construction for 55 years. And almost all the construction has been completed by one man.

Watch Kandinsky at work!

A short film of an abstract picture being made in 1926.

Light show in the Temple of Dendur

Similar to the projected-light restoration of the Harvard Rothko Murals, a projection experiment at the Met is bringing back the original colors of their ancient Egyptian temple.

It turns out that even doctors can use art

Med students at Brigham an Women's Hospital in Boston are required to take a special art class at the MFA Boston. Apparently empathy and emotional understanding are really important to doctors.

I think this is a wonderful move, as long as the students aren't there to try to diagnose the art subjects.

Looking for artistic real estate?

You can buy Michelangelo's Tuscan villa for around $8 million.

If you have more to spend, this $10 million French chateaux includes murals by Picasso.

But if you're on budget, you can rent a replica of Van Gogh's bedroom in Arles from Airbnb for $10 per night. (It's part of an exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago)

Starbucks is now selling art

No, really. They have a gallery/coffeehouse space in Chelsea where they've started selling art from young artists, in the $1,000-$3000 range. I don't know if those prices are certified fair trade or not.

Utah may get an Official Work of Art

To be fair, Utah has had The Spiral Jetty  in Utah for more than 40 years. But now Utah may declare it their Official State Artwork, becoming the first state to adopt an official work of art.

Intriguing Musicians

Here's a critic's list of 40 musicians to listen to in the near future: "they play by their own rules, and they grab your attention." I'm only familiar with three of them, so I've got some listening to do. Let me know if you try any of these out.

This is what happens when you let math nerds around the literature


1: there is a thing called the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences
2: they took time to run statistical analyses of great works of literature
3: they found fractals. And in the case of a number of stream-of-consciousness novels (and the Bible), they found really complex fractals-within-fractals structures.

So, um, that happened.

The Ghiberti panels are fakes!

But don't worry. They're high-quality replicas of the centuries-old masterpiece, and the originals are going to go indoors for display. These are Ghiberti's first bronze doors, the ones he won the contest to make. The later doors for another side of the baptistry--the so-called Gates of Paradise--were replaced and restored years ago.

Amalia Ulman

I don't have an Instagram account or follow anything on Instagram, so I just learned of Amalia Ulman and her long-term "Excellences and Perfections" project (for some reason referred to as a "hoax," as if pretty much ALL social media isn't a projected identity). But a number of museums, including the Tate Modern, are showing it for non-Insta-folks like me.

Manet wasn't just good with paint

He was also, apparently, good with words.

"A different kind of canon"

In my English class we've been dealing with issues of canon. Today a friend sent me this piece about the artistic canon, AIDS, and black bodies. It's a powerful essay about really important art.

Sometimes annotation can be really funny

New York Times columnist David Brooks writes a strange column about art and beauty. And then Artnet contributor Ben Davis adds his own comments. The result is really funny.

It's hard out there for an art forger

This essay explains how making paintings that look exactly like other paintings may be the simplest part of forging art.

Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai

On late-night cable one night, some time around 2003, I came across Jim Jarmusch's film Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai. It's a strange and gorgeous movie starring Forest Whitaker (how can you not like Forest Whitaker?) as a hitman for a minor mobster.

The movie's music, the first film that RZA scored, is a major character unto itself, and the film score is one of those albums that I've been listening to again and again for about 15 years now. I don't remember where or how I got it, but I got the Japanese version, which has the original score, plus two Wu-Tang songs that aren't actually in the movie. The soundtrack released everywhere but Japan has a lot of great hip-hop from the movie, but not the score. If you're going to find this album, find the Japanese score version. Trust me.