Leave a comment

“THE HAND OF THE DANCER” * – Cave Paintings in Indonesia Change Ideas about the Origin and Age of Oldest Art

New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday at 8:30pm ET

* “THE HAND OF THE DANCER” title supplied by Jack Dziamba, author – whitherthebook.

Telegraph Video

Maxime Aubert looking at cave art

Cave paintings change ideas about the origin of art

The artworks are in a rural area on the Indonesian Island of Sulawesi.

Until now, paintings this old had been confirmed in caves only in Western Europe.

Researchers tell the journal Nature that the Indonesian discovery transforms ideas about how humans first developed the ability to produce art.

Handprint 1

“Australian and Indonesian scientists have dated layers of stalactite-like growths that have formed over coloured outlines of human hands.

Early artists made them by carefully blowing paint around hands that were pressed tightly against the cave walls and ceilings. The oldest is at least 40,000 years old.”

Wild Pig
“This painting, from Bone, is of a variety a wild endemic dwarfed bovid found only in Sulawesi, which the inhabitants probably hunted

There are also human figures, and pictures of wild hoofed animals that are found only on the island. Dr Maxime Aubert, of Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, who dated the paintings found in Maros in Southern Sulawesi, explained that one of them (shown immediately below) was probably the earliest of its type.”

Oldest Art
“At the top of the worn painting is a faint outline of a human hand. Below it is possibly the earliest depiction of an animal

“The minimum age for (the outline of the hand) is 39,900 years old, which makes it the oldest hand stencil in the world,” said Dr Aubert.

“This find enables us to get away from this Euro-centric view of a creative explosion that was special to Europe.”Prof Chris Stringer Natural History Museum

“Next to it is a pig that has a minimum age of 35,400 years old, and this is one of the oldest figurative depictions in the world, if not the oldest one,” he told BBC News.

There are also paintings in the caves that are around 27,000 years old, which means that the inhabitants were painting for at least 13,000 years.

In addition, there are paintings in a cave in the regency of Bone, 100 km north of Maros. These cannot be dated because the stalactite-like growths used to determine the age of the art do not occur. But the researchers believe that they are probably the same age as the paintings in Maros because they are stylistically identical.

Truly human

Art and the ability to think of abstract concepts is what distinguishes our species from other animals – capabilities that also led us to use fire, develop the wheel and come up with the other technologies that have made our kind so successful.

Its emergence, therefore, marks one of the key moments when our species became truly human.

The dating of the art in Sulawesi will mean that ideas about when and where this pivotal moment in our evolution occurred will now have to be revised.”


“Compare the painting above from Bone with the one immediately below, which is from El Castillo cave in northern Spain, and dated to be 37,300 years old by researchers at Bristol University.”

Spanish Hands

“The Sulawesian and Spanish paintings look very similar, and they are both about the same age.

For decades, the only evidence of ancient cave art was in Spain and southern France. It led some to believe that the creative explosion that led to the art and science we know today began in Europe.

But the discovery of paintings of a similar age in Indonesia shatters this view, according to Prof Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London.

“It is a really important find; it enables us to get away from this Euro-centric view of a creative explosion that was special to Europe and did not develop in other parts of the world until much later,” he said.

The discovery of 40,000-year-old cave paintings at opposite ends of the globe suggests that the ability to create representational art had its origins further back in time in Africa, before modern humans spread across the rest of the world.”
How can cave pantings, thousands of years, and thousands of miles apart, be so similar?”

H/T Mark Dziamba

Leave a comment



New Post Goes up Every Wednesday

The Only Footage of Mark Twain: The Original & Digitally Restored Films Shot by Thomas Edison via Open Culture:

“We know what Mark Twain looked like, and we think we know what he sounded like. Just above see what he looked like in motion, strolling around Stormfield, his house in Redding, Connecticut—signature white suit draped loosely around his frame, signature cigar puffing white smoke between his fingers. After Twain’s leisurely walk along the house’s façade, we see him with his daughters, Clara and Jean, seated indoors. Shot by Thomas Edison in 1909, the short film is most likely the only moving image of Twain in existence.”


Mark Twain is subject of a new Library of Congress publication: via Art Daily:

Mark Twain's America

 “We know Mark Twain as the author of American classics such as “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and its sequel, “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” But in his time, Twain was a controversial satirist and popular public figure who traveled the world and helped heal post-Civil War America with his pithy wisdom, tall tales and humor.

A new work published by Little, Brown and Company in association with the Library of Congress reveals why Twain remains as relevant today as he was in his own time. With a lively narrative and 300 visual gems discovered in the Library’s collections, “Mark Twain’s America: A Celebration in Words and Images” by Harry L. Katz reveals the lasting impact that the author made on American culture—and vice versa. Writing was just one facet of Twain’s rich life. He was also a Mississippi riverboat pilot, a California gold prospector and a public speaker extraordinaire.

Katz shows us the many sides of Twain through rare illustrations, vintage photographs, caricatures and more. The accompanying text, which is enriched with excerpts from Twain’s novels and travel-writing text, puts Twain in historical context. Through letters, political cartoons, photographs and two illustrated timelines, “Mark Twain’s America” offers a unique perspective on the life of one of America’s most beloved humorists and illuminates literary, social and political life in the nation during his time.

Katz will discuss “Mark Twain’s America” at the Library at noon on Oct. 22 in the Mumford Room, located on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building at 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.

“Mark Twain’s America,” a 256-page hardcover book, with 300 color and black-and-white images, is available for $40 in bookstores nationwide and in the Library of Congress Shop, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C., 20540-4985. Credit-card orders are taken at (888) 682-3557 or www.loc.gov/shop/. “


Hal Holbrook – Mark Twain Tonight

William Gillette – Mark Twain’s Voice


Leave a comment

The Pyramids of Giza – via Street View

Pyramids Night

New Weekly Post Goes Up Every Wednesday at 8:30 pm ET

This Blog is devoted to the Book and Fine Art in the New Media, and reviews those sites that use the tools of the New Media to make Art and Literature available to all.

Google’s Street View of the Pyramids of Giza via  makes these spectacular wonders accessible to anyone in the world with an internet connection..

(October 1, 2014)  H/T to today’s GOOGLE Home Page for the following:

The Pyramids of Giza via Street View

Visit the last standing Wonder of the Ancient World


“The Pyramids of Giza were built to survive eternity. So far, they’ve succeeded: the Great Pyramid is the last standing wonder of the ancient world.

The architecture of these structures is so extraordinary that historians are still unsure exactly how ancient Egyptians built them without the help of modern engineering. After 4,500 years of exposure to the elements, the Pyramids still stand like man-made mountains, reflecting the ingenuity of the people who built them. The legacy of ancient Egypt is preserved through these monuments.

Now, with Street View, the Pyramids are preserved in a whole new way. Whether you’re at home, work or school, simply drag your finger or cursor across the screen and let modern technology take you on a 360-degree tour of ancient technology.

Millions of people have traveled down this road to visit one of the most famous landmarks on Earth. In the distance you can see the pyramids of Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure rising like man-made mountains. Explore this place.

Travel back in time

Nearly 5,000 years ago, outside the ancient city of Memphis, Egyptians built pyramids as tombs for their kings.

           These monuments are still standing today in the city of Giza. Zoom in to explore them.

Leave a comment

The Guggenheim Puts 109 Free Modern Art Books Online

The Guggenheim Puts 109 Free Modern Art Books Online

Via Open Culture                                                                                                                                                      New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday at 8:30pm ET



“Back in January, 2012, we mentioned that the Guggenheim (the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed modern art museum in NYC) had put 65 art catalogues on the web, all free of charge.

We’re happy to report that, between then and now, the number of free texts has grown to 109. Published between 1937 and 1999, the art books/catalogues offer an intellectual and visual introduction to the work of Alexander Calder, Edvard Munch, Francis BaconGustav Klimt & Egon Schiele, Fernand Léger, and Kandinsky. Plus there are other texts (e.g., Masterpieces of Modern Art and Abstract Expressionists Imagists) that tackle meta movements and themes.

Anyone interested in the history of the Guggenheim will want to spend time with a collection called “The Syllabus.” It contains five books by Hilla Rebay, the museum’s first director and curator. Together, they let you take a close look at the art originally housed in the Guggenheim when the museum first opened its doors in 1939.

To read any of these 109 free art books, you will just need to follow these simple instructions. 1.) Select a text from the collection. 2.) Click the “Read Catalogue Online” button. 3.) Start reading the book in the pop-up browser, and use the controls at the very bottom of the pop-up browser to move through the book. 4.) If you have any problems accessing these texts, you can find alternate versions on Archive.org.”

Leave a comment

Extensive Archive of Avant-Garde & Modernist Magazines, (1890-1939), Now Available Online

New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday at 8:30pm ET


 “The successful product of a collaborative effort to establish an Arts Magazine will represent a living community of artists, writers, editors, and other masters of technique who subordinate their individual wills, temporarily, to the will of a collective, creating new gestalt identities from conceptual atoms. As Monoskop—“a wiki for collaborative studies of art, media and the humanities”—points out, “the whole” of an arts magazine, “could become greater than the sum of its parts.” Often when this happens, a publication can serve as the platform or nucleus of an entirely new movement.

Monoskop maintains a digital archive of printed avant-garde and modernist magazines dating from the late-19th century to the late 1930s, published in locales from Arad to Bucharest, Copenhagen to Warsaw, in addition to the expected New York and Paris. From the latter city comes the 1924 first issue of Surrealisme at the top of the post. From the much smaller city of Arad in Romania comes the March, 1925 issue 1 of Periszkóp above, published in Hungarian and featuring works by Picasso, Marc Chagal, and many lesser-known Eastern European artists. Just below, see another Paris publication: the first, 1929 issue of Documents, a surrealist journal edited by Georges Bataille and featuring such luminaries as Cuban novelist Alejo Carpentier and artists Georges Braque, Giorgio De Chirico, Salvador Dali, Marchel Duchamp, Paul Klee, Joan Miro, and Pablo Picasso. Further down, see the first, 1926, issue of the Bauhaus journal, vehicle of the famous arts movement founded by Walter Gropius in 1919.”


“The variety of modernist and avant garde publications archived at Monoskop “provide us with a historical record of several generations of artists and writers.” They also “remind us that our lenses matter.” In an age of “the relentless linearity of digital bits and the UX of the glowing screen” we tend to lose sight of such critically important matters as design, typography, layout, writing, and the “techniques of printing and mechanical reproduction.” Anyone can build a website, fill it with “content,” and propagate it globally, giving little or no thought to aesthetic choices and editorial framing. But the magazines represented in Monoskop’s archive are specialized creations, the products of very deliberate choices made by groups of highly skilled individuals with very specific aesthetic agendas.”


“A majority of the publications represented come from the explosive period of modernist experimentation between the wars, but several, like the journal Rhythm: Art Music Literature—first published in 1911—offer glimpses of the early stirrings of modernist innovation in the Anglophone world. Others like the 1890-93 Parisian Entretiens politiques et littéraires showcase the work of pioneering early French modernist forebears like Jules Laforgue (a great influence upon T.S. Eliot) and also André Gide and Stéphane Mallarmé. Some of the publications here are already famous, like The Little Review, many much lesser-known. Most published only a handful of issues.”


“With a few exceptions—such as the 1923 Japanese publication MAVO shown above—almost all of the journals represented at Monoskop’s archive hail from Eastern and Western Europe and the U.S.. While “only a few journals had any significant impact outside the avant-garde circles in their time,” the ripples of that impact have spread outward to encompass the art and design worlds that surround us today. These examples of the literary and design culture of early 20th century modernist magazines, like those of late 20th century postmodern ‘zines, provide us with a distillation of minor movements that came to have major significance in decades hence.”

via Hyperallergic and Open Culture

Leave a comment




Published Early This Week

In our post titled, “Could this be Netflix? “ we wrote, “On our Purpose Page we observed that, “Just as the iPod changed the shape of the music industry, the entire book publishing industry, is on the brink of a paradigm change.” Now, two companies outside book publishing offer unlimited downloads of e-books for a flat monthly fee.” These companies are Oyster and Scribid. The monthly fee is $8.99 and $9.95 respectively.


Many would agree that the price of something does not mean its value. Price is the money we pay to acquire something, value is the worth we place on it. Because something is free does not mean it is valueless. Likewise, just because something has a high price does not mean that it has high value. What had this got to do with the price and value of e-books?

When e-books first came to market, the price was significantly cheaper that that of the hard cover print edition. As e-books gained in acceptance and popularity, e-book prices began to creep higher and higher so that there was not a significant difference in the price between the two. Now that the e- book market, especially in the U.S, has become saturated, and consumers have become resistant to the high prices of some of the more popular e-books.


In July 2014 CNET, in an Article titled “Amazon rolls out $9.99 Kindle Unlimited monthly subscription. The new service offers more than 600,000 Kindle e-books and thousands of Audible audiobooks for $9.99 a month,” wrote,

Launched Friday, Kindle Unlimited lets you borrow as many books as you want at a single time from a collection of 600,000 Kindle titles and thousands of Audible audiobooks, with no due dates. Subscribers can find eligible titles by browsing the Kindle book store and looking for any book flashing the Kindle Unlimited logo. Simply click on the “Read for Free” link, and the book becomes available.


In “Update: Subscription eBook Services Compared,” appearing online in The Digital Reader, Nate Hoffelder wrote,

“The following post matches up 5 different services that are available in the US or globally:

Kindle Owner’s Lending library
Kindle Unlimited

Oyster offers 500,000 titles, but few are frontlist and few are bestsellers.
Amazon boasts that the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library stocks over 550 thousand titles, most of which were added via KDP Select.
Scribd has a catalog of over 400,000
Kindle Unlimited has 650,000 titles at launch, many of which are also found in KOLL. There are also 7,300 audiobooks.
Bookmate offers 400,000 titles, but they tend to be concentrated in certain markets.

Oyster costs $10 a month for unlimited access.
Kindle Owner’s Lending Library comes as part of an Amazon Prime membership, and in the US that costs $79 per year but includes other extras like free 2 day shipping and free streaming video. You are limited to borrowing a single ebook title each month.
Scribd costs $9 a month for unlimited access.
Kindle Unlimited costs $9.99 for unlimited access, but limits you to only having 10 titles at a time.
Bookmate costs $5 a month, which is usually billed through a subscriber’s cellphone company.

Bookmate is technically available globally but the company is concentrating its attention on certain markets: Russia, the Ukraine, Turkey, and Kazakhstan. They plan to expand into Scandinavia and Latin America by the end of 2014.


Oyster launched their pilot with an iPhone app, and later released iPad and Android apps.
Scribd has iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, and iPad apps, and you can read in your web browser.
Kindle Owner’s Lending Library is only available on a Kindle.
Kindle Unlimited is available on any Kindle device or app.
Bookmate offers apps for Android and iOS.”


Lifehacker  wrote, “Is An Ebook Subscription Worth It?”

Are Ebook Subscription Services Worth It?

“As you’d expect, whether or not an ebook subscription is worth it boils down to how many books you tend to read a month, what types of books you read, and the devices for reading you have access to.

All three services offer a free trial membership, so it’s worth checking them out if you’re even slightly interested. Once you do, you can browse the book selection fully and get a better feel for what types of books each service offers. At a glance, Scribd has a lot more self-published books, whereas Oyster seems to have a better selection of popular fiction, and Entitle has a lot of popular fiction and more technical manuals. If there’s a good amount of books available that are on your reading list, and you tend to read at least a book a month, then it’s probably worth trying out until you run out of books.

I like the overall experience of Oyster the most, but it’s iOS only at the moment. The genre categories and overall presentation feel a lot like Netflix, and the experience was pretty fluid compared to Scribd, which was a little clunky at times. Entitle is more of a bare-bones experience comparatively, but the fact you can keep the books is more appealing to people who like to reread a lot.

The book selection is just too limited for me and I’d have to continue buying books on top of having the subscription if I really wanted to read everything. That said, all three of these do a great job of organizing their content in a way that makes it easy to find new books that do interest you, even if they’re not jumping to the top of you must-read charts.

In the end, it really depends on what type of reader you are. If you don’t mind not always getting the exact book you want, a subscription will suit you well. If you’re a little more particular, you might find that the selection just isn’t big enough.”

Leave a comment



The following is a letter dated September 2, 2014 from Thomas P. Campbell, Director of the Metropolitan  Museum of Art, announcing the Met’s new app:

Dear Friend,

It is my great pleasure to announce the launch of the Met app, a free digital resource that offers an easy way to stay connected with the Museum from anywhere in the world.

With so much to see and do at the Met, we wanted to create a simple yet personalized way to find the art, exhibitions, and events that matter most to you. The app balances beauty with utility, revealing the Museum’s vast collection and activities with just a swipe.

Some of the highlights of the app are themed lists that provide a fresh, often playful perspective on the Met’s collection, the Museum’s popular Artwork of the Day, syndication of our Twitter feed, and a special section just for Members.

The Met app is available on iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, and can be downloaded for free from the App Store. I hope that you will find it as elegant as it is useful, and enjoy it both in and away from the Museum.

Thomas P. Campbell


    • Listings of current exhibitions and daily events at both the Main Building and The Cloisters
    • Ability to purchase Museum admission, Membership, and event tickets
    • Recommended must-sees, from artworks to architecture
    • Lists of offbeat and family-friendly artworks to spark inspiration
    • A special section for Members with upcoming events and opportunities


As the Met says,

Swipe freely between events and exhibitions, explore classic highlights, and discover fresh perspectives on the permanent collection. The Met app is The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s official mobile app, designed to be simple, delightful, and easy to use over and over.

According to Art Daily,

One of the highlights of the app is a set of themed lists of artworks that provide fresh, often playful, perspectives on the Met’s permanent collection. These include: “Grand Spaces and Hidden Nooks,” “Animals: See One, Be One,” “Hidden in Plain Sight,” “Medieval Love” (for The Cloisters), and “Met-Staches,” which shows works of art with mustachioed subjects. For the more avid users there is also a hidden feature to discover: the Museum’s popular “Artwork of the Day.”


This app is another fine example of the way in which museums have used the tools of the New Media to make Art accessable to everyone.

Art Daily,

The Met app was produced by the Metropolitan Museum’s Digital Media Department in collaboration with Instrument, an independent digital creative agency in Portland, Oregon, and with the assistance of staff from across the Museum, in departments including Information Systems & Technology, Education, and Design.


The Museum is now developing a version of The Met app for Android users, and this will launch in 2015.

images.met app


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 110 other followers

%d bloggers like this: