Leave a comment

Is this our Chauvet Cave, is this our Lascaux? The Metropolitan Museum of Art Makes 375,000 Images of Fine Art Available Under a Creative Commons License

met-harvestersThe Metropolitan Museum of Art Makes 375,000 Images of Fine Art Available Under a Creative Commons License*

On February 7, 2017, The Met announced,

“As of today, all images of public-domain works in The Met collection are available under Creative Commons Zero (CC0). So whether you’re an artist or a designer, an educator or a student, a professional or a hobbyist, you now have more than 375,000 images of artworks from our collection to use, share, and remix—without restriction.”

The Museum’s Mission: To Make Art Accessible to Everyone, Everywhere

“This policy change to Open Access is an exciting milestone in The Met’s digital evolution, and a strong statement about increasing access to the collection and how to best fulfill the Museum’s mission in a digital age.”

“Since our audience is really the three billion internet-connected individuals around the world, we need to think big about how to reach these viewers, and increase our focus on those digital tactics that have the greatest impact. Open Access is one of those tactics.”

How it Works

“Alongside the images, we’re also making available under CC0 each artwork’s key information, otherwise known as tombstone data—title, maker, date, culture, medium, and dimensions—on all 440,000 artworks that the Museum has digitized to date; this data is now available as a downloadable file on GitHub. By making this information available in a clear, machine-readable format, we are making it easier for the world to search for, play with, and explore the breadth and depth of the Museum’s collection.”

The Numbers: 30 Million, 300 Billion …

“We’re privileged to serve over 30 million visitors on our website each year, which we see as the canonical source for information about the collection; but if we want to connect the collection to three billion individuals around the world, we know that they’re never all going to come to metmuseum.org.

If one we to publish these 370,000 in volumes of 600 pages each, it would total 625 volumes. If one were to look at the 375,000 at the rate of  50 per day, it would take 7,500 days, or 20.54 years.

The Significance: “After the War”, “Après la Guerre”

The phrase “After the War,” ( “Après la Guerre”) is used metaphorically to describe a period after the destruction. For example, history has seen the destruction of the art and cultures of Greece, Rome, Egypt, and early humans. What if ours is destroyed?

The discoverers of the Chauvet Cave - Jean-Marie Chauvet, Eliette Brunel and Christian Hilaire

The discoverers of the Chauvet Cave – Jean-Marie Chauvet, Eliette Brunel and Christian Hilaire

The Chuavet Cave and the Lascaux Cave in France served as the gateways to the culture and art that existed 35,000 year ago. Where will those who come after us look?  It may be that the digital record is all that will still exist. It is there that the whole culture and art of the human race will be found. Thus, the significance of the digital record being created by the Met and other institutions is that our art and culture will be enduring, even after we are gone.


Leave a comment

Kurt Vonnegut’s Master’s Thesis Rejected by University of Chicago

Vonnegut: Theory in Few Words

“The ability to express an idea clearly and simply is a mark of genius.” (Me.)

A Short Story

“Vonnegut was a graduate student in Anthropology  [at the University of Chicago] from 1945 to 1947, after serving in World War II. Vonnegut left Chicago after his Master’s thesis, “’The Fluctuations Between Good and Evil in Simple Tasks,”’ was rejected.” Unanimously. (University of Chicago Chronicle.)

“The apathy of the University o Chicago is repulsive to me. They can go take a flying fuck at the moooooooooooooooon.” (Vonnegut, Palm Sunday, p 288.)

The Shapes of Stories

“Vonnegut sums up his theory on stories in one elegant sentence: ‘“The fundamental idea is that stories have shapes which can be drawn on graph paper, and that the shape of a given society’s stories is at least as interesting as the shape of its pots or spearheads.”’

“‘His work turns a suspicious eye on overcomplicated posturing and champions unsentimental, Midwestern directness. Vonnegut’s short, trade publication essay, “How to Write With Style,” is as succinct and practical a statement on the subject in existence. One will encounter no more a ruthlessly efficient list than his “Eight Rules for Writing Fiction.”'(Open Culture.)

"So it Goes," Drawings by Kurt Vonnegut

“So it Goes,” Drawings by Kurt Vonnegut

Leave a comment

Samuel Beckett – 25 Minutes on the Internet – An Experiment

Time and the Internet

The Internet” is now seen as the cause of short attention span. Before the Internet, the cause of a short attention span was assigned to Television. Before that … Some though assign the cause of short attention span to human nature, where the mind is constantly active , reacts to stimuli, and seeks change. However, the mind also has to have the capacity for sustained concentration.

Whatever the cause, for many, 15 seconds on the internet seems like a lifetime; 60 seconds on the Internet seems like an eternity; 30 Minuets on the internet approaches infinity.



 Eh Joe – The Experiment

Eh Joe marks Beckett’s first writing specifically for television. Beckett began drafting Eh Joe in the middle of April 1965 at his Ussy retreat house and finished some two weeks later (Project MUSE).”

The production above stars Liam Neeson and was directed by Adam Egoyan. So, we have Samuel Becket, Liam Neeson, and Adam Egoyan,  together, a pretty good draw.  The production lasts some 25 minutes. The Experiment is to see if you can watch it to the end. Note down wherever you stop and  your reasons why.





The Book and Fine Art in the New Media

The “New Media,” even the “Old New Media” of the Internet has made Books, Fine Art, Drama, and Dance available to everyone, everywhere.

Some though, use the Internet as a vehicle for a quick hit – googling something,  playing a video game, checking social media, shopping, and, of course, with a smart phone, texting.  How about you? Eh?

More: However far you did make it , perhaps you’d like to see the  script.


* Project MUSE is a leading provider of digital humanities and social science content for the scholarly community.

Leave a comment

500 Year Old Rare Book Recounts Journey to the East 100 Years Before Marco Polo


McMaster University Library

McMaster University Library,  has recently acquired the first Latin translation of The Travels of Benjamin Tudela, a travelogue originally written in Hebrew by Benjamin of Tudela, a Jewish merchant from Zaragoza in Andalus, now southern Spain.”

100 Years Before Marco Polo

“The book recounts Benjamin’s 13-year journey which, from 1160 to 1173, took him throughout the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and Asia — along many of the same routes that Marco Polo would famously traverse more than a hundred years later.”

Map- Routes of Benjamin of Tudela, and Marco Polo

Map- Routes of Benjamin of Tudela, and Marco Polo

Last to See Constantinople and Baghdad Before Their Destruction

Groover says Benjamin, who likely embarked on his journey to develop mercantile contacts, wrote valuable accounts of the people and places he visited, including uncommonly accurate accounts of the vibrant and thriving Jewish communities he encountered, as well as detailed descriptions of powerful and influential urban centres like Baghdad and Constantinople.

“Benjamin is more or less the last person to describe these places to us,” says Groover who explains that Constantinople– the centre of the Byzantine Empire­– was burned to the ground in 1204 during the Fourth Crusade, and Baghdad– the cultural capital of the Muslim world– was sacked by the Mongols within 100 years of Benjamin’s narrative.”

Description of Constantinople (Excerpt)

“The following selection contains Benjamin of Tudela’s description of Constantinople. He is specifically interested in the lot of the Jews in this mercantile center. His description is in remarkable contrast to his impressions of Baghdad, for example, where Jews had a more favored status under the Muslim caliphate.” (Source: My Jewish Learning)


‘”After a five days’ journey the great town of Constantinople is reached. It is the capital of the whole land of Javan, which is called Greece. Here is the residence of King Emanuel the Emperor. Twelve ministers are under him, each of whom has a palace in Constantinople and possesses castles and cities; they rule all the land…”‘

“‘The circumference of the city of Constantinople is eighteen miles; half of it is surrounded by the sea, and half by land, and it is situated upon two arms of the sea, one coming from the sea of Russia and one from the sea of Sepahrad [Spain].”‘

“‘All sorts of merchants come here from the land of Babylon, from the land of Shinar, from Persia, Media, and all the sovereignty of the land of Egypt, from the land of Canaan, and the empire of Russia, from Hungary, Patzinakia [country from the Danube to the Dneiper], Khazaria [southern provinces of Russia], and the land of Lombardy and Sepharad. It is a busy city and merchants come to it from every country by sea or land, and there is none like it in the world except Baghdad, the great city of Islam.”‘

Best Seller -Smash Success!

“In 1575 – three centuries after Benjamin’s original Hebrew travelogue was written –the text was translated into Latin by Arias Montanus, a Jesuit priest and delegate to the Council of Trent. This translation quickly became a best seller.”

“’It was a smash success,” says [The Library’s Myron]Groover. “It went through several print runs in reasonably rapid succession. People were very keen to read this– most people knew of Marco Polo’s chronicle, but this was written much earlier and is, in many cases, more accurate.”’ (Source: McMaster University Library)

Will the book ever wither?

More: William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections

H/T Art Daily

February 1, 2017 by Jack Dziamba. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday.
Leave a comment

E- Museums – JAPANOMANIA – Fine Art in the New Media at the NASJONALMUSET, OSLO

January 25, 2017.New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday by Jack Dziamba.


One of the purposes of this blog is to review the use of the New Media by Museums to fulfil the mission to make Art acceptable to everyone, everywhere. This week we look at  Nasjonalmuset, The Norwegian National Museum, and The Museum of Decorative Arts and Design and  the exhibition, “Japanomania in the North.”


The Japanese inspiration, known in the world of art as “Japonism”, was the result of Japan opening its borders in 1854, but it first became evident in the Nordic countries from the 1880s on.

“Japanese art and design were seen as something new, fresh and exciting. The emphasis on asymmetry, simplification and stylisation – combined with a profound respect for the smallest of nature’s details – had a liberating effect on artists and designers, who increasingly wanted to consign older styles to history and create something new. Japonism formed a prelude to Nordic modernism.” (Nasjonalmuset)

“The exhibition Japanomania in the North 1875–1918 SMK turns back time to show how Western art became infused by Japanese aesthetics: asymmetrical compositions, decorative subject matter, meditative imagery and close observation of birds, fish, insects, branches and flowers. ” (Art Daily)

The exhibition itself ran in 2016 from June to October. November, so we will look at what one may see from the exhibition online. One of the important uses of the New Media is to put and leave a substantial portion of an exhibition online so that it is accessible to any one in the world, long after the exhibition closes.


“The exhibition was designed to show how Western art became infused by Japanese aesthetics: asymmetrical compositions, decorative subject matter, meditative imagery and close observation of birds, fish, insects, branches and flowers.”

“The influence from Japan was particularly strong on artists such as Claude Monet, Edvard Munch, van Gogh, Vilhelm Hammershøi, Anna Ancher, Albert Edelfelt and L.A. Ring, all of whom were featured in the exhibition.”

“Many of the artists who were swept up by the craze for all things Japanese also staged themselves and their families in silk kimonos, fans, parasols and paper lamps, using photographs to immortalise themselves as Japonistes – either at their studios or in their own homes, decorated in the Japanese style.” (Art Daily)

“Japanese art and design were seen as something new, fresh and exciting. The emphasis on asymmetry, simplification and stylisation – combined with a profound respect for the smallest of nature’s details – had a liberating effect on artists and designers, who increasingly wanted to consign older styles to history and create something new. Japonism formed a prelude to Nordic modernism.” (Nasjonalmuset)



The exhibition featured around 400 objects inspired by Japanese design, as well as 200 paintings and woodcuts.The website shows 10 of those items. The real gem of the exhibition online are the 12 excellent videos on You Tube which run as a continuous loop accompanied by Japanese music. The fact that the videos have only the art and music, they are accessible to everyone.

The videos are well shot and edited, giving them not only a professional quality, but they immerse the viewer in the art much more so that the usual “taking head” videos produced by some other museums. One has to look carefully for the videos, as the only key to them on the website is the small You Tube icon in the upper right hand corner of the website. It would be great if the link to the videos, and the videos themselves were embedded more prominently in the website.

The Museum does have a facebook page, where one can click (from the menu) on the videos.  The museum does have excellent twitter and instagram pages, which one may get to by also clicking on the respective icons. One can also experience the exhibition in the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design in 360 degrees, and the the exhibition in the National Gallery in 360 degrees (both of which, unfortunately were too large to experience on my laptop).

Through these various clicks the (Nasjonalmuset) does achieve the objective of making the exhibition accessible online the user interface could be made more seamless. For instance, from the website, one has no idea that there are such excellent videos simply by the display of the You Tube icon in the usual way. When the 360s are accessible, it is hoped that the viewer may still see the full exhibition.




Leave a comment

Misty Copeland – Fine Art in the New Media

January 18, 2017 New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday by Jack Dziamba

Misty Copeland

“Misty Copeland is an American ballet dancer for American Ballet Theatre, one of the three leading classical ballet companies in the United States. Her style, grace, passion, and skills have gotten her to the top, and made her the 1st African-American woman to be promoted in the ABT’s 75-year history! ” Ovation*, May 31, 2016.

The Dance – Fine Art in the New Media

The New Media tool of You Tube has made it possible to present an inside view of Misty Copeland and her amazing career. While You Tube has be- come ubiquitous, and often taken for granted, this media has opened up the world of Fine Art, in this case The Dance, for  everyone,everywhere.

The two clips in this post brings everyone into the inside world of the great ballet dancer, Misty Copeland. The second clip also allows everyone, everywhere to see the full movie from Sundance. And, of course, there are a number of other clips of Misty Copeland via You Tube.

More: Misty Copeland Dances Romeo + Juliet, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux & White Swan at Vail Dance 2015

*Ovation is America’s only arts television network, whose mission is to connect the world to all forms of art and artistic expression.

Leave a comment

Four Ways of Looking at Art – Monet’s “Wheatstacks”

Claude Monet - Meule 1891

Claude Monet – Meule 1891


Here are four ways of looking at art, in this case, Claude Monet’s Meule, through the New Media tools of the internet which, when put together, present a new and exciting way of looking at art.

1. The first, above, is by an image of the work itself. The next two are videos, and the fourth is by a [wall]text, which you might see in a museum, in a book or on the internet.


Claude Monet – Meule, 1891


Claude Monet – Meule, 1891

4. “Haystacks [Wheatstacks] is a title of a series of impressionist paintings by Claude Monet. The primary subjects of all of the paintings in the series are stacks of hay in the field after the harvest season. The title refers primarily to a twenty-five canvas series (Wildenstein Index Number 1266-1290) begun in the end of summer of 1890 and continued through the following spring, using that year’s harvest. Some use a broader definition of the title to refer to other paintings by Monet with this same theme. The series is known for its thematic use of repetition to show differences in perception of light across various times of day, seasons, and types of weather. The subjects were painted in fields near Monet’s home and gardens in Giverny, France.”The series is among Monet’s most notable works. Although the largest collections of Monet’s work is held in Paris at the Musée d’Orsay and Musée Marmottan Monet, other notable Monet collections are in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Metropolitan Museum and Museum of Modern Art in New York, and at the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo. Six of the twenty-five haystacks pieces in this series are currently housed at the Art Institute of Chicago. Other museums that hold parts of this series in their collection include: the Getty Center in Los Angeles, the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, Connecticut (which also has one of five from the earlier 1888-9 harvest),  the National Gallery of Scotland,  the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Kunsthaus Zürich, and the Shelburne Museum, Vermont. Several private collections also hold Haystack paintings.” (Wikipedia)

January 11, 2017 by Jack Dziamba. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday.
%d bloggers like this: