One cool bit of this is an app they call Mastermatcher. You answer 5 multiple choice questions, and it generates a selection of images (of works from different mediums) from the collection. They’re not all amazing, but it is a great conversation starter. This was in my matches:
This is a screen capture. I’m showing this because it shows the ability, through the buttons, to save or clip this work (the 249 in red indicates that this many other people have already saved this to their personal Rijksstudio). In fact, they encourage you to do whatever you like with the art you find. The fun thing is, you can go back and restart the Mastermatcher, answer the questions differently, and it will generate a whole new set of images for you.
Of course, you can go and look for anything you like. I’m a sucker for still-lifes, so I searched and found this one. Downloaded it too, for your pleasure:
Stilleven met klein dood wild en vruchten, Frans Snijders, 1600–1657
* I went to the Rijksmuseum in the summer of 1984. I’m not sure what everyone found so stodgy about the place — it was probably my favorite museum on the continent. Just to stand in front of “The Night Watch” was amazing; standing close enough to let it fill your whole field of vision (it’s huge, so this was still a few feet back).
The top tier artists in Germany simply don’t make realist work anymore. North Koreans on the other hand haven’t experienced the long evolution of modern art; they are kind of stuck in the early 1900s
Like the 164 foot tall stone thingie that’s sorta’ like the one in the end of Star Trek V:
Or the 66 foot tall King Sung:
Senegal’s African Renaissance Monument, unveiled just outside Dakar in 2010, is among Mansudae’s most notable works. At 164 feet … The monument is intended to represent “Africa emerging from darkness, from five centuries of slavery and two centuries of colonialism,” Abdoulaye Wade, Senegal’s former president [said]“Only the North Koreans could build my statue,” he said, adding, “I had no money.”
It gets worse:
“They seem to have developed a small cottage industry,” says Marcus Noland, an expert on North Korea and director of studies at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “The North Koreans are desperate for money, and my guess is that at some point they figured out that essentially exporting their capacity to make glorious monuments to great leaders was something they could do to both win friends and possibly influence people, but also possibly make money.”
Founded in 1959, six years after the Korean War, Mansudae has long defined—or at least produced—North Korea’s aesthetic. The impoverished country, in which 28 percent of children under 5 suffer from malnutrition, according to the United Nations, spends much of its budget on Kim family deification. According to a recent statement by North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly, “44.8 percent of the total state budgetary expenditure for the economic development and improvement of people’s living standard was used for funding the building of edifices to be presented to the 100th birth anniversary of President Kim Il Sung.”
What assholes! And that monument in Senegal?
… Foreign government officials say the work of around 150 North Korean artists and laborers cost closer to $70 million.
No doubt they’re accounting for that on their books as goodwill.
Being a lifelong fan of Star Wars, I grew up with science fiction being firmly rooted in action and spectacle. What little I'd seen of Star Trek seemed boring … having watched the original series, I find myself in the unfortunate spot of having to admit I was wrong.
I was honestly not expecting much from it.
I’m excerpting heavily to make the point below:
… Star Trek can be slow and often falls on the side of the odd. …
That said, the show generally does well at turning its frequent absurdity into something watchable and often intriguing. …
… The show uses quality writing to overcome its sometimes zany premises.
There are countless episodes like this one where I was skeptical going in but wound up utterly committed to the story by its ends. It's one of the most skillful uses of episodic storytelling I've ever seen in a show …
… Without fancy and expensive effects to fall back on, Star Trek instead had to rely on its writing and the strength of its actors' performances. …
… There is, simply put, a sincerity and genuineness to Star Trek that is infectious. It's intelligent but lacks cynicism. It gives grandiose speeches but also has quiet moments of personal revelation that stick with you. It's a science fiction show, but one built on a foundation of likable characters and human drama. …
My impression of this is that if I deleted all the references to Star Trek, you might think that this guy has gone in skeptical, and come out a believer, after going to a week of performances at one of the better Shakespeare companies.
Most of what you hear on CB radio is either tedious (truck drivers warning one another about speed traps) or banal (schoolgirls exchanging notes on homework), but at its occasional—and illegal—worst it sinks a pipeline to the depths of the American unconscious. Your ears are assaulted by the sound of racism at its most rampant, and by masturbation fantasies that are the aural equivalent of rape. The sleep of reason, to quote Goya’s phrase, brings forth monsters, and the anonymity of CB encourages the monsters to emerge.
This is from a lengthy, but worth it, piece on the prime of Johnny Carson.
It’s an anecdote, but one researcher told his toddler all about colors including blue. But he didn’t tell his toddler the sky is blue. When she was a little older, and she was asked what color the sky was, she had no concept that it was a color. Odd.
Another thought: blue is the rarest of the major colors in nature. As George Carlin noted, there is no blue food. There aren’t many blue flowers either. Or animals. Or stones. There aren’t many body parts either, besides blue eyes, and those were geographically rare until the Germans invaded western Europe.
Another idea: blue is the hardest color to create artificially. Prussian blue was invented early in the 18th century. There are natural dies, but not many of them. Recall how important the production of indigo was to the Carolinas in the colonial period. You could also use woad. Both are almost purple when fresh but fade through blue to green with time. And, the plants actually produce the same chemical, so it isn’t like you’re getting a different color. You could also crush the semi-precious lapis lazuli into a powder called ultramarine. Again, remember how important lapis was in ancient history, and yet today few of us would know the stone if we saw it.
And here’s one more bit of trivia. The ancient Egyptians knew how to make a blue dye from minerals almost 5K years ago. And they had a word for the color blue. Today, we know the chemical composition of that blue, but not how they actually did it.
P.S. There is an old but related post on vX that I could not find. This was about the colors we have in common.
FWIW: I get complaints about the color scheme of this blog. I get few compliments. Back in the 90’s there was actually a push for yellow on blue as a standard. Black on white is harder on the eyes when coming through a screen (gee, you’ve probably noticed that at the end of the day). The reason for yellow on blue was that these are colors that color-blind people can most easily distinguish. And no … I’m not color blind.
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