Warhol: The Bellwether of the Art Market

The Econ­o­mist has just released a nice pho­to slideshow look­ing back at the trans­for­ma­tive work of Andy Warhol. In five quick min­utes, Sarah Thorn­ton (the co-author of The Econ­o­mist’s new report on the art mar­ket) gives you a quick feel for how Warhol changed the con­tem­po­rary art scene, the role of the artist, and the size/mechanics of the lucra­tive art mar­ket. In 2007, at the height of the art boom, Warhol remained the high­est gross­ing artist at auc­tion, a tes­ta­ment to his last­ing influ­ence on the art world. Thanks Chris for the tip!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Picas­so’s Guer­ni­ca in 3D

Rod­in’s Gates of Hell

The Art His­to­ry Web Book

Royal Society Launches Web Site Celebrating 350 Years of Science

A quick men­tion: The Roy­al Soci­ety, the UK’s nation­al acad­e­my of sci­ence, will cel­e­brate next year its 350th anniver­sary. To mark the occa­sion, a team of sci­en­tists and his­to­ri­ans have launched a new web site called “Trail­blaz­ing,” and it essen­tial­ly lets you take a vir­tu­al tour through three and a half cen­turies of sci­en­tif­ic dis­cov­ery (1660–2010). Mov­ing at your own pace, you can review key sci­en­tif­ic dis­cov­er­ies (some of them famous, some of them less so) and read cor­re­spond­ing com­men­tary on each one. Quite nice­ly, all of the com­men­tary can be down­loaded via one big PDF file. (It runs about 110 pages long.)

Thanks to Phan­tom Engi­neer for the tip here. And thanks all for the many leads I’ve received late­ly. They’re all real­ly appre­ci­at­ed, and they frankly make the site much bet­ter. Keep ’em com­ing.

Making Money By Giving Your Movie Away (But How Much?)

Nina Paley cre­at­ed some buzz ear­li­er this year when she decid­ed to give her award-win­ning ani­mat­ed film, Sita Sings the Blues, to the pub­lic, releas­ing it under a Cre­ative Com­mons license. This was anoth­er test of the con­cept that artists can make mon­ey by giv­ing their work away. Today, The Wall Street Jour­nal gives an account­ing of how this the­o­ry played out in prac­tice. Here’s how things break down:

  • Total dona­tions from peo­ple who appre­ci­ate her giv­ing out free con­tent: $23,000
  • Prof­its from her online store which sells mer­chan­dise and DVDs: $19,000
  • The­atri­cal dis­tri­b­u­tion rev­enues: $3,000 (out of total box office tal­ly of $22,350)
  • Addi­tion­al DVD dis­tri­b­u­tion: $3,000
  • Broad­cast tele­vi­sion dis­tri­b­u­tion: $3,000
  • Rev­enue from Cen­tral Cin­e­ma in Seat­tle which showed the film: $4,000
  • The grand total: $55,000

As the WSJ notes, these num­bers don’t reflect the mon­ey she spent mak­ing the film . (Paley puts the num­ber at $150,000 in hard costs.) They also don’t account for the indi­rect rev­enue that she will gen­er­ate down the line. But putting Sita Sings the Blues in front of so many peo­ple, the world now knows a lot more about Nina Paley and her tal­ents. I have to believe that she can trade on that (if she wants to) when­ev­er she agrees to direct a film, or accepts a speak­ing engage­ment. The WSJ equa­tion does­n’t take this piece into account (it’s admit­ted­ly hard to mea­sure), but it’s prob­a­bly the most impor­tant part of the over­all analy­sis.

You can down­load Sita Sings the Blues here, watch it on YouTube here, or find it in our col­lec­tion of Free Movies Online.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

How I Sold My Book by Giv­ing It Away: You should all see this sep­a­rate post by Seth Har­wood. It focus­es on sim­i­lar issues, but trans­lat­ed to the book world.

Stanford Online Writing Courses – The Winter Lineup

A quick fyi: On Mon­day morn­ing (8:30 am Cal­i­for­nia time), Stan­ford Con­tin­u­ing Stud­ies opens up reg­is­tra­tion for its win­ter line­up of online writ­ing cours­es. Offered in part­ner­ship with the Stan­ford Cre­ative Writ­ing Pro­gram (one of the most dis­tin­guished writ­ing pro­grams in the coun­try), these online cours­es give begin­ning and advanced writ­ers, no mat­ter where they live, the chance to refine their craft with gift­ed writ­ing instruc­tors. As you will see, there are a cou­ple of cours­es offered in con­junc­tion with The New York Times. The idea here is that you’ll learn writ­ing from a Stan­ford writ­ing instruc­tor and then get your work reviewed by a New York Times book critic/writer. Quite a perk. And the cours­es sell out quick­ly. For more infor­ma­tion, click here, or sep­a­rate­ly check out the FAQ and the tes­ti­mo­ni­als.

Caveat emp­tor: These class­es are not free, and I helped set them up. So while I whole­heart­ed­ly believe in these cours­es, you can take my views with a grain of salt.

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Hitchcock’s “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” Take 1

Dur­ing his Hol­ly­wood gold­en years, Alfred Hitch­cock released The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) with Jim­my Stew­art and Doris Day. This was actu­al­ly his sec­ond time around the block with the film. Before Hitch­cock came to Amer­i­ca, he direct­ed anoth­er ver­sion of the movie with Peter Lorre, and you can catch this 1934 British ver­sion above. For more Hitch­cock films, please see our col­lec­tion of 20 Free Hitch­cock Movies Online.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Alfred Hitchcock’s Sev­en-Minute Edit­ing Mas­ter Class

François Truffaut’s Big Inter­view with Alfred Hitch­cock (Free Audio)

Alfred Hitchcock’s Rules for Watch­ing Psy­cho (1960



T.S. Eliot Reads The Waste Land

T.S. Eliot’s 1922 poem, The Waste Land, is often con­sid­ered one of the great poems of the 20th cen­tu­ry. Above, you can lis­ten to Eliot him­self read­ing his mod­ernist mas­ter­piece (text here). And, if you want more, how about Eliot read­ing The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, anoth­er major work, against the back­drop of Por­tishead? Sac­ri­lege, I know.

You can find both poems in our exten­sive Free Audio Book col­lec­tion, which con­tains hun­dreds of clas­sic works. Fic­tion, non-fic­tion, and poet­ry. It’s all there, and all free.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

James Joyce Read­ing from Finnegans Wake

Tchaikovsky’s Voice Cap­tured on an Edi­son Cylin­der (1899)

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Three Free Luis Buñuel Films

bunuelA quick note for US read­ers: Right now, you can find three films by Luis Buñuel, the great Span­ish (lat­er turned Mex­i­can) direc­tor. The films, pre­sent­ed by theauteurs.com, include Death in the Gar­den (1956) and two cin­e­mat­ic works from his ear­li­er sur­re­al peri­od: Un chien andalou (1929) and L’âge d’or (1930). These films are (some­what iron­i­cal­ly) avail­able only to a US audi­ence. But if you live out­side the US, you can find many more free films in our Free Movie Col­lec­tion. As a quick side note, this col­lec­tion was the jump­ing-off point for a short inter­view that I did with Jon Gor­don, the host of the pub­lic radio show, Future Tense. You can lis­ten to it below, or catch it here. Have a good Thanks­giv­ing.

Your Favorite TED Talk Ever?

What’s the best TED Talk ever? That’s the lit­tle debate tak­ing place on Reddit.com, and the answer is not obvi­ous, see­ing that TED now has over 500 talks avail­able in its archive. (You can find a con­stant­ly updat­ed list of every TED Talk in a Google spread­sheet here.)

Now, what are some of the Red­dit favorites? Here are five talks that get fre­quent men­tions.

Mean­while, it’s worth men­tion­ing that TED keeps its own run­ning list of its 10 most pop­u­lar talks. Some good ones here. And now your turn. Tell us your favorites in the com­ments below, and don’t be shy.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.