Discover Hilma af Klint: Pioneering Mystical Painter and Perhaps the First Abstract Artist

In a post last year, Col­in Mar­shall wrote of the Swedish abstract painter Hilma af Klint, who “devel­oped abstract imagery,” notes Sweden’s Mod­er­na Museet, “sev­er­al years before” con­tem­po­raries like Wass­i­ly Kandin­sky, Piet Mon­dri­an, and Kaz­imir Male­vich. Much like Kandin­sky, who artic­u­lat­ed his the­o­ries in the trea­tise Con­cern­ing the Spir­i­tu­al in Art, af Klint “assumed that there was a spir­i­tu­al dimen­sion to life and aimed at visu­al­iz­ing con­text beyond what the eye can see.” Influ­enced by spir­i­tu­al­ism and theos­o­phy, she “sought to under­stand and com­mu­ni­cate the var­i­ous dimen­sions of human exis­tence.”

Born in 1862 and raised in the Swedish coun­try­side, af Klint began her stud­ies at the Acad­e­my of Fine Arts in Stock­holm after her fam­i­ly relo­cat­ed to the city. “After grad­u­at­ing and until 1908,” Mod­er­na Museet writes, “she had a stu­dio at Kungsträdgår­den in cen­tral Stock­holm.

She paint­ed and exhib­it­ed por­traits and land­scapes in a nat­u­ral­ist style.” But as a result of her expe­ri­ences in séances in the late 1870s, af Klint became inter­est­ed in “invis­i­ble phe­nom­e­na.”

In 1896, Hilma af Klint and four oth­er women formed the group “De Fem” [The Five]. They made con­tact with “high mas­ters” from anoth­er dimen­sion, and made metic­u­lous notes on their séances. This led to a def­i­nite change in Hilma af Klint’s art. She began prac­tis­ing auto­mat­ic writ­ing, which involves writ­ing with­out con­scious­ly guid­ing the move­ment of the pen on the paper. She devel­oped a form of auto­mat­ic draw­ing, pre­dat­ing the sur­re­al­ists by decades. Grad­u­al­ly, she eschewed her nat­u­ral­ist imagery, in an effort to free her­self from her aca­d­e­m­ic train­ing. She embarked on an inward jour­ney, into a world that is hid­den from most peo­ple.

Dur­ing one such séance, in 1904, af Klint report­ed that she had “received a ‘com­mis­sion,’” Kate Kell­away writes at The Guardian, “from an enti­ty named Amaliel who told her to paint on ‘an astral plane’ and rep­re­sent the ‘immor­tal aspects of man.’” From 1906 to 1915, she pro­duced 193 paint­ings, “an aston­ish­ing out­pour­ing,” which she called “Paint­ings for the Tem­ple.”

Hers is a strange sto­ry. Even in a time when many famous con­tem­po­raries, like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, pro­fessed sim­i­lar beliefs and spir­i­tu­al prac­tices, not many claimed to be tak­ing dic­ta­tion direct­ly from spir­its in their work. The ques­tion af Klint rais­es for art his­to­ri­ans is whether she was “a quirky out­sider” or “Europe’s first abstract painter, cen­tral to the his­to­ry of abstract art.” Her mys­ti­cal eccen­tric­i­ties con­sti­tute a large part of the rea­son she has remained obscure for so long. Rather than seek fame and acclaim for her orig­i­nal­i­ty, af Klint stip­u­lat­ed when she died in 1944 at age 81 that “her work—1,200 paint­ings, 100 texts and 26,000 pages of notes—should not be shown until 20 years after her death.”

Still, it took a fur­ther 22 years before her work was seen in pub­lic, at a 1986 Los Ange­les show called “The Spir­i­tu­al in Art.” While her peers devel­oped large fol­low­ings in their life­times and took part in influ­en­tial move­ments, af Klint cul­ti­vat­ed a pri­vate, insu­lar world all her own, not unlike that of William Blake, who also remained most­ly obscure dur­ing his life, though not nec­es­sar­i­ly by choice. Her choice to hide her work came out of an ear­ly encounter, Dan­ger­ous Minds notes, with Rudolf Stein­er, “who was sim­i­lar­ly fol­low­ing a path towards cre­at­ing a syn­the­sis between the sci­en­tif­ic and the spir­i­tu­al” and who told her “these paint­ings must not be seen for fifty years as no one would under­stand them.”

Now that af Klint’s work has been exhib­it­ed in full, most recent­ly by the Mod­er­na Museet, cura­tors like Iris Müller-West­er­mann believe, as Kellawy notes, “that art-his­tor­i­cal wran­gles should not get in the way of work that needs to be seen.” Although af Klint may not have played an inte­gral his­tor­i­cal role in the devel­op­ment of abstract paint­ing, her expan­sive body of work will like­ly inspire artists, schol­ars, and eso­teric seek­ers for cen­turies to come.

Learn more about af Klint’s work at Mod­er­na Museet, the Hilma af Klint Foun­da­tion web­site, The Art Sto­ry and Dan­ger­ous Minds.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Who Paint­ed the First Abstract Paint­ing?: Wass­i­ly Kandin­sky? Hilma af Klint? Or Anoth­er Con­tender?

The Icon­ic Uri­nal & Work of Art, “Foun­tain,” Wasn’t Cre­at­ed by Mar­cel Duchamp But by the Pio­neer­ing Dada Artist Elsa von Frey­tag-Lor­ing­hoven

The Female Pio­neers of the Bauhaus Art Move­ment: Dis­cov­er Gertrud Arndt, Mar­i­anne Brandt, Anni Albers & Oth­er For­got­ten Inno­va­tors

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

The Believer Magazine Has Put Its Entire Archive Online for Free

Found­ed in 2003, The Believ­er mag­a­zine gained a rep­u­ta­tion for being an off-beat lit­er­ary mag­a­zine with a com­mit­ment “to jour­nal­ism and essays that are fre­quent­ly very long, book reviews that are not nec­es­sar­i­ly time­ly, and inter­views that are inti­mate, frank and also very long.” Found­ed by authors Vendela Vida, Ed Park and Hei­di Julav­its, and orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished Dave Eggers’ McSweeney’s, The Believ­er has fea­tured con­tri­bu­tions by Nick Horn­by, Anne Car­son, William T. Voll­mann; columns by Amy Sedaris and Greil Mar­cus; and also interviews–like this one where direc­tor Errol Mor­ris talks with film­mak­er Wern­er Her­zog.

Now pub­lished by the Black Moun­tain Insti­tute at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Neva­da, Las VegasThe Believ­er has entered a new era. It has launched a brand new web site and made its 15-year archive freely avail­able online. It’s a first for the pub­li­ca­tion. Enter the archive of the “high­brow but delight­ful­ly bizarre” mag­a­zine here.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Enter “The Mag­a­zine Rack,” the Inter­net Archive’s Col­lec­tion of 34,000 Dig­i­tized Mag­a­zines

A Dig­i­tal Archive of Heavy Met­al, the Influ­en­tial “Adult Fan­ta­sy Mag­a­zine” That Fea­tured the Art of Moe­bius, H.R. Giger & More

Read 1,000 Edi­tions of The Vil­lage Voice: A Dig­i­tal Archive of the Icon­ic New York City Paper

A Com­plete Dig­i­ti­za­tion of Eros Mag­a­zine: The Con­tro­ver­sial 1960s Mag­a­zine on the Sex­u­al Rev­o­lu­tion

An Asbestos-Bound, Fireproof Edition of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 (1953)

Even by the extreme stan­dards of dystopi­an fic­tion, the premise of Ray Bradbury’s Fahren­heit 451 can seem a lit­tle absurd. Fire­men whose job is to set fires? A soci­ety that bans all books? Writ­ten less than a decade after the fall of the Third Reich, which announced its evil inten­tions with book burn­ings, the nov­el explic­it­ly evokes the kind of total­i­tar­i­an­ism that seeks to destroy culture—and whole peoples—with fire. But not even the Nazis banned all books. Not a few aca­d­e­mics and writ­ers sur­vived or thrived in Nazi Ger­many by hew­ing to the ide­o­log­i­cal ortho­doxy (or at least not chal­leng­ing it), which, for all its ter­ri­fy­ing irra­tional­ism, kept up some sem­blance of an intel­lec­tu­al veneer.

The nov­el also recalls the Sovi­et vari­ety of state repres­sion. But the Par­ty appa­ra­tus also allowed a pub­lish­ing indus­try to oper­ate, under its strict con­straints. Nonethe­less, Sovi­et cen­sor­ship is leg­endary, as is the sur­vival of banned lit­er­a­ture through self-pub­lish­ing and mem­o­riza­tion, vivid­ly rep­re­sent­ed by the famous line in Mikhail Bulgokov’s The Mas­ter and Mar­gari­ta, “Man­u­scripts don’t burn.”

Bul­gakov, writes Nathaniel Rich at Guer­ni­ca, is say­ing that “great lit­er­a­ture… is fire­proof. It sur­vives its crit­ics, its cen­sors, and even the pas­sage of time.” Bul­gakov wrote from painful expe­ri­ence. When his diary was dis­cov­ered by the NKVD in 1929, then returned to him, he “prompt­ly burned it.” Some­time after­ward, dur­ing the long com­po­si­tion of his posthu­mous­ly pub­lished nov­el, he burned the man­u­script, then lat­er recon­struct­ed it from mem­o­ry.

These exam­ples bring to mind the exiled intel­lec­tu­als in Bradbury’s nov­el, who have mem­o­rized whole books in order to one day recon­struct lit­er­ary cul­ture. Europe’s total­i­tar­i­an regimes pro­vide essen­tial back­ground for the novel’s plot and imagery, but its key con­text, Brad­bury him­self not­ed in a 1956 radio inter­view, was the anti-Com­mu­nist para­noia of the U.S. in the ear­ly 1950s. “Too many peo­ple were afraid of their shad­ows,” he said, “there was a threat of book burn­ing. Many of the books were being tak­en off the shelves at that time.” Read­ing the nov­el as a chill­ing vision of a future when all books are banned and burned makes the arti­fact pic­tured above par­tic­u­lar­ly poignant—an edi­tion of Fahren­heit 451 bound in fire­proof asbestos.

Released in 1953 by Bal­lan­tine in a lim­it­ed run of two-hun­dred signed copies, the books were “bound in Johns-Manville Qin­ter­ra,” notes Lau­ren Davis at io9, “a chryso­lite asbestos mate­r­i­al.” Now the fire­proof cov­ers, with their “excep­tion­al resis­tance to pyrol­y­sis,” are “much sought after by col­lec­tors” and go for upwards of $20,000. A fire­proof Fahren­heit 451, on the one hand, can seem a lit­tle gim­micky (its pages still burn, after all). But it’s also the per­fect man­i­fes­ta­tion of a lit­er­al inter­pre­ta­tion of the nov­el as a sto­ry about ban­ning and book burn­ing. All of us who have read the nov­el have like­ly read it this way, as a vision of a repres­sive total­i­tar­i­an night­mare. As such, it feels like a prod­uct of mid-twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry fears.

Rather than fear­ing mass book burn­ings, we seem, in the 21st cen­tu­ry, on the verge of being washed away in a sea of infor­ma­tion (and dis- and mis-infor­ma­tion). We are inun­dat­ed with writing—in print and online—such that some of us despair of ever find­ing time to read the accu­mu­lat­ing piles of books and arti­cles that dai­ly sur­round us, phys­i­cal­ly and vir­tu­al­ly. But although books are still pub­lished in the mil­lions, with sales ris­ing, falling, then ris­ing again, the num­ber of peo­ple who actu­al­ly read seems in dan­ger of rapid­ly dimin­ish­ing. And this, Brad­bury also said, was his real fear. “You don’t have to burn books to destroy a cul­ture,” he claimed, “just get peo­ple to stop read­ing them.”

We’ve mis­read Fahren­heit 451, Brad­bury told us in his lat­er years. It is an alle­go­ry, a sym­bol­ic rep­re­sen­ta­tion of a gross­ly dumb­ed-down soci­ety, huge­ly oppres­sive and destruc­tive in its own way. The fire­men are not lit­er­al gov­ern­ment agents but sym­bol­ic of the forces of mass dis­trac­tion, which dis­sem­i­nate “fac­toids,” lies, and half-truths as sub­sti­tutes for knowl­edge. The nov­el, he said, is actu­al­ly about peo­ple “being turned into morons by TV.” Add to this the pro­lif­er­at­ing amuse­ments of the online world, video games, etc. and we can see Brad­bury’s Fahren­heit 451 not as a dat­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tion of 40s fas­cism or 50s repres­sion, but as a too-rel­e­vant warn­ing to a dis­tractible soci­ety that deval­ues and destroys edu­ca­tion and fac­tu­al knowl­edge even as we have more access than ever to lit­er­a­ture of every kind.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Ray Brad­bury Reveals the True Mean­ing of Fahren­heit 451: It’s Not About Cen­sor­ship, But Peo­ple “Being Turned Into Morons by TV”

Ray Brad­bury Explains Why Lit­er­a­ture is the Safe­ty Valve of Civ­i­liza­tion (in Which Case We Need More Lit­er­a­ture!)

Helen Keller Writes a Let­ter to Nazi Stu­dents Before They Burn Her Book: “His­to­ry Has Taught You Noth­ing If You Think You Can Kill Ideas” (1933)

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

Meet Sergei Parajanov, the Filmmaker Persecuted & Imprisoned by the Soviets, and Championed by Tarkovsky, Fellini, Godard, Buñuel, and Others

“Who­ev­er tries to imi­tate me is lost,” said the Sovi­et film­mak­er Sergei Para­janov. Not so long ago, who­ev­er tried to imi­tate him would also be in deep trou­ble. Per­se­cut­ed by the Sovi­et author­i­ties for the “sub­ver­sive” nature of both his work and his lifestyle, he spent four years of the 1970s in a Siber­ian hard-labor camp. Noth­ing could speak more high­ly to his artistry than the fact that, even before his sen­tenc­ing, Andrei Tarkovsky wrote a let­ter in his defense. “Artis­ti­cal­ly, there are few peo­ple in the entire world who could replace Para­janov,” argued the direc­tor of Mir­ror and Stalk­er. “He is guilty – guilty of his soli­tude. We are guilty of not think­ing of him dai­ly and of fail­ing to dis­cov­er the sig­nif­i­cance of a mas­ter.”

Alas, Tarkovsky’s protes­ta­tions fell on deaf ears, as did those of Jean-Luc Godard, François Truf­faut, Luis Buñuel, Fed­eri­co Felli­ni, Michelan­ge­lo Anto­nioni, and oth­er cre­ators besides. Para­janov had earned their respect with two fea­tures, 1965’s Shad­ows of For­got­ten Ances­tors and 1969’s The Col­or of Pome­gran­ates, clips of which you can see here.

The pow­ers that be actu­al­ly looked kind­ly on the for­mer, prais­ing its poet­ic adap­ta­tion of a clas­sic nov­el by Ukran­ian writer Mykhai­lo Kot­si­ubyn­sky. But the lat­ter, a life of the 18th-cen­tu­ry Armen­ian singer Say­at-Nova (the Geor­gia-born direc­tor was him­self of Armen­ian her­itage), seems to have gone too far in its break from the state-approved style of Social­ist real­ism in which Para­janov once worked.

“Even when he was released, Para­janov was ‘silenced,’ as he said,” writes Messy Nessy. “He tried to get back on his movie mak­ing, but strug­gled for anoth­er ten years until the Sovi­et Union col­lapsed in the 1980s. When he died in 1990 at only 66, he left his final work unfin­ished, leav­ing the world to won­der what oth­er visions of his were lost to time.” As the world has since slow­ly redis­cov­ered the visions Para­janov did real­ize, his influ­ence has here and there made itself felt. “I believe you have to be born a direc­tor,” he says in the inter­view clip above. “A direc­tor can’t be trained, not even in film school.” Direct­ing, to his mind, “is basi­cal­ly the truth, trans­formed into images: sor­row, hope, love, beau­ty.” And as all those respect­ed auteurs under­stood, no oth­er film­mak­er has ever seen the truth quite like he did.

via Messy Nessy

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch 70 Movies in HD from Famed Russ­ian Stu­dio Mos­film: Clas­sic Films, Beloved Come­dies, Tarkovsky, Kuro­sawa & More

Watch Earth, a Land­mark of Sovi­et Cin­e­ma (1930)

The Film Posters of the Russ­ian Avant-Garde

A Crash Course on Sovi­et Mon­tage, the Russ­ian Approach to Film­mak­ing That Rev­o­lu­tion­ized Cin­e­ma

Every­thing You Need to Know About Mod­ern Russ­ian Art in 25 Min­utes: A Visu­al Intro­duc­tion to Futur­ism, Social­ist Real­ism & More

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

How to Build a Custom Handcrafted Acoustic Guitar from Start to Finish: The Process Revealed in a Fascinating Documentary

Every seri­ous gui­tarist learns to set up, repair, and maybe even cus­tomize their own instru­ments. It’s eco­nom­i­cal and fun and gives play­ers insight into how and why their instru­ments sound the way they do, and how to make them sound bet­ter. Some ama­teur luthiers will even build their own instru­ments, at least those not famous enough to have cus­tom gui­tars built for them by famous mak­ers, an honor—maybe not unlike a bas­ket­ball play­er hav­ing their own shoes—that tells the world they’re at the top of the game.

Every­one else labors away in base­ments, garages, and wood­work­ing shops, lean­ing heav­i­ly on advice from mas­ter luthiers like Dan Erlewine. If you’re one of those lucky enough to have the space, tools, and know-how to make your own gui­tars, then the video above from Mon­tre­al-based mas­ter builder Michael Green­field of Green­field Gui­tars is for you. It shows every step in the process of his cus­tom built acoustic gui­tars, and along the way shows you how you can build your own.

Elec­tric gui­tars derive their sound from mag­net­ic pick­ups, which can be affixed to every­thing from oil cans to plex­i­glass. Mate­ri­als and work­man­ship can major­ly affect tone and sus­tain, but not near­ly to the degree they do in an acoustic gui­tar, in which the sound comes entire­ly from the instru­ment itself—from its shape, size, brac­ing style, wood selec­tion, and even, believe it or not, the fin­ish. The shap­ing, carv­ing, and join­ing of each of the guitar’s struc­tur­al parts—sides, top, back, and neck—makes its own unique con­tri­bu­tion to the fin­ished instru­men­t’s tone.

Greenfield’s doc­u­men­tary isn’t only for the amateur—or pro­fes­sion­al, for that matter—luthier. It’s also an all-around fas­ci­nat­ing look at how fine, hand-craft­ed acoustic gui­tars get made, of inter­est to any­one from wood­work­ers to sound engi­neers to music fans in gen­er­al. Most con­sumer-grade gui­tars get an assem­bly-line fac­to­ry build, turned out by the thou­sands to keep super­stores like Gui­tar Cen­ter stocked. Mas­ter builders like Green­field devote con­sid­er­able time and atten­tion to every indi­vid­ual instrument—the process doc­u­ment­ed here for a sin­gle gui­tar, he tells us, took place over a peri­od of four to five months.

Want to hear the fin­ished prod­uct? Skip ahead to 57:47 for a demon­stra­tion by Cana­di­an Celtic-folk singer Lizzy Hoyt. Learn more about Michael Greenfield’s hand­craft­ed gui­tars at

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Repair­ing Willie Nelson’s Trig­ger: A Good Look at How a Luthi­er Gets America’s Most Icon­ic Gui­tar on the Road Again

Bri­an May’s Home­made Gui­tar, Made From Old Tables, Bike and Motor­cy­cle Parts & More

Mark Knopfler Gives a Short Mas­ter­class on His Favorite Gui­tars & Gui­tar Sounds

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

Every Cover of MAD Magazine, from 1952 to the Present: Behold 553 Covers from the Satirical Publication

For 65 years and count­ing, the pages of Mad mag­a­zine have enter­tained read­ers by sat­i­riz­ing all the cul­tur­al items, social fads, news items, and polit­i­cal issues of the moment. Through­out that span of time the cov­ers of Mad mag­a­zine have done the same, except that they’ve enter­tained every­one, even those who’ve nev­er opened an issue, whether they want it or not. Though on one lev­el designed pure­ly as dis­pos­able visu­al gags, Mad’s cov­ers col­lec­tive­ly pro­vide a satir­i­cal his­to­ry of Amer­i­ca, and one you can eas­i­ly browse at Doug Gil­ford’s Mad Cov­er Site, “a resource for col­lec­tors and fans of the world’s most impor­tant (ecch!) humor pub­li­ca­tion.”

Gil­ford start­ed the site back in 1997, a year that saw Mad’s cov­ers take on such phe­nom­e­na as The X‑Files, the Spice Girls, the Tam­agotchi, and Sein­feld. That last seizes the pre­sum­ably irre­sistible oppor­tu­ni­ty to draw Jer­ry Sein­feld scowl­ing in irri­ta­tion at “Neu­man” — not his neme­sis-neigh­bor New­man, but Mad’s mas­cot Alfred E. Neu­man, who appears in one form or anoth­er on almost all of the mag­a­zine’s cov­ers.

These sort of antics had already been going on for quite some time, as evi­denced, for instance, by the June 1973 cov­er above in which Neu­man dons a Droog out­fit to take the place of Mal­colm McDow­ell in A Clock­work Orange — or, in Mad’s, view, A Crock­work Lemon.

To see the archive’s cov­ers in a large for­mat, you need only scroll to the desired year, click on the issue num­ber, and then click on the image that appears. (Alter­na­tive­ly, those with advanced Mad knowl­edge can sim­ply pick an issue num­ber from the pull-down “Select-a-Mad” menu at the top of the page.) Gil­ford keeps the site updat­ed with cov­ers right up to the lat­est issue: num­ber three, as of this writ­ing, since the mag­a­zine “reboot­ed” this past June as it relo­cat­ed its offices from New York to Cal­i­for­nia. Recent tar­gets have includ­ed Don­ald TrumpDon­ald TrumpDon­ald Trump, and, of course, Don­ald TrumpMad’s longevi­ty may be sur­pris­ing, but it cer­tain­ly does­n’t look like Amer­i­ca will stop pro­vid­ing the ridicu­lous­ness on which it has always sur­vived any time soon.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

A Gallery of Mad Magazine’s Rol­lick­ing Fake Adver­tise­ments from the 1960s

Al Jaf­fee, the Longest Work­ing Car­toon­ist in His­to­ry, Shows How He Invent­ed the Icon­ic “Folds-Ins” for Mad Mag­a­zine

Mad Magazine’s Al Jaf­fee & Oth­er Car­toon­ists Cre­ate Ani­ma­tions to End Dis­tract­ed Dri­ving

Enter “The Mag­a­zine Rack,” the Inter­net Archive’s Col­lec­tion of 34,000 Dig­i­tized Mag­a­zines

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

New York Public Library Card Now Gives You Free Access to 33 NYC Museums

If you’re one of the 8.5 mil­lion peo­ple liv­ing in New York City, take note of this: When you sign up for a library card from the New York Pub­lic Library, you can get access to 30,000 free movies (includ­ing many from the Cri­te­ri­on Col­lec­tion) and also some 300,000 Free eBooks. But that’s not all. A new ini­tia­tive lets mem­bers of the New York Pub­lic Library (plus the Brook­lyn and Queens libraries) to sign up for a Cul­ture Pass and there­by gain free entrance to 33 muse­ums across NYC. The list of par­tic­i­pat­ing muse­ums includes some big ones–the Met, Mor­gan, Whit­ney, Frick and Guggen­heim. Also the MoMA, Brook­lyn Muse­um, and Brook­lyn Botan­ic Gar­den, and more. Find a com­plete list below.

The Cul­ture Pass web­site has more infor­ma­tion about this new pro­gram. The web­site is also where you will need to actu­al­ly make reser­va­tions to vis­it the muse­ums. Accord­ing to Hyper­al­ler­gic, “Each card­hold­er is eli­gi­ble for one pass per cul­tur­al insti­tu­tion annu­al­ly and allowed to reserve two impend­ing vis­its at any giv­en time.”

New York­ers, you can sign up for library cards via these links: New York Pub­lic Library, Brook­lyn Library, and Queens Library.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Par­tic­i­pat­ing Muse­ums

  • Brook­lyn Botan­ic Gar­den
  • Brook­lyn Chil­dren’s Muse­um
  • Brook­lyn His­tor­i­cal Soci­ety
  • Brook­lyn Muse­um
  • Chil­dren’s Muse­um of Man­hat­tan
  • Chil­dren’s Muse­um of the Arts
  • Coop­er Hewitt, Smith­son­ian Design Muse­um
  • The Draw­ing Cen­ter
  • The Frick Col­lec­tion
  • His­toric Rich­mond Town
  • Inter­na­tion­al Cen­ter of Pho­tog­ra­phy
  • Intre­pid Sea, Air & Space Muse­um
  • Jacques Mar­chais Muse­um of Tibetan Art
  • The Jew­ish Muse­um
  • Louis Arm­strong House
  • The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art
  • The Mor­gan Library & Muse­um
  • Muse­um of Mod­ern Art, MoMA PS1
  • Muse­um of Chi­nese in Amer­i­ca
  • Muse­um of Jew­ish Her­itage — A Liv­ing Memo­r­i­al to the Holo­caust
  • Muse­um of the City of New York
  • New York Tran­sit Muse­um
  • Noguchi Muse­um
  • Queens His­tor­i­cal Soci­ety
  • Queens Muse­um
  • Rubin Muse­um of Art
  • Sculp­ture­Cen­ter
  • Smith­son­ian Nation­al Muse­um of the Amer­i­can Indi­an
  • Soci­ety of Illus­tra­tors
  • Solomon R. Guggen­heim Muse­um
  • Sug­ar Hill Chil­dren’s Muse­um
  • Wave Hill
  • Whit­ney Muse­um of Amer­i­can Art

via Hyper­al­ler­gic

Relat­ed Con­tent:

New York­ers Can Now Stream 30,000 Free Movies, Includ­ing the Entire Cri­te­ri­on Col­lec­tion, with Their Library Cards

The New York Pub­lic Library Lets Patrons Down­load 300,000 eBooks

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A New Series About A Young Crime-Fighting Sigmund Freud Is Coming to Netflix

A recent­ly announced, as-yet-uncast Net­flix series cen­ter­ing on the exploits of young, crime­fight­ing Sig­mund Freud, track­ing a ser­i­al killer in 19th-cen­tu­ry Vien­na, has been caus­ing great excite­ment.

Though as Chelsea Stein­er points out in the Mary Sue, Freud’s equa­tion of cli­toral orgasms with sex­u­al imma­tu­ri­ty and men­tal ill­ness could put a damper on any sex scene in which a female char­ac­ter takes an active role.

Per­haps the youth­ful Father of Psy­chol­o­gy won’t be hook­ing up with his female sidekick—a medi­um (always so help­ful in cas­es involv­ing ser­i­al killers!)

Per­haps instead the real love inter­est will be the intrigu­ing­ly named Kiss, a testy war vet­er­an cop. As Freud wrote in a 1935 let­ter:

Homo­sex­u­al­i­ty is assured­ly no advan­tage, but it is noth­ing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degra­da­tion; it can­not be clas­si­fied as an ill­ness; we con­sid­er it to be a vari­a­tion of the sex­u­al func­tion, pro­duced by a cer­tain arrest of sex­u­al devel­op­ment. Many high­ly respectable indi­vid­u­als of ancient and mod­ern times have been homo­sex­u­als, sev­er­al of the great­est men among them. (Pla­to, Michelan­ge­lo, Leonar­do da Vin­ci, etc). It is a great injus­tice to per­se­cute homo­sex­u­al­i­ty as a crime –and a cru­el­ty, too. If you do not believe me, read the books of Have­lock Ellis.

The eight-part Ger­man-lan­guage series will be direct­ed by a Mar­vin Kren, who seems, in the trans­lat­ed press release, as if he might be equal to the task.

I more or less grew up under­neath Sig­mund Freud’s orig­i­nal sofa, mean­ing: in the same dis­trict in Vien­na where he had his office. The dif­fer­ence: When I was born the world already prof­it­ed from Sig­mund Freud’s ground­break­ing dis­cov­er­ies for almost a cen­tu­ry. We, the mod­ern human beings, live in post-Freudi­an times. It is very appeal­ing and chal­leng­ing for me to imag­ine a world in this series in which the ‘self’ was just a blind spot on the map of cog­ni­tion, a world that hasn’t seen Sig­mund Freud yet. I would like to emerge with ‘Freud’ into Vienna’s dark alleys before the turn of the cen­tu­ry, to dis­cov­er the reflec­tion of the labyrinth of the human soul inspir­ing his life’s work. Abysmal, dubi­ous and dan­ger­ous!

The series will debut on Aus­tri­an tele­vi­sion. Net­flix will con­trol inter­na­tion­al stream­ing rights. Pro­duc­tion is due to begin this fall.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Sig­mund Freud, Father of Psy­cho­analy­sis, Intro­duced in a Mon­ty Python-Style Ani­ma­tion

Sig­mund Freud Speaks: The Only Known Record­ing of His Voice, 1938

Down­load Sig­mund Freud’s Great Works as Free eBooks & Free Audio Books: A Dig­i­tal Cel­e­bra­tion on His 160th Birth­day

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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