A New Online Archive Lets You Listen to 40 Years Worth of Terry Gross’ Fresh Air Interviews: Stream 22,000 Segment Online

As the weath­er grows cold­er, we look for rea­sons to stay inside, snug­gled up under a blan­ket, steamy mug in hand.

Or some­times we look for an incen­tive to bun­dle up and go for a long freez­ing con­sti­tu­tion­al.

Either way, 40 years’ worth of Fresh Air, Peabody award-win­ning radio jour­nal­ist Ter­ry Gross’ inter­view show, is just the tick­et.

A com­plete dig­i­tal data­base of over 22,000 seg­ments is now avail­able for your lis­ten­ing plea­sure.

Feel­ing over­whelmed?

Scroll down on the home page to delve into a recent episode.

Or dial it back to one of the ear­li­est extant install­ments.

(In the first decade of the show’s his­to­ry, many episodes went untaped or got record­ed over.)

The mas­sive data­base, cre­at­ed with help from library sci­en­tists at Drex­el Uni­ver­si­ty, is also search­able by guest and top­ic.

If you feel like hand­ing over the con­trols, home sta­tion WHYY in Philadel­phia has some sug­gest­ed col­lec­tions—Jazz Leg­endsSat­ur­day Night LiveHow the Brain Works

If you’re open to any­thing, try the wild card option at the bot­tom of the screen. Click play for a ran­dom episode.

Or try typ­ing one of your inter­ests into the search bar.

“Cats” yield­ed 1713 results, from a chat with author John Brad­shaw on the evo­lu­tion of house cats to an inter­view with zool­o­gist Alan Rabi­nowitz on endan­gered large cats to some train­ing tips, cour­tesy of feline behav­ior spe­cial­ist Sarah Ellis.

Of less direct rel­e­vance, but of no less inter­est, are:

A review of Iran­ian direc­tor Bah­man Ghobadi’s film No One Knows about Per­sian Cats, which net­ted the 2009 Spe­cial Jury Prize at Cannes.

A review of Mar­garet Atwood’s 1989 nov­el Cat’s Eye.

A His­to­ry of Catskills resorts.

A post-mortem with come­di­an (and avowed cat per­son) Mark Maron fol­low­ing then-Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s 2015 appear­ance on his WTF pod­cast (an occa­sion which required Maron’s house cats to be cor­ralled in his bed­room).

The Coen Broth­ers on writ­ing The Big Lebows­ki and the dif­fi­cul­ties of wran­gling Inside Llewyn Davis’s feline per­former:

Gross: So how do you cast a cat for your film?

One Coen broth­er: Ooh, that was hor­ri­ble. We just used on the advice of the trainer—the ani­mal train­er, kind of an orange, kind of a mar­malade tab­by cat, just because they are, you know, com­mon, and so easy to dou­ble, triple, quadru­ple. There were, you know, many cats play­ing the one cat and, you know, the whole thing is actu­al­ly pret­ty, it comes across well in the movie, but the whole exer­cise of shoot­ing a cat is pret­ty night­mar­ish because they don’t care about any­thing; they don’t want to do what you want them to do. As the ani­mal train­er said to us, a dog wants to please you; a cat only wants to please itself. It was just long, painstak­ing, frus­trat­ing days shoot­ing the cat.

Oth­er Coen broth­er: What you have to do is basi­cal­ly find the cat that’s pre­dis­posed to doing what­ev­er par­tic­u­lar piece of action it is that you have to film. So you find the cat that can—isn’t afraid to run down a fire escape or this, you know, the cat that’s very docile and will let the actor just hold them for extend­ed peri­ods of time with­out being fid­gety. And then you want the fid­gety cat—the squir­re­ly cat—for when you want the cat to run away and you just keep swap­ping them out—depending on what the task at hand is.

If some­thing real­ly catch­es your fan­cy, you can add it to a playlist to share via social media or email.

Read­ers, what would you have us add to ours?

Begin your explo­ration of Fresh Air’s archive here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

What Hap­pens When a Ter­ry Gross/Fresh Air Inter­view Ends: A Com­ic Look

Mau­rice Sendak’s Emo­tion­al Last Inter­view with NPR’s Ter­ry Gross, Ani­mat­ed by Christoph Nie­mann

Lis­ten to Ira Glass’ 10 Favorite Episodes of This Amer­i­can Life

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Join her in NYC on Mon­day, Decem­ber 9 when her month­ly book-based vari­ety show, Necro­mancers of the Pub­lic Domain cel­e­brates Dennison’s Christ­mas Book (1921). Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

Depeche Mode Before They Were Actually Depeche Mode: Stream Their Early Demo Recordings from 1980

After their 1986 album Black Cel­e­bra­tion, new wave leg­ends Depeche Mode ful­ly com­mit­ted to being the most glo­ri­ous­ly gloomy band next to The Cure to appear on sta­di­um stages. Earnest pleas for tol­er­ance like “Peo­ple are Peo­ple” and play­ful­ly sug­ges­tive vamps like “Mas­ter and Ser­vant” gave way to atmos­pher­ic dirge‑y wash­es and fune­re­al tem­pos made for mop­ing, not danc­ing. The move defined them after their ear­ly break­out with an image as a kind of New Roman­tic boy band.

The Depeche Mode of the ear­ly 80s was always edgi­er than most of their peers, even if they looked clean cut and cheru­bic. They were also more exper­i­men­tal, draw­ing from Kraftwerk’s dead­pan Ger­man dis­co in their min­i­mal­ist first sin­gle “Dream­ing of Me” and mak­ing indus­tri­al pop in Con­struc­tion Time Again’s “Every­thing Counts.” Theirs is a body of work, for bet­ter or worse, that launched a hun­dred dark­wave bands decades on, and their very first incar­na­tion may remind indie fans of oth­er lo-fi indie pop artists of recent years.

Before they were Depeche Mode, they were a min­i­mal­ist post-punk/new wave band called Com­po­si­tion of Sound. They record­ed two demo tapes under the name, “one with Vince Clarke on vocals and gui­tar,” notes Post-Punk.com, “Andy Fletch­er on bass and Mar­tin L. Gore on syn­the­siz­ers, and one [above] just after the arrival of Dave Gahan in the band, short­ly before they were renamed.” These tapes, from 1980, are the first record­ed man­i­fes­ta­tion of the Depeche Mode line­up.

Clarke and Fletch­er began play­ing togeth­er in the 1977 Cure-influ­enced band No Romance in Chi­na. They formed Com­po­si­tion of Sound with Gore, who’d played gui­tar in an acoustic duo, in 1980 and recruit­ed Gahan that same year whey they heard him sing Bowie’s “’Heroes’” at a jam ses­sion. By that time, they’d most­ly giv­en up on gui­tars, after Clarke—who left Depeche Mode after Speak & Spell to form the huge­ly influ­en­tial syn­th­pop band Yazoo (or Yaz in the U.S.)—encountered Orches­tral Maneu­vers in the Dark. The three-song demo at the top rep­re­sents that evo­lu­tion­ary step in action.

The first track, “Ice Machine,” was released as the b‑side of “Dream­ing of Me,” Depeche Mode’s first artis­tic state­ment of intent on their long­time label Mute. Fletch­er plays bass gui­tar on this and the oth­er two tracks, “Radio News” and “Pho­to­graph­ic,” but the songs are oth­er­wise rudi­men­ta­ry ances­tors of Depeche Mode’s synth-dom­i­nat­ed sound, which would per­sist until they brought gui­tars back into the fore­ground in the 90s.

It appears they did play a “hand­ful of gigs” in the tran­si­tion­al phase of Com­po­si­tion of Sound, as Mar­tin Schnei­der writes at Dan­ger­ous Minds: “The first COS show with Dave Gahan on vocals hap­pened on June 14, 1980 at Nicholas Com­pre­hen­sive in Basil­don.” The gig went well, accord­ing to Clarke, “because Gahan ‘had all his trendy mates there.’” Their last show in this incar­na­tion “sounds like some­thing out of This is Spinal Tap.” 

They played at a youth club at Wood­lands School in their home­town of Basil­don. “Their audi­ence con­sist­ed of a bunch of nine-year-olds. ‘They loved the synths, which were a nov­el­ty then,’ remem­bers Fletch­er. ‘The kids were onstage twid­dling the knobs while we played!”  One won­ders if any of those kids went on to start their own fash­ion­ably min­i­mal­ist syn­th­pop bands….

via Dan­ger­ous Minds/Post-Punk

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Lost Depeche Mode Doc­u­men­tary Is Now Online: Watch Our Hob­by is Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode Releas­es a Goose­bump-Induc­ing Cov­er of David Bowie’s “Heroes”

A His­to­ry of Alter­na­tive Music Bril­liant­ly Mapped Out on a Tran­sis­tor Radio Cir­cuit Dia­gram: 300 Punk, Alt & Indie Artists

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

The Dream-Driven Filmmaking of Werner Herzog: Watch the Video Essay, “The Inner Chronicle of What We Are: Understanding Werner Herzog”

An insane con­quis­ta­dor, a dwarf rebel­lion, cat­tle auc­tion­eers, ancient cave paint­ings, flam­ing oil rigs, tel­e­van­ge­lism, ski jump­ing, strong­men, Nico­las Cage: at first glance, the fil­mog­ra­phy of Wern­er Her­zog may seem will­ful­ly bizarre. A clos­er look, which reveals his films’ unusu­al mix­ture of fact and fic­tion deliv­ered through images that lodge per­ma­nent­ly in the sub­con­scious, may not dis­pel that impres­sion. But the pro­lif­ic Her­zog, who has steadi­ly worked in and ever more idio­syn­crat­i­cal­ly defined his own realm of cin­e­ma since mak­ing his first short Her­ak­les 57 years ago, is engaged in a con­sis­tent ven­ture — or so argues Tom van der Lin­den in his video essay “The Inner Chron­i­cle of What We Are: Under­stand­ing Wern­er Her­zog.”

“I have always thought of my films as being one big work,” Van der Lin­den quotes Her­zog him­self as say­ing. “The char­ac­ters in this sto­ry are all des­per­ate and soli­tary rebels with no lan­guage with which to com­mu­ni­cate. Inevitably, they suf­fer because of this. They know their rebel­lion is doomed to fail­ure, but they con­tin­ue with­out respite, wound­ed, strug­gling on their own with­out assis­tance.” Van der Lin­den iden­ti­fies that strug­gle as much in Her­zog’s askew dra­ma­tized vision of Kas­par Hauser, the 19th-cen­tu­ry youth who claimed to have grown up in total iso­la­tion, as he does in Land of Silence and Dark­ness, Her­zog’s doc­u­men­tary about the blind-deaf Fini Straub­inger. In Her­zog’s film, such char­ac­ters are not out­siders but “saints, embod­i­ments of the human spir­it that exists with­in each and every one of us, long­ing to man­i­fest itself.”

But then, every Her­zog fan knows how lit­tle sense it makes to draw a line between the “fic­tion” and the “non­fic­tion” in his work. “As well known as Her­zog is for bring­ing real­i­ty into his fic­tion­al films, just as well known is he for bring­ing his fic­tion into his doc­u­men­taries,” says Van der Lin­den, an imper­a­tive that has entailed “unortho­dox direc­to­r­i­al deci­sions.” These include putting near­ly an entire cast of Heart of Glass under hyp­no­sis, releas­ing 11,000 rats into a city for his remake of Nos­fer­atu, and most famous­ly, for Fitz­car­ral­do, a film about a rub­ber baron who drags a steamship over a hill in Peru, drag­ging a real steamship over a real hill in Peru — a sin­gu­lar cin­e­mat­ic effort that inspired a doc­u­men­tary of its own, Les Blank’s Bur­den of Dreams.

“My belief is that all these dreams are yours as well,” Her­zog says to Blank, “and the only dis­tinc­tion between me and you is that I can artic­u­late them, and that is what poet­ry or paint­ing or lit­er­a­ture of film­mak­ing is all about.” On some lev­el, Her­zog’s inter­est in dreams still explains the nature of his film­mak­ing. This man­i­fests espe­cial­ly in his doc­u­men­taries, says van der Lin­den, where he “always seems to wan­der off the actu­al sub­ject by includ­ing a vari­ety of seem­ing­ly ran­dom sto­ries from the peo­ple he encoun­ters. He’s not inter­est­ed in their facts; he’s inter­est­ed in their dreams.” Like no oth­er film­mak­er work­ing today, Her­zog artic­u­lates the kind of truth we feel in our own dreams as well: the “poet­ic, ecsta­t­ic truth” he spoke of in his “Min­neso­ta Dec­la­ra­tion,” which “can be reached only through fab­ri­ca­tion and imag­i­na­tion and styl­iza­tion.” No won­der he’s ded­i­cat­ed him­self to cin­e­ma, still the most dream­like medi­um of them all.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Wern­er Herzog’s Very First Film, Her­ak­les, Made When He Was Only 19 Years Old (1962)

Wern­er Her­zog Cre­ates Required Read­ing & Movie View­ing Lists for Enrolling in His Film School

Por­trait Wern­er Her­zog: The Director’s Auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal Short Film from 1986

Wern­er Her­zog Offers 24 Pieces of Film­mak­ing and Life Advice

To Make Great Films, You Must Read, Read, Read and Write, Write, Write, Say Aki­ra Kuro­sawa and Wern­er Her­zog

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­maand the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future? Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

The Great Courses (Formerly The Teaching Company) Offers Every Course at $60 or Less Until the End of Black Friday

Here’s a hol­i­day sea­son deal worth men­tion­ing. The Great Cours­es (for­mer­ly The Teach­ing Com­pa­ny) is offer­ing every course on sale for $60 or less in DVD for­mat, includ­ing free ship­ping (in the US and Cana­da). Instant video for­mats go for $40 across the board. The deal lasts through mid­night on Black Fri­day.

If you’re not famil­iar with it, the com­pa­ny pro­vides a very nice ser­vice. They trav­el across the U.S., record­ing great pro­fes­sors lec­tur­ing on great top­ics that will appeal to any life­long learn­er. They then make the cours­es avail­able to cus­tomers in dif­fer­ent for­mats (DVD, CD, Video & Audio Down­loads, etc.). The cours­es are very pol­ished and com­plete, and they can be quite rea­son­ably priced, espe­cial­ly when they’re on sale, as they are today. Click here, or on the ban­ner above, to explore the offer.

Note: The Great Cours­es is a part­ner with Open Cul­ture. So if you pur­chase a course, it ben­e­fits not just you and Great Cours­es. It ben­e­fits Open Cul­ture too. So con­sid­er it win-win-win.

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The Illustrated Version of “Alice’s Restaurant”: Watch Arlo Guthrie’s Thanksgiving Counterculture Classic

Alice’s Restau­rant. It’s now a Thanks­giv­ing clas­sic, and some­thing of a tra­di­tion around here. Record­ed in 1967, the 18+ minute coun­ter­cul­ture song recounts Arlo Guthrie’s real encounter with the law, start­ing on Thanks­giv­ing Day 1965. As the long song unfolds, we hear all about how a hip­pie-bat­ing police offi­cer, by the name of William “Obie” Oban­hein, arrest­ed Arlo for lit­ter­ing. (Cul­tur­al foot­note: Obie pre­vi­ous­ly posed for sev­er­al Nor­man Rock­well paint­ings, includ­ing the well-known paint­ing, “The Run­away,” that graced a 1958 cov­er of The Sat­ur­day Evening Post.) In fair­ly short order, Arlo pleads guilty to a mis­de­meanor charge, pays a $25 fine, and cleans up the thrash. But the sto­ry isn’t over. Not by a long shot. Lat­er, when Arlo (son of Woody Guthrie) gets called up for the draft, the pet­ty crime iron­i­cal­ly becomes a basis for dis­qual­i­fy­ing him from mil­i­tary ser­vice in the Viet­nam War. Guthrie recounts this with some bit­ter­ness as the song builds into a satir­i­cal protest against the war: “I’m sit­tin’ here on the Group W bench ’cause you want to know if I’m moral enough to join the Army, burn women, kids, hous­es and vil­lages after bein’ a lit­ter­bug.” And then we’re back to the cheery cho­rus again: “You can get any­thing you want, at Alice’s Restau­rant.”

We have fea­tured Guthrie’s clas­sic dur­ing past years. But, for this Thanks­giv­ing, we give you the illus­trat­ed ver­sion. Hap­py Thanks­giv­ing to every­one who plans to cel­e­brate the hol­i­day today.

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:

William S. Bur­roughs Reads His Sar­cas­tic “Thanks­giv­ing Prayer” in a 1988 Film By Gus Van Sant

Mar­i­lyn Monroe’s Hand­writ­ten Turkey-and-Stuff­ing Recipe

William Shat­ner Raps About How to Not Kill Your­self Deep Fry­ing a Turkey

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 13 Tips for What to Do with Your Left­over Thanks­giv­ing Turkey

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An Illustrated Map of Every Known Object in Space: Asteroids, Dwarf Planets, Black Holes & Much More

Name all the things in space in 20 min­utes. Impos­si­ble, you say? Well, if there’s any­one who might come close to sum­ma­riz­ing the con­tents of the uni­verse in less than half an hour, with the aid of a handy info­graph­ic map also avail­able as a poster, it’s physi­cist Dominic Wal­li­man, who has explored oth­er vast sci­en­tif­ic regions in con­densed, yet com­pre­hen­sive maps on physics, math­e­mat­ics, chem­istry, biol­o­gy, and com­put­er sci­ence.

These are all aca­d­e­m­ic dis­ci­plines with more or less defined bound­aries. But space? It’s poten­tial­ly end­less, a point Wal­li­man grants up front. Space is “infi­nite­ly big and there are an infi­nite num­ber of things in it,” he says. How­ev­er, these things can still be named and cat­e­go­rized, since “there are not an infi­nite num­ber of dif­fer­ent kinds of things.” We begin at home, so to speak, with the Earth, our Sun, the solar sys­tem (and a dog), and the plan­ets: ter­res­tri­al, gas, and ice giant.

Aster­oids, mete­ors, comets, dwarf plan­ets, moons, the Kuyper Belt, Dort Cloud, and helios­phere, cos­mic dust, black holes…. We’re only two min­utes in and that’s a lot of things already—but it’s also a lot of kinds of things, and those kinds repeat over and over. The super­mas­sive black hole at the cen­ter of the Milky Way may be a type rep­re­sent­ing a whole class of things “at the cen­ter of every galaxy.”

The uni­verse might con­tain an infi­nite num­ber of stars—or a num­ber so large it might as well be infi­nite. But that doesn’t mean we can’t extrap­o­late from the com­par­a­tive­ly tiny num­ber we’re able to observe as rep­re­sen­ta­tive of gen­er­al star behav­ior: from the “main sequence stars”—Red, Orange, and Yel­low Dwarves (like our sun)—to blue giants to vari­able stars, which pul­sate and change in size and bright­ness.

Mas­sive Red Giants explode into neb­u­lae at the end of their 100 mil­lion to 2 bil­lion year lives. They also, along with Red and Orange Dwarf stars, leave behind a core known as a White Dwarf, which will become a Black Dwarf, which does not exist yet because the uni­verse it not old enough to have pro­duced any. “White dwarves,” Wal­li­man says, “will be the fate of 97% of the stars in the uni­verse.” The num­ber of kinds of stars expands, we get into the dif­fer­ent shapes galax­ies can take, and learn about cos­mic radi­a­tion and “mys­ter­ies.”

This project does not have the scope to include expla­na­tions of how we know about these many kinds of space objects, but Wal­li­man does an excel­lent job of turn­ing what may be the biggest pic­ture imag­in­able into a thumbnail—or poster-sized (pur­chase here, down­load here)—out­line of the uni­verse. We can­not ask more from a twen­ty-minute video promis­ing to name “Every Kind of Thing in Space.”

See oth­er sci­ence-defin­ing video maps, all writ­ten, researched, ani­mat­ed, edit­ed, and scored by Wal­li­man, at the links below.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Map of Physics: Ani­ma­tion Shows How All the Dif­fer­ent Fields in Physics Fit Togeth­er

The Map of Math­e­mat­ics: Ani­ma­tion Shows How All the Dif­fer­ent Fields in Math Fit Togeth­er

The Map of Chem­istry: New Ani­ma­tion Sum­ma­rizes the Entire Field of Chem­istry in 12 Min­utes

The Map of Biol­o­gy: Ani­ma­tion Shows How All the Dif­fer­ent Fields in Biol­o­gy Fit Togeth­er

The Map of Com­put­er Sci­ence: New Ani­ma­tion Presents a Sur­vey of Com­put­er Sci­ence, from Alan Tur­ing to “Aug­ment­ed Real­i­ty”

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

William S. Burroughs Reads His “Thanksgiving Prayer” in a 1988 Film By Gus Van Sant

Hav­ing moved to Korea a cou­ple weeks ago, I won’t have the chance to par­take this year in the beloved insti­tu­tion of Amer­i­can cul­ture known as Thanks­giv­ing. (Korea has its own Thanks­giv­ing, but it hap­pened two months ago.) Maybe you live in the Unit­ed States and thus almost cer­tain­ly have a Thanks­giv­ing din­ner of some kind, big or small, com­ing soon. Or maybe you, like me, live else­where in the world, and thus in a place with­out the same tra­di­tion. Either way, you can sure­ly par­take this Thanks­giv­ing in the beloved insti­tu­tion of Amer­i­can cul­ture known as the work of William S. Bur­roughs.

Here we have a short film of Bur­roughs, best known as the author of a body of con­tro­ver­sial and exper­i­men­tal lit­er­a­ture, includ­ing books like Junky and Naked Lunch, shot by Gus Van Sant, best known as the direc­tor of films like Good Will Hunt­ingMy Own Pri­vate Ida­ho, and Drug­store Cow­boy, the last of which includes a mem­o­rable appear­ance by Bur­roughs him­self.

It cap­tures Bur­roughs read­ing his poem “Thanks­giv­ing Day, Nov. 28, 1986,” also known as his “Thanks­giv­ing Prayer.” Van Sant shot it two Thanks­giv­ings after that one, in 1988, the year before Drug­store Cow­boy (and six years after adapt­ing Bur­rough’s sto­ry “The Dis­ci­pline of D.E.” into an ear­ly short film).

Bur­roughs, a life­long crit­ic of Amer­i­ca, fills his prayer with bit­ter­ly sar­cas­tic “thanks” for things like “a con­ti­nent to despoil and poi­son,” “Indi­ans to pro­vide a mod­icum of chal­lenge and dan­ger,” “the KKK,” and “Pro­hi­bi­tion and the war against drugs” (about which his char­ac­ter in Drug­store Cow­boy had some par­tic­u­lar­ly choice words). He ends by express­ing iron­ic, Great Gats­by-quot­ing grat­i­tude for “the last and great­est betray­al of the last and great­est of human dreams.”

Like him — like most every­body — I have my own, if less deep-seat­ed, frus­tra­tions with our home­land, and per­haps in leav­ing I sub­con­scious­ly emu­lat­ed his stretch­es of expa­tri­atism in Mex­i­co, Eng­land, France, and Moroc­co. But I sin­cere­ly doubt that I’ve had my last Thanks­giv­ing on U.S. soil; for all its fail­ings, Amer­i­ca remains too inter­est­ing to stay away from entire­ly. After all, what oth­er coun­try could pos­si­bly pro­duce a writer, a per­son­al­i­ty, or a crit­ic like William S. Bur­roughs?

Note: An ear­li­er ver­sion of this post appeared on our site in 2015.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

How David Bowie Used William S. Bur­roughs’ Cut-Up Method to Write His Unfor­get­table Lyrics

The Mak­ing of Drug­store Cow­boy, Gus Van Sant’s First Major Film (1989)

William S. Bur­roughs Teach­es a Free Course on Cre­ative Read­ing and Writ­ing (1979)

The Dis­ci­pline of D.E.: Gus Van Sant Adapts a Sto­ry by William S. Bur­roughs

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­maand the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future? Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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The Isamu Noguchi Museum Puts Online an Archive of 60,000 Photographs, Manuscripts & Digitized Drawings by the Japanese Sculptor

No mat­ter how unfa­mil­iar you may be with the work of Isamu Noguchi, you’re like­ly to have encoun­tered it, quite pos­si­bly more than once, in the form of a Noguchi table. Designed in the 1940s for the Her­man Miller fur­ni­ture com­pa­ny (in a cat­a­log that also includ­ed the work of George Nel­son, Paul Lás­zló, and Charles Eames of the epony­mous chair), it shows off Noguchi’s dis­tinc­tive aes­thet­ic as well as many of his most acclaimed sculp­tures, set designs, and pub­lic spaces. That aes­thet­ic could only have arisen from a sin­gu­lar artis­tic life like Noguchi’s, which began in Los Ange­les where he was born to an Amer­i­can moth­er and a Japan­ese father, and soon start­ed cross­ing back and forth across both the Pacif­ic and the Atlantic: a child­hood spent around Japan, school­ing and appren­tice­ship back in the U.S., a Guggen­heim Fel­low­ship in Paris, peri­ods of study in Chi­na and Japan — and all that before age 30.

Now, thanks to the Noguchi Muse­um, we can take a clos­er look at not just the Noguchi table but all the fruits of Noguchi’s long work­ing life, which began in the 1910s and con­tin­ued until his death in the 1980s. (He exe­cut­ed his first notable work, the design of the gar­den for his moth­er’s house in Chi­gasa­ki, at just eight years old.)

The insti­tu­tion that bears his name recent­ly dig­i­tized and made avail­able 60,000 archival pho­tographs, man­u­scripts, and dig­i­tized draw­ings, and also launched a dig­i­tal cat­a­logue raison­né designed to be updat­ed with dis­cov­er­ies still to come about Noguchi’s life and work. “The com­ple­tion of a mul­ti­year project, the archive now fea­tures 28,000 pho­tographs doc­u­ment­ing the artist’s works, exhi­bi­tions, var­i­ous stu­dios, per­son­al pho­tographs, and influ­en­tial friends and col­leagues,” writes Hyper­al­ler­gic’s Alis­sa Guz­man. “The wealth of imagery is over­whelm­ing and also sur­pris­ing, bring­ing atten­tion to works we might not often asso­ciate with Noguchi.”

Indeed, as the pro­jec­t’s man­ag­ing edi­tor Alex Ross tells Guz­man, the research process revealed “sev­er­al sig­nif­i­cant art­works which were assumed to have been lost or destroyed,” as well as “pre­vi­ous­ly unat­trib­uted pieces that the archive is now able to con­firm as works by Noguchi.” The dif­fi­cul­ty of con­firm­ing the authen­tic­i­ty of cer­tain works speaks to the pro­tean qual­i­ty of Noguchi’s art that goes hand-in-hand with its dis­tinc­tive­ness, a bal­ance struck by few major artists of any era. And though quite a few of Noguchi’s cre­ations (and not just the table) have been described as time­less, no oth­er body of work reflects quite so clear­ly the inter­min­gling of East and West – a West that includ­ed the Old World as well as the New — that, hav­ing begun on eco­nom­ic and social lev­els, reached the aes­thet­ic one in the cen­tu­ry through which Noguchi lived. Explore his cat­a­logue raison­né, and you may find that, no mat­ter what part of the world you’re from, you have more expe­ri­ence with Noguchi’s work than you thought.

via Hyper­al­ler­gic

Relat­ed Con­tent:

3D Scans of 7,500 Famous Sculp­tures, Stat­ues & Art­works: Down­load & 3D Print Rodin’s Thinker, Michelangelo’s David & More

The Get­ty Dig­i­tal Archive Expands to 135,000 Free Images: Down­load High Res­o­lu­tion Scans of Paint­ings, Sculp­tures, Pho­tographs & Much Much More

Down­load 2,500 Beau­ti­ful Wood­block Prints and Draw­ings by Japan­ese Mas­ters (1600–1915)

Down­load Vin­cent van Gogh’s Col­lec­tion of 500 Japan­ese Prints, Which Inspired Him to Cre­ate “the Art of the Future”

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, 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.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.