The British Museum Puts 1.9 Million Works of Art Online

Maybe it’s always too soon to make pre­dic­tions, but his­to­ri­ans of the future will like­ly view the time of COVID-19 as one of unprece­dent­ed cul­tur­al, social, and eco­nom­ic change on a vast scale. One of those changes, the open­ing of his­toric muse­um collections—photographed and uploaded in high res­o­lu­tion images, and view­able in the kind of fine detail one could nev­er get close enough to see in person—has put an advanc­ing trend into hyper­drive. The British Muse­um, for exam­ple, has just announced a “major revamp” of its dig­i­tal col­lec­tion, Vice reports, “mak­ing near­ly 1.9 mil­lion images free to use for any­one under a Cre­ative Com­mons 4.0 license.”

This addi­tion expands the museum’s online col­lec­tion to near­ly 4.5 mil­lion objects—or dig­i­tal rep­re­sen­ta­tions of objects. “[Y]ou can zoom in and pan over the Game of Ur, a 5,000-year-old board game played in Mesopotamia, or the sculp­ture Hoa Hakananai’a from East­er Island.”

The muse­um is trans­par­ent about some “out­stand­ing issues” with the online col­lec­tion—includ­ing minor prob­lems with lay­out and image order—but due to “extra­or­di­nary cir­cum­stances” they felt it in the pub­lic inter­est to launch soon­er than lat­er. Since access is free and unre­strict­ed, one hopes there’ll be few com­plaints.

Vir­tu­al vis­i­tors can get an incred­i­bly detailed view of British Muse­um items like the 15th cen­tu­ry sil­ver and ivory hunt­ing horn from Sier­ra Leone (top), an object you can’t see in per­son, not only because the muse­um is closed but because it isn’t on dis­play. Online exhibits give us the kind of access pre­vi­ous­ly only avail­able to cura­tors. They also take us deep­er into art and archae­o­log­i­cal his­to­ry than most in-per­son vis­its can.

An encounter with the intri­cate Sut­ton Hoo hel­met, above, recov­ered at an Anglo-Sax­on bur­ial site, is inter­est­ing enough sans con­text. At the muse­um site, how­ev­er, vis­i­tors can dive into an entire les­son on the his­to­ry and mean­ing of this and oth­er incred­i­ble arti­facts stum­bled upon by a farmer in 1939 who found a ship buried in Suf­folk that turned out to be “the most impres­sive medieval grave to be dis­cov­ered in Europe.”

The demo­c­ra­t­ic util­i­ty of vast online col­lec­tions like this one can­not be over­stat­ed. The strug­gles of edu­ca­tors and par­ents these days are very real.“If you’re cur­rent­ly home­school­ing your kids,” Life­hack­er writes, “you may be inter­est­ed in the British Museum’s free online learn­ing resources geared towards stu­dents ages three to 16+. Want to learn how Egypt­ian mum­mies were made? There’s a les­son for that. Maybe you can learn what the Romans ate and drank and enjoy a Roman-themed lunch!” (Doesn’t that sound fun, par­ent who hasn’t been to the gro­cery store!) Take a vir­tu­al walk­through of the muse­um. See the Roset­ta Stone in the Egypt­ian sculp­ture gallery and the Lewis Chess­men in the Medieval Europe gallery.

Brows­ing the col­lec­tion will turn up beau­ti­ful, intrigu­ing objects at every turn. If you’ve got a par­tic­u­lar piece in mind, the muse­um pro­vides instruc­tions here for con­duct­ing tar­get­ed search­es. While it can feel like we’re sur­round­ed by scenes of scarci­ty, it’s some small com­fort to know the new nor­mal includes expand­ed vir­tu­al access to the world’s cul­tur­al trea­sures.

via Kot­tke

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The British Muse­um Is Now Open To Every­one: Take a Vir­tu­al Tour and See 4,737 Arti­facts, Includ­ing the Roset­ta Stone

The British Muse­um Cre­ates 3D Mod­els of the Roset­ta Stone & 200+ Oth­er His­toric Arti­facts: Down­load or View in Vir­tu­al Real­i­ty

Take a Vir­tu­al Tour of 30 World-Class Muse­ums & Safe­ly Vis­it 2 Mil­lion Works of Fine Art

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

Bertrand Russell Remembers His Face-to-Face Encounter with Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

When the Bol­she­viks seized con­trol of Rus­sia in the Octo­ber Rev­o­lu­tion of 1917, Bertrand Rus­sell saw it as “one of the great hero­ic events of the world’s his­to­ry.”

A renowned philoso­pher and math­e­mati­cian, Rus­sell was also a com­mit­ted social­ist. As he would write in his 1920 book The Prac­tice and The­o­ry of Bol­she­vism:

By far the most impor­tant aspect of the Russ­ian Rev­o­lu­tion is as an attempt to real­ize Com­mu­nism. I believe that Com­mu­nism is nec­es­sary to the world, and I believe that the hero­ism of Rus­sia has fired men’s hopes in a way which was essen­tial to the real­iza­tion of Com­mu­nism in the future. Regard­ed as a splen­did attempt, with­out which ulti­mate suc­cess would have been very improb­a­ble, Bol­she­vism deserves the grat­i­tude and admi­ra­tion of all the pro­gres­sive part of mankind.

But despite his ear­ly admi­ra­tion for the “splen­did attempt,” Rus­sell found much in Sovi­et Rus­sia to be con­cerned about. Specif­i­cal­ly, he was appalled by the rigid­ly doc­tri­naire mind­set of the Bol­she­viks — their zeal for quot­ing Marx like it was Holy gospel — and the cru­el tyran­ny they were will­ing to impose.

In May of 1920, a few months before fin­ish­ing The Prac­tice and The­o­ry of Bol­she­vism, Rus­sell vis­it­ed Pet­ro­grad (Saint Peters­burg) and Moscow with a British Labour del­e­ga­tion. As he says in the book:

I went to Rus­sia a Com­mu­nist; but con­tact with those who have no doubts has inten­si­fied a thou­sand­fold my own doubts, not as to Com­mu­nism in itself, but as to the wis­dom of hold­ing a creed so firm­ly that for its sake men are will­ing to inflict wide­spread mis­ery.

As Rus­sell would lat­er write in the sec­ond vol­ume of his auto­bi­og­ra­phy, his time in Sovi­et Rus­sia was one of “con­tin­u­al­ly increas­ing night­mare:”

Cru­el­ty, pover­ty, sus­pi­cion, per­se­cu­tion, formed the very air we breathed. Our con­ver­sa­tions were con­tin­u­al­ly spied upon. In the mid­dle of the night one would hear shots, and know that ide­al­ists were being killed in prison. There was a hyp­o­crit­i­cal pre­tence of equal­i­ty, and every­body was called ‘tovarisch’ [com­rade], but it was amaz­ing how dif­fer­ent­ly this word could be pro­nounced accord­ing as the per­son who was addressed was Lenin or a lazy ser­vant.

Soon after arriv­ing in Moscow, Rus­sell had a one-hour talk with Sovi­et leader Vladimir Ilyich Lenin at his spar­tan office in the Krem­lin. “Lenin’s room is very bare,” writes Rus­sell in The Prac­tice and The­o­ry of Bol­she­vism; “it con­tains a big desk, some maps on the walls, two book-cas­es, and one com­fort­able chair for vis­i­tors in addi­tion to two or three hard chairs. It is obvi­ous that he has no love of lux­u­ry or even com­fort.”

In the audio clip above, tak­en from a 1961 inter­view by John Chan­dos at Rus­sel­l’s home in north Wales, the old philoso­pher relates a pair of obser­va­tions of what he saw as Lenin’s two defin­ing traits: his rigid ortho­doxy, and what Rus­sell would lat­er call his “dis­tinct vein of imp­ish cru­el­ty.”

By the time of the inter­view, Rus­sel­l’s ear­ly ambiva­lence toward Sovi­et com­mu­nism had hard­ened into antipa­thy. “Marx’s doc­trine was bad enough, but the devel­op­ments which it under­went under Lenin and Stal­in made it much worse,” he writes in his 1956 essay “Why I am Not a Com­mu­nist.” “I am com­plete­ly at a loss to under­stand how it came about that some peo­ple who are both humane and intel­li­gent could find some­thing to admire in the vast slave camp pro­duced by Stal­in.”

Lenin died on Jan­u­ary 21, 1924 — less than four years after his meet­ing with Rus­sell. A few days lat­er, Rus­sell pub­lished an essay, “Lenin: An Impres­sion,” in The New Leader. And although Rus­sell once again men­tions the man’s nar­row ortho­doxy and ruth­less­ness, he paints a rather glow­ing pic­ture of Lenin as a his­tor­i­cal fig­ure:

The death of Lenin makes the world poor­er by the loss of one of the real­ly great men pro­duced by the war [World War I]. It seems prob­a­ble that our age will go down to his­to­ry as that of Lenin and Ein­stein — the two men who have suc­ceed­ed in a great work of syn­the­sis in an ana­lyt­ic age, one in thought, the oth­er in action. Lenin appeared to the out­raged bour­geoisie of the world as a destroy­er, but it was not the work of destruc­tion that made him pre-emi­nent. Oth­ers could have destroyed, but I doubt whether any oth­er liv­ing man could have built so well on the new foun­da­tions. His mind was order­ly and cre­ative: he was a philo­soph­ic sys­tem-mak­er in the sphere of prac­tice.… States­men of his cal­iber do not appear in the world more than about once in a cen­tu­ry, and few of us are like­ly to live to see his equal.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Bertrand Rus­sell and F.C. Cople­ston Debate the Exis­tence of God, 1948

Face to Face with Bertrand Rus­sell: ‘Love is Wise, Hatred is Fool­ish’

Russ­ian His­to­ry & Lit­er­a­ture Come to Life in Won­der­ful­ly Col­orized Por­traits: See Pho­tos of Tol­stoy, Chekov, the Romanovs & More

A Michigan Family Makes Everyone Passing Their House Do Monty Python Silly Walks, and Then Puts Recordings on Instagram

Even if you don’t know the Bea­t­les, you know “Love Me Do.” Even if you don’t know the Rolling Stones, you know “Sat­is­fac­tion.” Even if you don’t know Mon­ty Python, you know “The Min­istry of Sil­ly Walks.” Like an AM radio hit, the sketch works on sev­er­al dif­fer­ent aes­thet­ic and intel­lec­tu­al lev­els while cap­ti­vat­ing audi­ences of dis­parate ages and cul­tures, all with­in the span of a few min­utes. As a satire of British gov­ern­ment bureau­cra­cy it com­pares, in its way, to Antony Jay and Jonathan Lyn­n’s series Yes Min­is­ter, which would debut on the BBC a decade lat­er. As sheer phys­i­cal com­e­dy, it draws its pow­er, as all those old songs do, from the innate char­ac­ter­is­tics of its per­form­ers. Or rather, from John Cleese, who not only looks the part of a born estab­lish­ment fig­ure, but stands near­ly six and a half feet tall.

Though few of us can sing like Paul McCart­ney or Mick Jag­ger, it does­n’t stop us from join­ing in when their songs come on the radio. By the same token, though few of us pos­sess the sheer leg length to walk as sil­ly as Cleese does, we can all gen­er­ate our own kind of lev­i­ty by giv­ing our best. And much of the Unit­ed States, locked down by the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic, lev­i­ty is just what’s need­ed. Hence the estab­lish­ment of York­shire Sil­ly Walks, which announces itself in no uncer­tain terms: “YOU HAVE ENTERED THE JURISDICTION OF THE MINISTRY OF SILLY WALKS,” reads its signs. “COMMENCE SILLY WALKING IMMEDIATELY.” All who pass through this ter­ri­to­ry are cap­tured by a video cam­era, and some will lat­er find them­selves post­ed to York­shire Sil­ly Walks’ Insta­gram page — as long as they’ve walked with suf­fi­cient silli­ness.

They don’t have to do it for long: the juris­dic­tion of this Min­istry of Sil­ly Walks extends only across the side­walk in front of a sin­gle house in Grosse Pointe Park, Michi­gan. The home­’s York­shire Road address will con­jure up mem­o­ries of anoth­er beloved sketch in the minds of seri­ous Python fans — a group to which Liz Koto and her fam­i­ly, the house­’s occu­pants, must belong. They’ve post­ed to Insta­gram well over 100 videos, each cap­tur­ing a dif­fer­ent sil­ly walk exe­cut­ed by the peo­ple of their sub­ur­ban neigh­bor­hood out for a stroll — just about the only thing many Amer­i­cans can do to get out of the house these days. And they do it more joy­ful­ly than Cleese him­self, who has spo­ken of how, like a rock star con­demned to play the same hit over and over again, he grew deeply weary of play­ing the Min­is­ter of Sil­ly Walks on stage for Mon­ty Python’s live shows over the decades. After hav­ing under­gone two hip replace­ments, he’s sure­ly hap­py to leave sil­ly-walk­ing to the fans.

View this post on Insta­gram

Wood­stock called, they want their dancers back.

A post shared by York­shire Sil­ly Walks (@yorkshire.silly.walks) on

via Laugh­ing Squid

Relat­ed Con­tent:

John Cleese Revis­its His 20 Years as an Ivy League Pro­fes­sor in His New Book, Pro­fes­sor at Large: The Cor­nell Years

John Cleese on The Impor­tance of Mak­ing and Embrac­ing Mis­takes

Ital­ians’ Night­ly Sin­ga­longs Prove That Music Soothes the Sav­age Beast of Coro­n­avirus Quar­an­tine & Self-Iso­la­tion

Inge­nious Impro­vised Recre­ations of Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Ear­ring, Using Mate­ri­als Found Around the House

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, on Face­book, or on Insta­gram.

Soundtrack Composer Craig Wedren (Zoey’s Playlist, Glow, Shrill) Joins Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #41 on TV Musicals

Craig was the front-man of the brainy punk band Shud­der to Think from the mid-’80s through the ’90s and has cre­at­ed music for many TV shows and films. He joins your hosts Mark Lin­sen­may­er, Eri­ca Spyres, and Bri­an Hirt due to his involve­ment with the cur­rent NBC musi­cal dram­e­dy Zoey’s Extra­or­di­nary Playlist, which along with Glee, Crazy Ex-Girl­friend, Nashville, Rise, etc. rep­re­sents a new era of musi­cals as main­stream TV.

Why are shows like this being cre­at­ed at this point in our cul­tur­al his­to­ry? These shows all use some nar­ra­tive expla­na­tion for why there’s singing (i.e. the songs are diagetic) instead of just hav­ing the char­ac­ters sing as in a clas­sic musi­cal or a film like The Great­est Show­man or La La Land. Most of these also make heavy use of cov­er tunes and/or par­o­dies in a way that stage musi­cals usu­al­ly don’t. And of course there’s often a heavy use of auto­tune and more star-based cast­ing than is the norm for stage pro­duc­tions.

Some arti­cles to pro­vide an overview of the top­ic:

Note that Craig does­n’t cre­ate the actu­al songs that the cast mem­bers sing for Zoey’s, just the inter­sti­tial music, but he’s writ­ten heaps of songs and is in a great posi­tion to talk with us about every­thing from Cop Rock to Mama Mia. We also touch on musi­cal episodes in Com­mu­ni­ty and Buffy the Vam­pire Slay­er, Bohemi­an Rhap­sody, karaoke in film, Adam Schlesinger, Stop Mak­ing Sense (also see David Byrne’s mobile band on Col­bert) and a weird Net­flix lip-sync dra­ma called Sound­track,

Lis­ten to Craig talk about his own tunes on Naked­ly Exam­ined Music and watch his dai­ly Sab­bath Ses­sions at or on YouTube. Hear the song he wrote for School of Rock.

Learn more at This episode includes bonus dis­cus­sion that you can only hear by sup­port­ing the pod­cast at This pod­cast is part of the Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life pod­cast net­work.

Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast is the first pod­cast curat­ed by Open Cul­ture. Browse all Pret­ty Much Pop posts or start with the first episode.

When David Bowie Launched His Own Internet Service Provider: The Rise and Fall of BowieNet (1998)

When we con­sid­er the many iden­ti­ties of David Bowie — Zig­gy Star­dust, Aladdin Sane, the Thin White Duke — we often neglect to include his trans­for­ma­tion into an inter­net entre­pre­neur. In line with Bowie’s rep­u­ta­tion for being ahead of his time in all endeav­ors, it hap­pened sev­er­al tech booms ago, in the late 1990s. Fore­see­ing the inter­net’s poten­tial as a cul­tur­al and com­mer­cial force, he got ahead of it by launch­ing not just his own web site (which some major artists lacked through the end of the cen­tu­ry), but his own inter­net ser­vice provider. For $19.95 a month (£10.00 in the UK), BowieNet offered fans access not just to “high-speed” inter­net but to “David Bowie, his world, his friends, his fans, includ­ing live chats, live video feeds, chat rooms and bul­letin boards.”

So announced the ini­tial BowieNet press release pub­lished in August 1998, which also promised “live in-stu­dio video feeds,” “text, audio and video mes­sages from Bowie,” “Desk­top themes includ­ing Bowie screen­savers, wall­pa­per and icons,” and best of all, a “david­bowie e‑mail address (your” While the dial-up of the inter­net con­nec­tions of the day was­n’t quite equal to the task of reli­ably stream­ing video, many of BowieNet’s approx­i­mate­ly 100,000 mem­bers still fond­ly remem­ber the com­mu­ni­ty cul­ti­vat­ed on its mes­sage boards. “This was in effect a music-cen­tric social net­work,” writes The Gar­dian’s Kei­th Stu­art, “sev­er­al years before the emer­gence of sec­tor lead­ers like Friend­ster and Myspace.”

Unlike on the the vast social net­works that would lat­er devel­op, the man him­self was known to drop in. Under the alias “Sailor,” writes Newsweek’s Zach Schon­feld, “Bowie would some­times share updates and rec­om­men­da­tions or respond to fan queries.” He might endorse an album (Arcade Fire’s debut Funer­al earned a rave), express increduli­ty at rumors (of, say, his play­ing a con­cert with Paul McCart­ney and Michael Jack­son to be beamed into out­er space), crack jokes, or tell sto­ries (of, say, the time he and John Lennon sat around call­ing into radio sta­tions togeth­er). As Ars Tech­ni­ca’s inter­view with BowieNet co-founder Ron Roy con­firms, Bowie did­n’t just lend the enter­prise his brand but was “tremen­dous­ly involved from day one.” As Roy tells it, Bowie kept BowieNet fresh “by explor­ing new tech­nolo­gies to keep fans engaged and excit­ed. He always preached [that] it’s about the expe­ri­ence, the new.”

It helped that Bowie was­n’t sim­ply look­ing to cap­i­tal­ize on the rise of the inter­net. As the 1999 ZDTV inter­view at the top of the post reveals, he was already hooked on it him­self. “The first thing I do is get e‑mails out of the way,” he says, describ­ing the aver­age day in his online life. “I’m e‑mail crazy. And then I’ll spend prob­a­bly about an hour, maybe more, going through my site.” Even in the ear­ly days of “the con­tro­ver­sial mp3 for­mat,” he showed great enthu­si­asm for putting his music online. He con­tin­ued doing so even after tech­nol­o­gy sur­passed BowieNet, which dis­con­tin­ued its inter­net ser­vice in 2006. Now, as the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic keeps much of the world at home, many high-pro­file artists have tak­en to the inter­net to keep the show going. David Bowie fans know that, were he still with us, he’d have been the first to do it — and do it, no doubt, the most inter­est­ing­ly.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

In 1999, David Bowie Pre­dicts the Good and Bad of the Inter­net: “We’re on the Cusp of Some­thing Exhil­a­rat­ing and Ter­ri­fy­ing”

David Bowie Sells Ice Cream, Sake, Coke & Water: Watch His TV Com­mer­cials from the 1960s Through 2013

How David Bowie Deliv­ered His Two Most Famous Farewells: As Zig­gy Star­dust in 1973, and at the End of His Life in 2016

John Tur­tur­ro Intro­duces Amer­i­ca to the World Wide Web in 1999: Watch A Beginner’s Guide To The Inter­net

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, on Face­book, or on Insta­gram.

Scenes of Ezra Pound Wandering Through Venice and Reading from His Famous Pisan Cantos (1967)

Ezra Pound is a prob­lem for Mod­ernist lit­er­ary stud­ies in the same way Mar­tin Hei­deg­ger is for Con­ti­nen­tal phi­los­o­phy: it’s impos­si­ble to deny the over­whelm­ing influ­ence of either figure—and impos­si­ble to deny that both were devot­ed anti-Semit­ic fas­cists from at least the 1930s to the end of their days. Hei­deg­ger kept his views most­ly hid­den in his “Black Note­books.” Pound, on the oth­er hand, became an enthu­si­as­tic mouth­piece. He pub­licly idol­ized Ben­i­to Mus­soli­ni, signed let­ters with “Heil Hitler,” and broad­cast para­noid anti-Semit­ic hate speech on Ital­ian radio in over a hun­dred pro­pa­gan­da pieces for the Axis pow­ers dur­ing the war.

Pound was to be sen­tenced for trea­son in 1945 but was saved by an insan­i­ty defense pro­mot­ed by Ernest Hem­ing­way (who con­vinced him­self Pound must have been insane to say such things.) After a stay in St. Elizabeth’s, Pound recant­ed, but pri­vate­ly he nev­er changed. If he were a less­er poet, crit­ics and read­ers might assure them­selves they’d nev­er read the likes of him today. But not only is he insep­a­ra­ble from lit­er­ary his­to­ry as an influ­en­tial edi­tor and boost­er (with­out Pound, no Eliot’s The Waste Land), but he is right­ly rec­og­nized as one of the most gift­ed poets of the 20th cen­tu­ry.

“Is it wrong to love a fas­cist?” asked Ash Sarkar in a take on the Pound prob­lem that lists him among many “prob­lem­at­ic faves, along with The Simp­sons and Vybz Kar­tel.” The “vitu­per­a­tive” anti-Semi­tism of Pound’s lat­er years finds its way into his lat­er Can­tos—the mas­sive, unfin­ished, eclec­tic, eru­dite, and deeply obscure series of epic poems he worked on from 1915 to 1962. “Can­to XLV,” notes Sarkar, “one of his many attacks on financiers, is suf­fused with anti­se­mit­ic lan­guage and imagery.”

Can­to XVI con­tains what Mark Ford calls “a char­ac­ter­is­tic spec­i­men of Pound’s mim­ic­ry,” which Mus­soli­ni found “enter­tain­ing” dur­ing their first and only meet­ing. (“It’s my idea of how a Con­ti­nen­tal Jew would speak Eng­lish,” Pound sup­pos­ed­ly told Il Duce.) Such moments of racist mock­ery alter­nate in the Pisan Can­tos—pub­lished in 1948 and writ­ten dur­ing the war—with ele­gies, eco­nom­ic and polit­i­cal the­o­ries, and archa­ic lines in which many read­ers hear echoes of blood and soil mythol­o­gy. We may hear such an echo in Can­to LXXXI, from which Pound reads above, over footage of him wan­der­ing around Venice.

Allen Gins­berg described Can­to LXXXI as “a col­lage of Pound’s prison men­tal gos­sip (think­ing to him­self in prison, notat­ing down… lit­tle nos­tal­gic rec­ol­lec­tions of pre-World War I.)” There are, how­ev­er, ges­tures toward more recent events. He refers to the “friends of Fran­co” in one line, for exam­ple, and Hélène Aji iden­ti­fies Pound’s ref­er­ence to Thomas Jef­fer­son as an allu­sion to Mus­soli­ni. How did Pound him­self square his nation­al­ism with his cos­mopoli­tan mod­ernism? Lit­er­ary schol­ar David Barnes spec­u­lates:

The writer would have seen no con­flict here. Pound could eas­i­ly switch from his Hit­ler­ian fan­tasies to a rec­om­men­da­tion of the kind of artists (Joyce, Marinet­ti) that Führer would have classed as “degen­er­ate.” In his mind, the sharp lines of mod­ernism seem to have been equat­ed or even inter­change­able with the total­i­tar­i­an pol­i­tics of Nazi Fas­cism.

Except it wasn’t Nazi Fas­cism that Pound most­ly hawked—though he enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly rec­om­mend­ed Mein Kampf. It was the Ital­ian orig­i­nal. Mus­soli­ni did not share Hitler’s extreme antipa­thy for mod­ern artists. He too saw mod­ernism and fas­cism as inter­change­able, as did the many Ital­ian artists he coopt­ed as pro­pa­gan­dists. Pound was not espe­cial­ly unique in such cir­cum­stances.

It’s not clear when this film footage was shot, but the read­ing was record­ed in Spo­le­to, Italy dur­ing the sum­mer of 1967. You can lis­ten to the full record­ing above, and hear anoth­er ver­sion, and dozens more record­ings of Pound, at Penn Sound.

via Ubuweb

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Ernest Hem­ing­way Writes of His Fas­cist Friend Ezra Pound: “He Deserves Pun­ish­ment and Dis­grace” (1943)

Read Ezra Pound’s List of 23 “Don’ts” For Writ­ing Poet­ry (1913)

Rare Ezra Pound Record­ings Now Online

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

An Unbelievably Detailed, Hand-Drawn Map Lets You Explore the Rich Collections of the Met Museum

Would-be tourists tak­ing time out of their sud­den­ly very less busy lives to pore over New York’s Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art map online may con­vince them­selves it’s pos­si­ble to see every col­lec­tion in one day. Say, if they got there first thing in the morn­ing, skipped lunch, and moved fast. Sure, Mod­ern and Egypt­ian art are on oppo­site sides of oppo­site wings and there are two floors and a mez­za­nine, but if you make a plan….

Any New York­er who runs across such a per­son should imme­di­ate­ly send them John Kerschbaum’s dense, col­or­ful, infor­ma­tion- and peo­ple-rich, Where’s Wal­do-eye view map above. (View it in a larg­er for­mat here. Once you access the page, click on the graph­ic to expand it.) Say, “this is what’s it’s real­ly like on any giv­en day.”

A bewil­der­ing expe­ri­ence that ren­ders the most care­ful plan use­less in under thir­ty min­utes. Unless you only plan to spend time in a cou­ple gal­leries, at most, and know how to get there, it’s best not to get your hopes up for a one-day vis­it. You’ll be daz­zled and wowed, for sure, but also suf­fer from sen­so­ry over­load if you try to see it all.

Tar­get your favorite peri­ods and world cul­tures, ford the crowds to reach your des­ti­na­tion, have some grub. It will take a while to get back out. The expe­ri­ence can be daunt­ing, but by all means do not let these warn­ings stop you once there’s final­ly an all-clear. The Met is “over­whelm­ing, amaz­ing, and down-right unbe­lie­ve­able, real­ly,” writes one blog­ger and fre­quent trav­el­er based in New York City. “If you haven’t been, think of the Lou­vre, Vat­i­can Muse­um, or British Muse­um. The Met is on the scale of those oth­er impres­sive inter­na­tion­al col­lec­tions.”

Ker­schbaum cap­tured the scale of the museum’s awe-inspir­ing huge­ness with flat­tened car­toon scale and per­spec­tive. But the map was drawn from life, in way. Upon receiv­ing the com­mis­sion in 2004 for what became The Fam­i­ly Map, Ker­schbaum, a New York­er him­self, “made count­less vis­its to the ency­clo­pe­dic muse­um and drew hun­dreds of sketch­es,” Atlas Obscu­ra writes.

He was giv­en 50 muse­um pieces that are always on dis­play to anchor the authen­tic feel of his high­ly com­pressed ren­der­ing. “I’d have a floor plan of the muse­um and a clip­board,” he says, “and I’d make notes of where each item was, either by name or a quick sketch.” (Note that he did this over “count­less vis­its.”) After that prepara­to­ry work, he says, in a charm­ing duet with his daugh­ter above, he returned again and again, and “drew and drew and erased and drew and drew and erased and drew some more and drew and drew. Final­ly it was done.” (See a larg­er time-lapse gif fur­ther up.)

Those who would like to know the Met as Ker­schbaum does, in exquis­ite detail and with a very keen sense of direc­tion, will need to put in some seri­ous time. The artist him­self “ded­i­cat­ed not hours, days, or months, but sev­er­al years to draw­ing the art, spaces, and peo­ple he saw at the Met,” the museum’s blog notes. The Fam­i­ly Map fea­tures “hun­dreds of gal­leries and thou­sands of works of art.”

It’s a map the whole fam­i­ly can appre­ci­ate, though Kerschbaum’s daugh­ter sounds maybe a lit­tle weary of talk­ing about it. But it’s also one that depicts the muse­um as a mas­sive, wall-to-wall extend­ed fam­i­ly, one that takes some time and effort to get to know. Ker­schbaum even knows where all the bath­rooms are. “I tell peo­ple about the ones that aren’t crowd­ed,” he says proud­ly. This is, of course, the most use­ful knowl­edge of all in a space of such labyrinthine mag­ni­tude in what will some­day be again one of the most vis­it­ed cities in the world.

See Ker­schbaum’s map up close in a high res­o­lu­tion scan here. When you open the page, click on the image to expand and zoom in.

via Atlas Obscu­ra

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Down­load 569 Free Art Books from The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art

Down­load 50,000 Art Books & Cat­a­logs from the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art’s Dig­i­tal Col­lec­tions

The Met Puts 650+ Japan­ese Illus­trat­ed Books Online: Mar­vel at Hokusai’s One Hun­dred Views of Mount Fuji and More

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

Metallica Is Putting Free Concerts Online: 6 Now Streaming, with More to Come

So, you pull up to the Metal­li­ca show and dou­ble check to make sure you have every­thing you need. Cash? Check. Change of clothes for when you stum­ble back to the car exhaust­ed and sweaty? Check. Earplugs? …. Where are the damn earplugs?

Oh man. You for­got the ear plugs.

Any­one got an extra pair of ear plugs? You’re boned. What to do? You’re gonna need your ears for the next few days for your sum­mer camp gig. Those kids are loud enough with­out tin­ni­tus.

You con­sid­er, for a split sec­ond, ditch­ing your tick­et and call­ing a cab. But c’mon. Screw your hear­ing, this is 1991, you’re in Muskegon, Michi­gan, and The Black Album just came out. You’re gonna miss the show? No way, man.

Ah, but it’s not 1991, you’re (prob­a­bly) not in Muskegon, Michi­gan, and you’re stay­ing home because there’s a dead­ly virus going around the world. The good news is you can still catch the show.

Watch it at the top, from the com­fort of your cozy nest. More good news? You don’t need those earplugs any­more. Turn it way down low and let “Enter Sand­man” lull you to sleep.

When you wake up, trav­el back to last June, to the love­ly Slane Cas­tle, to see Metal­li­ca play Meath, Ire­land, just above. Dime the vol­ume knob until your neigh­bors com­plain. Put on your head­phones and blast it till your ears bleed and you pass out. There’s more where that came from.

“Metal­li­ca may be stay­ing home due to the coro­n­avirus but that doesn’t mean they aren’t here to rock your face off,” Bill­board report­ed last month. “The band, who announced on Mon­day (March 23) that they have been forced to post­pone a sched­uled South Amer­i­can spring tour…. Just launched a new week­ly con­cert series called Metal­li­ca Mon­days.”

This announce­ment being sev­er­al weeks ago, there are now sev­er­al con­certs post­ed on the band’s YouTube chan­nel—six at this moment, includ­ing a 2009 gig in Copen­hagen, Den­mark, one of many places where Metallica’s loud, fast (till The Black Album), death-obsessed thrash met­al trav­eled and trans­formed into even loud­er, faster, more death-obsessed met­al sub­gen­res.

Maybe you were at one of these shows? If so, relive the glo­ry. If you’ve nev­er seen the band live, know that this is but a pale imi­ta­tion, as are all filmed con­certs, whether you stream them on your smart­phone or your 85” TV. But if you want to know what it was like for that kid in Muskegon who for­got his ear plugs, try that head­phone trick. Then head over to Metallica’s YouTube chan­nel on Mon­day for the next show.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Metallica’s “Enter Sand­man” Sung in the Style of David Bowie

Metallica’s Bassist Robert Tru­jil­lo Plays Metal­li­ca Songs Fla­men­co-Style, Joined by Rodri­go y Gabriela

Pink Floyd Stream­ing Free Clas­sic Con­cert Films, Start­ing with 1994’s Pulse, the First Live Per­for­mance of Dark Side of the Moon in Full

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

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