Explore MoMA’s Collection of Modern & Contemporary Art Every Time You Open a New Browser Tab

There are browser extensions designed to increase your productivity every time you open a new tab.

Others use positive affirmations, inspiring quotes, and nature photography to put your day on the right track.

We hereby announce that we’re switching our settings and allegiance to New Tab with MoMA.

After installing this extension, you’ll be treated to a new work of modern and contemporary art from The Museum of Modern Art’s collection whenever you open a new tab in Chrome.


If you can steal a few minutes, click whatever image comes up to explore the work in greater depth with a curator’s description, links to other works in the collection by the same artist, and in some cases installation views, interviews and/or audio segments.

Expect a few gift shop heavy hitters like Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night, but also lesser known works not currently on view, like Yayoi Kusama’s Violet Obsession, a rowboat slipcovered in electric purple “phallic protrusions.”

Violet Obsession’s New Tab with MoMA link not only shows you how it was displayed in the 2010 exhibition Mind and Matter: Alternative Abstractions, 1940s to Now, you can also toggle around the installation view to explore other works in the same gallery.

You can hear audio of Kusama describing how she “encrusted” the boat in soft sculpture protuberances in her favorite pinkish-purple hue “to conquer my fear of sex:”

Boats can come and go limitlessly and move ahead on the water. The boat, having overcome my obsession would move on forever, carrying me onboard

A link to a 1999 interview with Grady T. Turner in BOMB allows Kusama to give further context for the work, part of a sculpture series she conceives of as Compulsion Furniture:

My sofas, couches, dresses, and rowboats bristle with phalluses. … As an obsessional artist I fear everything I see. At one time, I dreaded everything I was making.

That’s a pretty robust art history lesson for the price of opening a new tab, though such deep dives can definitely come at the expense of productivity.

We weren’t expecting the 3-dimensional nature of some of the works our tabs yielded up.

Stop, Repair, Prepare: Variations on Ode to Joy for a Prepared Piano, No.12008 by Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla required a live musician to play Ode to Joy from Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony upside down and backwards, from a hole carved into the center of a grand piano.

Frances Benjamin Johnston’s platinum print, Stairway of the Treasurer’s Residence: Students at Work from the Hampton Album 1899–1900, is perhaps more easily grasped if you can’t go too far down the rabbit hole with the artwork appearing in your new tab.

An excerpt from the 2019 publication, MoMA Highlights: 375 Works from The Museum of Modern Art, New York provides a brief bio of both Johnston, “a professional photographer, noted for her portraits of Washington politicians and her images of coal miners, ironworkers, and women laborers in New England textile mills” and the Hampton Institute, Booker T Washington’s alma mater.

Bookmark such bite-sized cultural history breaks, and circle back when you have more time.

Speaking of which, allow us to leave you with this thought from artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres, creator of 1991’s time-based installation Untitled (Perfect Lovers), a particularly conceptual offering from New Tab with MoMA:

Time is something that scares me. . . or used to. This piece I made with the two clocks was the scariest thing I have ever done. I wanted to face it. I wanted those two clocks right in front of me, ticking.

Set your Chrome Browser up to use New Tab with MoMA here

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Ayun Halliday is the Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine and author, most recently, of Creative, Not Famous: The Small Potato Manifesto.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Become a Project Manager Without a College Degree with Google’s Project Management Certificate

As we first mentioned last year, Google has launched a series of Career Certificate programs that allow students to gain expertise in a field, ideally enough to start working without a 4-year college degree. This initiative now includes a Certificate in Project Management, which consists of six courses.

  • Foundations of Project Management
  • Project Initiation: Starting a Successful Project
  • Project Planning: Putting It All Together
  • Project Execution: Running the Project
  • Agile Project Management
  • Capstone: Applying Project Management in the Real World

Above, a Program Manager talks about “her path from dropping out of high school and earning a GED, joining the military, and working as a coder, to learning about program management and switching into that career track.” An introduction to the Project Management certificate appears below.

The Project Management program takes about six months to complete, and should cost about $250 in total. Students get charged $39 per month until they complete the program.

You can explore the Project Management certificate here. And find other Google career certificates in other fields–e.g. UX Design and Data Analytics–over on this page. All Google career courses are hosted on the Coursera platform.

Find more online certificate programs from an array of providers here.

Note: Open Culture has a partnership with Coursera. If readers enroll in certain Coursera courses and programs, it helps support Open Culture.

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Zoom Into a Super High Resolution Photo of Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night”

“Just as we take the train to get to Tarascon or Rouen, we take death to reach a star,” Vincent Van Gogh wrote to his brother from Arles in the summer of 1888:

What’s certainly true in this argument is that while alive, we cannot go to a star, any more than once dead we’d be able to take the train.

The following summer, as a patient in the asylum of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole in Provence, he painted what would become his best known work — The Starry Night.

The summer after that, he was dead of a gunshot wound to the abdomen, commonly believed to be self-inflicted.

Judging from thoughts expressed in that same letter, Van Gogh may have conceived of such a death as a “celestial means of locomotion, just as steamboats, omnibuses and the railway are terrestrial ones”:

To die peacefully in old age would be to go there on foot.

Although his window at the asylum afforded him a sunrise view, and a private audience with the prominent morning star he mentioned in another letter to Theo, Starry Night’s vista is “both an exercise in observation and a clear departure from it,” according to 2019’s MoMA Highlights: 375 Works from The Museum of Modern Art:

The vision took place at night, yet the painting, among hundreds of artworks van Gogh made that year, was created in several sessions during the day, under entirely different atmospheric conditions. The picturesque village nestled below the hills was based on other views—it could not be seen from his window—and the cypress at left appears much closer than it was. And although certain features of the sky have been reconstructed as observed, the artist altered celestial shapes and added a sense of glow.

Those who can’t visit MoMA to see The Starry Night in person may enjoy getting up close and personal with Google Arts and Culture’s zoomable, high res digital reproduction. Keep clicking into the image to see the painting in greater detail.

Before or after formulating your own thoughts on The Starry Night and the emotional state that contributed to its execution, get the perspective of singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers in the below episode of Art Zoom, in which popular musicians share their thoughts while navigating around a famous canvas.

Bonus! Throw yourself into a free coloring page of The Starry Night here.

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

Become a Project Manager Without a College Degree with Google’s Project Management Certificate

As we first mentioned last year, Google has launched a series of Career Certificate programs that allow students to gain expertise in a field, ideally enough to start working without a 4-year college degree. This initiative now includes a Certificate in Project Management, which consists of six courses.

  • Foundations of Project Management
  • Project Initiation: Starting a Successful Project
  • Project Planning: Putting It All Together
  • Project Execution: Running the Project
  • Agile Project Management
  • Capstone: Applying Project Management in the Real World

Above, a Program Manager talks about “her path from dropping out of high school and earning a GED, joining the military, and working as a coder, to learning about program management and switching into that career track.” An introduction to the Project Management certificate appears below.

The Project Management program takes about six months to complete, and should cost about $250 in total. Students get charged $39 per month until they complete the program.

You can explore the Project Management certificate here. And find other Google career certificates in other fields–e.g. UX Design and Data Analytics–over on this page. All Google career courses are hosted on the Coursera platform.

Find more online certificate programs from an array of providers here.

Note: Open Culture has a partnership with Coursera. If readers enroll in certain Coursera courses and programs, it helps support Open Culture.

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3D Print 18,000 Famous Sculptures, Statues & Artworks: Rodin’s Thinker, Michelangelo’s David & More

To recent news stories about 3D printed gunsprosthetics, and homes, you can add Scan the World’s push to create “an ecosystem of 3D printable objects of cultural significance.”

Items that took the ancients untold hours to sculpt from marble and stone can be reproduced in considerably less time, provided you’ve got the technology and the know-how to use it.


Since we last wrote about this free, open source initiative in 2017, Scan the World has added Google Arts and Culture to the many cultural institutions with whom it partners, expanding both its audience and the audience of the museums who allow items in their collections to be scanned prior to 3D printing.


Community contributors have uploaded scan data for over 18,000 sculptures and artifacts onto the platform.

China and India are actively courting participants to make some of their treasures available.

Although Scan the World is searchable by collection, artist, and location, with so many options, the community blog is a great place to start.

Here you will find helpful tips for beginners hoping to produce realistic looking skulls and sculptures — control your temperature, shake your resin, and learn from your mistakes.

Got an unreachable object you’re itching to print? Take a look at the drone photogrammetry tutorial to prep yourself for taking a good scan — rotate slowly, remember the importance of light, and get up to speed on your drone by test-driving it in an open location.

Keep an eye peeled for competitions, like this one, which was won by a photo editor and retoucher with no formal 3-D training.

Art lovers with little inclination to crack out the 3D printer will find interesting essays on such topics as the Gates of Hellscanning in the pandemic, and the history of hairstyles in sculpture

You can also embark on a virtual tour of some of the global locations whose splendors are being scanned, programmed, and rendered in resin.

virtual trip to Paris takes in some of the Louvre’s greatest 3-dimensional hits: the Venus de Milo, Winged Victory, and Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss.

(Any one of those oughta class up the ol’ bedsit…)

The virtual trip to Austria includes Kierling’s monument to Franz Kafka, the Beethoven memorial in Vienna’s Heiligenstädter Park, and Klaus Weber’s tribute to Hugo Rheinhold’s Darwinian sculpture, Monkey with Skull. (1,868 downloads and counting!)

Google map awaits those who would tour the original flavor inspirations in person.

Begin your explorations of Scan the World here, and do let us know in the comments if you have plans for printing.

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker, Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine, and sometimes, a French Canadian bear known as L’Ourse.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Google & Coursera Launch Career Certificates That Prepare Students for Jobs in 6 Months: Data Analytics, Project Management and UX Design

We live in an age of less-than-total agreement as to the purpose of higher education. Should it immerse students in the best that has been thought and said? Provide an environment in which to come of age? Produce “leaders”? Or should it, as increasingly many argue, first and foremost secure professional futures? In the practice of recent decades, higher education has done a bit of each, to the satisfaction of some and the dissatisfaction of others. It has, in other words, become an industry subject to “disruption” by other players offering specialized solutions of their own. Take for example the new Career Certificates offered by Google and the online education platform Coursera.

“Designed to prepare learners for an entry-level role in under six months,” as Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda explains it, these newly-unveiled Career Certificates “don’t have any prerequisites,” which means that most anyone interested in earning them can do so right now. This goes for “new grads landing their first job, front-line workers seeking stable employment, mid-career professionals making a pivot, or parents planning their return to the workforce,” and presumably myriad other walks of life besides.


Available in Data Analytics, Project Management, and User Experience (UX) Design, “each certificate is completely online, self-paced, and costs $39 per month” — significantly less than most existing forms of higher education, even of the most professionally or technologically oriented varieties.

If you’ve dipped into our list of online courses, you’ve probably encountered Coursera, a leading platform for massive online open courses (or MOOCs) used by some of the world’s best-known traditional universities. Its new provision of Google’s Career Certificates should go some way to making more familiar — at least to those us who’ve already learned online — a reimagining of professional education. This program’s “disruptive” potential, due not least to Google’s own consideration of these certificates as equivalent to a four-year degree, has already been well noted. “But while the new programs offer a fast track to new skills and possibly even a new job in a fraction of the time of a degree program,” writes Inc.‘s Justin Bariso, “students shouldn’t expect the courses to be a walk in the park.” And given that they’re unlikely to get easier, anyone interested in earning a Career Certificate would do well to look into it today.

Below, you can find a list of the new Career Certificates.

  • User Experience (UX) Design Professional Certificate – UX design jobs are projected to steadily grow over the coming years, with median salaries for an entry-level role around $82,000. This seven-course certificate explores UX principles, UX terms, and industry-standard tools, including Figma and Adobe XD. By the time they complete the program, learners will have three portfolio projects to use in their job applications.
  • Data Analytics Professional Certificate – In the U.S., there are nearly 15,000 open entry-level data analytics roles, with an annual median entry-level salary of more than $63,000. This seven-course certificate explores analytical skills, concepts, and tools used in many introductory data analytics roles – including SQL, Tableau, RStudio, and Kaggle.
  • Project Management Professional Certificate – Employers will need to fill nearly 2.2 million new project-oriented roles each year through 2027, according to the Project Management Institute. This six-course certificate prepares learners to launch a project management career. It covers industry-standard tools and methods, including the agile project management system, and key soft skills, such as stakeholder management, problem-solving, and influencing.
  • IT Support Professional Certificate – Prepare for an entry-level job as an IT support specialist. In this program, you’ll learn the fundamentals of operating systems and networking, and how to troubleshoot problems using code to ensure computers run correctly. This is for you if you enjoy solving problems, learning new tools, and helping others.
  • IT Automation Professional Certificate – This is an advanced program for learners who have completed the Google IT Support Professional Certificate. This is for you if you want to build on your IT skills with Python and automation.

The new certificates have been added to our collection, 200 Online Certificate & Microcredential Programs from Leading Universities & Companies.

Note: Open Culture has a partnership with Coursera. If readers enroll in certain Coursera courses and programs, it helps support Open Culture.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, 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.

The Blob Opera Lets You Create Festive Music with Ease: An Interactive Experiment Powered by Machine Learning

Tis the season when we’re never more than one singalong Messiah away from wishing we had a better voice.

David Li’s interactive Blob Opera allows us to pretend.

The machine learning experiment takes its cues from four opera singers—soprano Olivia Doutney, mezzo-soprano Joanna Gamble, tenor Christian Joel, and bass Freddie Tong—who provided it with 16 hours of recorded material.

The result is truly an all-ages activity that’s much easier on the ears than most digital diversions.


Click and drag one of the gummy-bodied blobs up and down to change its pitch.

Pull them forwards and backwards to vary their vowel sounds.

Once all four are in position, the three you’re not actively controlling will harmonize like a heavenly host.

You can disable individual blobs’ audio to create solos, duets and trios within your composition.

Press record and you can share with the world.

The blobs don’t sing in any discernible language, but they can do legato, staccato, and shoot up to incredibly high notes with a minimum of effort. Their eyes pinwheel when they harmonize.

As Li describes to co-producer Google Arts & Culture below, it’s not the original singers’ voices we’re channeling, but rather the machine learning model’s understanding of the operatic sound.

Click the pine tree icon and the blobs will serenade you with the most-searched Christmas carols.

Begin your collaboration with Blob Opera here.

If you find yourself wanting more, have a go at the interactive Choir Li created for Adult Swim.

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. She most recently appeared as a French Canadian bear who travels to New York City in search of food and meaning in Greg Kotis’ short film, L’Ourse.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

An Artist Tricks Google Maps Into Creating a Virtual Traffic Jam, Using a Little Red Wagon & 99 Smartphones

Sometimes the miraculous time-saving conveniences we’ve come to depend on can have the opposite effect, as artist Simon Wickert recently demonstrated, ambling about the streets of Berlin at a Huck Finn-ish pace, towing a squeaky-wheeled red wagon loaded with 99 secondhand smartphones.

Each phone had a SIM card, and all were running the Google Maps app.

The result?


A near-instantaneous “virtual traffic jam” on Google Maps, even though bicyclists seem to vastly outnumber motorists along Wickert’s route.

As a Google spokesperson told 9to5 Google’s Ben Schoon shortly after news of Wickert’s stunt began to spread:

Traffic data in Google Maps is refreshed continuously thanks to information from a variety of sources, including aggregated anonymized data from people who have location services turned on and contributions from the Google Maps community.

In other words, had you checked your phone before heading out to the Baumhaus an der Mauer (Treehouse on the Wall), the Urban Art Clash GalleryOMA’s Café, or some other spot close to Wickert’s little red wagon’s trail of terror—like Google’s Berlin office—you might have thought twice about your intended path, or even going at all, seeing bridges and streets change from a free and easy green to an ostensibly gridlocked red.

As long as Wickert kept moving, he was able to continue fooling the algorithm into thinking 99 humans were all using their phone’s Maps app for navigational purposes in a small, congested area.

Obviously, a couple of buses could easily be responsible for carrying 99 smartphones in active use, but it’s unlikely those phones owners would be consulting the map app in the passenger seats, when they could be scrolling through Instagram or playing Candy Crush.

Wickert also discovered that his virtual traffic jam disappeared whenever a car passed his wagonload.

The spokesperson who engaged with Schoon put a good-natured face on Google’s response to Wickert’s hack, saying, “We’ve launched the ability to distinguish between cars and motorcycles in several countries including India, Indonesia and Egypt, though we haven’t quite cracked traveling by wagon. We appreciate seeing creative uses of Google Maps like this as it helps us make maps work better over time.”

Meanwhile, the artist’s puckish stunt, which he describes as a “performance and installation,” seems anchored by sincere philosophical questions, as evidenced by the inclusion on his website of the below excerpt from “The Power of Virtual Maps,” urban researcher Moritz Ahlert’s recent essay in the Hamburger Journal für Kulturanthropologie, :

The advent of Google’s Geo Tools began in 2005 with Maps and Earth, followed by Street View in 2007. They have since become enormously more technologically advanced. Google’s virtual maps have little in common with classical analog maps. The most significant difference is that Google’s maps are interactive  – scrollable, searchable and zoomable. Google’s map service has fundamentally changed our understanding of what a map is, how we interact with maps, their technological limitations, and how they look aesthetically.

In this fashion, Google Maps makes virtual changes to the real city. Applications such as Airbnb and Carsharing have an immense impact on cities: on their housing market and mobility culture, for instance. There is also a major impact on how we find a romantic partner, thanks to dating platforms such as Tinder, and on our self-quantifying behavior, thanks to the nike jogging app. Or map-based food delivery apps like deliveroo or foodora. All of these apps function via interfaces with Google Maps and create new forms of digital capitalism and commodification. Without these maps, car sharing systems, new taxi apps, bike rental systems and online transport agency services such as Uber would be unthinkable. An additional mapping market is provided by self-driving cars; again, Google has already established a position for itself.

With its Geo Tools, Google has created a platform that allows users and businesses to interact with maps in a novel way. This means that questions relating to power in the discourse of cartography have to be reformulated. But what is the relationship between the art of enabling and techniques of supervision, control and regulation in Google’s maps? Do these maps function as dispositive nets that determine the behavior, opinions and images of living beings, exercising power and controlling knowledge? Maps, which themselves are the product of a combination of states of knowledge and states of power, have an inscribed power dispositive. Google’s simulation-based map and world models determine the actuality and perception of physical spaces and the development of action models.

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Join Ayun’s company Theater of the Apes in New York City this March for her book-based variety series, Necromancers of the Public Domain, and the world premiere of Greg Kotis’ new musical, I AM NOBODY. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.