From a long New York Times piece on photographer Robert Frank:
Frank retains the spontaneous enthusiasm of a much younger man. In his tenth decade, he is still a free-form outsider seeking untried situations, fresh leaps — and nothing pleases him more than picking up on the scent of something exceptional. Last year, after receiving intriguing letters postmarked North Carolina from an itinerant laborer named Gustavo, Frank set off to find him. He discovered Gustavo in Winston-Salem painting a house, he says, but ‘‘I was disappointed in him. He was ordinary. He seemed not to be possessed by anything. He just drifts.’’
That’s truly unfortunate. There are soooo many people here in Camel City that I’m sure Frank would have found extraordinary.
Letters of Note has a great letter from Kurt Vonnegut to some NY high school students:
What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what's inside you, to make your soul grow.
This is a picture of the Rhine River taken in 1999. It's also the most expensive picture ever sold at auction, which has me convinced that art collectors are dumber than I ever imagined.
Someone is anonymously leaving paper sculptures in libraries in Scotland:
One day in March, staff at the Scottish Poetry Library came across a wonderful creation, left anonymously on a table in the library. Carved from paper, mounted on a book and with a tag addressed to @byleaveswelive – the library's Twitter account – reading:
It started with your name @byleaveswelive and became a tree.…
… We know that a library is so much more than a building full of books… a book is so much more than pages full of words.…
This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas….. a gesture (poetic maybe?)
I'm a big believer in providing students with a well-rounded liberal arts curriculum. I also believe that we made a critical error with our education system when we marginalized the "industrial arts." Not that I think every kid needs to learn how to fix an engine, anymore than I think every kid needs to write poetry on a daily basis, but I do think that our education system is letting down our kids and our industry by not finding a healthy balance between what could be called a "practical education" and a "liberal arts education." Thus you may understand why I found this post by Fred Wilson so interesting:
I've been thinking about what happens at the intersection of science and art, how science impacts art, and how art impacts science, how New York City has been blessed to be at the intersection of science and art for at least two centuries, and how much of what is interesting to me in the technology revolution of the moment, the Internet, is at the intersection of science and art…
Science and art are seen as two very distinct endeavors and I suppose they are. But I see science and art as the yin yang of creative culture and innovation. To quote from Wikipedia, science and art are seemingly contrary forces that are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and they give rise to each other in turn.
I was talking to a longtime reader of this blog, Chris Dorr, last night. Chris has been working in the film industry for a long time and blogs at the Tribeca Film Festival Blog. We were talking about changes in the film business and Chris blurted out that "filmakers and software developers need to start sleeping together and it is starting to happen." Filmmaking is art, particularly great filmmaking. But the art of filmmaking has always been based on a number of fundamental scientific inventions. And Chris' point is that the art of filmmaking will continue to be impacted by scientific inventions that are happening in real time…
I was at a meeting yesterday with an economic development group in NYC. We were talking about 3D Printing, an important new technology that was "science" a decade ago. The economic development types were explaining to me why 3D Printing technology is so important to NYC. They explained that our artist and design communities need 3D Printing technology because it allows these artists to turn their ideas into objects rapidly and at lower cost. It is a game changer for artists, designers, and architects. Our portfolio company Shapeways and other innovators like MakerBot are doing just that right here in NYC.
I'm not a music afficianado by any stretch of the imagination, so it wouldn't surprise anyone that Yo-Yo Ma is probably the only classical musician that I can name. I don't know what the experts think of Ma but I think he does an admirable job of promoting the arts, and I love that he's so open to doing things outside of traditional venues for cellists. The video below (found on BookofJoe) is a perfect example:
The video was accompanied by this quote from Spike Jonze:
"The other day, I was lucky enough to be at an event to bring the arts back into schools and got to see an amazing collaboration between Yo-Yo Ma and a young dancer in LA, Lil Buck. Someone who knows Yo-Yo Ma had seen Lil Buck on YouTube and put them together. The dancing is Lil Buck’s own creation and unlike anything I've seen."
That quote reminded me of an article I read a while back in Wired about the impact that Youtube and other video sharing sites on the rate of innovation:
"A series of challenge videos by rival groups of street dancers had created an upward spiral of invention as they strove to outdo one another. The best videos were attracting tens of thousands of views. Much more than pride was at stake. Chu knew something weird was happening when he saw a YouTube video of Anjelo Baligad, a 6-year-old boy from Hawaii who had all of the moves of a professional.
In fact, he wasn’t as good as a professional—he was better. This tyke, known as Lil Demon, was demonstrating tricks few adult dancers could pull off. If 6-year-olds could do this now, Chu imagined, what was dance going to look like in 10 years? As he remarked at last February’s TED conference, where the LXD gave a breathtaking performance: “Dancers have created a whole global laboratory for dance. Kids in Japan are taking moves from a YouTube video created in Detroit, building on it within days and releasing a new video, while teenagers in California are taking the Japanese video and remixing it to create a whole new dance style in itself. This is happening every day. And from these bedrooms and living rooms and garages with cheap webcams come the world’s great dancers of tomorrow.”