Life & Philosophy Psychology

A museum of self

The Metropolitan Museum only showcases ten percent of its owned pieces at any given time. The rest of the art is stored somewhere else waiting to be picked and featured.

“A physical museum is itself a sort of data set — an aggregation of the micro in order to glimpse the macro.”

We all have a surfeit inventory of things we’d like to show: our talents, our Instagram and SnapChat selfies, our love for others. But they can’t all be on display at once.

Like a museum, we have to curate our display while also growing our collection.

The timing, packaging, and place for revealing of our greatest attributes and emotions are stories of their own.

Like art pieces in a gallery, personalities also require curation. It’s impossible to show all your cards at once — pick a few from the archive and make the storytelling as compelling as possible.

Arts Creativity

The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers 400,000 free high-res images for remixing

Art by Vasily Kandinsky (animation by Simone Seagle)

Since starting a year ago, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art has made 400,000 of its images free to download and remix.

The project immediately empowered the likes of software developer and designer Simone Seagle. She downloaded a 1920s print from abstract Russian artist Vasily Kandinsky called Violett. Said Seagle:

Generally you can’t be in a mad mood looking at his work, and it’s a blast to cut up and play with in Photoshop. I picked the print called Violett, because it has fun colors and good shapes to work with.

Everything is a remix

It was Pablo Picasso who once said “great artists steal.” He took inspiration from his scenius and mixed it into his own original work. So it is no surprise that third most visited in the world wants to be part of the creative dialogue. The museum’s chief digital officer Loic Tallon told Quartz:

“If we could preserve the art world in a nice old pickle jar, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I genuinely believe that for the museum to maintain its relevance, we have to participate in that conversations.”

The internet is the world’s largest copy-paste machine. Giving the public unfettered access to rework old masterpieces will bring visibility to obscure pieces while also fueling new interpretations. With time, reworks will birth their own stems for future creators to build on top of.

Explore the MET’s open access artworks here.

Arts Culture Life & Philosophy

Art requires the long look

Photo by Wells Baum

Good art requires the long look, not for a lack of comprehension but for the growing realization of what the viewer fails to see.

Art is more about the space inside rather than the form of the envelope itself.

Artists put their life’s context into their craft. A poem, painting, a sculpture all contain intricacies of the mind that is profoundly personal but meant to be shared and understood by others.

Whether radical, nuanced and complex: the intriguing work passes onto trustful eyes an extended gaze.

Arts Creativity Photography

Hidden by what we see

Processed with VSCO with tech preset
Photo by Wells Baum

The combination of perception and imagination can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. But we strive to go deeper into the details, beyond what is manifest. Said René Magritte:

“Everything we see hides another thing; we always want to see what is hidden by what we see.”

The more we look, the more realize what we can’t see. Such ignorance drives our curiosity to identify new blind spots.

What’s unknown remains a haunting beauty.

Photo by Wells Baum

Arts Creativity Poetry

Grasping artistic thought 

Photo by Wells Baum

Art makes sense of and confounds everyday objects. The dislocation between reality and artist interpretation brings interestingness to a work.

The viewer chews on a piece, trying to get into an artist’s mind that’s still evolving and exploring different ways. Both maker and fan dig through their inner space to tie their thoughts for an object together.

What starts out as a personal project gets validated as a social one. Art is a chance to be a little more understood. But it is not finite; rather it’s a perpetual experiment in altering the tones.


Wells Baum is creating a daily blog that collects and remixes the most interesting pieces of art, beats, life, and technology from around the web. Your support goes a long way: for every contribution, I can keep the blog running and continue to provide you interesting links.



Is the Mona Lisa really great art?

gif via Jess Mac

“The social scientists are right to say that we should be a little sceptical of greatness, and that we should always look in the next room. Great art and mediocrity can get confused, even by experts. But that’s why we need to see, and read, as much as we can. The more we’re exposed to the good and the bad, the better we are at telling the difference. The eclecticists have it.”

The Mona Lisa was an obscure piece of art before it was stolen. It benefitted from the “cumulative advantage” of being popular. So is it actually any good? I guess it depends on how susceptible you are to popularity and how well you understand art.

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