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Slightly screwball roundup

Post #822 • June 30, 2006, 8:32 AM • 37 Comments

Ivory Coast 419 scammer tries to prey on the wrong guy, like, absolutely the wrong guy, and ends up carving an accurate replica of a Commodore 64 out of wood for him. Really. It all ends badly, though - hamsters get involved. (Reddit)

Project Gutenberg offers the Leonardo notebooks for free download. Leo, I think, would be stoked. Actually, if he was still around, he probably would have hand-coded the backend. In Haskell. (Reddit) Leonardo drawing gallery via Digg.

More art history geekery. (Kottke)

Strange statues around the world. Four of them are Boteros, from the looks of them. (Reddit)

"One Ohio tattooist used a homemade tattoo gun made from a computer ink-jet cartridge and guitar strings, [Mysheika LeMaile-Williams, a CDC infectious disease investigator] said." Hilarity (read: incurable infection) ensues.

General policy chez lately has been more about the art, less about the art world. I figure Tyler, who trained as a journalist and actually gives a bag of beans about museum staff turnover and whatnot, can take care of it for me. But look what it all gets you. (ModKix)

Department of Skills: Canadian diabolists. Suicides, duicides, stalls, trapezes, whips, the whole beautiful arsenal.




June 30, 2006, 9:33 AM

The NYT link above has this to say about Slippery Sifton:

Mr. Sifton is The Times's culture editor, and oversees the daily Arts pages, the Weekend sections, and Arts & Leisure. He is a former editor of the Dining section. Before coming to The Times, he was a writer and editor at Talk magazine and (among other jobs) a reporter, critic, and managing editor of the weekly New York Press.

Well, I know I'm reassured and impressed by his credentials and background. NOT. How the hell did this guy get this job at the NYT? What kind of bush-league operation is this?



June 30, 2006, 11:08 AM

As for the Tyler Green - Grace Glueck imbroglio and the New Criterion response, the person who comes off looking best is Glueck. Panero, at the New Criterion, seems to indicate by his overly angry tone that he has some personal involvement, though I agree with him and am only speculating. Sifton must be responsible for forcing her off the board at the Clark, which is just the kind of PC-motivated overkill the Times loves. And Green, as I wrote here a few days ago, was simply overstepping. Righteousness is not only badly supported at times, it can be pretty ugly.


Marc Country

June 30, 2006, 11:27 AM

The old grey mare, she ain't what she used to be...



June 30, 2006, 12:02 PM

The mammary fountain is interesting. It looks like it might be next to a church (or something Gothic, anyway). Reminds me of the Tintoretto painting of the Birth of the Milky Way.



June 30, 2006, 12:19 PM

Here's the Tintoretto:



June 30, 2006, 1:11 PM

There's also a Rubens Milky Way in the Prado that I can't find a good image of.

That's one of the nicer Tintorettos I've seen. I'm generally not fond of his work.



June 30, 2006, 2:47 PM

"Birth of the Milky Way" indeed! Those guys didn't mess around.

Yeah, I like the Tintoretto too.



June 30, 2006, 3:17 PM

Here you go, Franklin:



June 30, 2006, 4:26 PM

Jack, you seem to be pretty adept at finding images, but check out our newCrit image finder. We just a complete revision and update. It isn't up on the site yet but there is the draft page:



June 30, 2006, 7:29 PM

Thanks, OP. Excellent resource list.


Marc Country

June 30, 2006, 7:54 PM

"Web Gllery of Art" jumps out immediately for an edit,OP, but that was just at a glance... there may be more... I'm not one to jump all over an innocent typo in a thread, mind you, but something less ephemeral, such as this handy New Crit listing, or even Franklin's posts, for example, deserves such 'refinement' that I can offer.

I'm the kind of guy that tells you when there's spinach in your teeth. Some people appreciate the heads up, but others find it annoying.

Oh yeah, I always wondered, OP, is NewCrit intended as a sort of parody to New Criterion? What's the background here?



June 30, 2006, 10:33 PM

What's the background here?





June 30, 2006, 11:03 PM

Good Grief, how did I miss that typo. I even missed it when I read your post the first time. "What's the problem?" I sez to myself.

The similarity to New Criterion is embarrassing and mysterious. How we could have come up with a similar name, similar type face and similar color set-up knowing nothing about the magazines web page is completely befuddling. We didn't find out until newCrit was up and running for months. Obviously if we had known we would have made changes. As it is we just go with it.



June 30, 2006, 11:38 PM

The New Criterion site uses a single typeface logo, just as it would print out on any old laser printer with full justification. newCrit's logo is created out of multiple type families and multiple point sizes, individual kerning, and tilting of the "e", as well as color for part of the "i", and the weird mix of uppercase and lowercase often used for variables in computer programming.

None of the type families used in newCrit are a match for the one used by New Criterion. They are similar in that they are serifed, but that is it. (Sans serif is the only other basic option.) Serif typeface is somewhat unusual on the web because it does not display well on the computer screen. New Criterion shows how troubling constant use of serif typeface can be by using it everywhere. newCrit uses it only for its logo and headlines, then goes to the more commmon sans serif for body text. This yields a much cleaner overall look and easier read than New Criterion.

There IS a pretty close match to newCrit's #ffffdc background color at one point of the background gradation used by New Criterion, except New Criterion quickly gets darker and stays darker.

So I'm puzzled, oldpro, what is embarrassing? The name itself?



July 1, 2006, 12:04 AM

Hmmm. I keep thinking I once saw a Milky Way by Veronese. It certainly sounds plausible, but I can't pin it down. Anybody know?



July 1, 2006, 1:08 AM


Here's two more sites
( a big database project, still flaky sometimes)


Marc Country

July 1, 2006, 1:53 AM

Ok, so it's agreed that the names, logos, background colours, text-heavy nature and art-related subject matter of The New Criterion and newCrit bear some resemblances... but, there's also the impression one gets that both sites represent what might be characterized as a 'conservative' aesthetic viewpoint (albeit in somewhat different ways).

But it's all a coincidence, you say?... weird!



July 1, 2006, 6:06 AM

The New Criterion is academic, newCrit is contrarian. I've never liked academicism, but love contrarianism even though either one can lead you to the same place on occasion, especially when the place happens to be negative..

Kramer and company are very good at spouting off about what is bad, but reveal they can't see very well when they finally offer something as a positive. That's why I quit subscribing many years ago. About 20, to be specific.

When it comes to art writing it is ultimately about the art you are for, not what you are against. It is never about "positions" such as "conservative", "avant garde", "modern" and so on. Positions taken up before the experience of art get in the way. The entrenched conservativism of The New Criterion gets in its way big time.

One example from when I did read The New Criterion: When complaining about a then recent remodel at MOMA they cited what they were calling bad architecture as the reason a Stella wall construction looked bad, assuming the Stella was intrinsically good. I suppose I could have given them credit for at least seeing that the Stella did not look good, but I did not. They were just going on and on, full of themselves, as academics often are. The stinky elephant in the room they never saw was how bad that Stella really was. Herd-thinking is as rampant among academic conservatives as it is within the institutional avant-garde.

The New Criterion has more in common with Artforum than any other art mag if you ask me. Both adopt rather elaborate "positions" that are theoretical and political instead of visual. The art they tout must conform to their respective position. The only difference between the two mags is the position they impose on the art before they are willing to like it. That's a minor difference, in my book, compared to the major major flaw of insisting upon embracing "the correct" mind-set as a condition for seeing art. You just look at it, goddammit. That's all you need to do and all that you can do.



July 1, 2006, 7:06 AM

I understand and agree with everything you are saying, Catfish. The "enbarrassment", which is not enough for me to worry about, as you know, is simply the apparent similarity, which anyone will notice, as Marc did, as well as the mere fact that I was not aware of it at the time. These "in the air" similarities that happen in art and design always make one wonder what is going on in the collective unconscious, or whatever it may be,.



July 1, 2006, 10:09 AM

Hey George, were you referring the cat-fish to those two sites? The Athenaeum appears to be about placing images of well known paintings on ceramic tiles, while the other one is an image bank dedicated to a single movement. Do they have something to do with New Criterion and newCrit?



July 1, 2006, 10:47 AM

I found some good images on the Athenaeum site at one point, it's clunky.
The other site is devoted to Russian avant garde painting and has a lot of obscure artists which fall through the cracks other places.

Do what you wish with the links, it was just a FYI comment.



July 1, 2006, 11:14 AM

Thanks for those, George. We are always interested to hear about anything we have missed.

Atheneum is oddly complicated but has the right idea and apparently has a huge number of pictures, and the pictures I have seen are really good, but I couldn't get the "by artist" function to work. Can you?

The Russian avant-garde site would be interesting for our "specialized content" list but unfortunately it is about 75% "under construction".



July 1, 2006, 1:33 PM


Regarding the Atheneum site, I've run into glitches there also. Usually I run OS9 on a Mac and use Explorer which chokes on a lot of sites. I haven't tried it with OSX.

The Russian site was the passion of a woman who passed away awhile back. I think the site is maintained by her son but it hasn't been updated in awhile, maybe it won't be.



July 1, 2006, 1:39 PM

I did it with OSX and it is like a minefield. Too bad, because the images you do get are huge, high-res beauties, for the most part. It would be a hell of a resource if it worked.

I overlooked the the artist page on the Russian site. It is very good and we will put it on our "specific content" list. Let me know if you find any more.



July 1, 2006, 2:04 PM


I don't know if this one is on the list but it is an archive of the complete works (as in everything, close as I can tell) of Picasso. Categorized by year, click on "Works"

Arrives dead on arrival in OS9-Explorer but works in Mozilla and should work in OSX



July 1, 2006, 2:26 PM


Here's another with the complete works of Van Gogh



July 1, 2006, 2:35 PM

That would be a good one if it worked, George. If I remember you have to pay, or there is some other restriction even if you can get to it. The closer you get to academia the less likely something is to work propery.



July 1, 2006, 2:39 PM

George is running IE on MacOS9. He also likes eating cardboard sandwiches. Topped with motor oil. George, you're one of the most numerate artists I know. I'm amazed you can stand it.



July 1, 2006, 2:54 PM


If you're speaking about the Picasso site, it works fine for me (but not on Explorer)

With OS9 and Mozilla 1.2.1
Click "works" in the top bar.
A menu appears with dates, pick a date
A slide sheet opens, clicking a slide opens another page with details.

Franklin, I run both operating systems but use OS9 most of the time because I have software I use daily that I wrote myself and was compiled for OS9. Recompiling for OSX means I'd have to substantially rewrite one of the programs and would take too much time I don't have.



July 1, 2006, 4:08 PM

Franklin, never mind about George's operating system. I don't care if he's using an abacus-based OS. Let's get to something interesting, like Cecilia Beaux.



July 1, 2006, 4:53 PM

I can get it using Firefox on OS10. It crashes Explorer on OS10 for me.

I guess the reason we never listed it is because you can't download the large images. I suppose it would be worth listing for the small images & the information.



July 1, 2006, 6:16 PM


It is possible to download the large images if you are willing to fuss a bit

Say you're in the year 1923 - the URL looks like this:

With thumbnail image views in a grid

1. On OSX, Control - Mouse Down opens a Menu at the cursor.
2. Select Open Image in New Window
3. A new window opens with the thumbnail
4. The URL of the thumbnail is this:

You need to change the URL in 2 places as follows

1. Replace "xthumbs" with "graphics" so you have:

2. Change "xopp" to "opp" like this:

3. Hit return and the big image opens.

Practical usage:
1. Once you have opened one big image, leave its window open

2. There is an slide number OPP.23:183 under every thumbnail
. . . . The 23 is the year and the 183 is the image number

3. Just change the URL to the correct number like this:
. . .We started with... -182.jpg so change it to -183.jpg for the next image in the set

I wouldn't publish this information on the NewCrit site, but it works.



July 1, 2006, 7:01 PM

Let's get to something interesting, like Cecilia Beaux.

Hear, hear! I've been reading the MFA catalog all weekend (I foolishly brought it to work last week and then felt obliged to keep it there so others could see it) and thinking about her work in particular--well, along with Cassatt and good old Jimmy Whistler. I think I need to go to this exhibition again.



July 1, 2006, 7:03 PM

Thanks, George. Following complex instructions is not my forte, but i will try it.



July 2, 2006, 2:37 AM

The Art museum in Norfolk Virginia has a surprisingly sweet collection of paintings - outside of the textbook stuff as does Balrtimore...


ISO 9660

July 3, 2006, 10:28 AM

The 419eater site WAS amazing...but it is now you know what happened? Did a 419 Scammer/hacker take the site off line as a act of revenge?



July 3, 2006, 7:36 PM

Don't know what happened to 419 Eater.



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