This article on Christian Marclay in the March 12 New Yorker is loaded with acute perspectives on the creative process, art and more. It addresses:

— The role of constraints, both physical and mental

— The tension between the "gruesome" quality of artistic work and the thrill of solving artistic problems

— The relationship between those who make art and those who show it

— The creative freedom that flows from a lack of genre-specific expertise

And more …

Lots of reasons to like this new blog from the Times. Here are four:

1. The name. It arouses curiosity, creates atmosphere and even playfully references jargon. A combination like that is hard to pull off.

2. The platform. As the About page notes, Tumblr provides a perfectly low-friction way to give new life to the massive Times photo archive.

3. The design. Each photo comes with an option to go behind the scenes. That is, one can review the handwritten notes, pasted captions, stamps and other arcana featured on the other side of each photo print. This provides a more tactile link to the photograph’s history.

4. The photos. See for yourself.

When I travel somewhere for the first time, I scan for patterns.

Early in a visit, these patterns help with orientation. Colors, shapes and textures provide a link to the familiar even when the setting is new.

Then, over time, individual patterns start to intersect and overlap, knitting together a visual fabric of a place.

Last week, I made my first trip to London. There, I found a dynamic mix of vibrant colors, crisp lines and foggy grays. Some highlights appear above.

The answer to that question, according to Nick Paumgarten’s March 5 piece in The New Yorker: many of the same things that happen at lower-wattage conferences.

See how many behavioral similarities you can spot between Davos participants and people at conferences you’ve attended.

Our first priority is to create an appropriate entrance to the greatest encyclopedic museum in the world, one that is attractive and welcoming rather than austere and forbidding.
Met Director Thomas Campbell on plans to redesign the museum’s plaza

Languages pulse and layer, creating a bebop soundtrack. Cultures swirl in a New York-style blender. Construction boots compete with platform sneakers for space. Sunlight and geometry produce optic drama. Manhattan’s skyline surges while East River bridges quietly pop into view. Planes glide and birds dance.

This is life aboard the 7 train, the best bargain in town.

For the cost of a MetroCard swipe and about an hour of your time, you can take the 7 from Grand Central to Flushing, Queens and back. Along the way, you’ll be rewarded with a look at one of America’s most diverse communities, a place where world geography has seemingly been redrawn. In addition, you’ll pass the site of the U.S. Open, watch planes line up for La Guardia, catch stunning views of Manhattan and sample a global fashion cocktail. And you won’t even have to leave the train. 

I was reminded of the 7 train’s charms on a trip to Queens last Friday. The visual story of my ride appears above.

I’m constantly being reminded of the opportunity that exists to improve designs. O.K., assaulted.
Our understanding of the environment can be enlightened by technology, but should not be replaced by it. So much of our human experience relies on our ability to explore, learn, and interpret.

From Digital Storytelling: The Future of Wayfinding

This article provides an important reminder to think far beyond pure technological possibility when developing digital experiences. 

Findings showed that those in the museum concentrated on the detail of the original, spending more time exploring the texture and brushstrokes and putting the figure of Ophelia in context with her surroundings.
An argument for viewing art in person rather than just digitally.
As an exhibition of art, The Radical Camera, at the Jewish Museum, performs like a film. It features big stars and lesser-known players, angles and layers, shadow and light, aesthetics and emotion. 
In this 60-Second Critique, however, I want to address some of the multimedia materials deployed to support that art. These materials include an iPhone app, Web features and in-gallery media. 
iPhone App: Does Audio Fit the Space? For audio tours to work in the gallery space, the gallery space has to offer pockets for processing. In other words, visitors need a minute or two to listen and look (or hover or sit, etc.) without being forced aside by people behind them. The layout for this exhibit, I felt, was too cramped and the pacing too tight to sync the physical art and the digital audio.  
iPhone App: Do You Know What You’re Sharing? Each audio piece in the app features an option to share via Facebook, Twitter and e-mail. However, I discovered while testing the experience that every e-mail I shared included the same link (leading here). Since each audio piece features its own share button, the shared link should to lead to the corresponding work(s) online.
iPhone App: How Do I Send Feedback? During my visit, I found an apparent error in one of the placards next to a photo. If the app facilitated feedback, I could have reported what I saw the moment I saw it. Instead, I went through an inefficient process of alerting someone at the front desk who referred me to staff in another physical location (not helpful). Feedback, through apps and other means, should always be clear and easy to provide. This helps visitors connect with the museum and the museum improve its experience.
Photo Map (In-Gallery and On the Web) Great idea to include this feature. However, the size/resolution of the photos makes for a difficult scan both on the Web and at the museum. Also, the street names are masked and the zoom functionality is unexplained. All of this discourages exploration.
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Notes:
*The 60-Second Critique offers an evaluation of a media experience and is designed to be read in a minute or less.
*Screenshot from The Radical Camera iPhone app

As an exhibition of art, The Radical Camera, at the Jewish Museum, performs like a film. It features big stars and lesser-known players, angles and layers, shadow and light, aesthetics and emotion. 

In this 60-Second Critique, however, I want to address some of the multimedia materials deployed to support that art. These materials include an iPhone app, Web features and in-gallery media. 

iPhone App: Does Audio Fit the Space? For audio tours to work in the gallery space, the gallery space has to offer pockets for processing. In other words, visitors need a minute or two to listen and look (or hover or sit, etc.) without being forced aside by people behind them. The layout for this exhibit, I felt, was too cramped and the pacing too tight to sync the physical art and the digital audio.  

iPhone App: Do You Know What You’re Sharing? Each audio piece in the app features an option to share via Facebook, Twitter and e-mail. However, I discovered while testing the experience that every e-mail I shared included the same link (leading here). Since each audio piece features its own share button, the shared link should to lead to the corresponding work(s) online.

iPhone App: How Do I Send Feedback? During my visit, I found an apparent error in one of the placards next to a photo. If the app facilitated feedback, I could have reported what I saw the moment I saw it. Instead, I went through an inefficient process of alerting someone at the front desk who referred me to staff in another physical location (not helpful). Feedback, through apps and other means, should always be clear and easy to provide. This helps visitors connect with the museum and the museum improve its experience.

Photo Map (In-Gallery and On the WebGreat idea to include this feature. However, the size/resolution of the photos makes for a difficult scan both on the Web and at the museum. Also, the street names are masked and the zoom functionality is unexplained. All of this discourages exploration.

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Notes:

*The 60-Second Critique offers an evaluation of a media experience and is designed to be read in a minute or less.

*Screenshot from The Radical Camera iPhone app

Some generally good points on working alone vs. working in teams in this opinion piece from the Times. In my experience, the best work comes from a combination of the two approaches. 

For all the information that new-media companies have about their customers, they can still fundamentally misjudge when those customers are ready for change.

From Streaming Dreams, YouTube Turns Pro in The New Yorker

The quote above strikes at one of the trickiest challenges of digital media: how to metabolize massive amounts of data. A sophisticated sense of user behavior, after all, doesn’t always translate into an accurate forecast of user desire.

YouTube’s scale will make for a compelling case study in this regard. 

As part of my end-of-year travels, I made a quick stop in northwest Arkansas to see the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The museum, founded by Walmart heiress Alice Walton, opened last November on a 120-acre stretch of land in the small town of Bentonville.
In this 60-Second Critique, I’ll offer a capsule-sized review of my visit by taking a look at some major components of the experience:
The Setting: At Crystal Bridges, nature co-stars with art. Trails snake through the grounds. Natural light saturates the galleries. Wood inside references the woods outside. All of this lends a more organic, less synthetic feel than you’ll find in some museums or galleries.
The Art: A real sampler platter. Even on brief trips, visitors can put together a visual tray that includes everyone from Albers to Benglis to Eakins to Paine to Rockwell to Stuart. For some, this will prove satisfying. Others may prefer more complete servings of certain artists or genres. One personal recommendation if you go: Track down Marsden Hartley’s Hall of the Mountain King. It will change the way you see the surrounding landscape on your way out.
The Interpretive Media: Two recommendations for the museum here. First, give visitors something to do if they have to wait for the audio tour devices. For example, set up a few iPads that offer a brief primer on the experience that awaits. On my visit, all one could do was stand and stare at the walls. Second, better explain the value proposition for the iPad kiosks that are arrayed throughout the space. A bit of wall text and a more coherent presentation on the devices would help clarify the experience. 
Bottom Line: I believe in art as destination. Art has pulled me to places semi-local (Beacon, Storm King) and not-so-local (Marfa, Bilbao) and I’ve found the experience rewarding every time. Given its particular collection, design, setting and location, Crystal Bridges has the potential to offer its own set of rewards for new waves of art travelers.  
————
Note:
*The 60-Second Critique offers an evaluation of a media experience and is designed to be read in a minute or less.

As part of my end-of-year travels, I made a quick stop in northwest Arkansas to see the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The museum, founded by Walmart heiress Alice Walton, opened last November on a 120-acre stretch of land in the small town of Bentonville.

In this 60-Second Critique, I’ll offer a capsule-sized review of my visit by taking a look at some major components of the experience:

The Setting: At Crystal Bridges, nature co-stars with art. Trails snake through the grounds. Natural light saturates the galleries. Wood inside references the woods outside. All of this lends a more organic, less synthetic feel than you’ll find in some museums or galleries.

The Art: A real sampler platter. Even on brief trips, visitors can put together a visual tray that includes everyone from Albers to Benglis to Eakins to Paine to Rockwell to Stuart. For some, this will prove satisfying. Others may prefer more complete servings of certain artists or genres. One personal recommendation if you go: Track down Marsden Hartley’s Hall of the Mountain King. It will change the way you see the surrounding landscape on your way out.

The Interpretive Media: Two recommendations for the museum here. First, give visitors something to do if they have to wait for the audio tour devices. For example, set up a few iPads that offer a brief primer on the experience that awaits. On my visit, all one could do was stand and stare at the walls. Second, better explain the value proposition for the iPad kiosks that are arrayed throughout the space. A bit of wall text and a more coherent presentation on the devices would help clarify the experience. 

Bottom Line: I believe in art as destination. Art has pulled me to places semi-local (Beacon, Storm King) and not-so-local (Marfa, Bilbao) and I’ve found the experience rewarding every time. Given its particular collection, design, setting and location, Crystal Bridges has the potential to offer its own set of rewards for new waves of art travelers.  

————

Note:

*The 60-Second Critique offers an evaluation of a media experience and is designed to be read in a minute or less.