Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘partnerships’

07 DECEMBER, 2012

Introducing Art Pickings: A Pop-Up Gallery in Partnership with 20×200


Because as Thomas Merton wrote, “art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

Happy days for art-lovers: “Art is a form of consciousness,” Susan Sontag famously wrote, and today I’m particularly conscious of it as I delightedly introduce Art Pickings — a new partnership with the wonderful 20×200, who for the the past few years have been democratizing the art world by offering exquisite artist-edition prints at normal-people prices. In this periodic pop-up gallery, I’ll be curating favorite works from 20×200 artists, often ones previously featured here on Brain Pickings — from modern masters like Wendy MacNaughton (whose illustration never fails to entrance), Paula Scher (whose obsessive typographic maps make you gasp), Lisa Congdon (whose hand-lettering is to die for), Linzie Hunter (who makes art from spam), William Powhida (who isn’t afraid to stick it to the art world), Jane Mount (who paints people’s ideal bookshelves), and Austin Kleon (who knows how to steal like an artist), to vintage treasures like Berenice Abbott’s dramatic New York City photographs, Eadweard Muybridge’s pioneering locomotion studies, and even this Victorian map of woman’s heart.


Many thanks to Andrew LeClair for generous helping us adapt the lovely Otlet’s Shelf Tumblr theme for the gallery.

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22 JULY, 2010

Dark Night of the Soul


Cultural treasure-hunting, or what priceless music has to do with expensive photography.

David Lynch and Danger Mouse are two of creative culture’s most radical movers-and-shakers. This month, they’ve come together in a too-good-to-be-true-(but-it-is-true) project: Dark Night of the Soul — a priceless multimedia collaboration featuring all-star vocalists like The Flaming Lips, Iggy Pop, Suzanne Vega, Broken Bells, and even Lynch himself singing on two of the tracks.

From psychedelic electronica to fluid folk-rock to gritty blues, the compilation spans a remarkable spectrum of genres and talent.

To add to the cultural treasure status of the project, the album was co-masterminded by legendary producer Mark Linkous a.k.a. Sparklehouse, who tragically took his own life earlier this year. While the album was set to release in 2009, a number of licensing bureaucracies led to seemingly indefinite delays. Finally, albeit posthumously for Linkous, Dark Night of the Soul is seeing light of day – and what a light it is.

The project features an interesting interactive website and an absolutely stunning collector’s edition companion book of haunting photographs by David Lynch. (Which, if you’re in New York, you can see at the Morrison Hotel Gallery.) For a closer look at the collaboration, KCRW’s Jason Bentley has an excellent interview with Lynch and Danger Mouse.

I joked and I said ‘I thought you were coming up here because you wanted me to sing on this thing’ and he said ‘No no no, I do’, but he was like being real polite. And so one thing led to another, and not only did a get to do the photographs, but I got to sing on two tracks.” ~ David Lynch

You can grab an mp3 copy of the album on Amazon or iTunes, but we highly recommend going for the deluxe box set — collaborations like this come by once every few decades, and this one is worth celebrating with the full bells and whistles: Four discs, including an instrumental CD, a poster, 48-page minibook, and original photographs by David Lynch.

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21 JULY, 2010

Masters of Photography: The Story of Whisky Casks


From Spain to Scotland, or what sherry-seasoned oak has to do with transmedia storytelling.

Two years ago, iconic Scottish whisky brand The Macallan recruited celebrity photographer Rankin in an ambitious project — to capture The Macallan story in 1,000 black-and-white Polaroids over the course of six days, which were to be turned into 1,000 limited-edition bottle labels. Dubbed Masters of Photography, the effort turned the whiskey bottles into prized collector’s items around the world, each of which came with the original Rankin Polaroid and set the owner back by $1,695.

This year, The Macallan is back with Masters of Photography 2, this time enlisting world-famous photographer Albert Watson (yes, he of Kate Moss nudes fame) to create artful storytelling inspired by the wood The Macallan uses to make the precious casks in which the Scottish Single Malt is matured.

There needs to be some art of photography here. And that’s…that’s what you need to look for. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack. It’s the art of photography that you’re looking for and that’s always a mystery. It’s always under a leaf somewhere.” ~ Albert Watson

The casks originate in Spain, so Watson is following their journey from tree to distillery over the course of ten days, from the South of Spain to the North of Scotland, documenting the people and landscapes behind the elaborate production process.

You can catch the full journey on The Macallan YouTube channel. The images from Masters of Photography 2 are to once again be turned into a limited-edition bottle series at the end of this year.

The project offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse of the creative craftsmanship of a brand’s story, a captivating marriage of art and commerce in the age of transmedia storytelling.

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