NYT’s ‘Short History of the Highrise’


People have been living in vertical housing structures for 2,500 years, and the New York Times recently created an interactive documentary called ‘A Short History of the Highrise‘ in conjunction with the National Film Board of Canada to explore the history of high-rises and the related social, political, and material issues.

The film plays chronologically to discuss three phases of vertical communal living in a global context: Mud, Concrete, and Glass. At any time, you can mouse “down” in order to explore more in-depth about whatever topic is currently on the screen and when you’re done, you can go right back into the film where you left off. The documentary is image-rich, with oil paintings and historic photographs included throughout. Clicking on an image also includes robust cataloging information.

Although the documentary is “short,” it’s narrations reference major developments in 20th century architecture, especially public housing and urban sprawl.

Check out the Short History of the Highrise by the New York Times.

New York Times: The Lively Morgue

The New York Times recently began posting digitized photographs from their “morgue” (or archive) on Tumblr, including the reverse sides with notes from the photographers, notes about how the photograph was used, captions, and more.

We’re eager to share historical riches that have been locked away from public view, and have been awaiting a platform like Tumblr that makes it easy to do so. We hope you’ll enjoy the serendipity of discovery, that you’ll know something of the thrill we feel when we unlock the door of the morgue and walk into a treasure house made of filing cabinets, index cards, manila folders and more 8-by-10s than anyone can count.

A diagram of possibilities for deciphering the reverse-side notes can be found here (near the bottom of the page). Creators of the project plan to post several photographs on Tumblr every week.

The Met’s “Opportunity on Madison”

Last week The New York Times published an opinion piece titled “Opportunity on Madison,” or What the Met Should Do When It Moves into The Whitney. The author discusses The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s recent lease of The Whitney Museum’s Marcel Breuer building on Madison Avenue (to be vacated by The Whitney in 2015) and the Met’s decision to display collections of modern and contemporary art there.

I love the 1966 Breuer design. With its trapezoidal windows and stepped-back facade, it’s what the Guggenheim isn’t: starchitecture with the right amount of ego, meaning that it works for art. Almost everything looks good in it. And the Met’s residency, contracted to last at least eight years, seems like a great idea on paper. The Whitney Museum of American Art gets to keep its celebrated building, and the Met, which can never show more than a small fraction of its encyclopedic collection, gets some desperately needed space.

But the Met’s use of that space primarily for new art would be a big mistake.

What do you think? Should The Met utilize the space to house curated shows that include art from many eras, as the author suggests, or for contemporary and modern art, or something else?

One Moment Captured Across the Globe

The Photography, Video and Visual Journalism blog for the New York Times, Lens, has revealed their interactive mosaic of photographs which were solicited on Sunday, May 2nd, from readers around the world. The mosaic takes shape as a globe covered with stacks of the digital photographs, corresponding in location to where they were captured at a single moment in time. The globe can be “spun” in any direction to explore various locations, and pictures can be searched by topic: community, arts and entertainment, family, money and the economy, nature and the environment, play, religion, social issues or work. Image-specific URLs are also available so that you can return to your favorite photographs again and again.