Get ready to bookmark NGA Images, an online resource launched this month by the National Gallery of Art. The new repository of digital images (20,000 and counting) documents the National Gallery of Art collections and allows users to search, browse, share and download images at no charge through a refreshing open-access policy. According to National Gallery director Earl A. Powell III, this art-for-all stance "underscores the Gallery's mission and national role in making its collection images and information available to scholars, educators, and the general public." Share the love by creating a set of favorite NGA images and then sharing a link to your virtual "lightbox" with friends and followers.
Experimental and interactive forms of artistic expression get their close-up in Off Book, a Web series from PBS. The second season kicked off this week with a look at the brief but vibrant history of animated GIFs, those moving pictures favored by the likes of Reed+Rader (Pamela Reed and Matthew Rader) and the Cinemagraphs duo of Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg. Tune in to YouTube every other Wednesday for a dozen more episodes of Off Book on topics ranging from advertising and anime to creative commons and sneaker culture and check out archived programs from season one that examine disciplines including typography, video game design and light painting.
There is something new under the sun, every day, all over the world. That's the core belief of the observant nomads over at Atlas Obscura, a quirky online guidebook to the world’s most wondrous places. Among the "singular, eccentric, bizarre, fantastical and strange out-of-the-way" destinations that the ever-growing site allows you to virtually explore are Outer Mongolia's "Dinosaurs Fairyland" theme park, a handwoven bridge in Peru and a North Korean skyscraper known as the "hotel of doom." Navigate by region or category (Anomalous Islands, Microminiature art) or better yet, click "Take me to a random place" for a quick hit of creative inspiration.
Gary Hustwit capped off his "design film trilogy" (Helvetica, Objectified) with Urbanized. The feature-length documentary, which was released on DVD and Blu-ray this week, tackles the design of cities. "Unlike many other fields of design, cities aren’t created by any one specialist or expert," says Hustwit, who filmed in more than a dozen cities on four continents. "There are many contributors to urban change, including ordinary citizens who can have a great impact improving the cities in which they live." Urbanized features some such citizens, along with leading architects, planners, policymakers and thinkers. Design junkies may want to pop for the deluxe box set of all three of Hustwit's visually stunning docs, which come tucked inside a sleek slipcover package, accompanied by a book and other goodies.
Take a break from traditional design conferences with DesignInquiry. The nonprofit's intensive gatherings bring together practitioners from disparate fields to generate new work and ideas around a single topic. Applications are now being accepted for two week-long events that will take place this summer. DesignInquiry 2012 is set for June 17-23 on the Maine island of Vinalhaven, where participants will take time out of their busy schedules to consider matters chronological -- including speed, "time-being," and how we might redesign the future -- through workshops, presentations, and discussion. In August, 24 adventurous types will converge on Berlin for a more experimental, "DesignCities"-themed gathering that may touch on everything from drawing and performance to geography and architecture.
Ready for your work to get the recognition it deserves? Check out the design awards program from Core77, which will honor the best professional and student work in 17 categories ranging from products and graphic design to "food design" and “Never Saw the Light of Day” (swell projects completed, but killed, in 2011). The online submission invites designers to show off their pitching skills by uploading a two-and-a-half minute video as part of their entry, and all judging takes place in teams that will later reconvene to discuss their top picks in live webcasts. You have until April 10 to claim your rightful place in the global design world.