UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL: Google Earth and the Prado Museum in Madrid have partnered on a project that allows viewers around the world to view every minute detail of some of the museum’s masterpieces. Google brought its 14,000 megapixel cameras to the museum to capture each work in painstaking detail, and the result is like looking through the collection with a magnifying glass (watch the video for a taste).
Now, the question is: Will this make people more likely or less likely to visit the museum? Most major institutions have at least part of their collections available to view online. But the knock has always been that you really can’t appreciate a work without seeing it in person. Even a two-dimensional medium like a painting becomes 3D when you start examining the brush strokes.
This new venture, though, starts to break down even the dimensional boundaries. In the case of the Prado, we’re still only talking about 14 works — hardly the whole experience. And for those who for one reason or another will never be able to make it to Spain, innovations like this are a blessing.
But it’s also another incremental step in the Web’s transfer of the live, communal experience into the packaged, individual one.
SIX HOURS OF LAUGHS: PBS takes on the daunting task of surveying our nation’s funny bone with Make ’Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America — a six-hour special that begins tonight at 7 on KERA (Channel 13). The New York Times took a look at the series on Sunday if you want a little preview. The filmmakers spent a couple of years talking to more than 100 comedians for the project. If you’ve ever heard comedians interviewed about their craft, you’ll know that once they get past their couple of pre-packaged jokes, they normally get pretty introspective and like to talk with great reverence about their comedy forefathers and the art of making people laugh.
QUOTABLE: “Tell me something: Was it really that bad that half of you didn’t want to clap?”
— Violinist Itzhak Perlman after a tepid response to his performance of Messiaen’s Theme and Variations in West Palm Beach, Fla. Perlman then went on to inform the audience that apparently good manners say that you are supposed to clap even if you don’t like what you’ve heard before playing the piece again later in the program.
Henceforth, this shall be known as the “Treat Pros Like Kids” dictum.