As someone who’s been working with art and artists for well more than a decade now, I’m generally against using the word curation to describe anything that doesn’t specifically pertain to the selection of art and/or photography. Still, it’s hard to come up with a more succinct way of describing Jason Kottke’s knack for surfacing delightful, thought-provoking and amusing discoveries on the internet, something he’s been doing on his blog—kottke.org—for the better part of two decades now. (Time flies, buddy!) That blog, which is a mix of consistently notable links, personal musings and shoutouts to the people in his very broad network of smart people doing cool stuff, continues to be an excellent primer for what’s worth paying attention to online to this very day. It’s also refreshingly old-fashioned in an era where much of what we see and read is driven by algorithms, lurid link spam at the end of otherwise legit articles on supposedly reputable sites and articles that only appear in your Facebook or Twitter stream because your attention’s been auctioned off to the highest bidder.
Jason’s been a friend for years now, a 20x200 collector since the very beginning and a long time supporter of my various endeavors, artworld and otherwise. His selections are a good reflection of Jason himself: a design-nerd dad and New Yorker with Midwestern roots, who’s got an abiding and infectious fascination with what makes stuff tick. Read on for his picks! – Jen + 20x200
5 Perfect Picks
3) Untitled #6, by Matthew Tischler
I grew up in the country in a house with a screen door and seeing this reminded me of how much fun it was to draw rudimentary pixel art when the screen was wet from summer thunderstorms.
4) Animal Locomotion: Plate 733 (Elephant), by Eadweard Muybridge
Slow motion and time lapse video has the power to reveal information that is unavailable in regular motion video just by speeding up or slowing down the action. Muybridge was one of the first to experiment with this idea by slowing down time with his stop motion approach.
5) Plate 22, Sheet 7, Ancient Courses Mississippi River Meander Belt, a 20x200 Vintage Edition
I mean, this is just a fantastic visual display of information with hundreds of years of history flattened into one beautiful image.
5 Q's + 5 A's
1) What's your favorite museum?
It's difficult to pick just one, but the American Museum of Natural History is probably my favorite. I've always been into science and it's fun to take my kids here to pass that interest along.
2) Most coveted coffee table book?
Edward Tufte's books, particularly Beautiful Evidence, are always good to pull off the shelf and browse through. The Wes Anderson Collection and the New York City Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual are getting some good use lately too.
3) You've got $5M to spend on one piece of art. What would it be?
I'd buy a copy of Christian Marclay's The Clock.
4) Do you prefer a single statement piece or a salon wall?
Single piece. I'm a sucker for big art and it's less work to hang.
5) At this point, you've been blogging for longer than basically anyone. What are your favorite art moments from Kottke.org?
Going back through some of my posts about art, here are some favorites from the past couple years:
- Old masters, new media
- The Excel spreadsheet artist
- Ye olde hip hop
- About an hour of Christian Marclay's The Clock
- Retouching the classics
The 411 on Jason Kottke
Jason Kottke designs, codes, and writes for the web, with a special interest in clear, simple, user-centered design, microcontent, and the writable web. Jason has maintained the popular and influential weblog kottke.org since March 1998, writing about web technology, photography, media, design, sports, and funny YouTube videos. He calls New York City home.