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Mark Harden's Artchive: CD-ROM Reviews

Painters Painting Painters Painting

Thanks to George Nassas for calling my attention to this CD-ROM.

NOTE: Many have asked where they can obtain this out of print CD-ROM. An Artchive visitor writes: "[I] found Painters Painting as part of a collection called A Love of Art on"

See also: Abstract Expressionism

Voyager scores again with Ron Mann's "Painters Painting", a powerful blend of content and form. The content is provided by Emile de Antonio's documentary of the "New York Painting and Sculpture: 1940-1970" exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The form is provided by an interface that is as beautiful as it is intuitive.

De Antonio's work is possibly the best film ever made on the making of art. A collage of interviews with artists and critics of the day, it presents a compelling portrait of the postwar art scene in New York. The entire one-hour-fifty-six-minute film can be viewed in a 400 x 300 window. [Note: this screen capture has been reduced in size from the actual display]. The video and sound quality is, of course, highly dependent on your computer; on my system, while the display did not detract from the power of the documentary, I still have my eye out for a video to see it on the (relatively) big screen. The additional content of the CD-ROM, however, is an invaluable augmentation of the film.
As a kind of concordance to the documentary, each of the interviews can be separately accessed. These sections include interview transcripts and, for the artists, a biography and example of their work. Most importantly, film clips take you directly to each portion of the documentary that is included from the interview.
Included is a fascinating tour of the exhibition via hand-held camera. There are no words, only a soundtrack by John Cage, which fits the subject perfectly.
Substantial background on De Antonio and a thoroughly hyperlinked index are icing on the content cake. Mann has also created a simple, yet effective and elegant interface. Even the help screens are works of art.

This art CD-ROM is highly recommended.

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