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People dancing at London's Covent Garden
A public performance by artist Cecilia Bengolea in London’s Covent Garden, featured on Arts + Health & Wellbeing to illustrate the healing power of dance. (Courtesy Art Night)

To stay healthy, we know that our bodies need nourishment, hygiene, and exercise. According to those who study neuroaesthetics, how the brain responds to and engages with various forms of creative expression, they need art, too. Susan Magsamen, a leader in the field (and the guest on Ep. 34 of our At a Distance podcast) who runs the International Arts + Mind Lab (IAM Lab)—an initiative at John Hopkins University’s School of Medicine that connects brain scientists with artists to fuel neuroaesthetic research—has long maintained that artistic experiences go hand in hand with mental, emotional, and social well-being. Last month, the IAM Lab teamed up with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Google Arts & Culture to create Arts + Health & Wellbeing, an immersive online tool kit that offers visitors an engaging dose of art, and consequent mental fitness, from anywhere with an internet connection. (Google and the IAM Lab previously joined forces to create a series of rooms informed by the principles of neuroaesthetics at the 2019 Salone del Mobile design and furniture fair in Milan, as discussed by Ivy Ross, Google’s VP of hardware design, on Ep. 11 of our Time Sensitive podcast.)

The project taps into a deep, varied network of cultural institutions and arts professionals, who provide activities via videos and intuitive, interactive web pages. Users can do breathwork exercises with soprano Renée Fleming, digitally color images of iconic paintings from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, wander the gardens of the Taj Mahal through Google Maps, or re-create artist Barbara Hepworth’s “Spring” (1966) sculpture using toothpicks and a potato. The pursuits are interlaced with research-backed insights from the IAM Lab and the WHO, and tackle such topics as how art can be used to combat PTSD, why listening to music may help alleviate trauma, and the healing power of dance. For those hoping to get their creative juices flowing—or simply looking for five minutes of calm—this resource might be just what the doctor ordered.

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Museums and galleries are reopening in New York, and one of the most compelling shows of the season is primed to take plen plein air. Organized by the nonprofit Art at a Time Like This, in collaboration with Save Art Space, “Ministry of Truth: 1984–2020” will reclaim a common component of the city’s visual real estate—the billboard—to display works by an international ran

A classical painting depicting two men and a woman with a funny contemporary caption

In 1617, German artist Jobst Harrich completed an oil painting on a copper canvas. The work, which depicts a flaxen-hairposted Harrich’s painting to her feed and tweeted, “maybe if I take my tit out they will stop explaining my own joke back to me.” She applied this tactic to“Conversation in a Park,” depicting a gent gesturing toward a stoic lady (“you would be so much prettier if you smiled”), and a 1959 Norman Rockwell cover for the Saturday Evening Post, which portrays eleven men ganging up on a lone woman in a jury room (“thanks I’m gay now”). The thread went viral. A fMen to Avoid in Art and Life (Chronicle Books), sold out within days of its release. It features more than 90 artworks accompanied by wince-worthy c

Two people kissing with black veils over their faces

An art critic, curator, and author, Antwaun Sargent has become a leading voice for a rising class of Black contemporary The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion (Aperture), Sargent is serving up his next, as the editor of Young, Gifted and Black: A New Generation of Artists (D.A.P.), highlighting the works of Black artists from the Lumpkin-Boccuzzi Family Collection of Contemporary Art. An exhibition of the same name is currently on view at the Lehmann College Art Gallery (which is temporarily closed due to Covid-19)

Interior of an art installation with walls covered in rainbow-colored words and phrases

New York–based artists and brothers Steven and William Ladd have been creating together for 20 years, using their comple“The Other Side,” on view through Oct. 17 at the Invisible Dog Art Center in Brooklyn’s Boerum Hill neighborhood, the Ladds have welcomed. Offering visceral and emotional depth to a population of society so often silenced and anonymized behind closed doors, t

A vintage envelope addressed by former president Abraham Lincoln

Election season is upon us here in the U.S., and with all of the anxieties circulating around—pandemic-related risks, poThis is What Democracy Looked Like: A Visual History of the Printed Ballot (Princeton Architectural Press), a new book by Alicia Yin Cheng, a founding partner of the Brooklyn-based graphic design

Black and white cartoon drawing of a girl with glasses and striped shirt

Brooklyn-based writer and artist Edith Zimmerman served as the founding editor of The Hairpin—the former general-interest women’s website that defined a generation of online journalism, with pieces like the perenn“Women Laughing Alone With Salad”—and has gone on to contribute to outlets including The New York Times Magazine, The Cut, and the podcast This American Life. These days, you can find her work in Drawing Links, a frequently published newsletter of comics and musings. We recently polled Zimmerman about her current media diet. He

Poster for the Netflix movie "The Social Dilemma"

You are what you Google and “like.” This is an eerie truism of 21st-century life, where our experience of reality is larThe Social Dilemma, a new docu-drama premiering on Sept. 9 on Netflix, delves into the dangerous human impact that social networking has oCenter for Humane Technology (and our guest on Ep. 35 of At a Distance), says in the trailer: “If technology creates mass chaos, loneliness, polarization, more election hacking, [and] more i

A view from a window looking out onto a neighborhood and sea beyond

Our summer quarantine days have far too often been spent gazing at web browser windows—far and away from vacation views,Window Swap, a mash-up of the virtual and physical. Designed as a “quarantine project” by creatives Sonali Ranjit and Vaishnav Bala

Artwork made from draped textiles and wood poles

School’s out forever—or at least for the immediate future, depending on what city you live in—and it’s certainly taking hands-on lesson plans, open-sourced and free to download, that are inspired by artists and objects from its permanent collection. “Fashioning

A photo collage of faces of people lost to gun violence

There’s a formula for homicide news stories: Place a TV anchor at the scene of a crime, and state that a victim was shotfatally shot in the U.S., including suicides and accidents. The sheer volume of incidents makes them easy to tune out: We don’t know

Black and white photo of a woman jumping rope

Five months on, living in a pandemic has become a new liminal normal, shifting our gaze toward the familiar sights, soun“Pandemic Objects,” an ongoing editorial project that highlights and reflects upon everyday objects (defined in the broadest sense) that hathe gaze of the drone, which has seen a surge in use worldwide in recent months, with people dispatching them in their hometowns—even to takejump rope that gives her pause as she riffles through the museum’s archives, uncovering photos, artworks, and accounts about the

The Earth on a black background

The Internet Archive is one rabbit hole we’ve willingly jumped into more than a handful of times since the quarantine beWhole Earth Catalog, the 1960s counterculture print publication often referred to as “the web before the web existed”—its iconic, jam-packeElectric Whole Earth Catalog, now available on the site. Originally launched in 1998 on CD-ROM (how quaint!), the lo-fi “electric” edition offers a

Four images arranged in a grid depicting a man in a suit, the words "Less than Zero" in red on a black background, an address, and a picture of an outdoor courtyard

Home is where the heart is—but, on the silver screen, it can be a bit forlorn. In his recently published broadside publiSad People in Modernist Homes in Popular Films, Los Angeles–based designer and art director Benjamin Critton explores the much-maligned trope of the Modernist home in popular culture, with contributing essays from writers Erik BSad People—the long-awaited follow-up to his 2010 edition, Evil People in Modernist Homes in Popular Films—and what filmic mood may strike him next for volume three of the ongoing project.