With summer sweltering and those high air conditioning bills to pay, you’re melting quickly and not made of money. Why not watch some free online art programming to ease your eyes?

Here are eight web series available from your internet device.

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82nd & Fifth

82nd & Fifth (screenshot from

82nd & Fifth (screenshot from

For the duration of 2013, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is creating 82nd & Fifth. The online series looks at 100 works of art from the museum’s collections accompanied by a two-minute talk from a curator, such as Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen talking about an dragonfly-studded Louis Comfort Tiffany hair ornament from 1904 that is shown gloriously opening from its velvet-lined box, or Mia Fineman discussing Adam Fuss’ 1992 silver dye bleach print “Love.” As she explains, Fuss made the piece in complete darkness with a couple of dead rabbits that he laid out on sheets, guided only by fumbling touches (“exactly what we do when we fall in love”) and then exposed them to a quick flash of light.


Rackstraw Downes painting in rural Texas on Art21 (via

Rackstraw Downes painting in rural Texas on Art21 (via

Since 2001, PBS’ “Art in the 21st Century” series Art21 has been crafting some in-depth looks at various themes of contemporary art, and you can watch them online, such as “Balance” with Rackstraw Downes, Robert Mangold, and Sarah Sze, and “Spirituality” with Ann Hamilton, Beryl Korot, James Turrell, John Feodorov, and Shahzia Sikander. Whether they’re in the studio or prowling around rural Texas with Rackstraw Downes, there’s often something revealing about the process and persona of art in the profiles.

Off Book

Still from Off Book: Lego Art (via PBS)

Still from Off Book: Lego Art (via PBS)

For a less high brow, and web-only, PBS series (think more internet or even fan art), there’s Off Book, which looks at more alternative and frequently interactive art, especially that which involves collective creativity. For example, there’s 3D printing, sneaker culture, coding, the culture of Reddit, the birth of the animated GIFs, and the effect of color. Or even this guy building a pretty sweet lego flower with a gravity-defying hummingbird.

George Eastman House: Photographic Processes

Still from "The Collodion Process" by the George Eastman House (screenshot via the George Eastman House on YouTube)

Still from “The Collodion Process” by the George Eastman House (screenshot via the George Eastman House on YouTube)

The George Eastman House released a six-part video series on the history of photographic process, each no more than six minutes long, but giving a good in-depth overview of techniques like daguerreotypes, the collion process, the albumen print, and other processes from back when egg whites and silver figured centrally in photography. They also used examples from their extensive vault of photographs, so you get a bonus behind-the-scenes look at the oldest photography museum in the process.

Made Here

Made Here (via

Made Here (via

The Made Here documentary series by Tanya Selvaratnam and Chiara Clemente may be New York-centric, but the issues it examines on the performing arts are relatable to creators everywhere. Launched in 2010, the series has interviews and performances from artists like Reggie Watts, Bill T. Jones, Lisa Kron, and Joey Arias that look at everything from dealing with criticism, the temptation of Hollywood money, and working in such a physical medium with no health insurance (apparently fake names at the emergency room is not uncommon).


Still from MOCAtv's visit to the studio of John Knuth (via MOCA)

Still from MOCAtv’s visit to the studio of John Knuth (via MOCA)

Launched last October by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, MOCAtv already has a whole horde of content. As the first contemporary art museum on YouTube’s original channels project, there’s a little bit of everything, and it’s frequently intriguing. This June they started The Art of Punk series on the visuals behind punk bands like the Dead Kennedys, and there’s also a current series called Global Street Art that goes around the world to look different street art cultures, like the changing scene in Chile or the reaction to art exclusivity in Indonesia. There’s also a series of artist studio visits, such as the somewhat unsettling trip to John Knuth’s studio this month, where he uses house flies regurgitating pigment in his paintings.

Tate Channel

Still from TateShots: Museum of Contemporary African Art with Meschac Gaba (screenshot)

Still from TateShots: Museum of Contemporary African Art with Meschac Gaba (screenshot from

The Tate Channel is mostly just an avenue to support the Tate in London’s programming, but it’s some of the most extensive of any museum. For example, TateShots gives background and a studio voice to exhibiting artists like Meshac Gaba who takes viewers to Cotonou, Benin, to see the types of markets that inspired his Museum of Contemporary African Art installation. There’s also insight into current exhibitions, like curator Nicholas Cullinan explaining the interest in new technologies inspiring Edvard Munch, or video documentation of performances, if you want to try to experience remotely some experiential art.

Works & Process

Still from "New York City Ballet: Choreography by Justin Peck with Music by Sufjan Stevens" on Works & Process at the Guggenheim (screenshot via Works & Process)

Still from “New York City Ballet: Choreography by Justin Peck with Music by Sufjan Stevens” on Works & Process at the Guggenheim (screenshot via Works & Process)

The online content of Works & Process at the Guggenheim is basically a straightforward archive of the performances, but it’s often engaging to see even an unembellished video of the works-in-progress and extensive discussions with the artists. For example, there’s the video of the collaboration between choreographer Justin Peck and musician Sufjan Stevens with the New York City Ballet, and the Minnesota Opera’s production of Doubt, all with insight into how much work really goes into the artistic process of performances.

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Allison Meier

Allison C. Meier is a former staff writer for Hyperallergic. Originally from Oklahoma, she has been covering visual culture and overlooked history for print...

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