Obelisk is a free arts and humanities platform. Dive into 40,000 years of human creativity, discover artwork from around the world, and explore the stories of history’s most creative and inspiring people. Obelisk brings together high-res images of artworks, easy-to-read biographies, and rare artist writings to create a dynamic textbook — an always growing platform for exploring art history.
When we tell people we love art history, the question 'why' hangs in the air. Like many academic disciplines, history and the humanities have been relegated to text books, distant museums and lists of names and dates. But the history of art is the history of human ambition. The wild and bloody stories of the world’s most transgressive people. Want to smooth-talk your way into wealth and power, redefine gender norms, or get away with murder? Art history is a guidebook for radical change. We believe there are three steps to make art history interesting again: it needs to be diverse, discoverable, and it can't be boring. Here’s how Obelisk is turning things around:
The world of art is as diverse as humanity itself, but for centuries its household names have been successful white men. And that’s a problem. How can we relate to a canon that doesn’t mirror our world? Obelisk digs deep, scouring history to find under-represented artists of all genders, cultures, sexual orientations, and abilities.
Obelisk is build from the ground up to encourage exploration. Even many excellent online resources simply aggregate popular artists or bury interesting content in databases that must be searched with precise jargon. Obelisk uses careful curation, bold visuals, and snappy headlines to keep readers curious and reward investigation.
This should go without saying, but it takes work to keep history both academically rigorous and fun to read. Obelisk works with writers, researchers, artists and editors to create break down the people and cultures of history in accessible, conversational language. We're aiming for Jerry Saltz rather than Buzzfeed, but you'll keep us honest.
Reed Enger is a writer, designer and historian. Over the last ten years, Reed has worked in product and service design, user experience, and artificial intellegence, and has created digital experiences for Google, Goldman Sachs, Madison Square Garden, and Comcast. Reed's deep experience in digital design drives Obelisk's ongoing development, and his love of accessible communication and self-education forms the core of Obelisk's approach to the humanities. Outside of his writing and research for Obelisk, Reed's engagements are broad, including translating and reprinting rare books, lecturing on design systems, and examining human/AI relationships.