The 10 Best Arts and Culture TED Talks

It seems like every day someone is sending us a new TED talk. We are big fans of the forward-thinking smart-people conference, but there’s just no way we can watch everything posted on the site. That said, there’s no way we would miss “David Byrne: How architecture helped music evolve,” a speech from this year’s event that just appeared on the site. Once we checked out that show stopper (seriously, watch it now), we couldn’t help scanning the TED archives to find the best arts and culture-related talks. Our ten favorites, spanning the realms of art, design, literature, music, and TV, are after the jump.

Lawrence Lessig: “Re-examining the remix” (April 2010)
The author of Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy discusses what Democrats can learn from Republicans about copyright and free collaboration. A surprising jumping off point, but a convincing argument nonetheless.

David Carson on design + discovery (February 2003)
You may not recognize his name, but if you ever stumbled upon Ray Gun magazine, you’ve seen Carson’s striking typography. Watch a slideshow of his work and watch him get serious about design.

Maira Kalman: The illustrated woman (March 2007)
Kalman tells an often hilarious story of how she became an illustrator. Apparently, it all comes down to figuring out how to live, how to die, and how to get paid to daydream.

Isaac Misrahi on fashion and creativity (February 2008)
Famously chatty, Misrahi talks about inspiration and why sleeping so little and making mistakes have helped him in his fashion career. Think of it as The Anxiety of Influence for designers.

J.J. Abrams’ mystery box (March 2007)
We may be smarting over Lost‘s unsatisfying ending, but we still admire creator J.J. Abrams’ gift for storytelling. Here, he traces his fascination with “unseen mystery” back to his beloved grandfather, who indulged his creativity.