Category Archives: 3D Scanning

“Three Dancing Nymphs” at the Frank Lloyd Wright Hollyhock House, Hollywood

“Three Dancing Nymphs” at the Frank Lloyd Wright Hollyhock House, Hollywood


My replica of the 1st-century A.D. marble relief from Roman Libya, Three Dancing Nymphs, is shown above on the first day of its installation at the Frank Lloyd Wright Hollyhock House in Hollywood, California.

The Hollyhock House was Wright’s first project in Los Angeles; it is now a museum and a candidate for designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The original marble relief was the most important piece in the Hollyhock House’s original owner’s art collection, and was the last major feature missing from the house’s recent restoration back to its original 1920s decor—in the photo below, the photograph in the upper right corner from the 1920s is one of the few references showing where the original was located. Now that it is on permanent display in the loggia, my replica will be the first thing to greet museum visitors.

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The Archetypes Burst In — my talk at REAL2016

This is my presentation from March 8, 2016, at the REAL2016 conference on 3D scanning.

My talk was about how people have made use of the scans I’ve shared, and on museums that aren’t sharing their 3D data.

Related, here’s my investigation of The New York Times story on the fake Nefertiti 3D scan heist: The Nefertiti 3D Scan Heist Is A Hoax. (It’s not only related, I published it the morning I gave this talk.)

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The Nefertiti 3D Scan Heist Is A Hoax

Update March 15, 2016: After this investigation was reported by multiple news outlets, including Smithsonian Magazine, Popular Science, InstapunditThe Daily Dot, Kotaku, Digital Trends, Fusion,  Gizmodo, Hyperallergic, MentalflossBoingBoing, and ARTFIXdaily, on March 10, 2016 The New York Times published a follow-up story: Nefertiti 3-D Scanning Project in Germany Raises Doubts. -CW


The New York Times’ March 1, 2016 story “Swiping a Priceless Antiquity … With a Scanner and a 3-D Printer” by Charly Wilder tells how two German artists made a surreptitious, unauthorized 3D scan of the iconic bust of Nefertiti in the Neues Museum in Berlin.

The artists, Nora Al-Badri and Jan Nikolai Nelles, make a case for repatriating artifacts to their native countries and use Nefertiti as their focal point. They also point out that the Neues Museum has made its own high-quality 3D scan of the bust, and that the museum should share that data with the public. As a protest, they released their own scan to the public, and the quality of their scan is extraordinary.

The story has received a great deal of attention and Al-badri and Nelles have earned much praise for their efforts to digitally repatriate important cultural artifacts. Unfortunately, there are serious problems with their story and The Times’ account.

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The Getty Kouros Published

20150501 The Getty Kouros by Cosmo Wenman

“One of those two Zippo lighters was in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s pocket when he was assassinated. And one wasn’t. One has historicity, a hell of a lot of it. As much as any object ever had. And one has nothing. Can you feel it? … You can’t. You can’t tell which is which. There’s no ‘mystical plasmic presence,’ no ‘aura’ around it.” —Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle

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3D Scanning and Museum Access

3D Scanning and Museum Access

I’ve posted an online adaptation of my recent presentation to the California Association of Museum’s 2015 conference panel on access.

I advocate that museums begin freely publishing the many archival-quality 3D scans they’ve been accumulating for over a decade, but have not been sharing. I list examples of of the world’s cultural heritage that have already been digitized, but are currently locked up inside museums’ and universities’ research labs.