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Top Picks: 'Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art,' James Blake's 'The Colour in Anything,' and more

'World War I: American Artists View the Great War' displays pieces from the country's conflict, Philip Kerr's 'The Other Side of Silence' involves a forgotten tragedy, and more top picks.

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The art of war

As you celebrate Memorial Day in the United States, take a look at artwork from one of the nation’s past conflicts. Art about World War I is on display at the Library of Congress; pieces depicting recruitment efforts, photos of soldiers in combat, and more can be viewed online as well. Check out World War I: American Artists View the Great War at bit.ly/WWIexhibit.

Learn a new skill

Looking to learn some basic coding for your job or simply for fun? The Lrn app takes you through the basics of HTML, Python, and more using a fill-in-the-blank format and quizzes. It can also be used off-line so you can practice anywhere. Lrn is available free of charge for iOS.

Art from the earth

Many artists use unusual materials, but what motivates those who use our environment to create? The documentary Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art explores land art, which was popular in the 1960s and ’70s. The film is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. 

Illuminating a forgotten tragedy

Somehow, Berlin policeman and private detective Bernie Gunther survived World War II despite hating Nazis and working, in constant defiance, for the likes of Heinrich Himmler and Joseph Goebbels. Now in Philip Kerr’s novel The Other Side of Silence, he’s wasting his days as a concierge. The book also involves a forgotten tragedy: the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff by the Soviets in 1945. A blackmail-heavy plot and threads of World War II and cold-war spying history keep the pages turning, but as always, Bernie’s pitch-black humor carries the day.  

James Blake’s singular style

No one does bleak and beautiful like James Blake. The British electronic star, a favorite of hitmakers Beyoncé and Frank Ocean, plays it slow, sensual, and enigmatic on The Colour in Anything, his atmospheric new album. Blake’s careworn tenor voice carries real emotional weight on songs like “Put That Away and Talk to Me” and the paean to renewal “I Need a Forest Fire,” featuring guest Justin Vernon (Bon Iver). You’ll detect faint echoes of Radiohead and Marvin Gaye in the swirling, whirring sonic landscapes, but Blake paints in a singular style.

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