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Museums “Adapt To the Digital Age” But…


All in all, I thought the lead article in Sunday's NYTimes special section on the visual arts--Museums Morph Digitally--was good (it was written by my friend, Steve Lohr), though I wasn't crazy about the line that " museum curators and administrators of ...the importance of a social media strategy and a “digital first” mind-set." Maybe digital is second, but surely not first, except perhaps to promote their actual collections. Plus, the whole article did not once use the word "selfie," a bane of museums, imho. Except at the … [Read more...]

Here’s What Art Museums Need: A Selfie Ban


That's not my idea, just in case you were rolling your eyes. It's the brainstorm of U.K. Arts Council chairman Sir Peter Bazalgette; my only concern is the limit he placed on it -- one hour a day.  Just kidding.  But Bazalgette has a point. Neither he nor I are against photography in museums; I take my own photos all the time in museums. Most of the time, what other people are doing doesn't bother me a whit. But you see those photos of the Mona Lisa gallery at the Louvre (as at left), with some people riding piggyback on others to get a … [Read more...]

Take Control of The Tate, With A Robot, After Dark


If an interactive experience with art is all the rage these days -- and to some people it is -- the latest project (I don't know what else to call it) at the Tate in London is both in vogue and new. I think -- at least I've not heard of anything like this. It's called After Dark and it just won the inaugural IK Prize, which is going to be awarded annually by the Tate to a project that "celebrates digital creativity and seeks to widen access to art through the application of digital technology." (That's per the press release.) After … [Read more...]

The Future Of Art Book Publishing Is Here


Wow! Today I had a look at the first digital-only publication of the Museum of Modern Art,* and I can really see -- even after only a short time of experimentation -- how much digital technology can do for art books. The book, Picasso: The Making of Cubism 1912-1914, comes in iPad or PDF form. Here's the official description, from the press release: Edited by Anne Umland, The Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Curator of Painting and Sculpture, MoMA, and Blair Hartzell, independent art historian and curator, it embraces the innovative features … [Read more...]

Try This NYT Web App To Track Art Coverage Trends


Who is mentioned more often in pages of The New York Times from its start in the 1850s through 2011? Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci? Van Gogh, Degas or Gauguin? Joan Mitchell, Louise Bourgeois or Mary Cassatt? Impressionism or Modernism? Monet or Manet? You can see for yourself how the Times chronicled art trends -- or any other trends -- with a new web app called Chronicle. It allows you and me to tap into "Visualizing language usage in New York Times news coverage throughout its history" to discern … [Read more...]

Museum-Going: Getting Even More Virtual


Last fall, I made a note to myself about an app made for the landmark exhibition at Houghton Hall in England, country home of Sir Robert Walpole (1676-1745), which brought back about 60 paintings from the Hermitage and elsewhere -- they'd been sold, but were reunited for the first time in more than 200 years. The full story is here. The app is relevant again because soon the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, will open a national tour here of  Houghton Hall: Portrait of an English Country House -- it's not the same as the real thing, but this … [Read more...]

Art History For The 21st Century


In fall 2012, James Cuno, president of the Getty Trust, chastised art historians in an op-ed on the web for being behind the times in their use of digital tools. I agreed, and wrote a post about it. So I've watched to see what the Getty was going to do about it -- and I outline some of those initiatives in today's Wall Street Journal. My Cultural Conversation with Cuno is headlined Modernizing Art History, and it details his thoughts, as well as a few from others who work at the Getty, on digital art history. Even though this is 2014, … [Read more...]

Way Beyond Museum Walls: A Driving Tour


Many museums these days say they want to meet people where they are -- to go beyond their walls. And where are a lot of people but in their cars? That may or may not have been the motivation of the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Ct., when it developed its newest initiative, but I thought would give a little visibility to it anyway: To accompany its exhibition Pasture to Pond: Connecticut Impressionism, which runs through June 22, the Bruce has developed a guided driving tour, complete with map,  of some of the scenes around the state that are … [Read more...]

New Web Resources Everywhere, It Seems


Hard on the heels of the recent announcement by the Vatican, that its bounteous library had begun digitizing all 82,000 manuscripts in its 135 collections -- thanks to help from the Japanese Japanese technology group NTT Data -- the Tate has made available a rich artistic resource. It's called Audio Arts, and it consists of 245 hours of more than 1,640 interviews with artists, critics and other art world figures. This one is already available here. As the Tate's press release describes it: The list of interviewees ...includes some of the … [Read more...]

The Met Aces A New Online Feature


I've always been a fan of galleries showcasing new acquisitions by art museums, so I suppose I was predisposed to like the web feature announced today by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.* It's called MetCollects, and there will be one episode a month, each going deep on a recent acquisition. The press release describes it as a "first look," but of the three episodes so far they are all already on view. No matter, really. Aside from the focus on new things to see, I like MetCollects because viewers of it will -- or can -- really look and … [Read more...]

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