An online art gallery in 3-D, where the user is the curator of the exhibit, 3/11/11

Art and technology have been working hand in hand for some time.  Now there's Kunstmatrix, a virtual gallery for online art exhibitions.  The galleries hosted on Kunstmatrix are fully rendered 3D spaces, individually curated and customized. When building the exhibitions, there is a range of design features available to the curators, such as a selection of room colors and wall arrangements, as well as the option to list sale prices alongside the exhibited artwork. Creating an account is free, and once an exhibition is built, curators can contact Kunstmatrix to discuss the possibility of making the gallery public. For the viewer, the public galleries can then be viewed using the mouse and keypad, allowing for an independent 3D exploration of the exhibition rooms, and inspection of the pictures, sculptures, or videos on display. All the exhibition rooms are hosted on the Kunstmatrix site and can be viewed by the public free of charge, without the need for any additional software or downloads.  Just as the Kindle and oncoming wave of tablets have begun to digitize literature, Kunstmatrix could offer the potential for a visual artwork equivalent, offering new opportunities to up and coming artists as well as to art-lovers.

         Related: Your voice, transformed into a work of art


Website allows you to create your own variation of a classic painting

In 2001 for an exhibition at LACMA, John Baldessari hung Abraham van Beyeren's Banquet Still Life on the wall next to an empty frame and invited exhibition visitors to digitally rearrange or remove the 38 objects in the original 17th-century Dutch painting, thus creating a new still life of their own. Visitors were encouraged to print out their still lifes and hang them in the room or take them home.  [Now, his website offers the same opportunity.]  Says Baldessari. "Still lifes are about the fleeting things in life. Each object has a symbolic meaning attached to it. My interest in still lifes goes back to beginning art courses and having to endlessly paint from them. There was always a room where the instructors stored all the props. And the one prop I hated was the cow skull, which an old instructor of mine, a Georgia O'Keeffe fan, used to always trot out. But of course the typical objects are things like the guitar, the wine bottle, the loaf of bread, which are not so interesting. Even now it's very hard for me to look at one of those typical Braque or Picasso still lifes and not want to rearrange it! I just want to make it a little more upbeat, a little more dynamic and less static. I chose Banquet Still Life.... because I wanted to use a typical 17th-century Dutch still life. The lobster is the most important object in the painting. I'm just anticipating everyone trying to make the lobster dance." 


Nintendo partners with museums, schools on Art Academy interactive app

Gamasutra website, 3/16/11

Similar to its efforts in Europe to introduce young artists to its Art Academy software through partnerships with museums, Nintendo has teamed up with the National Art Education Association to bring the drawing/painting app to classes in the U.S.  Last month, Nintendo worked with the NAEA to distribute the software and Nintendo DSi XL systems to art teachers in elementary, middle, and high school classrooms as part of a program encouraging those instructors to incorporate Art Academy into their creative class activities.  Art Academy features lessons in color, shading, perspective, and other concepts. Users can paint or draw on the system using its stylus and touchscreen, which Nintendo says will help them "practice and develop skills that transfer easily to real-world art materials."  "The abundance of visual images being displayed through technology is transforming the ways art education in schools can be presented to students," says NAEA executive director Deborah B. Reeve. "Art class is one of the few places where kids can exercise their creativity and develop flexible forms of thinking to build additional skills for their future."


Meet the Arduino - the driving force behind most interactive museum exhibits

The New York Times, 3/17/11

Just five years ago, an artist who wanted to add the slightest bit of interactivity to a work had two options: buy a computer that cost about $2,000 and have it reprogrammed to fit the task at hand, or hire a computer engineer to design and fabricate a computer chip specifically for the artwork.  These, of course, were not viable options for your average starving artist.  This all changed a few years ago when a group of five engineers and artists got together to develop a tiny programmable computer called an Arduino, (pronounced arr-DWEE-no). Most museumgoers probably have not seen an Arduino, as it is intended to be a behind-the-scenes part of an exhibit.  But this nondescript gadget has become the driving force behind most of the interactive exhibits seen in museums and galleries today.  "The two most important introductions for art in the past 20 years have been the Arduino and Processing," explained Paola Antonelli, senior curator at [NY's] Museum of Modern Art. Processing is a free design program that can be used on a computer to interact with an Arduino.  Tom Igoe, one of the co-creators of the Arduino, said museums could see additional uses for the Arduino: "Imagine when every piece in a museum has an Arduino built in that can see how people interact and look at the artwork. You could see a scenario when the curator rearranges an exhibit because a specific painting is being passed over by museumgoers."


Classic vs. contemporary Art: a test of museum-goers' interest

Judith H. Dobrzynski, ArtsJournal blog Real Clear Arts, 3/16/11

The amount of time museum-goers spend looking at each art work is a subject of some study and much conjecture. Many years ago, a museum director told me that the average visitor spent 7 seconds looking at an art work in a museum. A few years ago, I heard that the number had dropped to 2 or 3 seconds. How these statistics were derived, I never learned. I didn't give them too much credence, except to note that experts thought the time we all were willing to spend looking at art had dropped.   Leave it to London's scrappy Daily Mail to experiment with the subject, with a twist. The Mail set out to determine what kind of art people wanted to look at -- classical or contemporary. It sent observers to the Tate Britain; they spent a day sitting in front of four 18th and 19th century paintings and four works by young British artists...[counting] how many visitors stopped at each; for how long, on average, they spent looking at each work; what the longest examination was; and what sort of gallery visitor each work seemed to attract.  Surprise!  The classics won, hands down. Here's a link to the Daily Mail article, which includes artwork-by-artwork statistics and illustrations.  What this all means is open to conjecture. To me it says something about aesthetics and narrative. People are more engaged when they see something that is "beautiful" and something that contains a discernable story. If an art work has both, all the better.

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