Art galleries come alive with new media innovations (video)

One of my hobbies is “collecting” art museums.  I’ve been fortunate enough to visit many of the world’s greatest art palaces and so could not miss the opportunity to visit Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Museum and the National Gallery in Edinburgh on my recent trip to Scotland.

I’m beginning to see examples of how new media is augmenting traditional art displays. I’m a bit conflicted about adding this “showmanship” but I also recognize that combining these mediums can help display and explain art in exciting new ways, especially if your audience is digital-savvy to begin with.

In this short video I provide examples of these mash-ups. Let me know what you think about it.

And just for fun, here is a list of my top 20 favorite art museums (at least so far):

  1. Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York City
  2. Musee d”Orsay – Paris
  3. Courtauld Institute – Paris (small but great Impressionist collection)
  4. MOMA – New York
  5. Art Institute – Chicago
  6. Uffizi Gallery – Florence
  7. Peggy Guggenheim Museum – Venice (small but what a setting!)
  8. British Museum – London
  9. Prado Museum – Madrid
  10. Van Gogh Museum – Amsterdam
  11. Getty Museum – Los Angeles
  12. Vatican Museum – Rome (would put it higher but so crowded)
  13. Tate Museum of Modern Art – London
  14. Museum of Fine Arts Boston
  15. National Gallery – Washington DC
  16. Carnegie Museum of Art  Pittsburgh (big displays in a small city!)
  17. Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts – Moscow (surprisingly good display of Impressionists)
  18. Palais des Beaux-Arts Lille
  19. Royal Museum – Brussels
  20. Museu de Arte – Sao Paulo

If your fave is not here it is probably because I have not been there yet, with the exception of the Louvre.  I dislike the Louvre. It’s too big and too crowded. The whole experience feels like a train station to me. What museums do you enjoy and why? What do you think of the technology mash-up in the video?

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  • GiniDietrich

    A few things:
    1. Love, love, love, LOVE you on video! I know it’s out of your comfort box, but it’s SO GOOD!
    2. I learned something new about you today and that is EXTREMELY valuable to your fans.
    3. The interactivity at museums is way cool! I love being able to write what you think the people in the paintings are saying. That’s like taking my favorite game, “what are those people over there saying” and adding it to art. Freaking brilliant!
    4. I love the security guard who keeps trying to get in your shot.
    5. AMAZING the museums let you video inside. Times are changing, huh?
    6. Do more video!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  • shanerhyne

    This is a great video, Mark, and it’s nice to see you adding video to your blog. Keep it up!

    I used to work in the museum field and we were always interested in trying to figure out how to adapt the (then) emerging technologies of mobile messaging and mp3 into the exhibit areas. I love to see the museum community continuing that work. While I think some of the curators I know would be shocked to see some of the tactics being used, I think these ideas show promising starts in finding ways to make art (or history, or science, etc.) more accessible to the viewing public.

    It’s also fun to learn you “collect” art museums. I “collect” cemeteries and presidential history sites.

    Thanks, also, for your top 20 art museum list. I couldn’t agree more with your recommendations for the Art Institute (#5), MFA Boston (#14) and the National Gallery (#15).

    If you’re ever on the lookout for a hidden treasure, I’d recommend the <a href=”http://www.huntermuseum.org”>Hunter Museum</a> in Chattanooga, home to one of my favorite paintings of all time: Benton’s “The Wreck of the Ole 97.”

    Like Gini, I’m a bit surprised the museums were cool with you videoing inside the museum. The times have changed indeed.

    Keep up the good work!

  • shanerhyne

    This is a great video, Mark, and it’s nice to see you adding video to your blog. Keep it up!

    I used to work in the museum field and we were always interested in trying to figure out how to adapt the (then) emerging technologies of mobile messaging and mp3 into the exhibit areas. I love to see the museum community continuing that work. While I think some of the curators I know would be shocked to see some of the tactics being used, I think these ideas show promising starts in finding ways to make art (or history, or science, etc.) more accessible to the viewing public.

    It’s also fun to learn you “collect” art museums. I “collect” cemeteries and presidential history sites.

    Thanks, also, for your top 20 art museum list. I couldn’t agree more with your recommendations for the Art Institute (#5), MFA Boston (#14) and the National Gallery (#15).

    If you’re ever on the lookout for a hidden treasure, I’d recommend the Hunter Museum in Chattanooga, home to one of my favorite paintings of all time: Benton’s “The Wreck of the Ole 97.” http://www.huntermuseum.org

    Like Gini, I’m a bit surprised the museums were cool with you videoing inside the museum. The times have changed indeed.

    Keep up the good work!

  • markwschaefer

    @GiniDietrich Thank you for your kind words and support. The whole time I was working on this I thought, well I know Gini will appreciate it! : )

    This idea about people wanting to know more about me seems strange but I’ll think about it. Thanks for everything!

  • markwschaefer

    @shanerhyne Thanks for the ideas. I also like the High Museum In Atlanta very much. They have brought in some rockstar exhibits!

  • testtweetscjb

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  • Been to and enjoyed many museums you mention. Owned an art gallery for several years discussing while showing slides to add to what was being presented in the gallery as attendees interacted with each other.

    Enjoy being an art lover and artist looking forward to creating an impressionistic interactive 3 dimensional piece where the emotion while viewing is an addition to the piece.

    Nice job Mark, showing and telling us your story of how technology is making “static art interactive.”

    You are the Man!

  • Philip_Cummings

    Hope the Brooks in Memphis will create some of these types of interactions. My wife, the art teacher, appreciated this post, too, Mark. Nice use of video.

  • markwschaefer

    @DrRae Very interesting. You have quite the background!

  • markwschaefer

    @Philip_Cummings I have never been been to that museum but will probably be in Memphis early in 2011. Perhaps we can an outing of it?

  • @markwschaefer …and still learning new “stuff,” thanks to you 🙂

  • Philip_Cummings

    @markwschaefer You bet! Just let me know when your plans solidify. My wife and I were married there so it holds a special place with us. I have some free general admission passes, too, if you are interested. It’s not big enough to make your incredible list, but it does have some neat exhibits and events.

  • RJStribley

    Mark:

    I really enjoyed this video. Great idea on highlighting ‘technology’ to help audiences relate to art. I must admit I am envious of your portfolio; I have not been to all the museums on your list. I agree with Chicago Institute of Art and MOMA. I couldn’t get into the Louvre last time I was there… also not a favorite as a result. Some good visits: 1) The Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Tx… it’s not a national destination but well worth the visit if you are close 2) Peterhof, St. Petersburg, Russia… although really a Palace complex, Peterhof is absolutely amazing and a historical, and art museum strewn with masterpieces of Russian and West European artists, both paintings and sculpture… to date my favorite place (or Palace) of art, and 3) Lenin Museum St. Petersburg… although this is a stretch since it is more about history than art, I am including it as an adjunct to your ‘technology’ theme. While there is NO digital technology integrated with displays, small visitor groups are escorted by an english speaking ‘tour guide’ and a silent ‘security guard’ aka KGB agent. Word is the ‘guard’ monitors what the tour guide tells visitors. They also have bathroom monitors to admit ‘visitors’ to bathrooms at proper numbers. That said, it also is worth the visit if in the neighborhood.

    Video is a nice addition to your blog. Thanks, Mark.

    Bob

  • vamerritt

    This is yet another example of how technology and social media is revolutionizing our society. The ability to engage the entire audience is truly remarkable. Being able to participate in a greater conversation, not just with the person/people you are with will, no doubt, draw in and expand the audience. I wonder what thise sort of feedback will mean to contemporary artists.

  • C_Mazza

    Reaching to kids is fantastic and yes, museums will need to bring new technology to keep them entertained and enhance the youngsters experience. Social media is part of that, engagement, interaction, connectivity. When kids and adults have accumulated positive experiences society stands to gain. Also from a product perspective, the number of visits increases which helps many financially struggling museums. In talking with people close to the museum world, for art, science and others, the struggle is how to attract audiences on a regular basis and create a customer experience that not only brings new customers in but also increase the number of repeat visitors. Social media bould be the answer to it.

  • markwschaefer

    @RJStribley St. Petersburg is on my short list of places to visit and may be part of a Scandanavian adventure in 2011. Thanks for the tips!

  • markwschaefer

    @vamerritt I just glimpsed a headline about Tim Burton using Twitter to crowd-source a project. I’ve also een social media feeds used to populate music videos. Certainly a lot of potential for unleashing creativity! Thanks for you comment!

  • markwschaefer

    @C_Mazza Funny you should say that. I talked to some people at the museum and they have had an increase in attendance since creating these interactive displays. Great obseravtion. Thanks!

  • MarcW

    Fantastic post Mark. I am mixed on intertwining tech with art (although by definition it’s still “art”) because it’s nice to leave somethings “as they were”. Still, the engagement is important and does make the medium/discipline more interesting and accessible to some.

    All your picks above are great and I have visited several. The Tate in London is fantastic (as is the restaurant and view of St. Paul’s across the Thames). Curiously missing on your list is my favorite museum’s in the world – The Guggenheim in Bilbao Spain. Not so much for the art inside but for the building itself. Both inside and out it completely overshadows the art. And the restaurant (you can tell I love food) is literally one of Spain’s best.

    Cheers!

    Marc

  • markwschaefer

    @MarcW Glad to have you back on {grow}!

  • MarcW

    @markwschaefer You bet. BTW, the avatar of me is in Edinburgh on top of Arthur’s Seat overlooking the city. How fitting your video blog was in Scotland!

  • robimut

    All of the museum you mentioned, plus Beyeler Foundation – Basel, Neue Staatsgalerie – Stuttgart, High Museum – Atlanta, De Menil – Houston, mostly for architecture; Egyptian Museum, Turin, very specific but very intereresting, Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan; the house where is hosted Guernica, by Picasso, in Madrid (I think is Cason del Retiro, just for the painting Guernica). I haven’t been to MAXXI, Rome, yet.

  • Hello Mark, Have you seen http://www.googleartproject.com/

  • Sigh..just makes me aware of how many more galleries I want to visit. My all time fav is the Van Gogh Museum.
    Mark, I’d suggest that The Google Art Project http://www.googleartproject.com/ deserves a mention for those of us who are desk bound ?
    great post thanks!

  • I have never visited that one although I have been to Amsterdam many times. Just has never worked out. Thanks!

  • Awesome link. I will be on that site all day now. Truly love this!

  • I’ve managed to miss this post of yours at the time of its publication, but perhaps better later than never…

    It’s a pity you didn’t have more time in Tallinn when we met. I’d really have liked to take you both to KUMU, the Estonian Art Museum — fortunately, though, we did get a picture outside it 🙂

    There are many more prestigious art galleries and museums in the world, but for a faraway corner of Europe, I don’t think KUMU is bad at all.

    For a taste, here’s the link: http://www.kumu.ee/en/

    Another place I’d personally like to visit is the Musée Magritte http://www.musee-magritte-museum.be in Brussels. Walked past it in August but unfortunately had no time to go inside.

  • So many great museums, so little time. Went back to Boston Museum of Fine Arts last week. What a joy!

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