AMITIAE - Sunday 10 August 2014
82nd & Fifth from the Met: Unusual Art App with Video and Curator Commentary
By Graham K. Rogers
Of course, not everyone has the chance to visit such galleries. In the past we might have looked at coffee-table books (or borrowed them from libraries). The Internet changed that when the museums began to put information about their exhibits online, sometimes with multimedia presentations and interactive features.
The advent of the tablet computer added to that and on one device it is now possible to examine more closely such content and in a more personal environment, with additional media assistance. Apps now available include Gagosian Galleries, London's National Gallery, Art Institute of Chicago and the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art with 82nd & Fifth.
Apple Maps Satellite View of Metropolitan Museum of Art
I could not make the video repeat, even when removing the app from the recents. After that overview, the user is asked to select a language from 12 offered: Arabic, Chinese (2), English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
The commentary is 2 minutes, 38 seconds and is accompanied by a series of images of the marble relief: full size and close-up by Joseph Coscia Jr.. These beautifully lit images link perfectly with the words from Syson.
The commentary by Jeff Rosenheim - Curator in Charge of Photographs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art - explains the processes in which the series of images from which Stare is taken were produced. He calls this one of the first conceptual Art projects he was aware of when discussing the thinking behind the images that Evans took. As the commentary continues, several of the images from the series are shown along with more contemporary photographs of the New York subway.
As well as controls for the video and commentary, each of the 100 panels has three icons: a Star, to add the icon as a favourite (or Episode); an Export icon, which in my case gave me access to Mail and Twitter; and a Download icon, so that the item could be saved (also as an Episode). When the item was downloaded the icon changed to a Trash icon.
A menu icon at top right in Collection pages (the top level) allows access to the three ways items are organised: My Episodes (with a grid icon), showing all 100 works; Collections, where works are put into 21 classifications (some are in more than one); and My Episodes (with a star icon) for favourites and downloaded items. There are also a Settings icon for changing the language and an Information (i) icon that explains briefly about the App, the Met and credits those working on the app content, which is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies
I did not try the Twitter icon but the email export gave me a one-line description of the Art work and a URL which linked to the 82nd and Fifth site (the Intersection of Art and Ideas).
As an app for the individual's iPad, the free 82nd and Fifth from the Met (that is its full name) is a lovely way to examine Art we may be unfamiliar with, while experiencing targeted commentaries on the works: an individual guide round the Met.
For a teacher, the app is another useful way to bring the world (this time of Art) into the classroom. This can be done either with the students' own iPads, in those school districts where such programs exist; or by using a projector and loudspeakers, coupled with a more traditional teaching approach.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.
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