July 10, 2017; Time
As readers know, museums all over the country have been experimenting with the use of technology to attract, deepen, and maintain the public’s experience with art and their own institutions. This new endeavor from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is a part of all of that.
SFMOMA has come up with a new way for the Great Unwashed to experience their art in a way that delights. By texting 572-51 with the words “Send Me,” anyone can request and receive the image of a piece of art chosen from the almost 35,000 pieces in the museum’s whole collection. Only five percent is normally on display and, on average, visitors tend to spend only seven seconds in front of any particular work.
What artwork you see is sparked by and computer-curated to your description of what you wish to see. The description doesn’t need to be elaborate, or even verbal. An emoji will do, as will a color. You can send an emotive word like “angst” or “terror” and realize that, in the end, you’re not as alone as you think.
Some art lovers may see this as an abomination, but this is clearly an augmentation rather than a replacement for museum-going, so let’s keep it in perspective.
“In a world oversaturated with information, we asked ourselves: How can we generate personal connections between a diverse cross section of people and the artworks in our collection,” wrote creative technologist Jay Mollica. “How can we provide a more comprehensive experience of our collection?”
Caution: Some users say it is very addictive.—Ruth McCambridge