By visualMAG. March 27, 2013


We step into one of the largest museums on the planet. We're just visitors, no great experts but it would have been nice to plan our tour beforehand or, after getting back home, been able to remember and reflect on something we saw there.

Art galleries of the third millennium want to extend the visitor experience and find a way to create connections to their works and artists to counteract the sense of indifference a visitor feels on that initial glance at an inscrutable work of art. It is not that museums cannot live without the new technologies but, paradoxically in this case, they manage to make them more human. Here is a selection of five visionary apps for the iPad:

'Obras Escogidas' -  Thyssen Museum

This app manages to cram in seven centuries of the history of art. References to the late Italian Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Baroque periods, with a special focus on the 20th Century and to the avant-garde movements such as Cubism and Surrealism. In total, it includes 143 works of art by 131 different artists with their corresponding images - eight gigapixel photos - accompanied by texts overseen by the museum's curators who, in addition to speaking about Rembrandt, Kandinsky or Hopper, offer two videos featuring their own selections.

'Abstract Expressionist New York' - MoMA

It is now two years since MoMA displayed this exhibition dedicated to Abstract Expressionism - a term coined in 1946 by New Yorker critic Robert Coates. In its day, the exhibition showed the different facets of abstract and expressionist New York, featuring artists such as Jackson Pollock, Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko. These three figures formed part of the generation that catapulted the Big Apple to the centre of the international art world. This free application outlines the movement's points of interest (galleries, bars, studios), as well as the history of the collection acquired by the museum, with abundant multimedia material.

'The Design Museum Collecting App' - Design Museum

The unique London museum founded in 1989 offers the visitor a tour of 59 of its most emblematic objects (it has over 2,500 ranging from the Modernism of the early 1900s to contemporary design), such as the Anglepoise lamp, the Dyson vacuum, the Thonet chair, the legendary British telephone box, the Vespa and the Kindle device for reading digital books. Audio, text and photographs form part of this free and explanatory collage that is preceded by comments from the Director of the museum and of the foundation.

'Played In Britain' - Victoria And Albert Museum

Theatre and photography come together in this unique app. ‘Played In Britain’ uses the V&A's rich collection of photography to illustrate in essay form the importance and impact of 100 key plays of the postwar period.

'The Unilever Series' - Tate Modern

This app commemorates 13 years of this significant series featuring great artists presenting their artworks in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern. Essays by curators, interviews with and texts by artists together with over 250 images, recall the works, the material and the installations exhibited during that time. The collection ranges from Louise Bourgeois and Ai Weiwei, through to Tacita Dean or Miroslaw Balka.


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