Art galleries and museums around the world find new and unexpected ways to connect audiences with art, thanks to the latest technological advances, digital initiatives, and social media platforms.
For centuries, art and technology have influenced each other and inspired new frontiers. Today, it is possible to see the effects of modern technology not only in the creation of new art techniques, but also in the way art is experienced, viewed, and at an increasing pace, sold.
Google: Masters of the Database and Culture
If we take a look back to the recent history of technology, it is clear to see that the tech-giant Google has played a catalyst role in the digital integration in culture, as in many other domains.
In 2011, Google Cultural Institute created Google Arts & Culture, also known as Google Art Project; an online platform with open access that showcases art collections, buildings, and artworks, from all around the world.
From the initial launch of the project onward, the cultural platform was received with much interest and amusement by the public. It seemed to implement the people into the heart of the artistic experience. Artists were no longer were the only ones that experimented with technological advances and created digitally; now the audience could get involved too.
With the new technology, art becomes accessible to a global audience, employed for the joy of the society as an inexhaustible and impressive tool.
Google Arts & Culture launched with 16 museums from 9 countries, and today, has more than a hundred. With a simple click, art lovers, curious visitors or experts can access and discover these jewels from anywhere in the world. With options to explore by time, colour, image definition, or artist, it is possible to experience world-famous art works in virtual reality, in 3D, and even to locate the entrances of a museum with the street views. Just in case you were left wanting more; you can learn with stories that arise from artists, or special topics created by independent writers.
Keeping Up With the Trend
Since Google launched this proposal, art spaces have had to catch the trend, and fast. Insiders of the art circuit have had to adapt and produce digital content, uploading permanent collections, and finding new, paid online platforms with access to potential collectors and clients. Strategies were defined to widen the audience, increase the engagement, and expand the boundaries of what is considered art.
With these new developments, art appreciation and sales have also changed; from online talks and gallery walk-throughs, to buying artwork with an App from your smartphone. Re-creating the ambiance of an art gallery in a new way of consumption is the golden ideal; so the potential purchaser or the virtual flanneur can experience and connect with art.
Updating, uploading, live streaming, filming, editing and sharing are words commonly heard inside a gallery nowadays, as an example of the active participation institutions are achieving in today’s technology. These digital advancements have changed art perception to the point that artists have also digitized their content, shaping the creation process.
New Platforms, New Virtual Spaces
The idea of connecting artists with collectors and galleries around the world in the virtual space has led to an uptick in the creation of marketplaces and social media platforms designed specially for art.
New companies are born in today’s market with the intention of making art more accessible, allowing users to browse through thousands of images of artworks in high-definition, to stroll through 3D exhibitions, with different styles, categories, topics and mediums. Artsy and Artland are two well-known examples of such platforms that have found great success in the art world.
Another new option is provided by Amazon, with artwork from art galleries all around the world featuring paintings, photography, drawings, mixed media, and prints.
Now, Google Arts & Culture has designed an application for smartphones that takes user and art integration to new heights. With the help of the app, you can match your selfies with artistic portraits that look alike (art selfie), or match the color palette of the images on your phone with works of art found in unique collections. It is even possible to add real size artworks from museums to a wall of your house, and make your own digital gallery with preferences of your favourite art pieces.
Google’s new app connects art with people who might otherwise never get to see the real thing and instills the idea of “living with art”.
The role of technology in art is becoming increasingly dominant, and the industry is growing and digitizing day by day. Information is communicated quicker to a targeted audience, and the art is accessible to the general public. However, technology should be seen as a tool to support the traditional models, as art will always find an audience in real life, in the walls of museum halls and gallery spaces.
That’s why conferences like “Technart” in Los Angeles, USA, “Art and Tech Days” in Slovakia or ArtsIT from EAI conferences are being held, to discuss what more can be done to elevate the experience, by making it more tactile and interactive.
So then; could this be a foreshadowing or an innuendo, to alert art spaces on the decisions they will have to make in the near future? Perhaps, the time is approaching when all art spaces will have their own apps, like Christie’s and Sotheby’s already do, and art sales might take place on other platforms, even on the social media. It’s time to step up to the digital arena.