Well, in the true spirit of the speed at which technology evolves my May blog post has become obsolete. In that post I visited Google Art Project, iteration 2012, extolled its virtues and shared a screencast to help folks navigate the site. Last month the site was re-launched in a redesigned format so my tutorial has gone the way of the dinosaurs.
Google Art Project is now part of Google Cultural Institute, which combines Google Art Project, World Wonders Project and Archive Exhibitions. When I hear this new name, my mind jumps to the Cultural Revolution of China- something about Google becoming the arbiter of all things cultural. Google Art Project is housed inside the cultural institute, the new address is: http://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/project/art-project.
Let’s take a look at the “take a tour video” for Google Cultural Institute:
The redesigned site is easier to navigate- you can search for artworks by museum, the artist’s name, the title of the artwork, time period and country. You can also look by type of artwork; I searched for “watercolors” and 3,230 results popped up with thumbnails of the works. I then narrowed my search by using the refine option to search by artist and spent time in the roiling seas of a Turner painting.
One of my favorite features on Google Art Project continues to be the compare option. This feature allows you to view two artworks side by side, moving around the paintings and zooming in to look more closely at details, the way the work is constructed, and the subtle mark making of the artist. I enjoy comparing and contrasting the work of individual artists both early and late in their careers to see how the work has evolved and changed. Another fascination is to identify works that grab me and put them side by side to play with form and color and see how they interact.
A great resource to support the interactive nature of Art Project is Google+ Hangouts on Air art talks.. You can hear museum educators and curators talk about their collections and hear from experts about certain paintings and artists. You can also use the hangouts to share and discuss favorite works of art with friends, colleagues and students. As I said in May, Google Art Project is a mesmerizing site and the addition of the hangouts and art talks make it a lively forum for looking at art, discovering new ideas and talking with people about art.