'Street View' Technology Goes Artsy With Google's New Art Project

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

A screen shot from Google's Art Project with a close-up of Van Gogh's A screen shot from Google's Art Project with a close-up of Van Gogh's "Starry Night" at MoMA (Courtesy of Google Art Project)

For the company that took the mind-blowing expanse of the Internet and filtered it into manageable categories (and primary colors), the next stop is the art world. On Tuesday, Google launched its Art Project, which lets online users tour 16 museums worldwide, including three in New York: the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Frick Collection.

Using the same technology that allows Internauts to peer to street-level on applications like Google Maps—that technology has also riled up German privacy advocates—online visitors can now tour museums like St. Petersburg's Hermitage, Florence's Uffizi or the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam.

Lauren Cornell works with art and the internet at the not-for-profit Website, Rhizome. She says that engagement with the Internet is vital to the growth and survival of all museums, though it may be a challenge for contemporary art. "It's more challenging for street-view technology to capture performance, media, film, video or installation art, but this I think would be an exciting direction for Google Art Project to move in," she said.

Although she supports the project, Cornell adds that nothing can replace the real feeling of walking through the halls of famed arts institutions. "It may pique people's interest by offering them the ability to view defining works in the museum's collection," she said. "It will give you a sense of the galleries but not the feeling of the real thing."

Watch this video to head behind the scenes. Then let us know what you think of the project by leaving a comment below.


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Comments [4]


How wonderful to be able to drop in anytime in the museums one knows and loves.
Spent half an hour on and off with Manet's In the Conservatory, (Alte Gemaldegalerie) trying once again to decipher her expression, the dynamic between the two. Yes, there are tears in her eyes, the HD reveals.

Feb. 02 2011 05:01 PM
Marianne from New York

Been to Rome? Check this out:

Feb. 01 2011 05:56 PM
Joel from Westchester

I was working at the CBS promotion art department in the late 70s when I attended a week-long summer symposium at MIT.

One of the technology-laden demonstrations they developed was a tour of, as I remember, Vail, Colorado via the use of slides. The viewer was able to "walk" down a street and select a building to enter. It was very similar to this virtual (and continuous) "film" of the Metropolitan Museum of art.

Wow! In only thirty plus years it came to be.

Feb. 01 2011 05:38 PM
roger from nyc


Feb. 01 2011 05:00 PM

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