Technical Intervention

Not much of a gadget-head, I still appreciate the tech-savvy forays art museums are making to keep up with the times, especially in contrast to the old school ways such institutions often operate.

Last year the Loyola University Museum of Art hosted "Caravaggio: Una Mostra Impossibile!" The exhibition brought together paintings from top-tier museums, churches and private collections, and featured all of Caravaggio’s greatest hits. This otherwise impossible feat became a reality because the images featured in the show were not the actual paintings but hi-def photo reproductions of the works.

The Old Masters Picture Gallery in Dresden, Germany, has opened its doors to the virtual world by creating a clone of the gallery and putting it online. All 750 masterworks in the museum’s holdings are on view around the clock.

The Baltimore Museum of Art is (rightly) banking on the fact that everyone has a cell phone. Touring the museum’s sculpture garden or latest show, you dial a number, enter a two-digit code and get a message from an artist confiding about the work in question or a curator expounding on a particular theme.

The Walters Art Museum is taking cell phone interactivity further in an upcoming exhibition, "Déjà vu: Revealing Repetition in French Masterpieces," by allowing callers to leave a message at the beep. Interesting comments from visitors will eventually become part of the show’s audio tour.

Art is an exciting business. Harnessing the equally exciting technological advances that are cropping up every day could go a long way toward shaking off the dust that has settled on the museum-going experience.

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