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On July 18, the High Museum of Art unveiled a large-scale, interactive design installation “Mi Casa, Your Casa” by contemporary Mexican designers Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena in the center of the Woodruff Arts Center’s campus on the Carroll Slater Sifly Piazza. The site-specific work launches a two-year initiative to activate the outdoor space with performances, art-making activities, and other special events.

“Mi Casa, Your Casa” draws its inspiration from a basic form recognizable and relatable to all—the home. The project features 36 three-dimensional, open frames in the shape of a house installed in a large grid on the Piazza, with four singular forms placed around the Woodruff Arts Center campus.

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The Cleveland Museum of Art announced that it has received a $10 million gift from an anonymous donor to further strengthen the institution’s mission and core principles, which focus on scholarship, artistic excellence and community engagement. Thanks to the donation, the museum has established two endowments -- one to support community engagement activities and another for interpretation of its permanent collection. Interpretation efforts will include research and curriculum development.

Recently, the Cleveland Museum of Art began to reevaluate its community engagement program and decided to transition from a traditional community arts model to a more comprehensive, multi-faceted effort. The generous gift will help the museum bring its new community engagement strategy and its related activities to fruition. The strategy will help the museum form stronger connections with local and regional communities while drawing in new audiences.

A portion of the gift was used to help fund the purchase of Deccan and Mughal paintings from a Los Angeles collection formed by Catherine Glynn Benkaim and the late Ralph Benkaim. The acquisition of the Benkaims’ collection, which includes 95 works from India’s major Islamic courts, helped diversify the Cleveland Museum’s holdings.

The donation also helped the institution complete a 3-to-1 matching grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The resulting fund will be used to develop and enhance text labels, audio and video clips, gallery lectures, and interactive technology. The rest of the $10 million gift will be used for a variety of projects such as public art, performances, and off-site programs.

Fred Bidwell, the Cleveland Museum of Art’s interim director, said, “This incredibly generous gift really touches upon the fundamental initiatives of the Cleveland Museum of Art. The establishment of the two endowments and the Benkaim Collection acquisition reflect the museum’s mission and help to leverage this vision to optimally benefit its diverse communities. Adhering to the highest standards of excellence in scholarship, artistic excellence and community engagement, the museum can contribute to and enhance the quality of life of Northeast Ohio citizens and beyond.”

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While many museums post photos of their illustrious collections online, the images are not for public use. The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is about to change all of that. The institution, which focuses on the art and history of the Netherlands, is allowing visitors to download high-resolution images off of their website at no cost. They’re even going so far as to encourage patrons to copy, alter, and share the images.

The Rijksmuseum, whose collection includes works by Rembrandt (1606-1669), Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), Piet Mondrian (1872-1944), and Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), has already made 125,000 images available through Rijksstudio, an interactive section of their website. Officials aim to add 40,000 images per year until the entire collection, which is comprised of 1 million artworks, is available to the public. The decision to make all of the museum’s images public stems from the notion that they are a public institution, making the art and objects in their collection communal property. The proliferation of the Internet has also made image policing extremely difficult and officials would rather the public use high-quality images instead of poor reproductions.

Rijkstudio has seen over 2.17 million visitors since going live in October 2012 and approximately 200,000 people have downloaded images.

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Monday, 04 February 2013 12:25

Metropolitan Museum of Art Debuts New Web Series

New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the largest art museum in the United States, can be difficult to navigate in a short period time. With over two million works in its collection, visitors to the Met usually spend a few minutes with an object before moving on to one of the many masterpieces that awaits them. In an effort to highlight some of the museum’s not-to-be-missed objects, Met officials have launched the web series, 82nd & Fifth, aptly named after the museum’s Manhattan location.

The series presents 100 pieces from the Met’s vast collection in separate episodes. During each episode, a museum curator explains the work’s significance, not just to the art world and the museum, but also to them on a personal level.

The Met has already posted six 2-½ to 3-minute videos, which include interactive features, on the 82nd & Fifth web page. Highlighted works include a room with furnishings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) between 1912 and 1915, a Renaissance relief sculpture by Antonio Rossellino (1427-circa 1478/1481), Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s (1696-1770) massive painting The Triumph of Marius (1729), and an etching by Rembrandt (1606-1669) titled Christ Crucified Between Two Thieves: The Three Crosses (1653).

The Met will post two new videos on Wednesday morning of each week through December 25, 2013.

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On January 21, 2013, the Cleveland Museum of Art opened Gallery One, an interactive gallery that brings together art and technology to enhance as well as personalize each museum visitor’s experience. Gallery One features the largest multi-touch screen in the United States, which displays images of over 3,500 objects from the institution’s permanent collection. Known as the Collection Wall, the touchscreen spans 40 feet and helps patrons create their own tactile tour of the museum while rotating works according to theme, time period, and technique.

Gallery One, which includes works by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), and Chuck Close (b. 1940), employs different hands-on activities to engage visitors using the power of technology. For example, one game asks viewers to recreate the poses of sculptures in the museum’s collection; the ArtLens ipad application illustrates how works of art were made, where they came from, and what inspired their creation. The ArtLens application uses image recognition software and allows visitors to scan objects and access additional multimedia content such as audio tours and educational information for up to 9 hours after their visit.

David Franklin, the Cleveland Museum’s Sarah S. and Alexander M. Cutler Director, said, “Gallery One offers an unparalleled experience for visitors of all ages. The space connects art and people, art and ideas, and people with people…we are especially proud to lead the way internationally in using technology to enhance and customize the art museum experience.”

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