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Art Gallery Uses AR To Display Hidden Paintings

New exhibition at Clyyford Still museum uses AR to provide artistic context to paintings.

Artist Clyfford Still had a fairly specific set of rules for the curators who were to display his artworks after his death – only his artwork could hang on the gallery walls. The gallery and museum is now seeking to circumvent those rules with the use of ‘invisible’ augmented reality (AR) artworks.

The very specific rules set down by Still have governed the charter of the Clyfford Still Museum since its opening, carefully keeping to the wishes of the famously grumpy expressionist painter. This has presented a problem for those running the museum, however. It is difficult to present a rounded picture of the artist’s work without being able to show visitors the work of his influencers and contemporaries.

As a result, the curators have turned to AR to enhance the exhibits at the museum, presenting images such as Théodore Géricault’s ‘The Raft of the Medusa’ alongside Still’s painting PH-401, despite The Raft of the Medusa actually hanging in the Louvre in France, thousands of miles away.

The current exhibition at the Clyfford Still museum is doing just that. Titled ‘Still & Art’, the exhibition invites visitors to use smartphones to view a dozen of Still’s paintings, and by doing so see images of other famous works to compare or contrast with Still’s work.

Visitors to the gallery are handed a Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, which will art visitors if there is a hidden AR painting to be viewed. Visitors then then point the smartphone’s camera at a marker to view the ‘invisible’ painting. The museum worked with Google, app developer GuidoGO and AR content creators RYOT to develop to AR exhibits.

Still never named any of his paintings, choosing instead to catalogue them by numbers and letters, usually starting with ‘PH’. As such, the AR exhibition presents Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night alongside Still’s PH-1071, which uses a similar colour palette of blues, blacks and yellows.

Further information on the Still & Art exhibition is available on the Clyfford Still museum website.

VRFocus will continue to report on new and innovative uses for AR technology.

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