Cool for catalogues

Cool for catalogues

As I have blogged previously, the Reading Room initiative from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is terrific. This makes available for reading online a selection of the museum’s past catalogues. The ‘flippingbook’ format is perhaps not the easiest to use but crucially it preserves the illustrations, layout, typography and something of the materiality of these historical records. Now the Guggenheim has launched a similar initiative (the press release is here; thanks to @RebeccaJLittman for pointing me in the direction of this) as well as, intriguingly, a number of eBooks for the Kindle (priced at $1.99 each) created from curatorial essays. The e-book collection is a smart publishing initiative complementing a very smart and valuable free-to-access resource – and I can’t think of anything comparable from a British cultural institution.
Read more »

Hand-held exhibitions

Hand-held exhibitions

At The British Library Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination (until 13 March) is an exhibition of medieval bibles and prayer books, histories and genealogies. Many are objects of astounding beauty, as well as being of profound historical significance. Complementing the compelling show there’s an iPad app with multiple images drawn from fifty-eight of the manuscripts. The app does one thing brilliantly well, but in other ways it’s disappointing. Another current exhibition with its own app is Maurizio Cattelan: All at the Guggenheim Museum in New York (until 22 January). Created with the same mobile content system, toura, this app is both more engaging (filmmaker John Waters acts as host) and somehow more substantial. Taken together, they are a good introduction to the state of the app for major exhibitions.
Read more »