Take a New Virtual Reality Tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

You can go to the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art today, and in real life at that. This isn’t true of all the world’s great art insti­tu­tions, still shut down as many are by mea­sures in response to the past year’s coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic. But then, none of them have offered a dig­i­tal vis­it­ing expe­ri­ence quite like The Met Unframed, recent­ly launched in part­ner­ship with cell­phone ser­vice provider Ver­i­zon. For a peri­od of five weeks, any­one can join and freely roam a vir­tu­al recon­struc­tion, or rather reimag­in­ing, of the Met and its gal­leries. There they’ll encounter paint­ings by Pol­lock, Van Gogh, and Rem­brandt, as well as work by cur­rent artists and majes­tic arti­facts from antiq­ui­ty.

“Upon enter­ing the web­site, vis­i­tors are wel­comed to the museum’s Great Hall with a view of Kent Monkman’s dip­tych mist­ikôsi­wak: Wood­en Boat Peo­ple (2019),” writes Hyper­al­ler­gic’s Hakim Bishara. “From there, ban­ners offer broad the­mat­ic con­cepts — Pow­er, Home, Nature, and Jour­ney — through which vis­i­tors can explore the gal­leries.”

Embed­ded in cer­tain pieces of art, you’ll find not just his­tor­i­cal details and audio-tour expla­na­tions but mini-games, which “include triv­ia ques­tions and rid­dles that encour­age close obser­va­tion of the art­works and labels. A game called ‘Analy­sis’ uses the Met’s infrared and X‑ray con­ser­va­tion scans of paint­ings to reveal under­draw­ings and oth­er hid­den details of well-known paint­ings.”

Win enough such games, and you’ll get the chance to “bor­row” the art­work you’ve clicked to dis­play, through aug­ment­ed real­i­ty, in your space of choice — for fif­teen min­utes, at least. At Art­net, crit­ic Ben Davis writes of plac­ing here and there around his apart­ment Fred­er­ic Edwin Church’s Heart of the Andes, Jacob Lawrence’s The Pho­tog­ra­ph­er, and a Baby Yoda-scaled ver­sion of Rem­brandt’s Self-Por­trait. He even makes a seri­ous if ulti­mate­ly frus­trat­ed effort to win dig­i­tal bor­row­ing rights to the ancient Egypt­ian Tem­ple of Den­dur, one of the Met’s pièces de résis­tance since the late 1970s.

To expe­ri­ence The Met Unframed for your­self, just head over to its web site and use your phone to scan the QR code that comes up (if you’re not brows­ing on your phone in the first place). You’ll then be tak­en straight to the vir­tu­al Great Hall, which you can nav­i­gate by swip­ing in any direc­tion — or phys­i­cal­ly mov­ing your phone around, if you’ve enabled gyro­scope mode — and tap­ping the icons glow­ing along the ground or on the walls. The com­bi­na­tion of high tech­nol­o­gy, his­tor­i­cal ref­er­ence, depop­u­lat­ed but ele­gant­ly designed set­tings, puz­zle chal­lenges, and a score in which syn­the­siz­ers meet ambi­ent noise will remind vis­i­tors of a cer­tain age of noth­ing so much as the adven­ture games of the ear­ly 1990s, espe­cial­ly Myst and its clones. But then, what does a muse­um do if not unite the past and the present?

via Hyper­al­ler­gic

Relat­ed Con­tent:

An Unbe­liev­ably Detailed, Hand-Drawn Map Lets You Explore the Rich Col­lec­tions of the Met Muse­um

Down­load 584 Free Art Books from The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art

The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art Puts 400,000 High-Res Images Online & Makes Them Free to Use

Down­load 50,000 Art Books & Cat­a­logs from the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art’s Dig­i­tal Col­lec­tions

Take a Vir­tu­al Tour of 30 World-Class Muse­ums & Safe­ly Vis­it 2 Mil­lion Works of Fine Art

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­terBooks on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall, on Face­book, or on Insta­gram.

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