iPad Art

The first question is fantastic. And there’s no single correct answer although deferring to whatever the artist intended is probably the safest. We’re used to artists using computers to create art which is then intended for display in a different medium. Computers are just the tool.

Creating art on an iPad blurs the definitions. The iPad is both a tool and a presentation device so the question of how to display these becomes even bigger than what SFMoMA asks.  It’s not just print vs. digital, it’s about the size of the display. An exhibition using iPads, or iPad-sized screens, would be very different than an exhibition of framed and mounted iPad-sized prints. Or gigantic prints. Or huge projected images.

For the Hockney drawings in particular, part of the appeal is that they’re essentially finger paintings. I’d be inclined to treat them as iPad-sized in order to keep the human scale. Because the Brushes app can replay the brush strokes used to create the painting, I’d actually like to see them displayed electronically so while the drawing is static most of the time, every few minutes or so it will loop so you can watch its creation.

My questions about the catalog are semi-cynical but also get at the point that being able to take a bit of the museum home with us is both how museums make money and how most people see art. The concept that a catalog can exactly match the exhibition* makes an app-based catalog extremely interesting. To-date, I only purchase catalogs which really capture the sense of the artwork I saw. If the art doesn’t work in print form, I won’t get the book even if I love the work.** An exhibition of digital work which took advantage of the digital nature of the work just would not work in print. At all.

*Well, besides the fact that exhibitions would show everything together and an app shows them one-by-one. Oh, and not attending the museum means you miss out on all the interactions in the museum as people interact with the art.

**Ruth Asawa’s work is the best example of this. I love the three-dimensionality of the works so much that, while the photos are neat, I can’t help but find them disappointing.

Now, a lot of existing work would benefit from being displayed as an app too. Bradford’s work, with its rich surface detail and ability to reward viewing at multiple distances is an obvious candidate. Gursky is another example. Existing catalogs of both artists’ works already show detail views of the pieces in addition to the typical catalog shots. An app would just do this in a much better way.

Author: Nick Vossbrink

Blogging about Photography, Museums, Printing, and Baseball Cards from both Princeton New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area. On Twitter as @vossbrink, WordPress at njwv.wordpress.com, and the web at vossbrink.net

5 thoughts on “iPad Art”

  1. Pingback: iPad Art | n j w v

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