In conjunction with the opening of James Turrell, the Guggenheim has announced the official launch of its mobile app, which offers an array of multimedia content to users both at the museum and at home to enhance their understanding of the museum’s exhibitions and collection.
With the breadth of an ever-evolving digital catalogue, the app provides users with vivid reproductions, extensive information about individual artworks and exhibitions, and exclusive video and audio content. For the exhibition James Turrell, the app offers video interviews with the artist and the show’s curators that address his explorations of perception, light, color, and space. Additional video interviews with the installation team reveal the complex apparatus constructed to support Aten Reign (2013), Turrell’s dramatic site-specific installation which fills the entire multilevel rotunda of the Guggenheim Museum.
“The Guggenheim app is an essential educational tool that will enhance the understanding and appreciation of the permanent collection and special exhibitions, not only within our museum walls but also around the world,” said Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation. The interactive app allows users to browse more than 1,200 collection works, learn about the iconic building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and find key visitor information. In addition to a full range of content in English, guides are available in French, German, Italian, and Spanish for the museum’s building and collection.
Select exhibitions feature educational tours for families and kids, and special care has also gone into the app’s design to assure a high degree of accessibility for those with disabilities. The accessibility features include verbal imaging descriptions, text enlargement and, for iOS devices, VoiceOver technology for visitors who are blind or have low vision. For visitors who are deaf or hard of hearing, the app provides audio transcripts, closed captioning for videos on iOS devices, and on-site devices are T-coil compatible.
The Guggenheim app is sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies’ new Bloomberg Arts Engagement Initiative, an effort to transform the experience of visitors to cultural institutions through technology. Other institutions participating in the program include the Art Institute of Chicago, the New York Botanical Garden, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
“Technology has the power to address the two main challenges facing museum guests—navigation and access to information about exhibits,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Mayor of New York City. “That’s why we are proud to support the Guggenheim and other leading institutions as they enhance the visitor experience and expand access through innovative apps and devices that will help connect guests to art.”
The app is free and currently available for iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android devices. Download at guggenheim.org/app, or on iTunes or Google Play. At the museum, visitors may use the app on their own smartphone or borrow a device free of charge at the Multimedia Guide desk.
Image: James Turrell, Aten Reign, 2013. Daylight and LED light, dimensions variable© James Turrell. Installation view: James Turrell, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, June 21–September 25, 2013. Photo: David Heald © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York.