Love art? The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has a great service for you — as long as you’re a prude.
The Museum has just unveiled a novel twist on the picture of the day: Smartphone users merely text “send me” plus a word or two of what they want to 572-51 and the Museum’s servers spit out a related image from the institution’s 35,000 pieces of art.
So type “send me traffic” results in Jan Staller’s beautiful, snowbound 1984 photo, “Stoplight.”
And “send me bike” delivers a Danny Lyon photo of motorcycle riders.
“We wanted to make art personal and part of peoples’ lives,” said the Museum’s Head of Digital Keir Winesmith.
But with limits.
The nude form has been part of artistic creation since the earliest cave paintings. But people who text “send me nudes” or “send me nude woman” receive this rather unartistic response: “We could not find any matches. Maybe try, ‘Send me San Francisco’ or ‘Send me waves’ or ‘Send me something purple.’”
It’s not because the museum lacks artwork with nudity. It’s just that the organizers don’t want to encourage full exploration of it via smartphone.
Of course, the museum put an artful spin on that.
“We think by not sending those pieces, we are inspiring people to think a little deeper,” said Winesmith. “We want users to get more inspiration than from sex.”
So F train riders stuck in a tunnel can text “send me depression” and receive Dorothea Lange’s “White Angel Breadline,” a photo of needy men at a Depression-era soup kitchen. Another “send me depression” request yielded Wright Morris’s “Faulkner Country, near Oxford Mississippi,” a 1939 photo that captures a hardscrabble landscape.
It’s not all doom and gloom. “Send me happiness” was met with Ernesto Bazan’s cheery 1998 photo, “Family Reunion at the Airport, Havana, Cuba.”
And “send me marijuana,” which almost no one ever types on a phone, resulted in Robert Arneson’s sculpture “California Artist.”
The service is sometimes confusing. Type “send me woman” and you might end up with a still from David Haxton’s 1974 video, “Vertical and Receding Lines,” which has nothing to do with femininity — until you click through and discover that there is a woman in the six-minute video.
That’s how the service encourages “further exploration and discussion among users,” the museum said in a statement.
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