An iPhone app for the National Galleries of Scotland
An iPhone app for the National Galleries of Scotland

If you happen to be in Edinburgh, Scotland between now and October 17th you’ll want to visit The National Galleries of Scotland to see the Impressionist Gardens exhibit. You’ll also want to bring your iPhone. They’ve created an app that “includes video and audio specially created to enrich the exhibition experience.” But don’t worry if you miss it, they have another app that will be released in September to accompany the Another World exhibit on surrealism that runs into January 2011.

And really, you don’t need to leave the country to find apps that complement art exhibits. The Brooklyn Museum has an app, and so, of course, does the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The San Jose Museum of Art offers podcasts for iTunes. The Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio offers a mobile version of it website.

These are the latest examples of the intersection where art and technology merge. It’s a busy intersection, but it’s hardly new. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is offering a free download of a work about a program the museum ran forty years ago, The Art and Technology Program 1967 – 1971.

“In 1967, the two-year old Los Angeles County Museum of Art began pairing contemporary artists with high-technology corporations in hopes that new artforms might arise.”

That was 1967. Today, educators and hobbyists can get in on the act in ways that only science fiction writers were thinking of back then.

The Teaching Palette blog has a terrific post about The 30 Best iPhone Apps for Art Teachers. The best thing about the apps is that you don’t necessarily need a teacher to enjoy them. Forbes has a list of Best iPhone Apps for Creativity that includes apps for photographers, artists and musicians. You don’t have to be a professional to use or enjoy any of them.

We’re just focusing on technology that generally has an “i” in front of it, but obviously there have been many more mergers over the years. Remember Bob Ross and The Joy of Painting, shown on public television stations since the 1980s. The technology of television has taught millions of people how to paint badly. And we haven’t even touched on software. Or digital art. Or the thousands of varieties of art that use or borrow technology. Even traditional artists using traditional mediums rely on technology to get people to see their work and come to their shows. It’s a symbiosis that’s here to stay.

Culture At the Intersection of Art and Technology