Art, Mobile Apps, Google, Smartify, Apple

Art, Mobile Apps

Wondering Who Did That Painting? There’s an App (or Two) for That

Apps are racing to create a Shazam for art, cataloging and classifying millions of images so our phones can recognize them in an instant.

12.9.2019

Apps are racing to create a Shazam for art, cataloging and classifying millions of images so our phones can recognize them in an instant.

With companies racing to develop Shazam for art, we see what instant-identification apps really add to your experience in museums and galleries.

Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Vincent Tullo for The New York Times

Copyright law also poses challenges. The reproduction of artwork can be a violation of the owner’s copyright. Magnus contends that because the images are created and shared by users, the app is protected by the

Another issue is that image recognition technology still often lags when it comes to identifying 3D objects; even a well-known sculpture can baffle apps with its angles, resulting in the deflating, endless spin of technology that’s “thinking” ad infinitum.

Magnus doesn’t give you an art history lesson, or even much of a basic summary about a work; like Shazam, it’s a little blip of information in the dark. Smartify, on the other hand, wants to app-ify what was once the purview of an audio guide. Hold it up to a Gustave

Information about a painting that Ms. Cohen saved on the Magnus app shows the price of the artwork and its buying history.

Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Vincent Tullo for The New York Times

places. London’s National Gallery, where I tested it, was one of them; it didn’t miss a single painting in the permanent collection. But at the Met, where Smartify has uploaded a limited set of images, I spent a frustrating afternoon waving the app at paintings as it failed to return even facts that I could read in the wall texts.

, director of digital for the Jewish Museum. She noted that the vast majority of apps that people download sit unused on their phones. “You just end up using your email and Instagram.”

— the simple act of raising my phone to take a picture transformed a vibrant physical painting into a flattened reproduction. The extra information wasn’t worth mediating my museum experience through a screen.

Read more: The New York Times

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Donald is super duper happy that he will finally get the credit he deserves for his works of art

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