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Google Adds Art to its Empire

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Screen shot from Google Art Project

Screen shot from Google Art Project

An article by Roberta Smith in yesterday’s New York Times discussed Google’s latest venture: Art Project, an adaptation of their “street view” mapping service for art museums. So far 17 major U.S. and European museums are included on the site, from MoMA to the Uffizi.

For the past couple of years, museums have been putting their collections online, allowing viewers from all over the world to click through images of iconic French paintings in the Louvre or Van Gogh’s landscape paintings in his  eponymous museum in Amsterdam. Some even went so far as to create immersive, 3D virtual tours, or even creating a simulacrum of the museum on Second Life. Clearly, Google felt it was time to co-opt the action.

The project is titillating in its scope and potential, but also raises a host of problematic questions regarding the importance of the materiality of the art object, intellectual property, and Google’s ability to take over every aspect of life as we know it.

Stay tuned for more coverage on the project in F Newsmagazine next month.

–Ania Szremski, Arts Editor

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