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April 5, 2018

ArtBabble — All art videos, all the time

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There goes the day.

Free, the way we like it.

Here's Kate Taylor's New York Times article about the site, created by the Indianapolis Museum of Art.


Now, for videos about art, there's ArtBabble, a website created by the Indianapolis Museum of Art that offers videos from sources including the Museum of Modern Art and the PBS series "Art:21."

In the last few years, museums have produced an increasing number of online videos, from artist interviews and time-lapse shots of exhibition installations to short profiles of curators, art handlers, and even museum guards. Most institutions feature these videos on their own websites, as well as uploading them to YouTube. But there had been no dedicated place on the Web for art videos before ArtBabble.

On sites like YouTube, an artist interview can get lost among the music videos, blooper videos, and more viral, edgier content. There is also no easy way to browse content from multiple museums.

The most unusual feature of the site is the "notes" that accompany each video. The notes run down a window to the right of the screen, offering links to related material on the Web. For example, in an interview with the artist Robert Irwin, when Mr. Irwin mentions the sculptors Mark di Suvero and Richard Serra, the notes offer links to the Wikipedia entries for each artist. A reference to the gardens that Mr. Irwin designed at the Getty Center in Los Angeles provides links to the Getty Center's Web site (getty.edu) and a YouTube video of the gardens. Representatives of several of the partner institutions said that they were most excited about the notes feature and its potential.

"We can give an online viewer the opportunity to take countless tangents," said Joshua Greenberg, director of digital strategy at the New York Public Library. "It fits the core premise of librarianship, that it’s not just about putting something in someone's hands but also contextualizing it."

The goal of ArtBabble is to allow visitors to "experience the life of museums," whether through employee profiles, studio visits with artists, or videos of conservators restoring objects. The advantage of making the new video site a collaborative one was obvious: the strength and potency as a shared site is much greater than one museum at a time.

Internationally, one museum that has devoted substantial resources to producing videos is the Tate. In collaboration with British Telecom, the Tate has put hundreds of videos on its Web site, tate.org.uk, from studio visits with Jeff Koons and Gilbert & George to archival interview footage with Francis Bacon. Reached by phone, Will Gompertz, the director of Tate Media, the branch of the museum that oversees its video production, said he thought ArtBabble was a great idea.

April 5, 2018 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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