Norton to Launch Norton Art+ App this January with Local Projects
Family AR Experience Brings to Life Contemporary Art by Nick Cave, Claes Oldenburg, Danh Vo, and others
This month, the Norton Museum of Art will launch Norton Art+, an augmented reality (AR) app that creates interactive experiences with contemporary art. Made possible by a $1M grant from the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, to create interactive, accessible experiences with art, the app is designed to engage young audiences and their families with contemporary works from the Norton’s collection. The app launch focuses on six works: Nick Cave’s Soundsuit (2010), Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s Typewriter Eraser, Scale X (1999), Ugo Rondinone’s MOONRISE. east. November MOONRISE. east. July (2006), Danh Vo’s We the People (detail) (2011), Pae White’s Eikón (2018), and Rob Wynne’s I Remember Ceramic Castles, Mermaids & Japanese Bridges… (2018). Norton Art+ is included with museum admission, available in English and Spanish, and is accessible on iPads provided by the Museum beginning on January 2, 2021.
“In imagining the Norton Art+ experience, we were inspired by the way technology can create an entry point for new museum visitors,” said Norton Trustee Annabelle Garrett, on behalf of the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation. “Creating an interactive, engaging art experience demonstrates that there’s no one way to look at art, and that all perspectives and encounters are welcome. We’re thrilled to partner with the Norton on this initiative and hope this app can be a template for museums across the country.”
Following its closure on March 14, 2020, the Norton reopened to the public last month with advance, timed-ticket reservations, reduced hours and capacity, and new health and safety protocols. To ensure the safety of visitors, all iPads will be sanitized between uses and stored in a case with ultraviolet lighting to further disinfect the devices. For additional details on Museum protocol, please visit norton.org/visit/hours-admission.
“With Norton Art+ we’re reimagining how we introduce younger guests to contemporary art,” said Glenn Tomlinson, William Randolph Hearst Curator of Education. “Drawing on AR technology, Norton Art+ creates experiences that are great fun, while offering insights into each contemporary artwork. Launching just in time for the Norton Museum’s 80th anniversary celebration, we look forward to transforming visitors’ museum experiences and inspiring a new generation of art enthusiasts. We are truly grateful for the generous support of the Kellen Foundation, as well as Local Projects and our terrific staff for making this program possible.”
Operating at the intersection of art, education, and technology, Norton Art+ leverages the potential of AR to create new entry points into contemporary art for new audiences. The app builds on the Museum’s commitment to accessibility and dynamic presentations of contemporary art. The iPad-enabled AR experience, appealing to young people’s imaginations and creativity, offers unique digital interactions with select works in the Norton’s distinguished collection that deepen their engagement with the core themes and processes behind the art. Through the app, young audiences are invited to learn through play by engaging with the ideas and concepts in contemporary works and deriving context and meaning from the interaction. Norton Art+ also saves snapshots and video clips of the visitor’s creations, which are collected into a digital portfolio to be emailed and shared at the end of their journey.
"Norton Art+ stands out because each of the six augmented-reality interactions in the app is tailored to a specific contemporary artwork. The experience is much more than just an information layer, each interaction is uniquely designed to spark visitors' interest through playful and creative explorations of what makes the artwork so special, said Eric Mika, Creative Director, Local Projects. “We've worked closely with the Norton team and the Norton's TASQ teen advisory group to co-create new ways to place the six artworks' form, content, and process into visitors' hands using the latest AR techniques. We're excited for the launch and to see what the public creates during their next visit to the Norton!"
“Seeing Soundsuits” allows visitors to experience the wonder of Nick Cave’s identity-masking work, Soundsuit (2010). The AR interaction transforms visitors proximate to the iPad into a moving AR Soundsuit, and underscores for young people the idea behind Cave’s work that masking markers of identity and bias allows people to see those around them in new ways.
Drive the Erase
“Drive the Eraser,” activates Typewriter Eraser, Scale X (1999), the monumental sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen that anchors the Norton’s entrance plaza designed by Foster + Partners. Addressing the themes of scale and function, this AR interaction invites visitors to “drive” a miniature version of the eraser around the Museum’s fountain to erase a scattered array of virtual letters. The eraser grows in scale with each letter erased, eventually matching the size of the sculpture, and revealing a quotation by the artist.
“Moonrise Expressions,” invites visitors to interact with Ugo Rondinone’s anthropomorphic MOONRISE sculptures (2006) in the Norton’s sculpture garden. Using the iPad, museumgoers are able to control the expression of the sculpture in AR by changing their own. Upon selecting their favorite expression, they may texture the sculpture using their fingertips (as Rondinone did) and place the work in a virtual sculpture garden filled with other visitors’ creations.
Out of Many, One
Inspired by Danh Vo’s We the People (detail) (2011), “Out of Many, One” invites visitors to “pick up” an AR model of Vo’s sculpture and find its location on a virtual 3D-model of the Statue of Liberty. Subsequently, additional virtual pieces from Vo’s series will appear with brief histories of their locations.
For Norton Art+, Pae White’s large-scale tapestry Eikón (2018), commissioned by the Norton for its Ruth and Carl Shapiro Great Hall, is transformed into an AR experience that invites iPad users to crinkle and create their own foil artwork. Audiences explore the concepts of perspective and reflection by using the iPad to scan the artwork and see the foil transform into a perfectly smooth mirror – revealing the room and its vertical window in crisp detail. By tapping the artwork, visitors start crinkling the foil, progressively turning it into an abstraction that resembles the work in front of them.
“Bubble Creation” is focused on I Remember Ceramic Castles, Mermaids & Japanese Bridges… (2018) by Rob Wynne, a large-scale work commissioned by the Norton for its three-story Muriel and Ralph Saltzman Stairway. Through Norton Art+, visitors manipulate in AR molten glass to pour their own unique globule, mirroring the process used by Wynne to create the work. They can then install their “bubble” into a larger AR version of Wynne’s work.