When the Google Art Project launched in early 2011, it neatly brought the best of the Internet (and more to the point, Google) together in one erudite bundle. Conceived as a virtual art gallery that now houses the collections of 151 major museums around the world, it made accessible to everyone some of the world’s greatest works through super-high-res imagery, a discovery engine, user input, and virtual walkthroughs of select galleries (à la Google Street View). It was the ultimate mashup of art and technology.
Now, Google has announced Art Talks, a series of talks, hosted on Google Hangout, with museum directors, curators, historians, and educators. It’s an online series that aims to educate art lovers on famous masterpieces and share the insights of some of the art world’s greatest minds.
Lucy Schwartz of the Google Cultural Institute says that, with more than 3 million followers on the Google Art Project Google+ page, the idea was to open up a conversation between followers and museum partners using video as the medium. “Not many people are lucky enough to get direct access to an art expert, so whether you’re a student or simply an enthusiast the idea is that you get an opportunity to gain insight from (and put questions to) people from some of the world’s most renowned museums and cultural institutions,” she says.
Followers of Art Talks will have the opportunity to put forward their questions in advance, but Schwartz says the content of the talks is entirely up to the museum. The talks will be broadcast live on a Hangout on Air and will also be recording and posted to YouTube after the fact.
“Our aim with the Art Project and the Google Cultural Institute is to make culture more accessible to more people,” says Schwartz . “Art Talks are a great example of how technology can facilitate that–anyone with an Internet connection can get access to some of the most knowledgeable people in the art world.”
The first Art Talk will be held on March 6 with New York’s Museum of Modern Art. A second one is scheduled on March 20 with the National Gallery in London.