Name: MoMA, Museum of Modern Art
Platform: For iPhone and iPod touch
Cost: Free

Contemporary art can be one the weakest areas of school and public library collections. When teens want more about a modern artist than the one or two plates in the Abrams histories, the free MoMA app can be a tremendous boon.’  Through the iPhone and iPod touch, the MoMA app features unprecedented mobile access to the collection, including a digital image for most works.

The app will appeal to art lovers of all ages, but is ideal for both self-guided study and whole-group instruction as it features comprehensive artists’ biographies, an integrated database of subject terms from Grove Art Online, and particularly high quality digital images. Breradcrumbs link artists thematically through headings like Primitivism or 1930s Drawings. You can browse by artist, medium or through movement.

The MoMA app interface is clean and is even easier to navigate than the Facebook app and the whole thing is especially well-thought out with artists, works, and exhibits all circularly hyperlinked so that you always seem to have multiple methods of continuing your virtual gallery tour.

The app really offers one of the best use of digital technologies in giving individuals everywhere access to art from one of the world’s great collections, including museum acquisitions not on public view. With the app, MoMA extends beyond a physical place and democratizes a cultural opportunity, really.tapping the powerful political and creative potential of the web.

For local museum-goers, the app offers additional features. The mobile tours offer a number of ways to customize your visit to the museum, many of them location-based, and the exhibition programming and schedule information is extensive.

The ability to save favorites as a slideshow would be a nice enhancement, but the screenshot method works well with a digital projector and the proper cables, and you can zoom in and out of the images to explore detail while retaining a high level of resolution. Though available over 3G, the app runs appreciably quicker over wifi. MoMA indicates they plan to add a version for Android.


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