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May 30, 2011

iCubist: iPad application to delve more deeply into Cubism

Visitors to the upcoming Kimbell Art Museum exhibition Picasso and Braque: The Cubist Experiment, 1910-1912 will be able to use a specially created iPad application to delve more deeply into Cubism.

"Advances in digital imaging and the convenience of an iPad provide new ways to look at and understand the processes, relationships, and stylistic developments of the revolutionary art form now known as Analytic Cubism," commented Eric M. Lee, director of the Kimbell Art Museum. "I'm thrilled that the Kimbell is able to provide this unique opportunity to Museum visitors."

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the Kimbell have been working with MegaVision, a digital-imaging company based in California, to capture spectral images of select pieces in the exhibition. The quality of spectral imaging surpasses that of normal professional photography, and it allows options for ultraviolet and infrared, which can reveal features invisible to the human eye.

Affectionately titled iCubist, the app was designed specifically for the Picasso and Braque exhibition. It will showcase the spectral images along with three other original activities and will be made available exclusively to exhibition visitors, free of charge, on 40 preloaded iPads.

The iCubist activities allow users to:

View and study works with a level of detail and precision never before possible for museum audiences. Users will have the ability to manipulate a succession of digitized spectral images that show the artworks at different light frequencies (ultraviolet and infrared), revealing the most minute details. Such fascinating views of the paintings uncover important decisions made by the artists in developing their compositions.

Deconstruct a Cubist composition and attempt to put it back together. By rebuilding these composite reproductions, visitors learn first-hand about the intellectual and creative processes employed by Picasso and Braque in their paintings. The physical act of moving visual elements emphasizes compositional choices made by the artists to create, for example, a sense of balance or movement. It also highlights recognizable elements and describes their significance.

Compare digital reproductions of paintings by the featured artists, Picasso and Braque, by clicking on markers that pop up to explain key aspects of their individual styles. This interactive activity will help visitors exercise connoisseurship to distinguish between the artists' hands, despite their close similarity during the Cubist years.

Explore the history of Cubism by means of an illustrated timeline that includes vintage photography of the artists and their friends and reproductions of key works of art.

The iCubist app was designed and produced by REZA ALI for the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the Kimbell Art Museum. 

Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas 

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