Despite museums, galleries, and cooperatives temporarily shuttering due to the coronavirus crisis, cultural institutions are finding ways to allow audiences to view their curated displays. One such establishment in Denver, Colorado has generously uploaded its 180-artist collection for viewers to peruse online.
The Colorado Photographic Arts Center's new virtual contribution features some of photography's most famed figures of the past: Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, and Edward R. Miller, to name just a few.
Although viewing images on a screen might feel less rewarding than encountering a print up close, digital artwork can serve as a valuable replacement when up close is not possible. One could even argue that the vibrancy of a digital screen offers a unique experience of an image, one that can differ greatly from the printed version. A digital photograph can become a slightly or not so slightly different image when transferred to paper, and vice versa.
Printing and digital photo processing styles are matters of taste. But one aspect of image review is always crucial to the online viewing experience: resolution. Many online art galleries, including Colorado's Photographic Arts Center, offer high-resolution viewing. Individual files can even come as large as a gigapixel. Such technically sophisticated resolution transfer can allow the viewer to experience high-clarity detail even on larger monitors or television screens.
If only because of the opportunities for high-resolution analysis, online galleries can be seen as a worthwhile alternative for galleries that cannot, for one reason or another, be currently viewed. And they've become more common since February, 2011 when Google Arts and Culture was launched. This unique platform showcases over 2,000 leading museums and archives of the arts. It also offers a "walkthrough" feature for select partner galleries, employing Google's Street View technology to give the viewer a more immersive experience.
Are you a fan of online art galleries, or do you see them as more of a fad? Please share your viewing experiences and opinions in the comments section below.
Lead image: Andy Warhol by John Bonath, courtesy of Colorado Photographic Arts Center