Bushwick Artist Uses 'Google Glass' to Give Inside Look at Works in Process

By Meredith Hoffman on August 30, 2013 9:51am 

BUSHWICK — OK, Glass, take me on a virtual art gallery tour.

A Brooklyn artist chosen to be one of the few people to test-drive Google's groundbreaking cyber-shades Google Glass is using the technology to go behind the scenes with artists in their studios in a bid to transform the way people understand art.

Bushwick-based curator Samantha Katz — one of the people chosen to test out the mini computer as part of Google's "Glass Explorers" program — is filming Bushwick artists and gallery curators while they work, so viewers can understand the evolution of a show and "feel what it's like to walk in a studio."

"Gallery Glass," a virtual gallery launching on YouTube Sept. 1, will feature a different artist or curator in a new short video each day. The technology, which will be worn by the artists as they create their work, will provide a far more intimate video than a typical documentary, Katz said.

"The end goal is really creating a whole new form of accessibility for artists and art lovers," said Katz, 27, a lead organizer of Bushwick Open Studios, who first conceived of Gallery Glass for aesthetes who'd missed out on the giant festival. "Having produced [Bushwick Open Studios] I started to wonder how I could take the experience beyond that weekend and into the online realm."

Artist Jen Dunlap, who wore Katz's glasses while completing some intricate details on a painting, said she was struck by the ability to watch the video of her work in process, while also watching the work directly.

"It totally gives you a different perspective on capturing the act of making art," Dunlap said, noting that artists could reveal "where they pause to think about their next step, or how their hand touches the surface of whatever they are creating."

"Most people ... only get to interact with art from a very flat perspective," she said. "They only see the art on the wall but they don't know the evolution of show."

Katz predicted the technology would spread throughout the art community.

"In five years I envision all artists launching their own channels and inviting others to see the process of how their work is done," Katz said.

Abstract minimalist painter Christopher Stout noted that the Internet had already dramatically diversified his customers, but he said the in-depth look at his work could help spark even more curious viewers.

"A lot of people feel scared to go to a gallery, they think they have to be smart enough or rich enough or whatever," he said. A film of his process and unfinished work would likely make his pieces more accessible, he said.

But he said he wasn't sure all artists would break out Google Glass in their studios.

"Is Google Glass any different than something else on YouTube? I'm not sure," Stout mused, but said he imagined the product's hype would certainly draw attention to Gallery Glass.

And gallerist Jason Voegele, who runs the Lodge Gallery on the Lower East Side, said Katz helped the technology seem more approachable and useful in the daily world.

"What Samantha is doing with Gallery Glass is one of those ideas that brings the message to the people and makes new ideas stick," he said.

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