Breaking news and surveillance footage of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist

Earlier this year, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum “celebrated” the 25th anniversary of the as-yet-unsolved heist of 13 works of art from their collection. Now the FBI has released a video taken the night before the heist that appears to show a night guard letting an unauthorized guest into the museum. Authorities are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying this visitor who entered the museum through the same door as the thieves 24 hours before the heist.

via ARTnews

UPDATE: Coming in on the heels of this released video, it now appears that the suspects are dead

UPDATE #2: The name of one of the suspects has been identified [via CBS]

Guggenheim Museum offers new iPad app

Guggenheim app for iPadThe Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum has released a new app for iPad, offering access to the museum’s archival publications and a new visual interface for exploring art. This is in addition to their iPhone and Android handset app that includes multi-lingual building, collection, and select exhibition guides, information on more than 1,600 works in the museum’s collection, video and audio with closed captioning, transcripts and verbal description guides for blind and low vision visitors.

The new iPad app has all these features but also introduces new features for tablets, including free access to over 100 out-of-print museum publications dating back to the 1930s, image zoom for works in the collection, a larger format for watching videos, and VoiceOver compatibility.

A “living” Mona Lisa

A team of 40 French technicians and artists have spent the last year working on a “Living Mona Lisa,” which uses a motion sensor (similar to those employed in interactive video games) to produce a version of the portrait that can follow viewers’ movements with her eyes and change her expression. As Florent Aziosmanoff, who conceived the initial concept, told the Telegraph, “Leonardo da Vinci tried to make her come alive, so it’s appropriate that we’ve taken his intentions a few steps further.”

Digital versions will be produced and marketed to go on sale in the autumn in different sizes and formats, such as digital paintings for “a few hundred euros” or miniature versions hung on a pendant, perhaps surrounded by jewels.

What’s in your Digital Humanities toolbox?

This list of DH tools was created during the HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory; “haystack”) Scholars Unconference at Michigan State University on May 27, 2015. The list in a work-in-progress, with additional tools and insight offered in the comments.

Topics include:

  • Media Creation/Annotation (Video/Audio/Image)
  • Project Management
  • Text Processing/Annotation
  • Reference System
  • Archive/Content Management Systems
  • Mapping
  • Visualization
  • Scraping

h/t John Taormina

Introducing ArchDaily’s AD Essentials

AD_Essentials_MODERNISM (photo: © Flickr CC user victortsu)AD Essentials from ArchDaily is a series of “in-depth overviews of architecture’s most important topics” by connecting together some of their best articles from the past (updated with additional links to relevant news stories and other articles). Launched July 13th, the series has already posted surveys of Sustainability and Modernism.

Do you have a topic you’d like covered, an article you’d like linked, or have feedback to current posts? Let them know here (look for the form at the end).

Next Practices in Museum Digital and Technology

View of "You Are Here" exhibition at the Oakland Museum of California (photo: Matthew Millman, courtesy of Oakland Museum of California)The annual Next Practices in Digital and Technology from the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) is available and highlights 41 examples of recent and ongoing digital initiatives designed by AAMD member museums. From social media and mobile apps, to in-gallery interpretation and behind-the-scenes collections management, Next Practices in Digital and Technology explores the ways museums are using technology to advance accessibility, scholarship, education, and audience engagement. Some of the covered topics include Multimedia, In-Gallery Interactive, Open Data, Social Media, Apps, and Access.

Artistic genius? There’s an algorithm for that

A chart analysing 1,710 paintings, where the horizontal axis corresponds to the year the painting was created and the vertical axis corresponds to its creativity score according to the algorithm from Ahmed Elgammal and Babak Saleh, “Quantifying Creativity in Art Networks”  (draft 2 June 2015 from a conference paper)Researchers say they have created a quantitative way to assess “creativity” in works of art that they argue comes close to a scholarly assessment. Ahmed Elgammal and Babak Saleh (The Art and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Department of Computer Science, Rutgers University) used 1,710 paintings available on and ran them through their algorithm that looked at qualities such as texture, color, lines, movement, harmony, and balance. The algorithm then “measures the originality and influence of artworks by using sophisticated visual analysis to compare each piece to older and newer artwork…from the premise that the most creative art was that which broke most from the past, and then inspired the greatest visual shifts in the works that followed.”

via Quartz

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