I distinctly remember the moment when I watched a visitor at MoMA kneel down next to one of the twisted car parts of sculptor John Chamberlain and put his ear next to it, as if inspecting an actual car. Then he raises his fist and bonged one of the car panels loudly. This man was so delightfully clueless about what you do at an art museum that the guard was surprised this was even happening. I had to leave the room immediately to keep from crying.
The experiences of gallery-hopping are distinctly non-interactive. You look, but don’t touch. But Manuel Palou and Moises Sanabria, the duo known as Art404 (aka Art Not Found), want to change that. Gallery404 is a browser-based gallery space with the same mechanics as a first-person game where you can explore a giant, misty, white room filled with iconic art. Right now, Gallery404 is showing The Classics, “collecting” the work of Andy Warhol, Constantin Brancusi, Jeff Koons, and Barbara Kruger. I did, however, find myself wanting to shoot things a Hunter Jonakin’s Jeff Koons Must Die.
With the advent of virtual reality around the corner and other digital gallery experiments such as LaTurbo Avedon’s Panther Modern, our experiences in a “gallery” are certainly changing. And with Pippin Barr’s recreation of waiting in line to see Marina Abramovic, there may be no need to go to a museum at all someday. Not only can I leap on Warhol’s Brillo boxes in Gallery404, but I have the potential to see the work in a unique way, albeit mediated through my computer screen. Art404 even posted the code on GitHub so you can create your own.
No word if Gallery404 will ever start charging admission.