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Interactive Annual 14:

MoMA: Georges Seurat—The Drawings

Launch Live Site

“Allows for an almost tactile experience of Seurat’s work.” —Michael Lebowitz

“In some ways, Web sites dedicated to museum exhibits have it easy—interesting subjects and great visuals are inherent. Nevertheless, this site stood-out by serving-up information in ways that could only be done online and did it in a clean, intuitive way.” —Toria Emery


Overview: This site brings the content from a touch-screen kiosk to the Web. MoMA’s kiosk enabled museum goers to virtually explore Seurat’s four surviving sketchbooks, offering a close-up and complete exploration of the artist’s thought process and the evolution of his ideas. The site not only complements the themes of the exhibition, it grants access to a worldwide audience. It’s a beautifully choreographed collection of delicate treasures in an intuitive interface that gracefully reveals Seurat’s work and invites users to marvel and explore at will.

  • A key obstacle in the development was not a technical one: The sketchbooks had various public and private owners and the delivered assets varied greatly.
  • The site and kiosk were built in Flash, ActionScript and XML, pulling in files and data and creating a modular framework for the varying art assets to flow in and be choreographed.
  • The project took a team of ten just over two months.

Comments by Ralph Lucci:

Did you learn anything new during the process?
“In general, projects relating to art history (all of MoMA’s projects) offer us an opportunity to learn and have fun within a noble realm. These exhibits give us incredible insight into these artists and represent an extremely satisfying cause.

“We had to create a tone about the interface that made it appealing while not overpowering the work itself. The audience was as vast as can be imagined, from youngsters and seniors to tech-neophytes and savvy-citizens.

“The most challenging aspect of this project concerned decisions about how to present and interact with the ‘work.’ Some critics argue that Seurat’s sketchbooks shouldn’t be exhibited at all because they represent intimate work that may never have been intended for public viewing. Others wanted to be able to flip the pages, revolve and zoom.

“Much of the complexity of this project surrounded the manipulation and presentation of high-resolution digital scans of each sketchbook, which varied so greatly in source and treatment that alignment and transition became intensively laborious and detailed.”

Credits:
Ralph Lucci, creative director
Daniel Hovey, technical lead
Nick Keppol, graphic designer
Anthony Armendariz, design director
Christopher Harrington, information architect
Al Johnsen, project manager
Behavior Design (New York, NY), project design and development
MoMA, client