Museums and art galleries typically conjure up images of big, framed oil paintings and classic sculptures. However, the definition of art is always expanding; artists are always exploring new territories. Likewise, museums are as likely to include recent objects as they are to feature ancient relics.
As a result, more and more museum operators and art curators are integrating the modern with the classic to open new avenues to inform and engage visitors, particularly those of the next generation. There’s a general recognition that art on the digital canvas is just as engaging and inspirational as more traditional art media and platforms.
In fact, some of the world’s most talented artists are using large-format LED display technology to create innovative and thought-provoking art pieces on digital canvases. And with this versatile and dynamic medium, many artists are seeking cutting-edge, highly customized LED display solutions to create unforgettable experiences.
At its heart, the trend toward digital recognizes that people don’t just want to see something new; they want to feel something meaningful, too. In a way, the growth of museum-quality displays and immersive experiences was inevitable given the digital display industry’s growth. Now, there are few limits to how the digital canvas can engage and immerse people.
Direct-view LEDs provide an exciting, awe-inspiring medium for the growing field of digital art and allow museums and art curators to establish the right mood more efficiently. Likewise, venues that employ digital displays can create groundbreaking educational environments that both inform and thrill audiences through high-end, well-produced content.
“As a media artist and designer, I use AI as a collaborator and paint with a thinking brush to make the invisible world of data, visible. When I translate my vision into an immersive space, the experience is unparalleled and sublime. An immersive space allows the audience to step inside a universe that only exists in that specific time and space and offers an innovative way to tell a story. It can alter perceptions for the moments spent inside the space, but can also open up the mind to possibilities that can last a lifetime.” — Refik Anadol, New Media Artist and Designer, eBrief: Immersive Experience.[Meet Refik Anadol, the artist behind the digital artwork on display in the lobby of Salesforce East at 350 Mission Street in San Fancisco. Also see Refik Anadol Blazes Trail for AI-Based Digital Art.]
We at SNA Displays have been blessed with the opportunity to work with world-renowned artists to help bring their creative visions to life. We’ve also worked with a variety of educational venues to merge traditional aesthetics with modern day design principles. Read on for a sample of some of our favorite art and museum collaborations.
GagoSIAN: “DenomInator” LED Cube
The contemporary art gallery Gagosian hosted a limited-run art exhibition by Urs Fischer titled Denominator at its West 24th Street location in New York.
“Denominator is a 12-foot cube constructed from LED screens that display a sequence of fragments from international television commercials in a shifting composition that spans the history of the medium,” according to a Gagosian news release. “Through the use of AI algorithms, the commercials have been deconstructed into individual shots, which are then grouped by theme or color and displayed in layered patterns and choreographed sequences.”
The art installation was comprised of a five-sided LED cube built from SNA Displays’ BOLD™ Interior product series. The cube’s screens employed 2.5-milimeter pixel spacing and were mounted to a free-standing steel frame that appeared to “float” one inch above the floor.
Each face, including the cube’s top cap, was 11’10” square. The digital art piece processed approximately 10.4 million pixels in total.
SFMOMA: “The Chronicles of San Francisco”
At the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), visitors experienced an awe-inspiring digital exhibit titled The Chronicles of San Francisco by artist JR. This award-winning digital art piece, which ran for over a year at SFMOMA, was a 107-foot curved LED video wall created to celebrate the everyday people of San Francisco through sight and sound, setting a new standard for next-generation art. Made from SNA Displays’ BOLD™ Interior line of LED video display technology, the screen employed a 2.5 mm pixel pitch and processed nearly 26 million pixels.
Salesforce East Lobby
Kilroy Realty and the City of San Francisco commissioned acclaimed media artist Refik Anadol to create an immersive public art installation on the LED canvas in the lobby of the Salesforce East office tower at 350 Mission Street. This LED video wall was built with SNA Displays’ BOLD™ Interior technology and employs a 6 mm pixel pitch. At 37’9″ high by 68’6″ wide, the installation consists of 2,589 square feet of digital canvas that wraps around a 90-degree corner.
When the massive video wall and perpetual digital art canvas was first introduced to the public, it featured Anadol’s Virtual Depictions: San Francisco, a piece that exemplifies the artist’s mesmerizing, algorithmically generated digital art style. This piece was one of the first prominent digital art pieces commissioned for the purpose of digital art — and arguably Anadol’s breakout digital art piece in the large-format LED industry.
Several years later, Salesforce unveiled another Anadol original titled Nature Dreams: San Francisco, a 3D AI data sculpture that uses 90 million images of national parks and wind data to create an ethereal, data-driven art installation.
“As We Are”
The digital art piece As We Are is an interactive LED sculpture designed by artist Matthew Mohr. The artwork, unveiled at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, is a 14-foot-tall human head sculpture that projects larger-than-life images of participants’ faces and is one of the most custom LED display systems in the digital signage industry.
SNA Displays custom-manufactured the 5 mm BOLD™ Interior LED panels (3,500 in total) at 1.5″ wide by 6″ high (just 8 by 30 pixels), so they could be assembled along the facial contours of the structure.
As We Are is the ultimate selfie, a photo booth “intended to present Columbus as a welcoming, diverse society” according to Mohr. Visitors sit inside the sculpture and interact with a touch-screen monitor. After 30 cameras inside the booth simultaneously take the subject’s photograph from various angles, the resulting three-dimensional image is displayed on the head-shaped installation. The award-winning LED sculpture is a great example of how an ambitious vision is realized through expertise, collaboration, and custom capability.
Wonders of Wildlife
As previously mentioned, the drive to create immersive experiences goes well beyond traditional art galleries and museums. Other similarly focused educational and entertainment attractions use the digital canvas to thrill and inform. For example, Wonders of Wildlife uses LED displays to educate guests, set the mood with ultra-high-resolution video of sea and land animals, and incorporate live content for a more immersive and inspirational visitor experience.
Dallas World Aquarium
The Dallas World Aquarium, comprising two city blocks in the heart of downtown Dallas, is an interactive jungle and aquarium that welcomes thousands of families, students, and researchers to its facility each year. It also features one of SNA Displays’ more unique projects known in the area known as the Cloud Forest Trek. This third-floor rainforest attraction is a multi-sensory experience featuring a guest-favorite three-toed sloth from Costa Rica, and the Southern Pudu, the world’s smallest species of deer. The exhibit also highlights numerous threatened frog species from the Andean cloud forests in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.
“I wanted our guests to get lost in the rainforest,” said Daryl Richardson, the aquarium’s founder. “The videowall brings to life the exotic beauty of the rainforest and, paired with the natural elements in the Cloud Forest Trek, creates a truly panoramic experience.”
The zoo collaborated with SNA Displays to create a wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling LED video screen that simulates a real-time rainforest experience, transitioning from day to night. The large-format, 4 mm BOLD™ Interior videowall features curated, high-resolution footage of the South American rainforest, where the aquarium has on-going conservation efforts.
SNA Displays offers several free resources that can help digital artists, architects, and more educate themselves on digital display technology. These eBriefs cover design considerations, applications, and other useful information related to LED video displays.