Shrinking Giants

Image of Edward Burtynsky's Oil Spill #2

Can it translate? Edward Burtynsky, Oil Spill #2, Discoverer Enterprise, May 12, 2010, 2010. Chromogenic print.

According to’s Raw File blog, Edward Burtynsky‘s massive photos from his Oil series, often overwhelming in scale, will now be available in an (itty bitty by comparison) iPad version. Raw File’s Jakob Schiller asks a good question: “How would these prints translate to a backlit viewing platform smaller than a sheet of office paper?”

The answer, at least according to Schiller, is mixed. Though the iPad version may lose some of the drama and awe, interviews, videos, and maps enhance the experience in a way that might be missed on a gallery wall.

But isn’t Schiller’s question just a variation on the same one we’ve been asking ourselves since works of art started populating digital platforms? It’s my personal opinion that, rather than something being taken away, online versions of any work of art make the face-to-face interaction with the piece all the more compelling and meaningful.

You don’t have to agree with me. Examples of Burtynsky’s giant photos will be featured in Picturing the Sublime: Photographs from the Joseph and Charlotte Lichtenberg Collection, on view at the Phillips Oct. 11, 2012–Jan. 13, 2013. Bring your iPad and make the comparison.

Amy Wike, Publicity & Marketing Coordinator

The Paint Joy Pianist

Photo of the pianist Roman Rabinovich

Pianist Roman Rabinovich

Israeli pianist Roman Rabinovich has been praised by critics for his “vivacity and virtuosity” and his “impeccable clarity of execution.” Rabinovich has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Israel. He has also gained an unlikely notoriety for his iPad drawings created with the Paint Joy app.

In an interview with, Roman was asked to describe the creative journey that has brought him to where he is in his career today.

“My parents are a huge source of inspiration for me. Both pianists, they were not only active in my musical growth, but in all mediums of art. From a very early age, my mother would take me to many different concerts and play recordings. Some of my favorite recordings that left a deep impression on me include Tchaikovsky symphonies and Horowitz’s 1968 recital at Carnegie Hall. My mother also took me to many museums and galleries, which helped feed my passion for visual art. I was obsessed with French impressionists, Cézanne in particular, and later on, Picasso. Playing the piano and drawing have been equally important to me in my life and seem to go hand in hand.”

Try to guess–by his drawings alone!–which composers works Roman performed at his Phillips recital last Sunday, March 25.

Illustrations of composers by Roman Rabinovich created using iPad's Paint Joy app.

Drawings created by Roman Rabinovich using the iPad and the Paint Joy app. Illustrations courtesy of the artist.

Sketching 2.0

(Left) Sketch by Shawn Lindsay of Degas's Nude Study for Little Dancer of Fourteen Years, XIX. (Right) Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas, Nude Study for Little Dancer of Fourteen Years, XIX, 1879–80. Bronze, 27 3/8 x 11 9/16 x 11 15/16 in. Private Collection.

Local artist Shawn Lindsay (a.k.a. Painta) stopped by the museum this week and tweeted us the sketch (at left) he drew during his visit to Degas’s Dancers at the Barre: Point and Counterpoint. Notice anything different? In lieu of pen and paper, Lindsay used his iPad to take down drawings as he perused the galleries. Just as technology has influenced visitor experience and the strategies museums use to share their collections, technology is changing the way artists study art and store and share their own work.

Artists out there, what are some of the ways new media has influenced your artistic process?