Be the Curator with uCurate

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(Left) Installation view of the Made in the USA exhibition  (Right) Virtual view of a gallery created in uCurate

In conjunction with Made in the USA, the Phillips unveiled uCurate: a virtual gallery experience that enables you to curate your own exhibition with works of your choosing, enhance them with your choice of wall colors, and share your personal insights about the pieces in your collection. It’s available in the exhibition galleries, as well as on our website and can run on both Windows and Apple based computers.

We began by taking precise measurements of two galleries in our 3rd floor annex space and from there a 3D model was created. Then we uploaded digital images of our selected collection with their dimensions. All objects are scaled-to-size when they appear in the virtual gallery.

While curating your exhibit, you’ll be able to view it from overhead and get up close and personal with the works:

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(Left) Aerial view of the a uCurate gallery  (Right) Screenshot of a zoomed in view of an artwork in uCurate

While first released at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, we have added some enhancements to the application. For instance, you may “Click to select a theme” which brings up a list of available categories from Made in the USA that allow you to tailor your exhibit even further.

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Users can select a theme from the exhibition to see related works

You may also click the “information” icon which allows you to get deeper details about the object, putting it into context by discussing its place in the life of the artist, the genre, or other anecdotal information.

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Click the information icon for in-depth details about the artist and artwork selected

Clicking on the “Paint Walls” button brings up a palette of wall colors. Simply drag a swatch onto your gallery wall to apply the chosen color.

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Choose from a number of wall colors to “paint” each gallery wall

Clicking on “Overview” allows you to add your personal insights about your exhibit.

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Add your own thoughts and insights for each artwork once it’s been added to your curated gallery

Clicking on “Save” allows you to publish your exhibit to the web and e-mail yourself and friends the link. Share your creations on social media with #MyAmericanArt.

Visit often. Look for some prize opportunities soon. Who knows? You may be America’s Next Top Curating Idol!

Seeking uCurate App Beta-testers*

*UPDATE: Our testing participant roster is currently full and testing is in process. Thank you for your interest and enthusiasm!

We are launching a mobile Apple and Android BETA version of the uCurate application. We are seeking 15 participants for each operating system (Apple iOS and Android) to help us in the testing process, to provide input before we submit the apps for approval. We ask each tester to test in both a tablet and mobile phone platform, if possible. If you can test in both operating systems, terrific, or only have one device, that works as well. We will stop once we reach our needed 15 testers per operating system, 30 total, filled on a first-come-first-served basis.

We will provide you with instructions and questions to which we are seeking your opinions for a testing period of two weeks (April 14th – April 25th). We are soliciting comments and opinions immediately after the period begins.

Each tester who successfully participates with this project will receive two free tickets to Made in the USA . If you are interested in applying, please send an email with “BETA TESTER” in the subject line to and be sure to list the types of devices you will be using to test the application. We will respond to you shortly thereafter. Thank you for your interest in The Phillips Collection.

Sneak Peek: Van Gogh Repetitions, Five Months Out

View of chief curator Eliza Rathbone's wall, with images from this fall's Van Gogh Repetition exhibition and catalogue. Photo: Liza Key Strelka

View of Chief Curator Eliza Rathbone’s office wall, with images from this fall’s Van Gogh Repetitions exhibition and catalogue. Photo: Liza Key Strelka

Exhibitions at the Phillips are years in the making. Our curators often spend at least 2-3 years researching, compiling checklists, locating artwork, collaborating with other museums and venues, visiting and writing to potential lenders, and writing catalogue text. During that time, they immerse themselves in the exhibition’s subject matter. Oftentimes, their offices become transformed by their work: stacks of reference catalogues piled high, drafts of loan letters and checklists abound, and the images of artworks seem to magically appear on their walls. For this fall’s Van Gogh Repetitions exhibition and its accompanying catalogue, Chief Curator Eliza Rathbone printed images of all the “repetitions” we will be featuring in the show and grouped them on one of her office walls, as seen in the image at left. She was able to visualize the similarities and differences between paintings of the same subject matter as she worked on her catalogue entries and began thinking about the exhibition’s layout.

Once the preliminary work is complete, the artworks are secured, and the catalogue text is off to the publisher, the real fun begins. And by “fun”, I mean playing with miniature-sized “maquettes” of the paintings in the show to determine  exhibition design and layout. These small, to-scale images combined with a scaled model of our exhibition spaces allow the curator to visualize gallery layouts and groupings before the works arrive in-house, making for a smoother and more efficient installation process. Not surprisingly, it’s also much safer moving around small cardboard rectangles than priceless paintings.

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Eliza Rathbone laying out maquettes of works that will be featured in Van Gogh Repetitions. Photo: Liza Key Strelka

Recently Eliza, Head of Conservation Elizabeth Steele, and I sat down to begin shaping the design and visitor flow of the van Gogh exhibition in preparation for a meeting with our exhibition designer. Here’s a sneak peek of some of the works that will grace our walls beginning October 12.  Stay tuned for more “sneak peeks” as our design progresses, and we get closer to opening day. We’re looking forward to sharing the real paintings and works on paper with you this fall!

Maquettes of van Gogh paintings

Maquettes of van Gogh paintings. Photo: Liza Key Strelka