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Indianapolis Museum of Art Launches ArtBabble.org, A First-of-its-kind Website Dedicated to Art Video
Conceived and spearheaded by the IMA, ArtBabble is designed to allow other museums and organizations that produce high-quality, art-focused video content to join the IMA in building the premier online art video destination.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN.- The Indianapolis Museum of Art today announced the launch of ArtBabble.org, an online community created to showcase art-based video content. The groundbreaking new site allows visitors to explore works of art online as never before, through a collection of interviews with artists and curators, original documentaries and art installation videos. Incorporating cutting-edge technology, ArtBabble features high-definition video, full text transcription of all the videos on site and interactive features including viewer feedback and video sharing.

Conceived and spearheaded by the IMA, ArtBabble is designed to allow other museums and organizations that produce high-quality, art-focused video content to join the IMA in building the premier online art video destination. The IMA has partnered with Art21, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The New York Public Library, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Smithsonian American Art Museum, each of which has provided video content on ArtBabble, with additional partnerships to be announced.

“ArtBabble is a new and innovative way to experience and engage with art, fostering in-depth discussions and dialogues about art in our communities and on the web,” said Maxwell L. Anderson, The Melvin & Bren Simon Director and CEO at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. “The site provides the IMA and our partnering institutions with the ability to present, annotate and invite comment on a range of art-related videos, allowing greater accessibility to our collections, exhibitions and special projects. “

ArtBabble was developed by the IMA’s award-winning new media and technology departments and made possible by a grant from the Ball Brothers Foundation. A leader among museums in harnessing digital technology to engage and educate art audiences, the IMA already provides video on imamuseum.org, iTunes U and YouTube.

ArtBabble’s unique design elevates the online presentation of art by selecting and organizing digital video content. A series of “notes” embedded in each video on the site offers visitors the ability to jump from point to point within a video, depending on their interests, and links them to additional content related to the video, such as art events, images on Flickr, books on Amazon, topics on Wikipedia and additional art videos within ArtBabble or on YouTube. Video options include a high-resolution video player with full-screen mode and download options including video iPod, iPhone and HD formats.

For ArtBabble, the IMA has utilized cloud computing, an emerging technology wherein website data is hosted entirely on a virtual server in the “cloud.”

“Cloud computing technology allows us to stream high-quality video instantly to site visitors, providing a superb viewing experience,” said Robert Stein, chief information officer at the IMA. “Because the technology is elastic, we can dynamically increase ArtBabble.org’s server capacity and streaming capabilities to accommodate heavy site traffic, so videos will always load quickly.”

ArtBabble showcases videos featuring a range of artists and art-related topics. For example, viewers can log on to watch a major new documentary produced by the IMA about landscape sculptor Maya Lin, hear quirky commentary in the IMA’s award-winning series of webisodes based on the exhibition Roman Art from the Louvre and watch new videos from Peabody Award–winning producer Art21 about contemporary artists such as Laylah Ali, Arturo Herrera, Oliver Herring and Richard Tuttle. ArtBabble content also includes the online-only miniseries “Design by the Book,” in which NYPL partnered with the leading design blog Design*Sponge to invite five New York City–based artists to sift through its collections in search of inspiration. Viewers can watch as the artists create unique works inspired by what they found.

Other content found on the site includes “30 Seconds,” an ongoing series created by artist and independent filmmaker Thilo Hoffmann in collaboration with The Museum of Modern Art. Hoffmann worked with MoMA members and staff to create short films based on their ideas and experiences in and around the museum. LACMA has included videos related to its current exhibition The Art of Two Germanys, as well as its permanent collection. LACMA curators describe the museum's 11 most significant artworks, and artists like Jacob Lawrence discuss their creative motives.

Additional videos from collaborators San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Smithsonian American Art Museum present direct access to contemporary artists through engaging documentaries, in-gallery discussion and behind-the-scenes installations. The Smithsonian American Art Museum has contributed interviews with artists Will Barnet, David Beck, Grace Hartigan, Luis Jimenez and Alex Katz discussing the ideas, meaning and inspiration behind their work. Videos from SFMOMA include painter Brice Marden describing his work "Cold Mountain," artist Kerry James Marshall discussing the concepts behind his murals "Visible Means of Support," and Ann Hamilton talking about the inspiration behind her performance/installation "indigo blue," with its roots in Howard Zinn's "People's History of the United States."

ArtBabble will continue to evolve and expand as new video content is created and additional partnerships are announced. The IMA plans to create some of its new digital content in response to user interest and will add new content about IMA programs and exhibitions. Videos produced by the IMA also will include at least one major documentary per year on a contemporary artist. ArtBabble also will stream live events in the future.

“We’ve taken a very non-traditional approach to the presentation of art, making it accessible to a wide-ranging audience through a multimedia platform,” said Daniel Incandela, director of new media at the IMA. “ArtBabble not only provides original video content online, but allows viewers to upload videos to their mobile devices, embed the videos on their own websites or respond directly through comments and discussion. We see this new site as an important step supporting the growth of the online art community.”



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