Giotto's Scrovegni Chapel frescoes, Padua, 1303-05.

Museums Move into the Digital Future, Smartphones in Hand

Museums including MoMA, the Metropolitan, the Smithsonian and the Tate, and software companies like Google, are experimenting with new apps that meet audiences in the expanding virtual world. Technological leaps are rapidly making possible remote access to images and information about art museum collections, often on ipods, Androids and other smartphone devices.

Calder in Washington

There was no decree naming Alexander Calder (1898-1976) the capital’s official artist, but walking around the National Mall, you’d think there had been. His abstract sheet-metal sculptures are in the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden and on the grounds of the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn and American History museums, and a mammoth mobile dominates the atrium of the National Gallery’s East Building. An abundance of his works is on display in these museums as well as in the Phillips Collection. He also invented meatl-wire drawing in space. All told, he made a few hundred wire figures before abandoning the medium for abstraction in the 1930s. Among them were several dozen celebrities, athletes and art-world friends that are the main focus of “Calder’s Portraits: A New Language” at the National Portrait Gallery through August 14, 2011.

A Dutch Masterpiece Visits the National Gallery

The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC has borrowed the painting “Saint Sebastian Tended by Irene, 1625,” a religious scene by the Dutch artist Hendrick ter Brugghen, from the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College, to show alongside the gallery’s own ter Brugghen, “Bagpipe Player, 1624,” a major recent museum purchase.