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We have written a number of posts on how museums are in the forefront of using New Media technology, and comparing this to the dismal failure of the book publishing industry to use New Media technology to add value to an “electronic” copy of a book. One of those posts is , “E MUSEUMS LEAVE E BOOKS IN THE DUST: A VIEW FROM TWO DIFFERENT CENTURIES,” and another is,” E BOOKS vs. E MUSEUMS: THE LAG OF THE BOOK,”

On the Purpose page of this blog, we noted the comment by  Alice Rawsthorn in the New York Times of November 28, 2010 that:

“These devices offer thrilling possibilities for us to do much more than read words on a screen, and it is deeply disappointing that so few designers and publishers are embracing them.”

In the Post, “E-MUSEUMS and ENHANCED E-BOOKS – MUSEE d’ORSAY WHOLLY DIGITAL BOOK FOR IMPRESSIONIST EXHIBITION, about the Musée d’Orsay and Artepublishing’s  e-book, Great Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings,

we wrote,

This book is an outstanding example of what can be done in the enhanced e-book format, and an excellent example to print publishers by the Museum and Artepublishing of the tremendous power of enhanced e-books in the New Media. The book is beautifully designed, and couples art and scholarship in a way not possible in the static print and e-book methods of publication.

Artepublishing’s final product fulfills our objectives for fine art in the new media as outlined in our purpose page through its interactivity, in-depth content, and overall scholarly execution. The enhanced e-book contains reproductions of nearly 200 paintings by 26 artists, over three hours of original audio information about the artists and their paintings, and more than 500 hyperlinks to related content.


Now, MoMA has produced an  online-only on Pablo Picasso and Cubism,” Picasso: The Making of Cubism 1912-1914, (Edited by Anne Umland and Blair Hartzell, with Scott Gerson. With essays by Elizabeth Cowling, Jeremy Melius, and Jeffrey Weiss). As described on the museum’s website, “MoMA I Digital Books,”

“Picasso: The Making of Cubism 1912-1914 delves into a watershed moment in the history of twentieth-century art and in Pablo Picasso’s career through in-depth studies of fifteen objects made by the artist between 1912 and 1914. Catalyzed by MoMA’s 2011 exhibition Picasso: Guitars 1912-1914, this interactive digital publication reveals for the first time the many insights gained by curators, scholars, and conservators through first-hand examination of the works in the Museum’s galleries and in the conservation lab.”

“Each chapter is devoted to a single object from this period, featuring an overview essay by a distinguished scholar and a comprehensive portfolio of high-resolution images, ranging from X-rays and 360-degree views to enlarged details and photographs taken during the conservation process. A wealth of secondary resources, including video clips of curators and conservators talking about the objects, detailed conservation notes, illustrated provenances and exhibition histories, and lists of published references for each work further enrich the publication, presenting fresh interpretations of canonical works of art in unprecedented and dynamic ways.”


According to Art Daily,

“The publication delves into the artist’s complex, cross-medium studio practice in the years between 1912 and 1914 by examining Picasso’s cardboard and sheet metal Guitar constructions alongside the drawings, papiers collés, mixed-medium paintings, photographs, and assemblages made during this period.

Each chapter features an illuminating essay by one of the scholars and is complemented by a wealth of documentation. High-resolution images range from interactive 360° views of constructed sculptures to X-rays and ultraviolet, infrared, and raking-light images taken in the conservation lab. Detailed conservation notes offer key insights into the artist’s materials and processes.



Photo: Picasso holding Guitar, posing with William Rubin,
director of the Department of Painting and Sculpture at
The Museum of Modern Art, at Notre-Dame-de-Vie,
Mougins, France, February 8, 1971.
Photograph by Jacqueline Picasso (French, 1927–1986).
MoMA Archives. Department of Public Information Records.
Art Daily continues,

“Archival documentation includes newly discovered and previously unpublished photographs of Picasso in his studio, as well as an illustrated provenance, exhibition history, and published references for each object. Rare primary-source images show the works in the homes of early collectors, in historical gallery installations, and in early publications, augmenting the physical history of the object with details of its ownership, display, and reception.

Video clips of curators and conservators speaking about the objects, including a 1971 interview with William Rubin, then director of MoMA’s Department of Painting and Sculpture, speaking on the occasion of the Museum’s acquisition of the sheet metal Guitar, further enhance the rich interactive study of these objects.”




The publication is $24.99. It is available as an iPad app from the App Store and as an interactive and enhanced PDF to be read on laptop or desktop computers using Adobe Reader through MoMAstore.org. MoMA says,

“This e-book is instantly downloadable as an interactive PDF file and can be read on your computer using Adobe Reader or Adobe Pro. Once you complete your purchase, you will receive an e-mail with a link to download your order.”

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