The start-up Art.sy, a free catalogue of fine-art images and an online art appreciation guide, went live to the public on Monday.“It is predicated on the idea that audiences comfortable with image-driven Web sites like Tumblr and Pinterest are now primed to spend hours browsing through canvases and sculpture on their monitors and tablets, especially with one-click help” the New York Times reports. With 275 galleries and 50 museums and institutions as partners, Art.sy has already digitized 20,000 images into its reference system – the Art Genome Project.
The founder, Carter Cleveland thought of the project when he was at Princeton University and couldn’t find a piece of art to decorate his dorm room. Art.sy, however, is still far from having all the world’s art — the Google Art Project, another image repository, is nearly twice the size.
Robert Storr, dean of the Yale University School of Art, has his doubts. “It depends so much on the information, who’s doing the selection, what the criteria are, and what the cultural assumptions behind those criteria are.” Art.sy is perhaps not supposed to be a definitive guide – “The way to look at it is more, ‘These can be interesting jumping-off points,” said Sebastian Cwilich, the site’s chief operating officer.