A Love of Art (4 CD-ROM)

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as of 04/21/2021 (Details)


Exploring A Love of Art is much like walking the halls of an art museum; some things you love, some things you're indifferent toward, and some things you don't quite understand. This program, itself a series of five programs contained on as many CD-ROMs, is comprised of the following titles: Art & Music of the 20th Century, Starry Night, Scrutiny in the Great Round, Painters Painting, and The Claude Monet Collection. We Loved: The highlight of the package, and what makes it worth the purchase price (and perhaps even a bargain!), is Painters Painting; fans or followers of modern American art will find hours of fascinating information, presented in a manner that echoes the feel of the period's height in the 1960s and 1970s. Based on Emile de Antonio's documentary of the same name, Painters Painting revolves around the 1969-70 retrospective of American painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art entitled New York Painting and Sculpture, 1940-70. The software program is filled with highlights from the film, all set to edgy period music and design. View the original film in its entirety, put nicely into context by a detailed textual introduction, or watch video clips of interviews with many of the artists involved in the retrospective show. If you tire of the somewhat grainy film clips, peruse more complete transcripts of the interviews or bios of the artists; read a description of the museum show, then watch a video tour of the exhibit filmed in the museum. (Seeing clips of museum visitors in their '60s getups is a real treat.) While there are some failures of the program (not enough examples of artwork from each artist to review in detail, less-than-stellar video quality), this is truly a find--the chance to learn about modern art from the artists themselves, to essentially step back in time to the New York art scene, is a rare and wonderful experience. And even casual fans of van Gogh will enjoy Starry Night, a program about the artist focused around perhaps his best-known painting of the same name. Easily installed and guided by a simple, cleanly designed interface, Starry Night's strongest feature is a lengthy slideshow (to be viewed on autopilot or self-guided) that combines an academic's musings on the artist and his masterwork with historical context, art from other artists and periods, and, of course, other work from van Gogh himself. Also interesting are the 50-plus letters from the artist to members of his family. We Were Indifferent About: Art & Music of the 20th Century is a crude series of slideshow presentations, definitions, and historical background focusing on 20th-century art, all set to soothing classical music. (Sound familiar?) A poor graphic interface and a somewhat useless search functionality make this program useful only as a very broad introduction to a mammoth topic. Fans of water lilies and Giverny will doubtless enjoy The Claude Monet Collection, essentially a translation of a selection of the artist's work into screensavers. When the fun wears off, make virtual puzzles of your favorite selections. A nice complement to the package, but not a product that can stand on its own. We Didn't Quite Understand: Scrutiny in the Great Round might best be classified as software performance art--a lot of unusual but interesting music and sound effects drawn from the natural world, with a dose of esoteric spoken-word clips for good measure. The program's art creates itself before your very eyes, but unfortunately, it's quite difficult to determine what most of the objects are intended to be or signify. There's no menu or guide to the program to provide a context, and once you get into the program, there's no easy way out. --Leah Ball

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