The EB EX NY iPad app from MoMA. 

The EB EX NY iPad ap from MoMA is one of the mobile nominees. I’ve had this free app for at least a few weeks, but never opened it. I know and understand little about abstract expressionism, so I’m coming at this from the position of a complete beginner.

Initially, the app launches as a large picture of a giant white wall with many paintings and even a few sculptures hanging. I can swipe my fingers across the screen and the wall moves to let me see another section. Tapping any painting brings it front and center with a black background and descrete menu options in each corner. Menu items can be dismissed or recalled with a single finger tap. A double tap or pinch zooms in on any painting, while swiping allows me to explore the piece up close. When viewing a series, I can swipe between paintings until I see one I like. This is a fantastic use of the iPad interface and why I think this medium is superior to the web for displaying fine art.

The main interface has tabs that break down the contents of the app by multimedia type: galleries, video and a map. It also includes a glossary of art terms and a “buy” button that lets you join the museum and buy from the shop.

The galleries include predictable choices like Artists and Chronological, but the standout feature is the bookmark gallery. Any painting can be bookmarked when it is in focused, which adds it to this gallery. I think this is particularly useful in art apps where specific pieces are likely to speak to me more than others. I can be sure to see the pieces I like best when I go to the exhibit. Many of the featured paintings also have audio notes taken from the exhibit audio tour.

There are more than a dozen high quality videos about the exhibition and about the artists and style. These are included with the app, which makes it extremely helpful when a connection is not available.

The best “deep interest” feature of the app is a map of Manhattan and Long Island with markers on important galleries, artist homes and studios. Many of the markers show images and notes when tapped. Many of those images also zoom to larger sizes. This could occupy a real fan of the abstract art for hours.

The curators and developers obviously put a lot of effort and care into this app. It appeals to newbies like me and yet also has something to offer the knowledgeable.
These are the sort of apps that make me a big fan of the iPad.