The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) in Sydney is adopting the Viewphone concept from the Dutch LAM museum. The Viewphone, developed and launched by the LAM during the first COVID-19 lockdown in the Netherlands, offers one-to-one phone calls with museum staff. After a wonderful review on Artnet, the Viewphone received calls from various countries, including the United States, Italy, Germany, Pakistan, Egypt and France. “I followed the LAM’s initiative with great interest”, says Yaël Filipovic, the MCA’s public engagement manager. “It’s fantastic that the Viewphone has reached so many new groups in such a meaningful way. The Viewphone is a great concept for everyone.” The Art Phone, as it will be known in Australia, will be available from 24 September 2021.
An international hit
The LAM introduced the Viewphone during the 2020 lockdown. All museum staff – from curator and cleaner to bookkeeper and director – were available to take calls from people who were self-isolating at home.
“It was a time when personal contact and imagination were very welcome distractions”, explains Sietske van Zanten, the director of the LAM. “We wanted to offer something that people would find useful and uplifting.”
The Viewphone has been so successful that it will remain available each year for short periods. Van Zanten adds, “The concept contributes to our mission of inviting people to look at art differently. As it turns out, the Viewphone is not a second-best addition but a worthy alternative to visiting the museum in person.”
The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia in Sydney is the country’s leading museum of contemporary art, dedicated to exhibiting, collecting and interpreting the work of today’s artists. The MCA believes art is for everyone and it is committed to making contemporary art and ideas widely accessible to a broad range of audiences. “We are excited to launch Art Phone today and hope this will provide a novel way for diverse audiences to connect with contemporary art in the museum and encourage those who take part to come in and see the work when we re-open.” Says Elizabeth Ann Macgregor, MCA Director. More information about the Art Phone can be found here: mca.com.au/whats-on/art-phone
Located on the beautiful Keukenhof Estate in the Netherlands, the LAM is the world’s foremost food art museum. Its artworks, all of which are in some way related to food and consumption, invite people of all ages, from novices to regular museumgoers, to look at art differently.
“Our collection’s central theme of food is like a great opening line in a pub”, explains Sietske van Zanten. “It grabs your attention and is both surprising and familiar. After that, it’s all about looking at things from a different perspective, having fun together and being inspired. Visiting the LAM feels like going on a mini vacation: you step into this whole other world where you can clear your head and then fill it with new ideas.”
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