The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC offers a virtual exhibit of sculptures, mobiles, jewelry, and bronzes by Alexander Calder in two formats. One is with images and text and has no special requirements. The other offers 3-D strolls through the National Gallery of Art to see the images and hear the supporting information and quotes read from Calder's own notes. This version requires Apple Quick Time VR, and Real Player. All plug-ins and players are available for free from the opening page of this virtual tour. Information for both Macs and PCs is included. The actual tour is organized around twelve different time periods in Calder's career from beginnings to mobiles to post 1950. The information is organized well and presented in a thoughtful manner.
Type of Material:
Simulation of a virtual exhibit of Alexander Calder's artwork.
Art education courses; arts and technology connections such as an interactive link from an online education or art course; interdisciplinary instruction; individual or group investigations and research.
You need QuickTime VR to view the "VR" version. There is a basic version of the tour that you select that does not require this. Download QuickTime 5.0 for the best results. It can be found at http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/ RealPlayer is needed to hear the audio information that is provided with the paintings you select to view. RealPlayer 8 Basic (free download) is available at:http://www.real.com/player/index.html?src=010524realhome_1
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Students and educators will learn about the historical and cultural context of Alexander Calder's work.
Target Student Population:
The target audiences for this site include middle school, high school, college level students, and their teachers.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
The ability to navigate a web page (virtual tour) and to download and install any needed plug-ins is a prerequisite for getting the most from this site. Students should have some basic understanding that artwork has historical and cultural contexts.
The site is presented as a gallery simulation and the virtual exhibit is a collection of Alexander Calder's artwork. You can choose which room in the gallery you wish to visit, where in the room you go, what you to want to view, and if you wish to hear about it. The virtual exhibit is a collection of Calder's actual work. The information is organized well and presented in a thoughtful manner. Students and educators will appreciate the historical and cultural context of Alexander Calder's work by taking a virtual tour from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. This site is a visually appealing, has substantial content, and provides a thorough representation of the Calder exhibition. This virtual tour takes the viewer through the actual halls of the exhibition. Descriptions of the pieces and historical background information, which were originally posted on the walls of the exhibition, are viewed on screen in their entirety. An audio version is also available to make this site accessible to a wider audience. Historical information, audio information, a general site map on every page, and the ability to zoom in on images and even view them at a full screen size make this site very impressive and useful for art education and art history teaching, research, and learning. Calder's work is grouped by time period and/or media used, which allows for quick and efficient viewing of particular images. Some examples are: Wire Sculpture, Early Mobiles, Jewelry, Mobiles, and Bronzes. There are imbedded links that accompany the text for each image that is viewed. The links allow for quick connections between paintings that have something in common such as an art technique or concept.
If you are going to visit this site, downloading and installing QuickTime 5.0 and RealPlayer 8 Basic will provide the best experience.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The layout of the site, which allows many choices for the viewer, provides several ways that the exhibit can be used for learning depending on the user's or an instructor's purpose. This site would work well as a link from an online course. Choice is a feature here.
The site is a good one, if the instructor plans carefully so that students can learn about art history by going through a review, comparison, or research process, rather than simply collecting facts.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The quality of the images and the supporting audio is excellent. The QuickTime VR tour choice actually replicates the walls and rooms of the National Gallery of Art. Virtual tour help is available on each page. Two versions of the tour are presented: one needs QuickTime and the other does not. The two versions are equally easy to use and all material is available in both formats.
The VR tour works best with the newest version of QuickTime 5.0. Early versions make take more time to bring up the images and some may have some trouble. Be aware that the site does use frames. The use of frames clearly enhances the support, the viewing choices, and the audio access.
Search by ISBN?
It looks like you have entered an ISBN number. Would you like to search using what you have
entered as an ISBN number?
Searching for Members?
You entered an email address. Would you like to search for members? Click Yes to continue. If no, materials will be displayed first. You can refine your search with the options on the left of the results page.