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Auntie Vicky Award 2018 goes to an artful television

Folks are rightly excited about the big tech show going on in Las Vegas. There’s bound to be cool stuff. A lot which you could probably find on my newsfeed, frankly.

But before we jump in, though, may we take a moment to salute the best use of tech I saw in 2018? Hail, then to the Frame from Samsung, who took a conventional television and turned it into a platform for accessing and viewing art. I think it’s magnificent design on many levels.

samsung frame tv in bohemian apartment with white brick walls

Can you spot the television? How about the delicious art?

When I talked to her in the spring, Samsung had commissioned international art curator Elise Van Middelem to select 100 pieces to come free with the Frame, many of which she showed me in a downtown gallery setting. What a treat it was.

There are 800 additional multi-media works available through the Samsung Art Store, home to artwork from such museums and galleries as the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and Madrid’s Prado.

Customizable “mattes” can be added, but during a demonstration by Middelem, I found a border-less format more powerful, and better suited to  the medium.

One of the design knocks against a tv on the wall is that it’s just a big black rectangle. Here, it works to the advantage of dramatic black and white photography.

Users can also upload their own art. Unlimited access to the art store costs $8 a month. A permanent download of a piece costs $27. Suggested retail price for a 55-inch Frame is $3,000.

A sideshow can also be placed on a “shuffle” function so that pieces can change at intervals of between ten minutes and seven days. I can see the uses for this feature, but think static art gives the viewer time and space to better connect with it.

Van Middelem’s collection shows a deep acquaintance with, and perceptive eye for, beautiful, thoughtful art.

Sensors adjust lighting on the screen as light changes in the room throughout the day, so the art is always perfectly lit, and motion sensors can turn the unit off when the room is empty.

The unit comes in a standard charcoal black frame, but additional magnetic bezel frames in white, walnut, and beige wood, can be purchased ($300 for 55-inch model).

I loved it in part because I imagined it being used to let more folks explore art from around the world, and throughout history – in a medium really well-suited its display – instead of, say, watching screaming heads on repeat.  At home. Anytime. Lovely, right?

And, for the record, here’s my fave song for 2018. From another Elise.

 

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