San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art replies to your texts with an artwork

11 July 2017

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has launched Send Me, a new feature that allows members of the public to text a request, and then receive a related piece of art with its caption via SMS.

Send Me SFMOMA was conceived “as a way to bring transparency to the collection while engendering further exploration and discussion among users,” explains Jay Mollica, creative technologist at the museum in a blog post on the museum’s site. “It’s an SMS service that provides an approachable, personal and creative method of sharing the breadth of SFMOMA’s collection with the public.

All users need to do is text 572-51 with the words “send me” followed by a keyword, colour or emoji to receive a related artwork out of a possible 34,678 pieces available. “For example, ‘send me the ocean’, might get you Pickle Jones’ _Breaking Wave, Golden Gate, ‘send me something blue’ could result in ÉPONGE (SE180) by Yves Klein.”

The service is powered by SFMOMA’s Collection API, which contains the data for all the artworks in they’ve acquired over the years. During it’s beta run, more than 12,000 text messages were received, leading to over 3,000 different artworks being sent to users from around the world. The idea is to connect people with works of art in a simple, digestible way and users won’t necessarily receive the same image twice.

In the museum’s physical galleries, only 5% of the collection is on show at any one time, meaning this new service provides unparalleled access.

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Rebecca Fulleylove

Rebecca Fulleylove is a freelance writer and editor specialising in art, design and culture. She is also senior writer at Creative Review, having previously worked at Elephant, Google Arts & Culture, and It’s Nice That.

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