One of the most recognizable portraits appeared just beyond the front door of the gallery: greetings from Marilyn Monroe. The bright pink, blue, red and yellow palette may make Andy Warhol just as recognizable as the artist of the portrait. But beyond Marilyn is something more unknown: a marriage of art and technology establishing a new kind of connection between gallery and visitor.
“Warhol Women” — an exhibition at Lévy Gorvy in New York featuring Andy Warhol’s portraiture of women — collectively presented a new exploration of the legendary artist’s complex and sometimes contradictory relationship with women. This revelatory new curation provided visitors a fresh look at the artist in relation to our current moment.
Understanding the potential impact, Lévy Gorvy made the special collection more remarkable by prompting visitors to activate interactive, contextual digital experiences — powered by Blue Bite — on their phones using NFC and QR technology placed throughout the gallery.
Extensive research goes into every Lévy Gorvy exhibition, and the resulting wealth of information exceeds what can be presented in the physical gallery. Because that information is crucial to conveying the full importance and context of the work, Lévy Gorvy worked with Blue Bite to conceptualize and build digital experiences that provided guests additional context in real time as they moved through the gallery.
The result: a new kind of gallery experience. Visitors were immersed in an informative event they wouldn’t get from the artwork alone, and Lévy Gorvy established a direct connection with those guests lasting long after they left the gallery.
Lévy Gorvy understands the importance of conjoining art and technology, something others around the world also are recognizing. For example, the UK government actively encourages digital technology in museums and galleries: “[Audiences] are selecting on-demand content, controlling interactive experiences, instantly sharing and distributing content.”
“[Audiences] are selecting on-demand content, controlling interactive experiences, instantly sharing and distributing content.”
Peruse the experience examples below to see specifically how Lévy Gorvy enhanced their in-gallery experience by making interactive, valuable content available on-demand and accessible to audience members — regardless of their technical knowledge.
Upon entering the gallery, visitors received a welcome card containing a QR code that activated an experience providing more context about “Warhol Women.” It also informed guests what to expect in the gallery — both on the walls and on their phones.
The gallery took advantage of Blue Bite’s contextual abilities to recognize the location of visitors in the building. The artwork on each floor was divided by decade, and guests saw different information depending on which floor they were on.
Visitors accessed a Spotify playlist of Andy’s favorite music specific to each floor. Listening to Blondie added to the experience of seeing Warhol’s Debbie Harry portrait. Same with Dolly Parton and Liza Minelli. Though not all the music corresponded directly to the pieces of art — many of the artists featured were Warhol’s friends and inspiration — the songs all worked together to provide a unique sonic context to the work.
Tapping an NFC chip or QR code next to a specific artwork activated more information about that piece — think of it as a digital artwork label containing information beyond what can fit on a printed card. Visitors learned what each woman meant to Warhol, watched videos of Judy Garland and Elizabeth Taylor, glimpsed behind the scenes images of Jane Holzer photoshoots, and more.
One room in the gallery was decorated like the Silver Factory, the location where Warhol took his famous Screen Tests of Edie Sedgwick, Lou Reed, Salvador Dali and hundreds more. A special Blue Bite experience accompanied visitors into this space to provide them with more information about its origins, as well as an example Screen Test from Sedgwick.
Visitors walked out of the exhibit with their own photo from the recreated “Silver Factory” in an NFC-enabled photo holder. Tapping this tag launched an experience designed to recreate the “Warhol Women” experience digitally — and allowed Lévy Gorvy to stay in touch with visitors after they left the gallery.
Marilyn Monroe’s face again appeared to guests on an NFC tag in the photo holder they received as they were leaving, along with instructions on how to “Unlock the Warhol Women Experience.” On a practical level, the instructions provided guidance for guests to access the digital experience. More broadly, though, these words illustrated that these experiences were a key to access the full breadth of the exhibition.
In addition to New York, Lévy Gorvy also maintains galleries in Mayfair, London and Central, Hong Kong. Founded by Dominique Lévy and Brett Gorvy, and devoted to innovation in modern, postwar and contemporary art, the gallery also produces ongoing art historical research and original scholarship. This combines to make Lévy Gorvy the perfect gallery to implement digital experiences in a brand new way.