With its renovation nearly over, the Harvard Art Museums has been incredibly busy, and one of its latest endeavors to keep the public informed of its happenings is the launch of a digital version of its art rag Index Magazine. The site, an online component to its print publication, gives readers articles and interviews about the collection as well as daily behind-the-scenes news. Head to the site and you’ll find a serious interview with director Thomas Lentz about the renovation, an article about an ancient “eye cup” in the vast collection, or a humorous “Staff Look-a-Like” that pairs a museum staffer with tousled hair named “Jenny” to a 1954 painting by Jean Dubuffet “Woman with Uncombed Hair.”
With four research centers and three museums under the aegis of the Harvard Art Museums — the Fogg Museum (Harvard’s oldest, which offers a comprehensive survey of Western art from the middle-ages to the present), Busch-Reisinger (devoted to Germanic art), and Arthur M. Sackler — there’s plenty for the online magazine to cover. An interview with former Straus Center for Conservation fellow Bart J.C. Devolder, who is currently working on the restoration the Ghent Altarpiece, about his current work and his time at Harvard, gives an interesting peek into art-related practices that are somewhat overlooked.
Among the offerings on the site’s clean, aesthetically appealing, and frequently refreshed homepage, you’ll find more expected pieces on Renzo Piano’s light-centric design for the museum paired with pieces on more novel and interactive events like the museum’s participation in last week’s “Ask a Curator Day,” for which it had several curators on hand (among the nearly 600 who were participating in the event worldwide) to answer questions from the public via Twitter.
With a trove of both smart and fun pieces that reach for more than what’s simply within the walls of the institution from which it’s reporting, and responsive web design that allows for easy browsing from your mobile web device, Index is a good way for the curious and artfully inclined to keep abreast of what’s happening at the Harvard Art Museums and beyond — or just kill some time.
— Rozalia Jovanovic
(Photo: Screenshot of Index)