The Minneapolis Institute of Arts has launched a new iPad app that takes viewers behind the scenes to see exhibitions in the making, interviews with artists doing special projects for upcoming shows, recent gifts, and highlights of the collection. "Verso: Unveiling the Backstory" is available free from the App store.
Designed like an animated, e-version of the museum's magazine for members, it spotlights the popular "Terracotta Warriors" show now on view and adds photos from the vast Chinese tomb where the warriors were found. The best are pictures of several life-sized ceramic figures still half buried in the dirt that archeologists have been carefully removing since the 1980s.
Print curator Tom Raisseur talks about a famous Albrecht Durer print in the museum's collection, while African art curator Jan-Lodewijk Grootaers introduces a new collection of African masks recently given to the museum by a Minnesota-born collector who has long lived in Brooklyn. The masks come with videos of Africans using them in traditional dances.
Food fans will be intrigued by a show opening in December about dining in Tudor times. British food historian Ivan Day is going to produce historic foods for display in the museum's Tudor room. The food will be fake, but authentic looking. Besides interviews with Day at his 17th century farmhouse in Cumbria, there are links to more than a dozen videos on everything from roasting lamb to antique British cookbooks, modern farming and career advice -- presumably for wannabe culinary historians.
The highlight of the museum's spring 2013 season promises to be "More Real," a show of contemporary art about the artifice that permeates daily life. It's kind of a mind-twister, but fans of the Colbert Show will cotton to the idea fast. For it, curator Elizabeth Armstrong commissioned Brazilian artist Vik Muniz to replicate the back of an Institute painting of his choice. He picked the museum's famous "Lucretia," by Rembrandt, and is seen discussing the project with museum staff.