Artistic and Technological Expression Unite in VRt Ventures’ Kerry James Marshall VR Experience
Los Angeles-Based Immersive Technology Company Partners with MOCA to Deliver First True-to-Life Museum Exhibition in Virtual Reality
Bringing the celebrated works of world-renowned artist Kerry James Marshall to life like never before, VRt Ventures, in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), today unveiled a first-of-its kind virtual reality (VR) experience centered around Marshall’s “Mastry” exhibition, which was first shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago, then The Met Breuer in New York and finally at MOCA in the spring of 2017. Available for free as an immersive experience on the Samsung Gear VR powered by Oculus, the “Mastry” exhibition can also be viewed on Mac and PC without a VR headset.
Enabling viewers to virtually walk through MOCA’s Grand Avenue galleries as if actually there, MOCA: Kerry James Marshall employs laser scanning and volumetric photogrammetry to produce the most authentic museum visit possible. Instead of merely observing crowded halls from one static perspective, viewers can explore the pristine venue from all angles, stopping at any point to get a closer look at a painting or read information on a piece, as well as listen to special narration created for the experience. Capturing every intricate element, such as painting placement and lighting cues, viewers can see the exhibition exactly as curators intended, with every detail intact, from the comfort of their home.
“I’ve never been described as a techie, but VR’s limitless potential piqued my interest. Applied to the art world, virtual reality has the power to capture exhibitions by prominent artists, preserving them in perpetuity and making them accessible not only to local art lovers, but everyone,” said Jacob Koo, CEO and founder of VRt Ventures. “Archiving great museum exhibitions, especially those as historically and culturally relevant as Kerry James Marshall’s, was of utmost importance to us because through VR, they can live forever. We were very fortunate to partner with such a progressive organization like MOCA, which is fully cognizant of the positive impact VR can have, especially in encouraging younger generations to appreciate the arts, and continues to support the merging of both disciplines.
A 35-year retrospective of Kerry James Marshall’s works, “Mastry” was co-organized by The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Drawing inspiration from his life growing up in Birmingham, Ala. and Watts, Calif. during the civil rights movement, Kerry James Marshall’s paintings address the absence of African American figures in traditional Western art and celebrate subjects going about their daily business, presented with utter equality and humanity. “Mastry” takes viewers on a voyage through nearly 80 works representing Kerry James Marshall’s artistic journey. This disruptive exhibition begins with the artist’s early works depicting ebony figures in his unequivocal pursuit of black beauty. Next, viewers can see his exquisite portraits, lush landscapes, everyday domestic interiors and pieces that depict historical events, all featuring black subjects. Finally, Kerry James Marshall’s concentration on painterly mastery and figurative painting is showcased, exposing viewers to his most complete collection of works ever assembled at one time.
“Kerry James Marshall’s work completely changes the dialogue; it addresses a huge void in the art world and serves a severely underrepresented community within traditional Western expression,” said Philippe Vergne, Director of MOCA. “The beauty of ’Mastry’ is that it transcends all barriers, and is equally fascinating for seasoned art lovers as well as novices. Incorporating VRt Ventures’ immersive technology to provide a totally unique experience not only preserves exhibitions for future viewing and education, but also piques the public’s interest in the art, attracting more people to visit and view a museum’s permanent collection.”
About VRt Ventures
Founded in 2017, VRt Ventures is focused on developing virtual reality (VR) applications that capture and archive artistic expression through the power of immersive technology. VRt Ventures’ first project, MOCA: Kerry James Marshall, stays true to that mission, featuring an exhibition from the renowned artist as seen at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. This one-of-a-kind virtual experience opens up the highly-sought after works of the artist to the masses, forever preserving its impact, long after the closure of the exhibition.
The MOCA: Kerry James Marshall immersive experience is available for free on the Samsung Gear VR powered by Oculus, and downloadable on PC and Mac.
Founded in 1979, MOCA’s vision is to be the defining museum of contemporary art. In a relatively short period of time, MOCA has achieved astonishing growth with three Los Angeles locations of architectural renown; a world-class permanent collection of more than 7,000 objects, international in scope and among the finest in the world; hallmark education programs that are widely emulated; award-winning publications that present original scholarship; groundbreaking monographic, touring, and thematic exhibitions of international repute that survey the art of our time; and cutting-edge engagement with modes of new media production. MOCA is a not-for-profit institution that relies on a variety of funding sources for its activities