Smartify is a new app which allows you to take a picture of an actual painting in an art gallery, and then via imaging recognition the software is capable of finding out information about it.

In The Guardian, Jonathan Jones is not impressed:[…] in reality, Smartify and all similar attempts to provide instant on-screen art history, including those by museums themselves, just encourage people to gawp at phones instead of looking at paintings. As if we needed any more encouragement.

I’m all for new, easy, cheap and fun ideas of educating the audience, especially if it would help to engage the young, which I believe this app is doing. However, I kind of understand Mr. Jones’ point of view,  every time I visit a museum I witness some people peeking at the paintings, rushing around the galleries, taking as much pictures as possible (the famous “selfies”) they all seem so oblivious of the magnitude opportunity they are given (and sadly passing) to experience.

For better or worse, things like smartphones are just too integral to people’s way of living these days. It’s better that museums and art lovers harness their potential rather than harrumph about it.