Press your nose against Andy Warhol's "Gold Marilyn Monroe" at the MoMA or Jackson Pollock's "Autumn Rhythm" at the Met — without actually being there. The world's greatest museums are embracing technology, giving art lovers across the globe access to paintings, sculptures, performance art, and drawings like never before.
Art history geeks can now get up close and personal with their favorite pieces. These museum apps for iOS and Android will take you to New York, Paris, London, and other ultimate art destinations, without ever having to leave the comfort of your home.
- Musée du Louvre, Paris (free) — This app for iOS includes hundreds of images, a presentation of the palace and its history, key updates on events at the museum, and info on art's most iconic masterpieces. There's also a complete audio guide for Android ($3).
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York — The Met doesn't have an official app, but it does produce amazing collections on iTunes U, featuring expert talks on European paintings, contemporary art, photography, Islamic masterpieces, and more.
- Musée d'Orsay, Paris (free) — The iOS and Android app has videos, a list of events, current exhibitions, and operating hours, plus hundreds of images of the museum's most famous works, with detailed information on the artist, date, and location.
Take a trip to the New York MoMA, the Smithsonian, the Guggenheim, and much, much more.
- The Museum of Modern Art, New York (free) — MoMA's app for iOS and Android will take visitors on a mobile tour of the museum by floor and serve as an audio guide for special exhibitions and noteworthy pieces. If you have an iPad, be sure to download the MoMA's special app for the 2011 Abstract Expressionist New York exhibit.
- The Smithsonian, Washington DC (free) — The 19 museums of the Smithsonian in Washington DC now have a definitive home on mobile for iOS and Android devices. See a map of the museums' locations, highlights from each, daily event updates, and the most current exhibition listing.
- Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam ($1) — Fan of the 17th and 18th centuries? This app for iOS will put you up close with the top 100 pieces from the museum and offer more info on the artists who created them.
- Guggenheim Museum, New York (free) — The iOS app will take you on a Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture Tour and detail over 900 works of art. Check the app for up-to-date program information and exclusive audio/video from special exhibits. Android users won't be able to tour the New York location, but there is an Android app for Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain.
- British Museum, London (free) — The special 2011 exhibit Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead has its own iOS app. Relive the exhibition's journey through the afterlife with an audio tour led by Anubis, the ancient god of embalming.
- Tate Modern, London ($3) — This official guide of modern art terms by Tate Head of Interpretation Simon Wilsonfor for iOS will demystify the difference between aura and avant-garde.
- The Getty Museum, Los Angeles ($3) — Listen to audio commentary on selected works, or watch behind-the-scenes video of the Getty Center with this app for iOS and Android.