Mark Harden's Artchive: CD-ROM Reviews

Exploring Modern Art Tate Gallery: Exploring Modern Art

ATTICA Cybernetics
Unit Two, Kings Meadow,
Ferry Hinksey Road
Oxford OX2 ODP, UK
+44 (0)865 791346

I've been putting off this review for a long time, mainly because it's more fun to review GOOD art CDROMs. I thought Exploring Modern Art might slide into well-deserved bargain software bins, but I saw it featured recently in a Metropolitan Museum of Art gift shop catalog. In the hope of keeping anyone from wasting their money, I became inspired to complete the review.

My disappointment in this product might have a lot to do with high expectations based on the outstanding quality of the Tate's permanent collection. Yet only a paltry 150 works are included, and those from among a limited selection of artists and schools. Worse, the image quality is poor. The colors are washed out, nearly desaturated; the resolution is very poor. I apologize for the lack of screen captures, but I don't have web space to waste.
Even more disturbing than the content is the interface. Navigation is unwieldy, with a hackneyed gallery metaphor that is restrictive and unattractive. The Zoom function is activated by double-clicking on the displayed image. I mention that because it is only in the manual that you are told of this "feature"; there is absolutely no indication of it in the interface. Of course, don't bother, because the images only "Zoom" about 10% larger, with even worse resolution.
If you enjoy riding on crowded escalators, may I recommend the "Guided Tour". This automated feature cannot be stopped, so it's too bad that they couldn't at least have made it interesting or informative. If you have the patience, try putting together your "Private Gallery". That is, if you can figure out how to select the images, and if you don't mind doing it over again every time, because I sure can't figure how to save a private gallery for future use.
This art CDROM is not recommended at any price. In the interest of fairness, I invite anyone who has had a positive experience from this CDROM to submit an opposing review.

Some feedback from Artchive Patron Robert Dingle of the UK:
"I wish that I had read your accurate review of the 'Tate Gallery Exploring Modern Art' CD - ROM before I'd wasted my money on it!"

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