The Museum of Fine Arts in Second Life

Museum of Fine Arts

If you’re into fine and classical art, then you are going to want to drop in to the Museum of Fine Arts in Second Life. I confess, I knew little of the museum prior to recently receiving an invitation from Tonem, the museum’s curator to pay them a visit, so I was delighted to be able to accept the offer and learn about the gallery.

Originally founded in Twinity in 2013, the museum moved to Second Life in 2015, where it is located on the Mainland continent of Jeogeot, occupying a palatial and very fitting château (the work of Kaya Angel) that provides 20 rooms of exhibition space, with a further annex to the rear.

Museum of Fine Arts

The goal of the museum is to provide a non-profit educational facility displaying art from the physical world. Each piece presented in the exhibition spaces is a faithful photographic representation of the originating art, with care taken to ensure only pieces that reside in the public domain in their country of origin are reproduced, and that they free from known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighbouring rights.

When the group was founded [2013] there was a debate on the kind of art to include. And the conclusion to not exhibit user created art was for three reasons: the difficulty of establishing provenance; the lack of expertise [at the time] regarding modern art in our group; and the fact that there are many, many art galleries in Second life presents in-world artists and photographers with the ability to display their work, but only a handful available for exhibiting fine and classical art from the physical world.

– Tonem, describing the background to the Museum

As an advocate for the presentation of suitable physical-world art through Second Life, the museum’s focus is something I approve. SL provides the means to create exhibitions that can bring together a wealth of established art from around the globe and present it to an audience in a manner impossible win the physical world without the need for what could amount to a lot of globe-trotting; while for the modern artist in the physical world, it offers the means to reach a global audience in a more immersive and personal manner than images on a web page.

Museum of Fine Arts: German Art in the 19th Century – Caspar David Friedrich

This first point above is particularly true of the current exhibitions at the museum; there is no way on Earth the rich diversity of pieces offered could have been brought together by a single gallery in the physical world. Nor does it end there. Great lengths have been taken to ensure a visit to the Museum of Fine Art is as “real” as possible.

The two exhibitions currently in progress are German Art in the 19th Century, which represents the gallery’s main autumn / winter 2019 exhibit, and Marie Bracquemond One of the Grand Dames of Impressionism, running through until October 22nd, 2019. Each demonstrate the care taken in presenting the art in the museum: the images are correctly scaled one to the next, whilst each has its own information card, a-la a physical world museum. For those who prefer, images can also be left-clicked to have the information text displayed in local chat.

Museum of Fine Arts: German Art in the 19th Century – Adolph Menzel

German Art in the 19th Century includes a wealth of introductory information in the museum’s foyer, and I recommend viewing it before progressing through the gallery’s halls. In all, some 34 German painters are represented, with over 200 individual pieces of art faithfully reproduced. The exhibit follows the evolution of German art from the romantic period (late 18th and early 19th centuries) through to the period of German Expressionism in the early 20th century. There is no set path through the exhibit, But given the volume of art, I would recommend setting aside time to genuinely appreciate it, as it has taken a lot of time and effort to pull things together, as Tonem notes:

Of course, because we can use almost anything in the public domain also makes it more of a challenge! The museum did a lot of small exhibits focusing on particular parts of movements or periods, but the didactic value seemed minimal. Something sweeping like this should be much more valuable to people learning about art – but it was a tremendous amount of work to bring it all together!

Museum of Fine Arts: Marie Bracquemond

The exhibit celebrating the art of Marie Bracquemond can be found in the annex to the rear of the museum, on the Lindal Kidd terrace (Lindal is someone who over the years has leant support and assistance to the gallery).

Alongside Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt, Madame Bracquemond is regarded as one of les trois grandes dames of the French impressionist movement. This is a much smaller exhibit, as one might expect given the focus on a single artist, but the works offered within it are again presented with the same care to detail and scale. At the time of my visit, some finishing touches had yet to be made (including the introduction to the exhibition), but this shouldn’t put people off – should you want to find out about Marie Bracquemond, Google is your friend.

Museum of Fine Arts: Marie Bracquemond

The Museum of Fine Arts is a gem of a gallery museum in Second Life, and I thoroughly recommend it to all who have an interest in physical world fine and classical art. I’d also like to thank Tonem for her time with me during my visit, and I look forward to returning in the future and writing about further exhibitions at the gallery.

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Second Life: Blogger Network launches

There’s been much curiosity over the last few days about the Second Life Blogger Network (SLBN), and I can now help pass on more information about the initiative – which, alongside two other bloggers and Lab staff, I’ve been able to play a modest role in helping to shape.

Officially launched on Thursday, September 26th, SLBN is intended to be a referral service for bloggers producing high-quality, independent blog content to have their work promoted by Linden Lab through a new curated SLBN feed on the Second Life Community Pages and via Linden Lab’s high-visibility Second Life social media feeds and – in the future – on the Official Second Life Viewer log-in page.

How it works is simple and direct:

  • Interested bloggers review the SLBN Terms & Conditions and SLBN Content Guidelines.
  • If a blogger wishes to participate, they complete and submit the SLBN Submission Form to indicate their willingness to participate.
  • Linden Lab staff are then attentive to participating blogs, and when they see a post that is suitable for promotion, they will:
    • Produce a short summary of the post, generally based on the opening few lines of the article, and which includes the first image in the post (if the article does not have any images, a “blog image” supplied by the blogger via the submission form will be used).
    • The summary and image is  then promoted to the curated SLBN feed and to the various Second Life social media channels, etc., together with a link back to the original article and blog.
  • Those reading the various feeds / channels can then click the link through to the article and blog, read it in full and perhaps explore the blog in more detail.

Content that might be considered suitable for promotion through the programme includes technical reports, destination reviews, reports on events (including music and entertainment events) emerging fashion trends, tips and tutorials, reports on Second Life news, and so on.

Those joining the initiative should note that:

  • Not every post from a blog will be promoted by Linden Lab: SLBN is intended to promote several entries during the week from the pool of participating bloggers, with content selected – as noted above – by Linden Lab.
  • Participation in the initiative is on an opt-in basis, free and – importantly – non-exclusive: bloggers can continue to write their own posts in their own style, and continue to use wherever social media, networks and in-world groups of their own to continue to promote their work.
  • However, there are certain standards Linden Lab are applying to the content they will consider for promotion. These are outlined in the SLBN Content Guidelines linked-to above, which should be kept in mind by participating bloggers when producing content they might hope to see promoted by the Lab.
  • Should a logger decide they no longer wish to participate, they can do so at any time using the SLBN submission form. Linden Lab will cease monitoring their blog for potential SLBN content.

The SLBN Badge

Those participating in SLBN can optionally display the SLBN badge (seen at the top of this article and on the blog sidebar to the right) in order to help promote the Second Life Blogger Network through their blog / website. Copies of the badge can be obtained here. When using it, bloggers are asked to:

  • Hyperlink the badge to the Second Life community pages.
  • Include the following statement directly below the badge: Use of the SLBN logo does not constitute approval by or a representation or endorsement from Linden Lab.

Where bloggers place the badge in their blogs is at their own discretion. Those using WordPress can add it using that platform’s image widget tool.

Personal Commentary

As noted, I’ve been somewhat involved in the development of SLBN since Linden Lab first sought feedback on the idea roughly a year ago, and more recently with two other bloggers in providing more direct feedback to the Lab ahead of this launch. Given this, I have a certain positive bias towards SLBN, aided by the fact that it is a referral service designed to help drive traffic to blogger’s sites (while obviously giving LL access to the kind of content that will help them promote Second Life).

How well the initiative works and what additional adjustment may be be made to it in light of things like the response to it, etc.,  will only become clear over time. My own bias aside, I do hope that overall, bloggers will respond positively, and I look forward to seeing how SLBN develops and the content it generates.

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