How AR transforms art into experiences

AR (Augmented Reality) is pushing its way into our everyday lives. Several industries have seen great value of the implementation of this technology. Think of gaming, architecture, the automotive industry and healthcare. But what about art?

This article focuses on how AR implicates today’s art. Specifically, how AR transforms art into experiences. 

Why AR is used in art

Simply said, AR adds a layer of digital content over a real life situation. With regards to art, it allows artists to combine classical forms of art with digital forms, which results in new dimensions of art. What makes AR even better is that it does not modify the traditional artwork, but it just adds to it. The digital layer gives artists the ability to enhance their pieces of art and take the audience on a whole new journey.

AR is very accessible

One of the reasons why AR is used in art is because it’s easily accessible. Much more than VR, for which you need an additional headset. As long as you have a smartphone, you can access AR. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t own a smartphone these days…


Think about going on to a museum, and why people go on guided tours. They do this, so they get to know more about the artworks they see. They want to know the story behind it, because it adds value to the experience.

Storytelling is a very important word when it comes to delivering experiences. AR allows the artist to share more information about the artwork, involving the audience. Whether it’s a story about how the art is made, background information of the artist or enhance the art in any other way. It adds to the experience and results in a more valuable connection to the artwork. 

Relatively easy to create

Another reason why artists use AR is because it’s also accessible for the creators. You don’t have to be a professional artist or technician to be able to use AR for your artworks. With the help of apps such as ArtiVive, everybody can create their own AR art. ArtiVive stimulates artists to add another dimension to artwork. They state that “AR is the easiest and most user friendly way to take your audience on a journey through art.”

Museums that use AR

Where do you mainly go to view art? That’s right, a museum. There are many options for museums to implement AR. The form that’s most common is an added explanation of art pieces, which means visitors can access more digital information on a specific piece. This could range from a short written story to an animated 3D hologram of the artist, verbally telling the story. 

The implementation of immersive technologies gives museums a great opportunity to attract a wider audience. An AR experience is generally viewed as new, exciting and a memorable experience. Have a look below at some interesting examples of how museums implemented AR. 

Amsterdam City Archives

In 2019, The Rembrandt Year, design firm Synergique and developer Orb Amsterdam  joined forces with the Amsterdam City Archives. They used AR to bring alive 17th century documents about Rembrandt van Rijn in the exhibition: The Private Life of Rembrandt. Van Rijn was the greatest Dutch master of the Golden Age. The use case is a great example of how AR transforms relatively boring, old documents into an interactive experience. Have a look at the video to see how it worked.

The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto

In 2017, the AGO partnered with digital artist Alex Mayhew to create an AR experience for the museum. Mayhew used AR technology to digitally enhance some of the art pieces in the collection. By doing this, the audience had the opportunity to view the art in its original form, but also in a new light.

The digital layer showed how the situation of that art piece would be, if it was the 21st century. Mayhew is interested in the extreme use of technology and how it affects modern life. In his view, we are constantly bombarded by images and as a result, we don’t take enough time to look at art. It’s pretty ironic how he uses modern AR technology to communicate this. 

The New Museum and Apple

Lastly, the collaboration between the New Museum and Apple resulted in a very creative AR experience. The New Museum selected some of the world’s premier contemporary artists that showcased their artwork in an experiential project: an interactive walk.

These walks take participants through San Francisco, New York, London, Paris, Hong Kong and Tokyo as they encounter the artists’ works. The video below shows how it worked.

These use cases show clear examples of how AR opens the door to new dimensions in art. Do you know any other great examples of how AR transforms art into experiences? Share them below in the comments or contact us directly.