Artwork in Samsung Frame TV: Bohnchang Koo, SL 007, 1997 (Right)
The relationship between art and technology is an ever-evolving, complex one, albeit captivating to watch and experience. Many artists resist technology as a medium because it feels cold and unknown; others feel that technology demands too much and changes too abruptly; thus alienating art communities before even having a chance to explain itself.
Enter: The Frame, a brand-new TV launched by Samsung, conceived by renowned Swiss designer Yves Béhar. Designed to look like a piece of art, with an elegant wood frame that comes in different colors, The Frame is made to seamlessly integrate with the wall behind it. In addition to its refined design, the Frame comes loaded with 100 digital pieces of art by several contemporary artists, dubbed the ‘Samsung Collection,’ so when the TV isn’t being watched, it becomes a digital art show.14:40
The Frame launch was hosted in a gallery space that had the look and feel of walking through several different living rooms, of varying aesthetics, which allowed you to picture the television in any setting. Each curated arrangement showcased a different work from an artist in Samsung’s roster of creatives. One was French multimedia artist Sebastien Leon, who displayed one of his videos on the television to create an immersive installation - positioning it to show different designs and colors when projected with a blue light.
Béhar himself walked me through the existing features of the ‘Art Mode,’ which has an excellent selection of works ranging from the iconic paintings of Barry McGee to abstract drawings by Claire Rojas, fantastic geometric compositions by Tobias Rehberger, several vibrant and saturated still lives from painter Holly Coulis (a favorite of mine); elegant architectural photographs by Todd Eberle, and hundreds more. Users have the opportunity to either buy single works of art, or subscribe monthly to access the entire Samsung Art Store, with new work being constantly added from world-renowned artists, museums, and galleries.
One of the most interesting features of The Frame is how these paintings or drawings look in the 4K technology panel. Having seen many of the works of these artists in person, this is a very novel and different experience. The colors, details, sharpness, crispness and overall quality of the image is unparalleled –not competing with the original work where the hand of the artist and the imperfections of human work is captured, The Frame delivers another way to experience art.
With Samsung’s reach, The Frame will deliver on what many others have tried before: to bring art to hundreds of thousands of people who otherwise would not be interested, might be intimidated by, or don't have sufficient knowledge on how to collect contemporary art. It succeeds in getting them interested in seeing beyond aesthetics and looking for cultural enrichment while living with the works of artists of our time, all on their TV sets. As an art collector, art advisor, designer and curator, I’m sold on The Frame as it checks all the boxes for me: perfect design, compelling art, fantastic technology and a step ahead in cultural engagement.