The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art had a problem, and the solution it came up with has become an internet hit.
Like many museums, SFMOMA has a huge art collection, but it can only show a tiny fraction of its 34,678 artworks at any one time.
The solution? Send Me SFMOMA. The museum’s new service sends works of art from its collection directly to your smartphone via text message. It’s a fun way to experience more of the collection than you could view even after decades of visits to the museum—and to get some surprises on your phone.
Last week Jay Mollica, SFMOMA’s creative technologist, shared via Twitter that the museum had sent out 2 million texts that week—and it was only Wednesday.
Ready to try?
How Does Send Me SFMOMA Work?
On your smartphone, simply text your artwork request to 572-51.
Use the format “send me” plus a keyword—it can be anything from a color to an object, a feeling, even an emoji.
In seconds, SFMOMA sends you back an image of a related artwork in its collection with a caption that includes the name of the artist, and the work’s title and date.
Send Me SFMOMA in Action
Curious what surprises lie in store? Here are some results we found posted on @SFMOMA’s Twitter feed:
I Couldn’t Wait to Try It . . .
It took me two tries to get the hang of it. I started with a personal passion: dance. Send me SFMOMA sent me back the same dud message twice in a row.
But I persevered . . . and when I texted “Send me something dancing,” success!
Many of the responses are surprising. Some are esoteric, or simply weird. I asked Send Me SFMOMA for “food.”
Monkey Chow — really?!!!
Send Me Grandpa worked, but “Grandma” returned an error message. WTH?
Message to SFMOMA: Don’t ignore Grandma!
Despite a few glitches—which SFMOMA is likely to iron out as the service looks at the gaps between what users are requesting and the “not found” messages it’s delivering—we ended up having a lot of fun with the museum’s new tool. In fact overall, we’d rate Send Me SFMOMA.
Send Me SFMOMA” is currently only available in the US, but the response has been so positive, the museum says it’s looking to extend its reach.
Will you give it a try? Share what you request and the results in the comments below.