But what is the point of this time-consuming procedure? Is any kind of communal wisdom glimpsed? Is there even a useful index so you can find, say, portraits of nude lions eating fruit? Actually, the tags are almost anticuratorial: they filter out any hope of wisdom. They are elementary, limited, the kind of associations encouraged in middle-school art classes. Monet’s “Church at Vernon,” we learn, is tagged “blue,” “dreamy,” “hazy.”
The various votes for “likes” in the museum are equally unilluminating. The result is a kind of scarcely literate cybergraffiti that does nothing to help reach a deeper understanding of the works or reveal their artistic traditions or cultural significance. The museum becomes a smorgasbord of objects, their importance a mystery.