art clock displayed on a tablet resting on a shelf as part of decor

Art Clock

This project is a participatory experience where users scour the Smithsonian Open Access catalog for art that can be interpreted as an analog clock face. The result is an ever evolving collection that displays a new piece of art every minute.

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The clock keeps time by displaying art that matches the current position of the hour and minute for a curious interplay between art and the time.

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The task of finding and tagging art is one part treasure hunt, one part interpretation game and all parts weirdly satisfying. Afterward you will begin to see elements in all art that you didn’t before.

Smithsoanian image of man pulling a cord with obvious minute angle identified
smithsonian image of ballerina with minute hand identified by angle of her arms
smithsonain image of farmer with a rake
smithsonian image of women holding an unidentified object
the time 1:54 has been identified in a coffee pot and submitted to the art clock

The clock explores a new method of technology assisted curation and a playful way of adding art to daily life. Our intention is that the time people spend identifying angles will create relationships between participant and art, and help people notice and think about the compositional choices that artists make.


  • Zander Brimijoin - Creative Director
  • Daniel Scheibel - Technology Director
  • Lisa Walters - Executive Producer
  • Jiwon Ham - Design & Animation
  • Erin Stowell - Sr Producer
  • Greg Schomburg - Lead Developer

Created with Cooper Hewitt

  • Part of the ASOA program