Unlike your kids, SFMOMA always texts you back

During its beta run, Send Me SFMOMA returned such a deluge of responses that the original number was blacklisted by major mobile carriers — they thought SFMOMA was spamming people with art!


I’m addicted.  Completely, utterly addicted.  Every morning, I text SFMOMA.  I’m like a stalker, blurting out whatever comes to mind.   “Send me pickles” or “Send me baby toes” or “Send me a rainbow.”  And guess what happens?  SFMOMA texts me back.  I get an instant artwork from their permanent collection chosen just for me.  What an extraordinarily fun and simple way to share the treasures in their collection.  And what a clever way to create a personal connection to the Museum – I now have a dynamic relationship where we talk to each other  (at least it feels that way).  The images I receive are always an unexpected riff on the request I send – “Send me love” on Monday results in Walker Evans’ photograph Billboards and Frame Houses from 1936.  The same text request  on Tuesday brings Gertrude Kasebier’s Happy Days from 1903.   It changes every time.

Oops, I just did it again: “Send me sunshine” got me Roland Petersen’s Rain Picnic from 1981.  OMG is this fun.  Can’t stop.  “Dogs” just brought me Sigmar Polke’s ‘Jedem seine Palme (To Each His Own Palm Tree)’, 1966.  See?  Addicted.

Hats off to Creative Technologist Jay Mollica, who created this delicious pastime.   And to all of the collections database/API folks at SFMOMA who must be tagging their artworks like crazy to make this work.  

So now it’s your turn:  Text 572-51 with the words “send me” followed by a keyword, a color, or even an emoji.  Unlike your kids or wayward friends, SFMOMA always texts you back.  And I’ll bet you can’t stop at just one.  

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