Makerbot And The Met Team Up To Scan And Print Art

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Works of art are timeless and now, thanks to Makerbot and the Met, they can be deathless, too. A June 1 hackathon brought a group of artists and hackers together at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art where they 3D scanned a number of well-known pieces of art. The work is now appearing on Thingiverse where you can download and print things like the head and shoulders of a sphinx and Bather by Jean-Antoine Houdon.

Makerbot CEO Bre Pettis wrote:

When I started Thingiverse, I knew that I wanted the classic sculptures of the world to be in the universal library of things, but I imagined that someone would have to pull off the ultimate heist to make that happen. Instead of having to steal the art, the Met shares the future vision of MakerBot where the greatest artworks of the world are accessible to everyone and they’ve invited us in to make history and share the art with the world.

The project, which is now ongoing, led to the Capture Your Town initiative which encourages makers to wander the streets of their cities, 3D scanning cool stuff willy-nilly.

I find this whole system – a sort of guerrilla curation – fascinating and amazingly important. Art is meant to be shared and like MIT’s open classroom initiatives and public domain book projects, this initiative gives things that may moulder on shelves and in out-of-the-way museums new life. While the reproductions aren’t as beautiful as the originals (yet), 3D printing is only getting better and it’s only a matter of time before we can beautify our homes and lives with art, design, and architecture from around the world.