Described as one of the most recognisable paintings in American art, Edward Copper’s Nighthawks portrays the loneliness and alienation of a WWII era New York, presenting a brightly lit but sparsely populated American diner late at night. Now, for the social distancing era, an art group have brought that famous painting to life in New York’s Chelsea neighbourhood, through the form of immersive digital art.
Chelsea’s Artechouse has been taken over by a life-sized AR bar by Noiland Collective and Epson called "NHKS4220 Bar Illusion," which looks like Edward Hopper's 1942 painting. Visitors can even order a drink that they can "bring to life" via augmented reality. Installed as something of a tribute to the ailing bar and restaurant industry, this work celebrates the human connectivity that such establishments have traditionally created.
Noiland Collective, an Austin, TX-based digital art collective founded by Sven Ortel and Jesse Easdon, created the stunning installation, which utilizes cutting-edge projection techniques to create a 3D hologram effect. The choice of artwork itself is particularly illuminating, with a subtle nod to the themes contained in the 1942 original, and their parallels to our current circumstances.
This is just the latest in an exciting development that sees famous masterpieces take on new interactive forms. We’ve written at great length about the amazing recreations of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers brought to life by Culturespaces. Now, with New York getting on the scene, visitors can experience a new dimension to a classic American artwork.
At a time when traditional museums and galleries are struggling to sustain pre-Covid footfall, and social distancing measures call for larger scale works, initiatives like this could usher in the future of art consumption. And with the themes of loneliness and isolation weaved into the works themselves, this is a pioneering and culturally topical art form that cannot fail to attract attention.
"In conceiving new futures for art, ARTECHOUSE often builds bridges to the past," said Sandro Keserelidze, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of ARTECHOUSE. "Artists, and images from specific historical moments, can help us navigate the unknown. Meshing current and past moments of turmoil, and showing that life’s small pleasures continue amidst anxiety, NHKS4220 Bar Illusion is pure ARTECHOUSE: innovation and art colliding to bend and clarify reality."
By Richard Oxley