Warhol “Out Loud”: Allowing the Visually Impaired to Explore Andy Warhol’s Work

Kelsey Thackery|November 2016

Art and vision are almost synonymous, and up until recently, it would have been impossible for people with hindered sight to experience art. Luckily, the Andy Warhol Museum has come up with a solution to this problem. The Pittsburgh based museum, has designed an audio and tactile guide, titled Out Loud. Ihe aim of which, is to make Warhol’s life and work accessible to the visually impaired. After extensive collaboration with Carnegie Museum, as well as input and feedback from the visually impaired community, this guide will make the Warhol Museum much more inclusive and comprehensive for all visitors.

Out Loud revolves around a location-aware guide that can be downloaded as an app. Rather than asking visitors to input an art number, (an alphanumeric designating a part as listed in a catalog or parts list) as most audio guides do, the app uses beacons installed near different art pieces to bring up information about the piece. When the app is launched, it recites stories of Warhol’s life in addition to audio recordings and Warhol-based anecdotes told by his associates.

This interactive based audio guide has several features including, its ability to  pick up on visitor’s audio preferences and interests. But the features do not stop there, located on the seventh floor of the museum there are 3D printed touch replicas of select Warhol pieces. These features allow visitors to experience original 2D images with their hands. Screenprinting lends itself especially well to this approach, since the colors are printed in layers they can be more easily separated and translated into tangible sensations.

Neither audio nor tactile experience alone is enough to encapsulate all that a Warhol is, but experienced together visitors can better understand. This revolutionary museum innovation at Out Loud provides a new experience to all visitors, with an emphasis on those who are usually excluded from fully participating in the exhibits.