Just recently, we launched a new component of our mobile app: a tour of the Gilbert Collection. You'll find the app in iTunes or you can go to mobile.lacma.org using the browser on your iPhone or Droid. (The tour feature is designed to be used in the galleries. By entering the numbers you see on the labels, you'll access information about highlights of the collection.)
The Gilbert Collection is an extraordinary example of decorative arts; at LACMA, we have 50 highlights of the collection on view, including works in gold and silver, as well as pietre dure, micromosaic, and gold boxes, all acquired by Sir Arthur Gilbert over the course of forty years, beginning in the 1960s. You'll find the collection in a series of galleries on the third floor of the Ahmanson Building at LACMA. When you take the tour, you'll hear Sir Arthur's son, Colin Gilbert, recall that his father used to visit the galleries at LACMA in his tennis clothes, carrying a magnifying glass that he would offer to visitors to entice them to look a little closer at the treasures he had so carefully collected. He didn't reveal his identity, he just sat back and enjoyed sharing his passion for these objects with others.
One highlight of the new tour is this interview with collector Julian Sands. Sands spoke about a Thomas Pitts 18th century epergne - stunning in real life, and even more stunning as one imagines the setting that Sands describes: a table laden with delicacies, lit by candlelight that would have danced on the finely-wrought silver.
I also love this interview with conservator John Hirx, who demonstrates and explains the construction of this elaborate set of 18th century gates by Russian artist Alexis Timothy Ischenko.
If you're interested in the decorative arts, this tour is a can't-miss.