Bring the art museum home with the BillionDollarArtGallery (review)
Paige and Glenn started the BillionDollarArtGallery out of necessity and it turned into a passion project for the couple. After setting up a television just for the purpose of displaying pictures and photos, they finally realized they loved art. So they started collecting paintings to display on their TV.
Coming into this review, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the BillionDollarArtGallery. I’m not an art lover, but occasionally I go to art museums. Knowing that art is subjective, I entered this review period with an open mind.
Packaging and design
I expected to receive the standard small box or bubble wrap. To my pleasant surprise, I received a minimalist and elegant maple etched box. The box is made of light-colored wood, which is soft to the touch and durable. Maple was a great choice because it’s lightweight and reduces shipping costs.
By opening the lid, we discover a chrome USB key. This thumb drive has “BillionDollarArtGallery” laser engraved on the front. The stick itself sits in a snug foam.
When I went to get the thumb drive, I expected to pick up a standard plastic USB device. To my surprise, this stick was made of metal. The packaging itself is simply a work of art in its own right. I wish other companies put as much thought and care into their products.
Being tech savvy, playing the USB drive on my aging Samsung TV was simple. Insert the USB drive into the port on the back and head to the media player.
Not everyone is so tech-savvy. If you head to the help section of their website, you can find a complete set of instructions for operating this device.
You get a breakdown of how to access paintings on your TV, printable instructions for TV brands and their remotes, pictures of what a USB port looks like, and even an image showing the difference between a USB port and an HDMI port.
The help section even shows alternative devices that can accept the BillionDollarArtGallery USB stick. The alternative devices listed on the site are the Roku Ultra, the ABOX Android media player, a PC, and the Micca Speck.
Although this is a relatively simple product, you can tell how much care and thought went into making it. At this point, I was excited to see Art.
Enter the art exhibition
After my initial unboxing, I was excited to put this device to the test. Although you can see all the paintings on their website, I deliberately avoided looking at them. I wanted my first viewing experience to be on my TV.
I plugged the device into my TV, sat down and started. The collection is simply breathtaking. This little device carries 500 paintings that span 900 years and with a huge variety of styles you have plenty to look at.
The BillionDollarArtGallery lists all the artists and their paintings on their site. This device features well-known artists and paintings, like the works of Rembrandt and Vincent Van Gogh, as well as artists and paintings you may not have seen before.
By the way, some paintings have been changed. Some older paintings have jagged edges or deteriorated frames. As a result, the frames have been cut and the colors extended to fill in the edges, along with the water damage from the faces having been removed. Glenn and Paige claim this is what the painter would have intended, while others may claim it interferes with the experience.
The artistic experience
There are several ways to view the different paintings. You can select a single painting to view at a time or cycle through it as a slideshow. While playing it as a slideshow, you can listen to original music by Alex Cap, a Hollywood composer. As you enjoy each painting, the name of the painting, the name of the painter, the year it was made, and the art museum that made it appear and disappear at the bottom of the screen. It was a good idea because it gives you the opportunity to appreciate the piece while learning more about it.
While browsing through the gallery, I really enjoyed some of the paintings. Some of the paintings that jumped out at me were The sea of ice by Casper David Friedrich, Westminster sunset by Albert Goodwin, Washington crossing the Delaware by Emmanuel Leutze, and The last supper by Leonardo da Vinci. Some paintings left me feeling neutral, and I could take them or leave them.
A lot of paintings made me realize that I wouldn’t exhibit it freely at home. As a father of two young children, some of the paintings are beyond what I am comfortable seeing. Many of the paintings feature some sort of nudity. I’m all for the body to look good, but my kids aren’t there yet.
Other paintings depict death, suffering, or some other type of horrific event. I fully understand the cultural and historical significance of these paintings, but I don’t want them in my living room.
I found that by plugging the USB drive into my computer, I could delete all the unwanted paints. It’s just something I wish I didn’t have to do. It was disheartening and a huge disappointment to realize that I wouldn’t display it freely in my home.
wrap it all up
The packaging, product support and return policy are top notch. What I liked the most is that you can really tell how well thought out and cared for this product was. It is available on their website or on Amazon for $39.99. If you have people in your life who love art or frequent art galleries, this would make a great gift.
If you don’t have kids, are a big art lover, or are more open than I am with your kids, then you’ll love what the BillionDollarArtGallery has to offer. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t suit me at this point in my life. You can check out the gallery on their site to determine if it’s right for your home.