The 4th Wall: Using AR to Display Art Beyond the Museum

4th Wall is a recently released app based artistic experience, by Nancy Baker Cahill, which utilizes augmented reality technology to bring art out of the museum and into public and private spaces.  The app allows users to “scale, rotate, move through, and record” AR drawings created by artist Nancy Baker Cahill.  The exhibit also features a collaborative public AR project called ‘Coordinates’ which used GPS location to direct users toward the closest AR public art location. The app presents an interesting way of displaying an artists’ work, and creating artistic experiences beyond the walls of a traditional art space.


4th Wall  Home Screen

4th Wall Home Screen

Cahill has four pieces from her Hollow Point series available in the app.  By clicking on one, the user can resize and move the piece around to fit their environment.  They can then freeze the location of the work and interact with it by physically moving through the piece within the augmented reality space.

Nancy Baker Cahill conveys her inspiration and the concepts behind her artwork through the use of holograms. The hologram invites the user to teleport into her studio to explore her workspace within the app in a virtual reality space.

Debra Scacco  "The President Wilson, 1928" (2018)

Debra Scacco "The President Wilson, 1928" (2018)

The most recent addition to the app is “Coordinates.” Coordinates launched in August with eight site specific piece of AR public art.  When the user opens this portion of the app, they are directed towards the closest artwork.  Pictured above is one such artwork located in New York, NY off of the Staten Island Ferry.  The AR art show above is accompanied by an audio track which features an excerpt from the Ellis Island Oral History Project.


Final takeaways:

4th Wall is a unique artistic experience. While locations of Coordinates are currently limited, this aspect of the app is new and could potentially be expanded to more locations or incorporate a greater variety of art. It is an interesting addition to the corpus of public art apps, such as Public Art and ArtAround, which help users find locations of physical pieces of public art across cities and towns.  


  •          Free

  •          Unique platform for public art

  •          Interactive

  •          High quality images

  •         Nice design and easy user interface


  •         Slow to load with a bit of lag

  •         Limited locations in ‘Coordinates’

To download: For iPhones 6s and above: ; For Android devices withARCore:

For examples on how museums are using AR technology in their spaces, check out Mandy Ding’s research update or full paper on the subject.