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How San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art Used Text Messages to Make Art Go Viral

Think you get a lot of text messages? The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) has gotten two million this week.

The museum’s new Send Me SFMOMA project—which sends works from its 34,678-piece collection to anyone in the world via text message—is a decidedly modern method of sharing its art with the public. In recent weeks, it has also become a viral success.

Anyone can take part, by texting 572-51 with the message “send me” followed by a short description of what you’re in the mood to see. This could be an emoji, a color, or a keyword—just type whatever you’re craving at the moment, and the result will be art to match. A trial run in March proved so popular that mobile carriers blacklisted the number, suspecting it was spam.

The project officially kicked off in June and has become a sensation. When actor Neil Patrick Harris tweeted about the project to his 26 million followers on Tuesday, the museum had so much demand that its servers crashed, according to Gothamist.

“It started out as an experiment and quickly went viral, revealing a deep appetite for art among the public. We hope to provide Send Me SFMOMA as long as the public embraces it,” a museum spokesperson told Gothamist.

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