July 9th marks the ninth birthday of the BTS Army (specifically, the official announcement of its name). As Twitter celebrates the anniversary, Google has released a new street view experiment through its Arts & Culture platform in collaboration with the band. The BTS x Street Galleries exhibition brings viewers on a virtual tour of the group’s favorite artworks.
Each member has curated a virtual gallery, with their selections placed in various public locations that will be highly recognizable to BTS fans. J-Hope decorated the UN General Assembly, where BTS gave an address and shot a music video last year; RM guides fans through Seoul’s Namdaemun, where BTS performed for 2021’s Global Citizen Live festival.
Some BTS members are known art aficionados (including leader RM, who recently discussed his collection on the Art Basel podcast), but others haven’t yet been as public about their tastes. While there are minor glitches here and there, the experience provides an interesting look at each member’s artistic interests mixed with a healthy dose of personality. V describes a photo of a rowboat as “my kind of jam.” “Everyone knows I’m handsome, just like this hunky Adonis,” Jin writes of Antonio Corradini’s Adonis. “I love taking photos of the clouds because each cloud is completely different to the next,” Jungkook comments, which is the most Jungkook remark a person could make.
The Arts & Culture platform includes a number of online tours of famous galleries, as well as other tourist attractions, including the Alhambra and the Pyramids of Giza. As part of the “Experiments” section, where artists can try more eclectic ideas, BTS x Street Galleries looks to be an interesting vision — and potential conversation starter — for the role of art in public space.